For Laundry Warrior I have been researching all things Samurai-related and apart from watching lots of DVDs I have started reading the classic book: “The Life-Giving Sword” aka Secret Teachings from the House of the Shogun aka the classic text on Zen and the No-sword by seventeenth century swordsman Yagyu Mueneori. The central theme is the concept of controlling an opponent by spiritual readiness to fight, rather than by actual fighting. I was more than a little intrigued to come across this section:
Listening to the Sound of Wind and Water
The foundation of the Way is always deception. Its wisdom of victory is entirely in attacking with various feints, creating variations, and causing the opponent to make the first move. Even before the fight, you must be resolved that your opponent will attack and not be negligent. It is essential to maintain your concentration below the waist.
If you do not think your opponent will attack, you will be set upon quickly and severely as soon as the fight begins, and all your daily training and techniques will be for naught. After the attack begins, it is essential to put your mind, body and legs in Attack, and your hands in an attitude of Abiding. You must look and pay careful attention to Existence. This is the lesson Grasping Existence. Indeed if you do not observe this aspect with calm, it is unlikely your lessons in swordsmanship will be of much use.
Listening to Wind and Water means tranquility above and intense activity below. The voice of the wind does not exist, but issues forth when it comes in contact with things. Thus, when it blows high above, it is tranquil; but when it blows below and touches trees, bamboo and the myriad things, its voice is hurried and loud. Water, too, when falling from above has no voice, but when it comes in contact with things and falls on what is below, there will be a clattering sound.
Tranquility is above and intense activity is below. This is to say, the exterior is calm and peaceful, with nothing to invite a second look, while the interior is attentive and free of negligence.