|Native American Trail Marker tree.|
It's a curious thought. The process, they say, may take years. You find a likely sapling and then bend it over with a cord or rope, pointing in the direction of a water source or a natural stream crossing. Then, years later, after the tree has grown to accommodate this bent nature, you come back and release it from its shackles and allow it to straighten up. Only it doesn't straighten completely; it leaves a crook like an elbow in its trunk.
|The arms in Sanchin posture.|
The other question for me, however, is whether we can fully appreciate these principles without understanding the bunkai--that is, you can do it in order to assume the correct appearance and form in kata, but can you really "grow into" this technique, can you really absorb the principle, if you don't see the necessity of moving this way by having to use it against another person, in other words, by doing the bunkai? Which means the bunkai you have "discovered" has to necessitate the use of this principle.
|First movement in Seiunchin kata.|
|First movement of second sequence|
in Seiunchin kata.
|The turn-around technique|
from Seisan kata.
That's the Ri of Shu-Ha-Ri, or, in a metaphorical sense, that's the part about "growing into" the technique, in the same way that a Native American Trail Marker tree had to grow into these fantastic shapes, marking the paths and pointing in the right direction. I suppose they could have just put up signs, but it wouldn't have been quite the same, I think.