The key to mastering the sword is balance.
The swordsman drew his sword and balanced it on his hand, then his nose, then his foot.
The warrior must balance all of the skills at his command in order to be one with his weapon.
He twirled the sword deftly, spinning it around him.
He must use his strength when necessary, his dexterity when the time is right, his agility when it is called for, and his mind—all the time. The mind must preside over all.
The warrior lives for those elusive moments when combat becomes dance.
The spinning sword flew high into the air and landed neatly in his hand, in the perfect on-guard position.
An opponent stepped out of the darkness. The warrior acknowledged the opponent and turned to face him.
The perfect mesh of timing and judgment must come together when facing an opponent.
The warrior stepped increasingly closer to the opponent. The opponent swung a few times and missed by only a hair’s breadth.
The swordsman must determine the length of his opponent’s weapon, and comparing it to his own, find and walk the fine line between life and death. That line where a mere shift in his center of gravity will determine a hit or a miss. It is at this point that the warrior must employ patience. For it is only though patience that he will see his moment. The moment when precisely calculated time allows him to bring his sword into that opening that he has patiently waited for, the moment to strike!
The swordsman attacked his opponent! It was blocked! The opponent counter attacked! But his was blocked as well. A continuous barrage of attacks and parries followed.
The warrior must expect this attack to be blocked, for if he doesn’t, and it is, then he is dead. The best trained swordsman must approach every enemy as an equal. Take no one lightly, never underestimate, and never give and inch. It could be the last time you give anything.
Take every advantage the situation has to offer. Do not consider fairness!
The swordsman stepped on his opponent’s foot, causing him to momentarily lose his balance. The swordsman attacked but his opponent was ready and parried.
Lure the enemy into doing what you want him to do, plan accordingly, but never let him expect or predict YOUR actions. If you know where he is going to put his sword, plan not to be there. Plan to have your sword in his heart by that time.
Become one with your weapon. Make it an extension of your body. Never move your sword too far from your body, in fact, never move your sword or body further than you must to avoid being struck. And never block an attack that can be avoided, it’s always better to avoid contact and keep the sword free to fulfill its true purpose.
Above all the warrior must conquer his fear.
The swordsman fought with renewed intensity.
He must not be afraid to confront an opponent. He must not fear the odds. He must not fear pain and hardship. He must not be afraid to risk any and all things. He must not be afraid to fall…
The swordsman froze, surprised to see his opponent’s sword run through his chest.
…or to die.
He fell gasping for air.
Indeed, the only thing the warrior fears is the restless interludes between fights; the restlessness that drives him to the next battle.
A sense of peace graced his face as the life ran from his body.
The restlessness that sends him seeking death.