Thursday, August 13, 2009

Farming and Budo

Farming and Budo go hand in hand. From the gardens of Shaolin to the rice fields of Okinawa and Japan, farming has been intricately linked to Budo. Many of the early Budo-ka were Farmers...hence the classical Okinawan weapons of Kama, Sai, Bo and Tonfa. These are farm tools transformed into tools of self-defense.

I am not a farmer, but I do have a garden. There is nothing like going and playing in the dirt...and it's amazing how the neighborhood kids (ages 2-13) love to come and watch the garden and tour the garden as it grows. They also like to tour by picking peas, beans and an occasional cherry tomato. This is as close to farming as I am going to get, besides marrying a farmer's daughter (yep, I did).

Farming and Budo have a lot in common. In farming the soil needs tilling and preparation before the seeds can be planted. In the dojo this is our learning of the exercises and kihon waza to prepare our mind and body for the rigors that lie ahead. Without preparing the soil properly, the seeds will have difficulty growing once planted. The same goes for Budo. Without a proper foundation of physical conditioning, the seeds from Kata, Kumite, Meditation will have difficulty sprouting.

Yes, the planting of the seeds must also be done correctly. Not too close...not too far. Kata or Waza must be taught...not too fast, not too slow.

Then comes the watering and the praying for adequate sunshine and rainfall. In Budo, this is the encouragement to continue. The comraderie we feel from being with others who love the way of the warrior. Then we practice and wait as we grow.

Weeding is also necessary or the plants can get choked out and hinder their growth. This is when Sensei corrects your form or technique...or tells you to be quiet or pay attention when you are goofing off too much. Weeding is very important or the plants will not grow tall and strong. This is especially crucial when the plant flowers and is getting ready to produce their fruit.

And, then comes the harvesting. The plant is in full bloom and the cucumbers, zuchinni, tomatoes, peas and beans all arrive for the enjoyment of the gardener (and the neighborhood kids) For the Budoka this is the culmination of your training when you become free from the mother plant and begin to produce your own 'seeds'. You become the teacher...the Sensei.

I love gardening.

Hands palm to palm,

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