Meditation during practice consists of thinking about what you are going to do before you attempt to execute a tactic or technique and seeing it done as an extension of your expectation. Some call this visualization; the term is unnecessary. Most people are unable to quickly advance in their chosen discipline because they simply do not know what it is they want to accomplish. Knowing what you want to do can be applied to the cutting motion of a sword or cutting a piece of sushi. Not availing yourself of your innate ability of seeing and feeling is to experience failure no matter how intense your desire is. You must acknowledge your perfection before you will ever be able become proficient at anything. This thinking is usually ascribed to an overly egotistical mania. However, quite the reverse is true. You don’t become a champion by thinking as a loser, which is what most people do anyway.
Meditation during practice will help you overcome inconsistency of development. It is essential that you visualize the technique in your mind before executing it. You only have to do this once or twice unless you aren’t paying attention to what you are doing, and then it wouldn’t matter how many times you tried something—you would never get it right.
Try this! When you are preparing to do a technique, see it in your mind as perfectly as you can. If you are at an impasse in your own development, then it is required that you demand of yourself to see it more clearly. You will have ample opportunity to do so when you observe the pictures in this book while paying attention to the words of explanation. Don’t jump around from page to page because you think something appears easier to accomplish than something else.
As an example of this, you will be shown how to properly hold and wield the sword. Following that, the fundamentals of drawing: sayabiki; cutting; giri; and resheathing: noto technique are explained. Then come the actual cuts. Each move is broken down into specific actions and nothing is left to chance. You should have an attitude that all is simple and readily available for you to experience and that you have the mentality of a master. You will learn what you must in five minutes. Then you will be set for the journey that will enable you to truly be a sword master. There is no profound mystique or hidden knowledge to be uncovered. It is very simple, as all in life is when considered as such.
Excerpt from the forthcoming book, The Art of the Zen Sword Master
© SFKaufman 2011
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