By Lt. Colonel Joe Motos Gordon USAF
Pearlite wrapped in martensite wrapped in the guise of a shinai;
My arms come up to block the cut, but in truth I know I would die.
During randori, I learned that I got sloppier and less focused the more tired I got.
I was blocking fukuro-shinai sword cuts with my arm when I knew I should stay away
from them. This was good to know first-hand because in a real fight knowing the onset of
mental and physical fatigue
could mean the difference between life or death.
Sensei Sandhu cuts the soaked straw mat and his katana cleaves it easy enough;
But my un-hewn mat, despite my cuts, shows my taijutsu is still very
I never knew a piece of straw could humble you so much.
Why could I not cut it despite repeated attempts? I was incredulous!
It looked so
easy. What am I missing?
I shift, I dive, I weave, I roll;
But the onslaught of attacks still takes its toll.
From randori, I learned that no matter what, you are going to get hit
in a confrontation; so be prepared for it. I think the key is being able
to pick the place and time of your choosing. I also learned that sometimes
closing the gap is a
good defense and that your roll can also be an attack .
Respect behind bows, warriors behind smiles, courage when the chips are down;
This is the band I want beside me in any battlefield, alley, or bar in town.
The last time I felt such group warrior spirit
was when I was part of a combat fighter squadron.
Keep telling the stories; it helps me connect with the past.
Keep correcting my
taijutsu; it helps prepare me for the future.
Camaraderie and friendship among warriors of a clan;
Through trials I’ve trod here I’ve become a better man.
The Gi Yu Dojo is like no place I’ve ever trained before.
Everything is purposeful. Everything is the art.
The applicability of the art is as subtle as we want or as deadly as we need.
I learned to respect the difficult subtleties and obvious power of good taijutsu.
I gained a confidence and courage to be able to fight better on the ground.
I learned to be more aware of my surroundings and to teach my family the same.
I have accomplished more in 15 minutes every day than I ever thought possible
And I am humbled and honored to have trained here with you all.
Shikin haramitsu daikomyo.
Domo arigato gozaimasu.