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Making of the Katana: Behind the scenes with a Master


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A few days ago I had the amazing opportunity to meet, speak with, and watch the famous Japanese blacksmith Masahira Fujiyasu work during a special event at the Minka-en grounds in Fukushima City, thanks to the hard work and planning of Andy Coombs and the Fukushima City Tourism and Convention Association. This type of event hasn’t been held for over a decade and the majority of Japanese people never get this opportunity, let alone a foreigner.  Mr. Fuhiyasu’s master was a national treasure of Japan and I am told that Mr. Fujiyasu is the last classically trained blacksmith that has mastered techniques of making Kamakura and Muromachi period styled blades. What added to this even more was the opportunity to speak with him and his students during lunch and while he was taking a break in the afternoon.
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Underwater martial arts competition; wouldn’t that be fun?


   Hajime! It starts with the officials shout, as the two competitors flip off the edge of their floating start points.  The two fighters become one with the water, swirling, pushing, and pulling at the crystal clear fluid.  Strength is not the most important part of this battle, staying calm; using specific movements to manipulate oneself through the pressure of 50 feet of water is a particular skill.  When the pair finally meets, an elegant series of movements ensues.  A flick of the foot can save you from a kick and a swing of the arm can leave you open to penetrating strikes.  One mistake and you may be left out of breath, 50 feet underwater with nowhere to go.

If I knew anyone with access to a nice underwater camera and a pool, or even some form of a clear water source, I would be all for underwater action photo shoots.  Add in some random spontaneity, passion, and fun and my happiness would be absolute. Until I tried to top it the next day of course.

I would be excited and worried for the opportunity to compete in an underwater martial arts competition.  I’m not sure if this would be feasible in consideration of only forms or if sparring would be included.  Either way, it makes me energized just thinking about it.