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Books about Bushido, Samurai Art, A. R. Basov

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Sword

from Spirit of the Warrior by Alexey R. Basov

A warrior needs the sword for self-improvement. The most accomplished of all weapons, its magnificence is confirmed the first time one feels it in their hands. The katana is full of poetry and spirit; threatening and spiritual at the same time. The katana is so dangerous that when an unprepared person grasps it he immediately feels incompetent.

Indeed, the slightest lapse in caution can have severe consequences. The katana is so sharp that a slight movement can inflict a serious wound. But if a person practices katana, it will gradually restructure and focus his mind. If a person can handle a katana, it means he has achieved a high level of concentration.

If a warrior can wield a katana blind-folded, it means he has developed a deep spirituality and reached the highest awareness.

 
samurai art

The samurai discovered long ago that the katana forges the spirit. They turned training into an existential practice, a magic rite, the philosophy of action and total activity similar to the katana itself. After all, the katana incorporates all aspects of the samurai philosophy. Its strike is momentary as is the theory of living in the moment. The katana is as glorious as a samurai’s soul, intrinsically just, determined and resolute. Everything becomes clear when you hold the sword.

A warrior appreciates life and respects death.
V. N. Morshankin

A warrior appreciates that life is an opportunity to improve the spirit through the body. Having the ability to execute lightning-fast movements using the sharpest implement of karma, he respects that death is the door to rebirth. Concentrate on the sword point!

Two Masters once decided to compare their swords whose blades were stuck in the bottom of a leaf-littered stream. The first sword was forged by Master Muramasa, a violent and unbalanced man who was rumored to be in contact with demons. While this bladesmith’s swords were valued for their destructive power, they were believed to have murderous energy, influencing their owners to kill. True to form, Muramasa’s sword sliced through all the leaves that sailed by its direction.
In contrast, devout Buddhist Masamune’s swords imparted a sense of peace, thus shielding their owners. Legend has it that one of Masamune’s swords jumped out of its scabbard and into its owner’s hands at a dangerous moment, whereas another refused to slay its host and stuck itself into a stone.
Likewise, Masamune’s swords were rumored to be the best advisers. As the story goes, if these swords were placed in a stream any stray leaves floating in it would be protected by an invisible barrier which would guide them around the blade unscathed. And then there’s the tale of the dead butterfly which was resurrected after brushing by these mystical swords. Most of these were destroyed by the ruling clan Tokugawa, and the remainders passed on through the generations as highly valuable heirlooms.


iaido art

katana kanji

 

A man who has thoroughly mastered the art does not use the sword, and the opponent kills himself; when a man uses the sword, he makes it serve to give life to others. When killing is the order, it kills; when giving life is the order, it gives life. While killing there is no thought of killing, while giving life there is no thought of giving life; for in the killing or in the giving life, no Self is asserted. The man does not see ‘this’ or ‘that’; he makes no discrimination and yet knows well what is what. He walks on water as if it were earth; he walks on the earth as if it were water. One who has attained this freedom cannot be interfered with by anybody on earth. He stands absolutely by himself.
Soho Takuan

Swordsmanship is not a skill of killing people
but rather perfecting one’s inner being and strength.
Yagyu School motto

The monument erected on the great Funakoshi Gichin’s grave reads, Karate ni sente nashi (There is no first attack in karate,) the second of Funakoshi’s Twenty Precepts.

Learn the ways to protect more than to destroy. Only he who comprehends the human nature in his soul could be initiated into the Teaching.
Funakoshi Gichin

Pure and Bright is the Sword
And everyone sees their reflection in it…
And can see the Stars
On the Waves of Hamon…
A. B.

 

This is a chapter from the book Samurai. Spirit of the Warrior

 





I will not get lost...
The North Star is shining in the darkness...
The road to Valhalla, straight like a sword, is always in front of me!

Copyright 2000-2019 Alexey R. Basov, Tatiana Basova. All rights reserved.

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