Kurikara: The Sword and the Serpent
In Mikkyo—Japanese esoteric Buddhism—the dragon Kurikara symbolizes the internal energy developed through sword practice. Kurikara is a manifestation of the fierce bodhisattva Fudo Myo O, the patron of ascetics and warriors in Japan, who uses his sword to destroy delusions and sever attachments. Fudo’s sword represents the gaining of discriminative power and decisiveness—the ability to cut through illusion and attachment. This leads to the development of an inner energy that allows one to “burn up” all obstacles to spiritual freedom.
Kurikara: The Sword and the Serpent sets out the eight basic principles of swordsmanship common to all Japanese sword schools, emphasizing the cultivation of power and mental focus. Accomplished martial artist John Evans provides practical examples from his experience with the sword arts as well as Mikkyo and shugendo (mountain asceticism). The first foreign student to train with Nakamura Taisaburo sensei—widely acknowledged as the master of the sword art battodo—Evans clearly explains how skill such as Nakamurua sensei’s can be systematically developed through tanren, exercises that meld “inner” and “outer” power. Filled with fascinating anecdotes from Evans’s training in Japan, Kurikara is a useful, inspiring guide to Japanese sword practice and its spiritual underpinnings.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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abdominal achieved action armor basic battleﬁeld begin beneﬁts blade body bokken breathing Chinese chudan combat correct cultivation dharani dojo downward cut dragon elements energetic energy ﬁeld ﬁfth ﬁgure ﬁnger ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂow Fudo Myo Fushi Sensei Gorin no Sho gyoja hand injury inkei inner internal japanese kabutowari kamae kanji kata katana Kendo kesagiri kiai kihaku kihon kirioroshi kissaki koryu Kujaku kujiin kumitachi kata Kurikara legs limbs mandala martial arts master Mikkyo mind Miyamoto Musashi move movement mudra Nakamura Ryu Nakamura Sensei Nakamura Taisaburo one’s opponent performed practitioner puriﬁcation qualities reﬁned reﬂect result rhythm Sanskrit schools seigan Sensei sequence shidachi Shin shinai Shingon shinken Shinto Ryu shugendo shugyo signiﬁcance skills sparring spine stance step striking student suburi swinging sword arts swordsman swordsmanship takigyo tameshigiri tanren tanrenbo target teacher techniques tenouchi Tesshu test cutting thrust tion tsuki vertical cut weapon wisdom Yagyu Munenori Yamaoka Tesshu yoga