Pacific Northwest Croatian, Volume 3
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As always, I considered my surroundings; our base was darkened to avoid being identified as a target. A group of American bombers flew over my head almost close enough to touch. Had I done so, the entire barracks area would have been discovered and bombed. But it may have been destroyed anyway if we had already been noted as the target.
In that case, by not alerting our defenses, if I had survived, I would have been held responsible and likely executed, certainly I would have been utterly disgraced. Walter was my childhood friend in Wahiawa and I knew he, and other friends I had grown up with, were all fighting on the American side. If I had shot, would I kill Walter? I would rather have been shamed and executed. I could never have lived knowing I had killed one of my friends, even if from the distance of modern warfare. To have killed Walter would have destroyed my spirit and made life unbearable.
Boot camp training does not teach how to deal with such regret. All kendoists and most Japanese know and revere Musashi, but I had not yet penetrated more than about twelve pages of the copy of the Gorin no Sho in the book called Kendo by Takao Sasaburo given to me by Miura Sensei when I left for Japan. And here I was in Kumamoto with no time for sight-seeing or study. But even a fool could appreciate the surrounding exquisite natural beauty. For our morning training, we would run three miles to Suizenji Park, a thoroughly pleasant exercise.
Then we learned how to dismantle buggies and cannons, pack them onto horses, and transport the parts into the hills to reassemble the cannons there. I groomed, fed, and cared for the horses. Being with the horses was my favorite duty. I respected and gained the trust of the horses, just as my father had as a blacksmith in Wahiawa.
A quiet spirit is necessary as the horse can feel fear and will respond with fear by kicking or rearing or refusing to be still. During the cold winter, I snuggled with the horses and was saved from freezing. The horses had moist warmth and shared his flank with me.
Kendo training helped me with the horses, something I would never have anticipated. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Generally the meditation period is brief, less than a few minutes, but that is time enough to leave behind all other concerns, leaving the mind open and the spirit to settle and quiet.
Described by Musashi, the gaze is twofold: perception and sight.
So when I approached the horses, I was calm. I respected their power and their intelligence. I spoke to them softly, and noting how they communicated with each other by sharing breath, breathed into their nostrils. I did not stare into their eyes, which I now understand can both frighten and challenge them. My gaze was perception, not challenge. My attitude was acknowledged and reflected back to me. But food helped. When I could, I fed them their favorite foods, apples and carrots. I loved the horses and for about six months actually enjoyed my training at Kumamoto, unlike the other soldiers who never slept with the horses.
After this training, I was sent back to Hiroshima, where I was designated Minarai Shikan, a graduate of military war school.source site
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Promotion just happened in the Japanese army, not necessarily connected to time in service or aptitudes. An officer said I was Minarai Shikan, and so I was. At a young age, I came to appreciate the random nature of our lives. Skip to content. Find a Dojo Near You Address:.
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What is Kendo? Member Resources. Please note, registration fees and bento fee are now separate this year Vancouver club will not sell bento on tournament day. Registered shinpan will get a free bento both competing and non-competing shinpan.
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Azimuthal anisotropy of the Pg-wave velocity in hypocentral volumes of NW Croatia
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