Tuesday, November 08, 2005

One cut.


You know that feeling you have when you really, really want something — and you don’t get it? What do they call that? Disappointment? No, that can’t be it. This feels much darker.

I didn’t make the cut for Round Two of the Writer’s Arc fellowship. Apparently, my metaphysical-supernatural-thriller approach wasn’t . . . right. Could be, I don’t know, a thousand reasons why. It’s alright, though. I will make other cuts.

A long time ago I had the good fortune of studying iaido with a teacher who had studied various martial arts for over 40 years, and who held a rank of seventh dan in Tae Kwan Do. Cross Obi-Wan Kenobi with Toshiro Mifune and you might have a sense of this man’s dignity and character. Now, iaido is the Japanese art of drawing the sword, as opposed to iaijutsu, its older, more combative ancestor; or kenjutsu, which is more about fighting extended engagements.

(I will make the cut.)

My iaido teacher once told the following story. Long ago he had studied sword techniques under an old Korean master. The master’s command of English was shaky, but his intent was always very clear, and he had something of a temper. The master gathered together his students and announced their training assignment for the weekend.

“You must make one thousand cuts,” the old master said.

“Yes, master,” his students obediently replied, bowing their heads. Inwardly, each of them despaired of the hours of practice such an assignment would require.

“No! One thousand cuts.”

“Yes, master.” Again the students nodded.

“NO!” he shouted, stomping his foot. “One cut. Perfect. One thousand times!

One cut.

Perfect.

One thousand times.

P.S. Go Tina!

2 Comments:

Blogger Julie O. said...

Beautiful post, Ryan.

Print it, hang it on the bathroom mirror and live it.

(I'm linking your blog to mine, btw. Hope you don't mind.)

1:41 PM  
Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Been there. Done that. Pouted about it for three months.

10:01 AM  

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