View Full Version : Samurai Explaining 'The Present'...

03-14-2007, 10:27 PM
i'm reading a book on zen martial arts written by a samurai/zen master. first of all if anyone is interested and i highly recommend it it's written by taisen deshimaru and it's called the zen way to the martial arts. it's a good book overall but one thing that struck me was when he was explaining the concept of time in relation to a real life/death fight.

he was saying that back in the days when the samurai fought for life and death the concept of the "martial art" becomes different and goes beyond the recreational and sport purposes of martial arts. he was saying that when fighting with the enemy it is all about 1 second of time. assuming both fighters are masters they cannot in their brain/mind/third eye slip into the past or rethink moves, analyze the enemies mistakes etc. because doing that will delay time. all that counts he was explaining is the absolute present now and even the second that just passed is irrelevant. in a second of time the opponent can already kill you by slicing you twice. the intuition leads and goes beyond the boundaries of time.

this was then related to meditation and that when in zazen meditation the second that just passed in not the second of time that is happening now. the mind must always be concentrated on the present. that last second is not the new updated second.

i know there is enuf martial artists here... i'd like to see what people think, this idea here is quite broad.


03-14-2007, 10:48 PM
I've been thinking about the martial arts in relationship to time quite a bit recently. I'll have to do some experiments before I can say anything definitive about it though.

However, my current analysis of the situation is that time is saved by planning ahead and by a lack of thought. In ideal conditions, the plans unroll smoothly and winning is determined BEFORE the fight. In stressful conditions this changes and time is saved by automatic action. In the case of the latter, I liken this to a drug induced autonomous state. In terms of knowledge, its a matter of the interconnectedness of the style. It flows from one point to another not based on your ideas, but based on its properties and indisputable logic. This is both a strength and a weakness.

03-15-2007, 01:30 PM
I agree with what the writer said. It seems that one of the foundations for Japanese martial arts is 'the moment'. Even in "Hagakure: The Book of The Samurai", Yamamoto Tsunetomo relates many times that there can be nothing outside the immediate moment. Wether it be in combat or peaceful day to day living and chores. All too often we let other thoughts and emotions cloud the immediate purpose, instead of focusing on our goal as if nothing else existed.

I think that rule should be applied to life itself because we'd get a whole lot more done.

As far as combat, the best thing you can do is practice before a life and death struggle is upon you. Especially if your opponent is also familiar with the arts. Another thing to remember is to be calm as well, and calmness comes from he concentration that these people were teaching us in these books.

Another principle to always adhere to is what the Wu Style Tai Chi Masters call "Gauging The Opponent". Giving them a few "testing attacks" to see how they respond to them. A question and answer scenario. Of course, you would have to be very good to do this in actual combat, but these books weren't written for rank amateurs either.

Knowing when to strike is another vital concept to hold on to.
None of these can be practiced unless the practitioner is calm though. That's the principle of Zen. Everything becomes nothing and nothing becomes everything.

03-15-2007, 02:00 PM
When you go into a gladiator style fight- you musen't have any thoughts - just movement. You can't have any thought about your mortality or bum knee.

In my own personal experience - not giving a fuck about myself or consequences has given me the advantage in the Canadian penal system. I have had many fights in prison. One was gladiator style during a riot. I beat a guy with one leg - I broke my own ankle by missing a roundhouse to the gut and hitting a solid concrete wall. But I still stood on one foot and flipped him and held him by the neck to the ground and survived. Held him for 10 mintes until somebody saw us fighting.

I dont recall thinking about anything in that fight expect the kick that hit the wall. Thinking of a move makes you telegraph it- whether it's with your movement or if the enemy is very intuitive.

Then X posted a book on Ronin (forgot the title) but it clearly states that thinking and fretting will get you killed or hurt.