Rebel Empire

Last night I attended my first session of Mugai Ryu. As I understand it, this is a traditional Japanese art taught to the samurai to defend themselves with not only their swords, but unarmed and with a variety of weapons. Suffice to say, I have never enjoyed any martial art more and intend to continue going for as long as they do.

I had my first official lesson in rolling (left, right and backwards), holding and cutting with a sword (where I broke Bethwyn’s bokken! I felt so awful and yet kind of proud- must have been a good cut, right?), the soft art of accepting rather than resisting, and how to free my sword from someone’s skull in case I need it quickly. I know, right? Awesome. But not in your flippant "Oh my God, I’m learning how to kill people" awesome. Awesome as in, this is an art which has been cultivated over hundreds of years to teach one how to defend oneself in the most perfect way possible. Kaneda-sensei is the purest spirit and one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. I get the impression that he has experienced deep suffering in his personal life, and as a result he has no place in his heart for hurtful people or idiots. But for those who he does let in, I believe he has incredible love for them. His whole life has been dedicated to bushido- not just the  martial arts, but its code for life. He is, in every sense of the word, a great warrior. And the application of what he teaches is not just to defend from a punch or a sword cut, but how to live. I have great respect for him- more than I have had for anyone I have ever known.

Mugai Ryu is, at the moment, very close to my heart. I’m very keen to spend my poverty days studying under his wisdom.

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