Tesshu's Doka 

If your mind

is not projected

into your hands

even 10,000 techniques

will be useless.


Against an opponent's sword

assume no stance,

and keep your mind unmoved;

that is the place

of victory.



I am not struck

nor is my opponent hit;

unobstructed I move in

and attain the ultimate.


Where swords meet

throw off illusion;

abandon yourself

and you will tread

on the living path.


The form which arises

from no-mind

stands in the center of things;

blows come but do not connect -

what a marvel!


Spirit, swift;

mind, calm;

body, light;

eyes, clear;

technique, decisive!


Self-centered thoughts

are reflected as

clearly as in a mirror;

let others see them,

and you will be making a fool of yourself.


Piled up high,

the snowman (just like everyone else),

after a few days,

goes somewhere

without a trace.

The Sword of No-Sword: The Life of Master Swordsman Tesshu, John Stevens. (Shambhala Books)