Thursday, 19 January 2017

Kamae-te for Writers

Bruce Lee introduced me to martial arts, figuratively speaking. And, being bookish, I read a lot about the subject and did every little. Eventually, I found tai chi too slow for my nature and my later efforts at karate were lamentable. There can't be many other people who managed to get a rib or two broken (possibly cracked - we never found out) in a non-contact class. My opponent forgot to pull back and the instructor forgot to instruct his senior students properly.

That aside, the one thing that I always noticed in martial arts, when they were done well (i.e. not by me) was that moment of focus when the instructor called out kamae-te and every student took the stance. In films the good guy or gal takes a few falls and then gets to their feet, stands with awareness and regroups. It's a way of tuning out distractions and all that mental chatter that besets us, and instead tuning in to the task at hand. Understanding our opponent requires that we understand ourselves.

Writers' greatest opponents are themselves (okay, and occasionally other writers!). There will be times when life knocks us down and we need to hear kamae-te from our core. All the doubt and disappointment and even ambition takes us away from NOW. Writers can only write in the now, irrespective of genre or whether it's fiction or non-fiction. That moment is always different and yet there's always something familiar about it. We sit, confronting possibility and follow the intent to make our first move. 

What will you write today?

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