Sanjugokajo-34 The body of a rock – Feb 20, 2015, Kim Taylor, Renshi, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph ON, Nanadan

The body of a rock should, with uninterrupted training, by and with an imperturbable, strong and large spirit be trained.

A body which has become familiar with the entire truth of the martial arts is boundlessly powerful, so that all living things voluntarily try to evade him. Even the soulless grass and trees will naturally avoid spreading out their roots. Even the rain and the wind have the same tendency in his presence.

You should strive diligently after this body.

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Musashi likes training, a lot. If one trains continuously, with a calm, strong and large spirit one will develop a body of a rock.

Obviously this means a big rock, one that is heavy, hard to move, hard to break. He wishes us to become a hard fellow. When I was a kid in the early ’60s there were lunch counters run by ex-military guys, cooks for the army and the navy. These old men had their blue tatoos on their arms, their white shirt sleeves rolled up and always seemed to have the time of day for a young boy, but they were hard. You could tell, there was no way you lipped off or misbehaved around these guys. You just didn’t.

I got my fishing village spanking from Mac Loder, one of the boat captains in town who was also a partner to my great-uncle in the Wilson-Loder packing plant. Those fishermen were hard men whose training consisted of putting out and hauling in gill-nets from breakup to freezeup every day of every year. The spanking? It was applied to every single kid in the village the first time they wandered down to the docks and stood looking at the water between the boat and the dock. Probably prevented a lot of drownings. That was back when hard men looked out for the village brats.

Were these old guys actually, physically hard? At one time I suspect they were, but as old men they weren’t fast, they weren’t as strong as they once were, they weren’t in “fighting trim”, most of them would die within a decade of lung cancer or cirrosis of the liver, yet they were hard. Their minds, their spirits were hard. They had none of the idiotic bluster of competitive martial artists or professional wrestlers with their trash-talk. Windbags they were not, but there was a core that even a little kid could see, an unbending piece of steel instead of a spine. They would work, or fight, until they dropped dead if they had to and would think nothing of it. Wouldn’t occur to them to do otherwise.

This is the sort of rock which Musashi speaks of, an immovable spirit (again, Takuan’s Fudoshin) that all things will recoil from, move around or break upon.

Do you have the body of a rock? I have no idea if this counts or not because to me it seems rediculous but not very long ago I was cutting the lawn when I stepped out into the driveway and was knocked over by the neighbour. She drove her SUV up onto my ankle and stopped. I booted her bumper a couple of times and she drove off before getting out to see if I was OK. I told her I was fine, gave her a hug and finished cutting the lawn before going into the house and checking out the ankle. Hard or stupid? I dunno, I’m trying to be less hard and more smart as I get older and the healing process gets slower.

But in a fight you don’t show an injury, you don’t show anything but that big rock that isn’t going to move. Do this and your opponent, if he has any skill at all, will begin to wish he were somewhere else.

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