Monday, July 14, 2008

All you need is love

Had a discussion in the salle this morning.

We were talking about plans for a new class we'll be teaching next month, a sabre class. We were also discussing a plan for a set of classes we'll be teaching at the local University. Going over exercises and skills, and the order in which we'll introduce them.

At some point, the master said something about how, as always, we'd start with the "easy" stuff, and progress to more difficult skills.

It made me smile because I know that as simple as some of this may be, none of it is "easy."

Except... some of it is, now. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the beginning stuff IS easy, now. Certainly compared to the more complex stuff I know how to do.

But I don't think I would ever tell a beginning student that, exactly.

It's just like how I don't tell new mothers that all that they're going through, the sleepless nights, the fussy baby, that's the EASY stuff, by FAR. Infants are a piece of cake. Their needs are so simple.

It's all the same thing.

Most new parents have a difficult time with their infant because they don't know what they are doing. They are trying to take the new situation, the baby, and somehow fit it into the person they've always been. Trying to mold the baby to some sort of schedule, the parents' schedule.

It doesn't work that way.

When you become a parent, you change. The "you" who you used to be becomes the "you" that is a parent, and you learn to adjust your needs to fit the baby's schedule. Until you do that, you'll get no sleep and it will all seem insurmountable.

The sword works the same way.

You can't start studying the sword, expecting it to somehow adjust to you. The sword doesn't give a damn about you. Nothing about it will change for you. You have to change, to adjust, to become part of the sword. The sword has no illusions about what it is, what it is meant to do, or how it is meant to do it. You have those illusions, and the sooner you rid yourself of them, the easier things will become.

Come to think of it, maybe everything works this way.
A horse isn't going to change from being a horse just because you want to ride it. You are the one who has to learn how, the one who has to adjust body movements and communication methods.

An actor I once knew told me that for him, acting is not about pretending, not about trying to appear to be something you are not, it's about finding the facet of yourself that is most like what you want to portray, and turning that facet outwards so it is the one that is visible.

Becoming a swordman or swordwoman is finding the parts of yourself that are most connected with the sword, and allowing those parts of you to become dominant. Once you do so, then you will be able to learn, to see, to feel. Many things that have until then been confusing or difficult, will make sense, and be easy.

Finding those parts of yourself, and acknowledging them? Not so easy.

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