A file drags across the dull metal blade in an even, grinding push. Over and over again, with the file in her right hand and the small sword in her left, the tarnished steel is delicately ground by the gray stone. It may be a redundant and somewhat boring activity, but Emma always found it relaxing and oddly fulfilling. As if each stroke were repentance for anything she may have done to others in her life. Every push was the purging of an evil thought or disemboweling verbal assault.
When the edge had reached a hair splitting sharpness, she delicately spat on a rag and started to wipe the flat side in the same familiar motion. This was no different than anything that another would do to improve themselves. One chooses a specific skill to focus on and hone, like the edge. Once an acceptable level of sharpness has been reached, the focus then becomes to buff that skill package and ready it for integration in to the current quiver of skills – perhaps to prepare it for the multidimensional requirements of performance.
One sharp edge doth not a swordsman make. She always relied on little quips of wisdom to tie her self-recognized intelligence to ancient philosophies. As if such a connection grounded her manic tendencies.
More than highly trained skills are required to perform as a master. There is the mental clarity to respond as nimbly as one’s stature may allow: a foundational component in any performer. Without clarity, there is only the fog of perception and the certainty of failure. There was a time where Emma had no ultimate goal and this lack of vision made each swing of her arm clumsy and forced.
Emotional poise is the connection from a clear mind to a deft hand. This is the gate on the conduit of our freely flowing energies. The more emotional we are, the narrower the bandwidth and we will lack the control needed to succeed. In Emma’s first encounter she lashed out with savagery and not an iota of emotional control, like an animal without bearings. Though she came through that episode as the last one standing, she knew the weakness of her opponent was the only reason she was not the one on the ground, feeding the parched dirt with her sanguine fluids.
Though there are intricacies between these cortexes of success, they are but details compared to the supreme concept. A lack of strength and coordination between mind, body and emotion, is just a ticking time bomb. An explosion of self is a result that Emma could not afford. For too long she had pursued this goal and constant discipline was going to be the only environ to allow her dream tree to bear ripe fruits.
With a slow gesture, she lifted the now gleaming blade into the air and rotated it to allow the light to dance through the angle changes from the paper thin sharpness to the three sixteenths thick blade back. Emma lowered the sword and put the pommel in her left hand and traced figure eights in the air. Her elbows remained bent to parry any confronting blows and her wrists made strong deliberate gestures and maintaining the proper angle of the blade through the motions.
With the sword pointed right out from her like a unicorn’s tusk she felt ready to make her next encounter. It had been the mandatory five weeks at sunrise and Emma knew it when the first rays of the morning bathed her face through the thin paper screen that covered her window. There were only screens covering the windows, as a full obscuring of the natural light leaves one open to attack and keeps the natural photonic energy out, when every packet of vibrance should be wanted and accepted.
Releasing the pommel, she picked up the scabbard with her left hand and slowly slid the katana into its home. In one deft movement, she leaped from her knees to her feet and bowed slowly to the stone statue in front of her, keeping her eyes closed, as if that childlike trust would allow more blessing to hold to her anima. Turning on a heel, Emma walked out of the room and to her fate.