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Creative Career Path

Nanba Warrior2011.03.22

    Where were you on Friday,

    March 11 @2:46 pm?


    If you were in Japan, this moment is one that you are likely to remember for the rest of your life. This is the moment when the largest earthquake on record, a 9 on the Richter scale, struck off the coast of Eastern Japan, unleashed massive devastation in the wake of the tsunami, and shook us to our foundations.


    Everyone has a story to tell, and sadly many thousands did not live to tell their story. But every story is important, and will remain in our memories, where we were, what we were doing, who we were with, and what went through our minds and hearts at that moment.


    Some captured their stories on video, through e-mail and Twitter messages, the only way to communicate outside of shouting distance about that moment when the earth shook. No idea of how long it would last, what to do, how it would end, and many without a means to contact their loved ones.


    On March 11 @2:46 pm I was in a Starbucks making a sketch, which I had just labeled the Nanba Warrior. Nanba literally means difficult place, crisis (ナンバ = 難場). It is the art of finding your way out of a trouble spot.


    I don’t know what possessed me to make this particular sketch, just a doodle, an impression of a remarkable photograph taken by my French photographer friend David Michaud ( of Ohtani Sensei, a master of the sword whom we visited in Shikoku last year. That photo I was simply sketching from memory, for no reason in particular.


    Now when I look at that drawing, and that photo, just 8 days after the earthquake, I am struck by how extraordinary a thing it was to have thought of this photo, and just finished this sketch, when the building and the whole world began shaking violently.


    The Way of the Sword is about living in the moment, putting your entire body and spirit into a single act. This is extraordinarily difficult to do, as is cutting the makiwara, the tightly rolled and tightly woven wet mat of straw which in the photo seemed to provide no resistance to Otani Sensei’s sword.


    I hadn’t even looked at this photo or drawing once during the past week, far too preoccupied with the aftermath of the situation. But in retrospect, I look at it and feel there were many lessons in that moment on how to live, the strength that we all need now to live on and be strong. Not only for ourselves, but for the millions who have been badly shaken, we need to find our unshakeable core.


    The Nanba Warrior is a Renaissance Samurai, and Japan needs that spirit now more than ever.


    William Reed


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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