Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Training to Failure

A simple theory
Stress the muscles ‘til they ache, twinge, quiver, shake, protest
Can do no more
And this abuse provokes a blossoming of strength
As bundled fibers swell, group, stretch, expand
Adapting to a world in which they fail

All well and good, and tested to the max

But you apply this theory to my mind
Demanding skill and speed my intuition lacks
Dangling success one step beyond what I can do
And snatch away no matter how I try
Will it work, or does it just excoriate the soul?
The pain is real, and I can only hope
The growth is, too

Meanwhile, can you provide an icepack for my pride?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vi Saludo

These lady warriors
So brave
To face our aging bodies,
Fears and limitations

Each day a battle with
Breath, bruise, muscle, bone
Testing boundaries that seem
Daily to constrict

We with apprehension watch
The intersecting arc of our improvement
With waning balance, suppleness and speed
Time’s triumph is secure

This arm, that yesterday was strong
Today is weak and hesitant
This ankle, merely tweaked
A fortnight later still protests

In daily work we are so
Arrogant, so proud, assured
Of our superiority of mind
Our nimble words

But on the strip
Are humbled by uncompromising
Clash of truth and expectations
Yet we persist with stubbornness and will

We have a few advantages with age
Relying more on cunning and on guile
Some small wisdom guides our path
And hardens our intent

Bravery is facing what you fear
Forging on with passion and with joy
Each of us has won a battle with ourselves
Through pain, through tears and fierce frustration

As we meet our edge, we pause and ask for grace
And push on through
Finding moments of perfection
Moments are enough

We each do what we can
Vi saludo

Sunday, October 12, 2008


The master’s stick can lean unused
Against the wall
A quiet warning

Your silent laughter and your smile
Break through my false conceptions
More forcefully than any blow


Teaching is finding what is good,
Coaxing it forth,
Burning off the rest

I barely tolerate the heat
Like bare hand near open flame
My instinct is to pull away

Learning is an exercise in trust
I walk the fire
Trusting your intent

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Begin Again

Starting with the bag
Each necessary object
Tucked in its own place

Socks, shoes, knickers, cord
Glove, cups, jacket, sleeve, lamé
Foils in their sheaths

Bombing down the road
Music blasting, joy unleashed

Tackling the stairs
Pulse springs at muted clash of
Coruscating blades

Who am I tonight?
Bold, clever, swift? More often
Hesitant and scared

Either one affords
A priceless chance to practice
Seeking for myself

Wandering with wise,
Strong, generous companions
Satisfied at heart

Afterwards, descent
Walking into clear dark night
Stars shine, unimpressed

This is what I have
A blank page, a lifting heart
And best, a fresh start