Mugai Rui tonight was awesome. Beth and I took Kaneda out to lunch on Friday (delicious Utopia followed by equally delicious dessert) and he told us about a drill they did last week in class. Two people closed their eyes, were put on the map in random places, and one had to find the other, who stayed perfectly still and made no sounds. Tonight, Kaneda repeated the drill, and he demonstrated with me. I closed my eyes, was shuffled about and sat down on the mat, and he was put on the other end and treated the same. The assistants stood to the side so it was just us, and when Ellora said "Hai!", Kaneda paused for a moment before turning to look right at me. It was scary because his eyes were closed, but if they had been open they would have been staring right inside me. With his arms half-extended in an open guard, he strode across the mat, stopped right in front of me, and bopped me on the head with his palm. Not only could he tell which direction I was in, but he knew exactly how far to walk before he was standing right in front of me. Things got crazier as everyone (all eight of us, I think) was shuffled randomly around on the mat, we elected one person to find, and Kaneda (eyes closed) walked around each of us until he found the person we nominated and touched them. He swerved around people he sensed weren’t the target, moving towards each person, eyebrows furrowed as he tried to understand their energy. It was awesome. Admittedly, he thought I was Bert the first time, but when he tried again he found Ellora relatively quickly. It was really impressive to see him move around us so quickly- he describes the sensation as a bubble, and he can feel the pressure of other bubbles around him. He also feels pressure with his hands- as he gets closer to someone, he knows it just from sensation. At the end of class, he demonstrated the practicality of this by asking me to extend my hand. He put one of his hands below and the other above, just out of reach, and concentrated. All of a sudden I felt this warmth come into my hand, a kind of tingling and a little pressure. I don’t know if it was heat radiating from him combined with my excitement, but I genuinely believe Kaneda’s warrior spirit is immense, and can effect the physical environment around him.
Lots of good practice today. I must not lapse into assuming I’m doing things right- I must be ever vigilant of how I can improve my technique. But a realisation came to me as we were doing a three-on-one sword drill: my mind became perfectly clear, stiller than any lake could be. Everything moved slowly, and as swords came down on my, it was as if leaves were falling in slow motion, and I could easily sweep out of their way with no more effort than I needed. I came up with a rough quote to describe what it was like: "I am the calm amidst the tempest: you cannot disturb my peace." Sounds good, ne?
I love Mugai. I love Rebel. I’m going to devote more time and more of my life to it, because it really matters to me. It’s one of those important things in life I was talking about. Even if I have to give up karate, I can do that for the pleasure of doing things I love with people I love. Things can only move forward from here.

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