Author Archives: FastSlow

…little bamboo!!!!…

…Shiko in the dojo!!!…

Mountain learning…

Traditional Japanese culture – and learning – is not standardised… …and this, in itself, is a delight and an education to those of us raised in a heritage marked by a hundred years or more of Industrial Revolution and mass-production. One particular dynamic at play in this endless variety is the typical ‘ryu’ attitude of “well, you think you know what N means, but our version of N is different and better and we will teach it to you…over the course of several years…” Mu-to (‘no-sword’) is like this: Tsukuhara Bokuden had one version of mu-to; Yagyu Munetoshi had another; and Tesshu had a third. And, being a product of the intellectual opening and intellectual ferment post Meiji Revolution, O’Sensei knew and referred to all three of those meanings.

It is important – and surprising – to understand that this is a process of adding meaning – and not of denying meaning. And the awareness that there is always more to learn, by meeting a different wise person, from a different ryu, from another place, adds to the mystery and depth of what we already know.

And often this involves homonyms. In practice: asserting a different spelling –  adopting some different Chinese characters – for the same spoken word.

So this is what is going on when O’Sensei adopts terminology from the shugendo of the mountains above Tanabe, associated with the shrines of Kumano so important to his family and forebears – and with the ridge-trails over to the Yamato Basin, and the ancient city of Nara.

So Myou-Hou (‘miraculous method’ – but also ‘miraculous Dharma’) is actually the name of the mountain above Nachi Falls.


And Myou-Ken (‘miraculous sword’) is one of the three mountains of the celebrated Dewa Sanzan centre of Haguro Shugendo.

Doshu is the rank in Haguro Shugendo that is attained by participating in two ascetic ‘pilgrimages’ into the mountains.

More interestingly:  san-gaku 1) is the triangle in SUTRISQUsmall – and it is the three-fold  Buddhist study of kai (precepts), jo (meditation), and e (wisdom), or any ‘three studies’ – but it is also ‘mountain-knowledge’:  and the thing you gain from stepping under a freezing cold waterfall, from sleeping little and climbing far, from being dangled over a cliff-face by your ankles and ropes, is surely more integral to a good irimi than a ki-shape that is triangular.

And even ‘bu’ is an echo of ‘Bu-chu’  (to be up on the mountain peak, taking part in one of the four seasonal, ascetic Shugendo festivals) and ‘Nyu-bu’ (entering the mountain, ascending to the mountain ridge, to take part in one of these festivals). ‘Bu’ is the Chinese  reading of mine– (‘peak’ or ‘ridge’) which by metonymy refers to the entire ascetic retreat/pilgrimage experience: for instance, in the names of the four major festivals: haru-no-mine (‘spring-peak’), natsu-no-mine (‘summer-peak’),  aki-no-mine (‘fall-peak’), fuyu-no-mine (‘winter-peak’).

So that O’Sensei’s use of the word ‘bu’ always implies that enlightened martial practice is a way of accessing traditional Shugendo wisdom.

1) or ‘san-kaku


…Guy Debord / La Société du Spectacle(47)…


  • In order to reduce working people to the status of “free” producers and consumers of commodity-time, there was an essential precondition: the violent expropriation of their time. The giving back of that time as performed images is something that only became possible because of that first step: by which the ‘productive work-force’ become disposessed.

* – * – *

So… the attempts to create factory America…  a long time ago.

They’re trying to create the beginnings of the Industrial Age, having factories and producing things, and it went from the little shop where Paul Revere’s knocking out the THING, to something more like “we need to mass-produce stuff”.  And it wouldn’t work.

Because people lived in their own time-space. And so the response to “we have to be here tomorrow at 7:00…” was: “well, I don’t want to come at 7:00, I’ve got stuff to do”… And their concepts of time, and how they related to time, were so organically driven – “I have to… My cows have to…” – that they had this line about their lives. And the main thing was they could not conceive of what they were being asked to do.

Because they didn’t grow up with the mind of:  “you have a clock, and  t h e s e   hours belong to  t h a t  person…” They didn’t live that way. It made no sense.

And so factories wouldn’t work. Sometimes a bunch of people would show up and they’d do some stuff and then just go home. “Well how come…” “Well, no, we have to finish…” “Well, no, we’re done.”  Because their organic time told them “I’m hungry.”  Or “I’m done”.

Actually it would be as simple as “I’m done.”

And so there was this huge struggle. And so what they did… what the industrialists did… was: they imported people – from Ireland, for example – who were so desperate they were able to force them to behave, essentially, like clock-work machinery…

“If you want to eat, you will appear at this moment.”

And then they built clock-towers – because the new folks didn’t have watches and stuff.

So every town that had some kind of industrial base had a clock-tower. And they set it up so it chimed, so there really wasn’t an excuse.

And they began to build this regulation into these people. And they lived in hovels or slums, so what happened was they built “salons” – or “saloons ” – which was the public house and everyone lived most of their lives there. And they’d go to sleep in these little boxes, basically.

And then the factories initially only ran when it was daylight, so they were seasonal. And in winter the days were short. Because kerosene was too expensive. But once they got the coal-tar-driven lighting, the factory could work all hours, all year.

And eventually they produced a whole new class of people, whose children had been raised under the clocktower, who lived in the saloon – the “salon” – which is where they learned all their social life. They were able to speak Gaelic, there,  or whatever their home language was. It was like a little isolated zone. And they’d go live in these tenements: they only slept there, because they were so horrible.

And so over three generations they created a group of people who changed their concept of natural time into a commodity. Time became a commodity. And that’s when the people began to feel unhappy and tried to revolt. And that is the beginning of unionization.

read more:

Peter has a show playing with his sound design…

Oslo, at the National Theatre, London, September 5 to 23…

Lynn has two sculptures in the American Academy of Equine Art’s…

37th Annual Fall Exhibit, September 15 – October 29, in Aiken, South Carolina. Showing will be AEOS and TORRAN:

…and Lynn-san’s Swainson’s Hawk photo is in the Peregrine Fund’s Raptors at Risk 2017 photo exhibition, in the Raptors Plus category…



...and Lynn has a new piece available: ADDERLY, at

and LYNN-SAN is teaching a workshop:

X-ray Vision for Artists: become SuperArtist!

in January of 2018…

In this single session workshop, anatomy will be demystified, key principals about how animals are put together will be revealed, and students will learn to see the structure beneath the skin of just about any animal and incorporate that into their art….



Rebeca is teaching ‘Cante’ – Flamenco singing – …



group classes on Tuesdays, 6:15… private classes by arrangement… accompanied by Mahavia guitarist, Derren Crosby Davidavich…  …contact Rebeca-san on (208) 713-0235, or at …

..and Rebeca-san’s latest CD: ‘VOGT’  by PALANKEEN…vogtCDnOPENCOVER

…the digital download is available here,  and the  CD’s are available on the same link.  You can buy them here in Boise at Doyle’s on Broadway,  and at the Record Exchange.

A change of optic:

Aikido is a gem of many facets – sometimes it seems that every one of O’Sensei’s students remembered a different teacher, and of course, many, many different styles have been preserved and developed – but here is one facet that clicked into focus for me recently:

what if O’Sensei spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo coherently pursuing what he felt to be his “mission in life”?…

what if he spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo creating and nurturing a network of dojos run by Omoto-Kyo, ex-Omoto-Kyo and Ko-Shinto believers ( hand-picked deshi,  some of them raised, almost, as members of his family) – – – and ex-Kamikaze pilots, too (!) – often with his own name on the sign –  in places – and close to shrines…

read more:

…peace pole!!!…