Sword and its Simplicity

KissakiFor most students of sword the simplicity of sword appears anything but simple! It takes many years to perfect Iado, that is the draw, the cut and the resheath, then there are Ken-Jitsu katas and movements to understand, that is the free style movement of sword, then there can be bokken work and sparring that allows you to explore the ‘Budo’ nature of sword, then finally the ultimate test of the swords man, that of Tanden work, which is spontaneous sword, performance of sword work that you create from nothing, which has no relationship to the patterns you had learned in the past, so simple yes?….No!Tsuba & hand 2

But that’s not what i think the origin of the expression ‘Sword and its Simplicity’ means, maybe the ‘simplicity’ refers to a more Zen like concept if you will.

Once all of that knowledge, experience and technique has been learned you must, if you like, forget it! To try and explain the invisible and impossible think of three elements, there is the swordsman waiting to perform, the sword waiting to cut and lastly the cut waiting to exist, each of the two elements needs the other to give reason. If as a swordsman you let your mind dwell upon either one of these three elements you will not find this simplicity we are talking of nor even the ultimate truth of the sword, this mythical concept that is sometimes referred to as ‘sword of no sword’.

img00002.jpgThink of the sword in your hand and you doubt, think of the cut to be performed and you doubt, think of yourself…and you doubt, each doubt leads to the mind, and the mind to the ego that fails to be in the moment.
So first we must learn of sword and all its complexities but then seek the simplicity of ignorance, let go and forget everything, join with the sword and the cut and you will disappear in a true cut, a cut that breaths life and not takes it.

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