Sunday, January 2, 2011

More Clans Than YOU'LL Ever Need

I make no secret of my love for Wikipedia. It's a great resource, and a great demonstration of what's awesome about people.

Especially this page of "Organizations in Wuxia fiction".

That's YEARS of DINO-PIRATES OF NINJA ISLAND campaign ideas, right there. See, the ninjas of NINJA ISLAND are organized into an endless array of clans. And these organization names are PERFECT ninja clan names. Just reading these names triggers off thousands of ideas for stories.

What's the secret of the Yan Family Fist? Who is the King of Herbs? Where do I find Sky-Touching Cliff, and while I'm at it, how do I join the Carefree Sect?

Kingdom of the Golden Bird. Thunderbolt Hall. Dead Warriors of Qingcheng. Seriously, this list goes on and on, and every one of these would make for a great ninja clan amongst the islands.

Also, there seems to be a large number of, um, escort agencies. I guess heroes got needs.

The Heaven-Forsaken Nunnery!

On the left here, is a picture of Obsidian Tiger, who belongs to the Gilded Fang Cult. So there's already some pretty crazy ninja clans running around in the islands. But those ladies at the Heaven-Forsaken Nunnery? I shudder to think what they're like.

Clean Mats, Clean Mind

Clean Mats!One year comes to an end, another begins.

We spent a portion of a year-end afternoon washing the mats at Toronto Kenjutsu. It was a good chance to reflect on cleanliness and renewal in a dark time of the year.

Miyamoto Musashi warns us against spending too much time keeping everything looking good:

"Do not overvalue the things you have."

"Do not become obsessed with having splendid weapons."

And martial arts tales are full of disreputable characters in grubby robes who turn out to be great masters.

And yet, cleaning and maintaining my space and possessions helps me to clean and maintain my mind. Scrubbing the mats, restoring their shine and luster, helps me to come to the dojo with my mind clear and unclouded. Not to mention that a couple of hours in physical labour with good friends is a fine way to spend an afternoon.

And a fine way to look back on 2010 with thankfulness. We were invited to demonstrate at Haru Matsuri at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center, a great honour for us. Our practice expanded to two classes a week, and is still going strong. We traveled to Sherbrooke to study with Sugino Sensei. And S├ązen Sensei came out for a wonderful weekend seminar that students here are still talking about. New students joined, and our little community has grown over the year. 2010 was very exciting. We wrapped up the year with a bonenkai party at Jigan Dojo, a great chance to visit with other Katori Shinto Ryu practitioners around Southern Ontario.

This past year had many great moments for Toronto Kenjutsu. Now that our mats are clean and shiny, we look forward to 2011 in anticipation of many more!