Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The hunter



Recently I taught a class at my school to a boys' group about masculinity. I showed them the clip above, as well as one of a modern "big game hunter" with a high-powered rifle and telescopic sight, shooting at game that was trapped by a fence within a compound. We then considered the different approaches to life in these two ways of killing, and the different masculine qualities each demonstrated.

I believe that, at its best, Bushido had something of this reverence for life, and the necessary regret at taking it. The fact that we still are not allowed to celebrate our victories in shiai is a link to that; respect for our fallen opponent. We use our kiai not as a show of emotion, but to probe for weakness, to unbalance, while on the inside we remain cool and efficient like the hunter.

But nothing I know comes close to this man's endurance, persistence, empathy, skill and compassion. He's not doing this to win fame at the Olympics. He wears ordinary clothes, not expensive runners or compression undergarments. He does what he does so his family can eat. I think in this clip he is the complete Man.

2 comments:

Josh Orth said...

a humbling reminder. thank you Sensei.

Thomas Sluyter said...

Good day,

Your remarks regarding sobriety and repentance regarding "killing" in kendo reminded me of a classic article, entitled: "A BREAKTHROUGH IN THE DILEMMA OF WAR OR PEACE – THE TEACHINGS OF KENDO" by Kensei Hiwaki. I read it as part of a BKR newsletter from 2000, which may be read over here -> http://www.kendo.org.uk/newsletter/archive/bkanews/iss24.pdf

Specifically, it reminded me of the discussion of kata #1 through #3 where the student progresses from killing, to maiming, to suppressing his opponent.