Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gaijin Interview Tonight

Yes! This here gaijin, Zacky Chan, will be on a live internet radio talk show, so if you got the time and place, join through skype where you can listen and post questions if you like. The talk is with Katie Adler, and you can access the talk by going to her website and following the easy instructions. The time is at 10pm Japan time tonight (9/12).

So yeah, take a break from your nightly TV, grab a drink, and listen to ... Katie and I talk about the great illusions of life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Still Don't Know!

How can I find something I don't know?

In kyudo I'm searching for perfect technique. I watch those better than me, I listen to sensei's advice, I have small goals, but I just don't get it.

On the one hand I'm trying to achieve something I'm not, so that I can be better. If that happens, I become an advanced person.

On the other hand, it's something inside of me that's been there all along. All I have to do is realize that power inside of me and then I'm there. But I don't know what it is. Is it not inside of me? Does it need to be placed there first so I can reveal it?

It's like I'm mining for gold in this mountain. I think I know it's there, and I'm trying to think about it intelligently so that I can better find it, but in all honesty I don't know the gold is there until I see it, feel it, be it.

The weirdest thing about kyudo is that you'll realize something and do it, and then completely forget it. It's eternally frustrating. Last week I really had confidence in my tenouchi (left hand that holds the bow). I was realizing things I had been trying for so long, all of a sudden my hand was doing things I couldn't before, then this week I can't do it at all. It's like I've been transported back in time to where I was really sucky. I realize this, and try to fix it, but I couldn't do it today.

Somehow I've lost confidence in kyudo. I don't have the confidence to hit the target like I have in the past. My eyes blink amid the shooting, and I know I'm not going to hit the target. It's just a waste of time. Before I finish the arrow I already want to go on to the next, even though I know I won't hit that one either.

It makes me want to just walk straight up to the target and stab it right in the center.

I'm mining for gold, but I really don't know what it's like.
After all this time, I still don't know. Maybe everyone is like this.

I don't know!

Hurrying doesn't help, muscling it in doesn't work ... so I'll be patient and humble, and trust that that gold is in fact below the pick and axe.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Budo Puzzles and Mountains: Gifts of Struggle


In budo, a sensei presents you with a puzzle. In kyudo, my sensei hands me the bow and a glove, and asks me to figure out how to shoot an arrow at the target. He gives me this problem, knowing it will be difficult, painful, and frustrating.


Why must I make time in my busy life to travel to a dojo, obey all of the rules, and engage a practice that reveals my flaws more than anything else?

Sensei gives me a mountain. At the top is something we may call a goal. He gives me the mountain because he knows I want to climb. But there will be storms on that mountain. Hidden behind boulders are monsters that hunger for my life. This mountain will take longer than one day for sure.

Someone may give me a flower. Another might give me beer. These things I receive with a smile and enjoy at ease.

But sensei, he gives me a gift of pain.

I think it's love.

I think it's all just for me. He doesn't want to kill me. He isn't only concerned with himself.

He wants me to become big, so he gives me these challenges. He wants me to become strong, so he gives me fearsome trials. He gives me puzzles I can't figure out as I am, so he teaches me how. It's not just about strength, it's about finding a way. It's about finding a way to the top of that mountain where I can say, "Yes."

There is only one thing my sensei fears, and that is my acceptance of failure. The only thing my sensei fears, is me giving up. I can fail. It can hurt. But to stop before the top, that is the only crime in budo.

Budo is a gift of struggle: a mountain, a puzzle. It is given by a sensei and accepted by a student.

We must overcome.