The invisible sword

It is up to us to be logical but it is equally paramount to be illogical in our pursuit of truth and affect.

Here is an illogical lesson plan for the sword. It mirrors a simple truth of resistance vs control but from the other side of the mirror.

Begin:

  1. Hold your sword in your hand but allow the mass of it to point downward. Imagine it resting quietly in calm water.
  2. Shift your hips in a way when the middle stays in place and the hips move, one forward and one back and in reverse. Transfer that movement to the sword by letting go of excess tension in the spine and shoulder and let your breath be the rhythm.
  3. Keep the image of the sword in calm water in your head and add to hip movement to draw the sword out without splashing any water or creating any excess tension or movement. Keep your hand closed around the hilt so any adjustment in angle is made by the body, shoulder, arm and wrist.
  4. Keep the edge of the sword in your head and draw the sword from the down position to pointing up but so it maintains its up position out of balance and not out of tension. You can also balance a wooden stick on a finger for practice but keeping the sword upright in your grasp is more beneficial for the dialog between resistance and control.
  5. Start drawing a Mollinet by drawing a circle to your right and one to your left in one continuous motion coming from your hips and guiding the movement by spreading the movement between your shoulder, elbow and wrist. Always be aware of the edge and lead with it when appropriate.
  6. Have a partner place a staff or a sword parallel to the ground. Strike it with force and feel the resistance passing back to your sword arm and how your vision is affected.
  7. Breathe and release the wrist to let the sword strike the other sword and continue the movement with moving the elbow but with a relaxed wrist. Mind if the movement continues smoothly and if your vision maintains its focus more clearly.
  8. Breathe and Release both shoulder and wrist so the release meets at the elbow and strike the other sword in a continuous manner with each breath.
  9. Stand an arm and a sword away from your partner. Hold your sword in balance and watch both your and their swords. Find the wave of the pulse in yourself and in your partner and strike as theirs pulse. Release the motion continuously to keep the opponent from touching your tension or yourself and within that mold, you will find freedom and opportunity.

The straight road is not always the shortest. There are times where there are many valid ways and it is the choice which makes the way.

Wrestling with a butterfly

Wrestling with a butterfly

There is a chasm of difference between an edged contact and any other. The mechanical increase in pressure due to the edge geometry makes being tough and solid far less desirable compared to the art of footwork and general locomotion.

I would like to offer a few ideas for your future work to increase the value you place on gentleness and whole movement of the entire body. The reason for it is your prolonged wellbeing and hopefully increased ability and grace through life. The idea for this writing came from viewing sword work by the talented Natasha Kopylova (her videos have a graceful progression of body movement that channels to the limbs and tools and a free play of contact work without the pretense of toughness and resistance) coupled with my nature walks and many lessons from my students.

Movement within movement

Have your partner stand and move the mass from leg to leg. Progress to moving so the feet peel off the ground and turn in place slightly. Start prodding gently with a dry twig and have them combine two movements within one contact. The goal is to keep the twig from breaking and yourself from losing your movement. Achieving both goals will let you move both gently and with inner control.

Understanding of lines of movement

Take a stick and hold it by pressing lightly on both ends, each with one finger. Use only enough pressure to keep the stick in your grasp and start the work. Have your partner first stand and close both eyes. Move the stick through the body as your partner relaxes to allow the stick to pass through without creating resistance and breaking the pressure, which holds the stick in your hands. Achieving this will release within you r body smoother movement and you will feel more as one piece moving in harmony.

Throwing a bell

Find a little bell or a children toy that works the same and stand where there is no precious glass. Throw it in the air and instead of catching it when it descends, match its movement and add to it to bring it in a curve to another throw. The hidden meaning of this movement is to contact without resistance or manipulation. Imagine a blade edge meeting a blade edge as it is often seen in film. Will the blades survive such a meeting? Why not choose to join instead of obstruct.

Keeping the path open

Take a water bottle or a short stick and stand a few paces from your partner. Throw the object straight at your partner and start walking. When the stick comes flying your way, do the following. Keep breathing, move out of the path and make contact so you match the path of the stick and press it between your body and upper limbs. Keep moving and throw the stick back to your moving partner using your movement and breath. This drill is simple but will give you greater eye awareness and give you possibilities of matching and catching without sacrificing your freedom of movement. Value your freedom.

Keep safe by keeping in motion both within and outside. Let yourself be as graceful as you can be by learning from any teacher that comes your way, from the bird perching to the lady dancing with the sword.

When you let everyone teach you, you are open to many more lessons and here is a very nice one in grace and much more.

The title of wrestling with a butterfly is simple. If you can communicate and move in the world without harming the delicate and fragile, you are truly free and thus truly powerful.

http://www.cowboysandcossacks.com/store/p354/Art_of_Shashka_Sword_Movement_with_N._Kopylova%2FBox_set_hard_copy_only.html