Saturday, July 22, 2006

Woodburning my Bo Staff

I wanted to individualize, and customize my Bo Staff so that I could find it among the other student's staffs with ease. A friend of mine suggested that I do some woodburning and place symbols on it that reflect my path in martial arts. Thrilled to be able to use my arts and crafts skills in union with my martial art expression, I started on this project.

I created my Water staff in honor of the fact that I was a Blue belt in Kyokushin karate. I placed the Japanese Kanji of water ( Mizu) directly in the center of the Bo. I wanted to capture the idea that Water exists in all three aspects of the world. It is suspended in the air above us as humidity/clouds, it supports all life in it's normal self in rivers, lakes, oceans, and is also found down in the depths of the land. In this way it expressed how "Ki" or "Chi" is part of all things.

I wanted the aspect of the power of water to be seen in the surging of waves pounding away at the rocks of the edge of the land, but I didn't want the image to finish because the water never stays in one place. It is constantly moving. This would remind me of how I cannot stay satisfied with one effective technique but that I need to apply a combination of strikes/blocks that flow into each other smoothly, adapting to the moment with constant motion.

I also desired to express the mystery of the water cycle... looking at how Kyokushin is centered on circular movement instead of linear. Also, I looked at how water is not ever a single entity in itself but that it is formed of billions of little droplets falling from the sky to join together in union, and then to rejoin the humidity in the sky through evaporation. This reminded me that my training is important, and that only I can bring myself to meet my goals of improving as a karate-ka. It is through my effort, dedication, willingness to learn that I will excel. However, I am not totally alone.. my efforts are supported by the teachings, and guidance of my Sensei, and by the accompanying efforts of those karate-ka that I train with in the dojo. To achieve all of this on one Bo staff was quite difficult.. but I feel satisfied with my results. I placed Cumulus clouds surrounding the Bo at the 1/3 and 2/3 mark.. just past where my hands would hold the Bo. The clouds rain down towards the ends of the staff.. about 5 inches of wind whipped waves surge around the end of the staff with water droplets flying upwards towards the downwards falling rain.

At the very end of the staff I placed two kanji.. One of them (Mi) hopefully means "superior", and the other one ( Rei ) means"respect and courtesy". I have to add the thought that I'm hopeful that this is what is meant by those kanji. Since I do not speak, nor read Japanese.. I'm afraid that I might have written something as silly as "bowing monkeys".


John Vesia said...

I have a bo made of rattan (similar to bamboo) with burned-in slashes running the length of the weapon. It's not as heavy as a traditional bo, and it's much more flexible. The burn marks aren't kanji though -- but I really like that idea. I particularly like your choice of kanji: mi and rei. In addition to those two, allow me to suggest "do". Do Rei Mi

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

supergroup7 said...

Ha ha ha WAH ha ha ha Do rei mi!

Well.. in a manner of speaking that would translate to the Way of superior respect and courtesy..

Do rei mi !

Tee hee hee!