Something like the willow tree

Training ended early last Friday because a whole row of seats were booked for the whole class to watch the movie…which we discovered in the first 20 min that it was a B-grade movie with bad acting and very gruesome violence.

Just to make our money worth, we looked for something positive out of the movie which was as B grade as it could be or even worse. So it had to be in the first ten minutes during the scene at the dojo when the sensei in the story reminded his disciples on the concept of ‘Fudoshin‘. We have not learnt that in class yet. But we discussed it after the movie.


A spirit of unshakable calm and determination,

courage without recklessness,
rooted stability in both mental and physical realms.
Like a willow tree,
powerful roots deep in the ground
and a soft, yielding resistance against
the winds that blow through it.

Fudōshin is losely translated as the ‘unmoving heart’, the level one reaches when the focus is so strong that one becomes unperturbed by any distractions. It is a state of tranquility of the mind, heart and soul after one has achieved the ‘Masakatsu Agatsu’ ( ‘true sense of victory is the victory over oneself’ ). Once victory over oneself has been achieved, the next step is to achieve Fudōshin. It is not something easy, but the greatest samurais and warriors of the past have managed to achieve it, hence they were able to go heads on into the battle looking so tranquil that ironically, it was  their tranquility that caused the greatest fear amongst their enemy.

I find that paradox to be somewhat fascinating. Like how do people fear tranquility? But I guess, when a warrior has reached that state of tranquility, the enemy has nothing left to feel but fear, because by then, the warrior has already won the greatest victory ( i.e over himself ) so what is less than the greatest victory? Nothing. Which is what the enemy has been reduced to.


4 thoughts on “Something like the willow tree

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