La escuela del combate sin arma
One day, the famous master Bokuden was crossing Lake Biwa on a raft with other travellers. Among them was an extremely pretentious samurai, who did not shy from boasting of his prowess and his mastery of the sword. According to his words, the high champion of Japan in all cateogories was no other than himself. And all the other travellers, who listened with a mix of admiration and fear, seemed to believe everything they heard. But not Bokuden… he maintained his distance and appeared not to swallow the speaker’s words. The samurai realised thhis, and somewhat vexed, approached Bokuden and said,
“You too carry a pair of swords. If you are a samurai, why do you say nothing?”
Bokuden replied calmly, “I do not feel that your words apply to me. My art is different to yours. It does not consist of overcoming others, but rather of not being overcome.”
Upon which the samurai scratched his head, and asked, “To which school do you belong?”
“To the school of unarmed combat”, replied Bokuden.
“In that case”, said the samurai, “why are you carrying two sabres?”
“It forces me to be my own master, and not to respond to provocations”, answered Bokuden. “It is a sacred challenge.”
The exasperated samurai continued, “You truly believe you can fight me without a sword?”
“Why not?” came Bokuden’s reply. “I might even beat you!”
Besides himself with rage, the samurai ordered the boatman to row to the nearest shore. However, Bokuden suggested it would be better to head for an island, far removed from other peoples, where no crowds would gather and they would be undisturbed. To this, the samurai agreed. When the raft finally reached an uninhabited island, the samurai quickly jumped ashore and drew his sword, ready for the fight.
Bokuden carefully took off his two swords, handed them to the boatman and prepared to jump to shore. But suddenly, Bokuden snatched up the boatman’s oar and thrust the raft back into the waters of the lake, driven on by the current.
The samurai, stranded on the island, bellowed with rage.
Aurora: Graziella Mattar
Bokuden turned to him and shouted, “You see, this is an unarmed defeat!”