Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bankei on Yari fighting II

Poem by Zen Master Bankei : 

Instructions to the Layman Gesso in Response to his Questions on the Technique of the Lance

The Great Function manifests itself without fixed rules

Meeting each situation on its own terms,

it's never too soon, never too late

Thrusting, retracting, advancing, retreating—

it all takes place beyond the realm of thought

When you're in harmony with Mind,

arms and legs operate on their own

The Great Function described by numerous Zen Masters  is the ability to react naturally to any situation. During combat, it is important to not have to think about what one should do next, in order to let the body act intuitively, without being submitted to the judgment of the intellect which makes everything slower. 

This Great Function has two components : Serenity, absence of concern regarding the issue of the confrontation; and Mastery of the technical aspects of combat. 

Both qualities are the result of hard and dedicated practice on spiritual, mental and physical planes. 

We manifest in this Universe under the form of a physical Body. The only way we have to progress is to use it to reach the point when the Great Function manifests itself. Passed a certain limit, intellect becomes a hindrance. Only personal practice and actual realization can help us on our way. The only tool we have is our Body. 

Master Bankei was born in 1622, 22 years after the famous battle of Sekigahara. At the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a great number of masterless Samurai still used their military skills to make a living as bodyguards (See Toshiro Mifune's movie : Yojimbo), law enforcement officers, or gangsters...

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