Deshimaru Roshi on Shin, Wasa and Tai

Taisen Deshimaru Roshi has said that in the martial arts these three things are needed: shin (mind-spirit), wasa (technique), and tai (body-strength), and that they must be in perfect balance. But he has also said that “in a young person the body is the fundamental element, whereas in an older man technique and spirit predominate.” Of course, it’s likely that Deshimaru Roshi never had a student who was a middle-aged woman with fibromyalgia, but we can try to extrapolate.

The difference is that while some of us had intense training before getting sick, most of us disabled folk who come to the martial arts come with the mind of a newborn, and the body of an old man. We have all the weakness, but we haven’t trained our spirit to compensate.

But it is what it is. I am not the young boy Master Deshimaru speaks of, and I am not the old man. I am this young-old woman, in this unbalanced body. I think that if I could ask him today how to balance those things, he’d remind me: I am in this particular place, in this particular moment, facing this particular technique, as best I can remember it with this particular mind, as well as I can with this particular body. And when this one is done, there will be another.

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