Thursday, 15 January 2009

books, calligraphy and martial arts



One day my grappling teacher, who is a master in Aikido, judo, ju-jitsu and God knows what else, mentioned a practice called Hitsuzendō which is some kind of meditational calligraphy session before the practice of the sword. This relation of calligraphy and sword practice is also shown in the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which is by the way in my top ten favourite films of all times.

Since then I made my own version of Hitsuzendō, and for years I've filled pages and pages copying chapters of the Tao Teh Ching. Even one day I had the audacity of teaching my students a bit of calligraphy as they were about to start learning the sword form. It was a mess and ink everywhere. Fun though.

This morning I copied a chapter I particularly like, number 33. And it says:
He who knows men is clever;
He who knows himself has insight.
He who conquers men has force;
He who conquers himself is truly strong.

He who knows when he has got enough is rich,
And he who adheres assidously to the path of Tao is a man of steady purpose.
He who stays where he has found his true home endures long,
And he who dies but perishes not enjoys real longevity.


The Tao Teh Ching, my friends, was written in the morning of the human race, and still bears the freshness of the morning upon it, says the translator. Cool, huh?

I'm starting to practice Arabic calligraphy too. It's as beautiful and relaxing, and forces my hand to get out of its comfort zone. First lesson: Arabic, like Hebrew and Aramaic, is written from right to left and its alphabet consists of 28 consonants. Short vowels are represented by signs above and below the letters.

5 comments:

Martha, la de siempre said...

Querida Jazmín, entre más te leo y veo las imágenes que compartes más sabia te encuentro... Recuerdo cuando te visitaba en la Condesa y buscábamos respuestas en tu libro del Tao Teh Ching, ¿sigues con ese mismo ejemplar?
Va un abrazo de corazón y gracias por todo lo que contigo aprendo y los cuestionamientos que me provocas...

Martha, la de siempre said...

¡Jazmín! Por curiosidad me metí a tu Web de las clases de Tai Chi Chuan... ¡Felicidades! Muy buen sitio, divinas las fotos con el mar atrás de ti y se te ve radiante como instructora...

jazmin velasco said...

Gracias mujer, gracias por el piropo y la florrrrr.
El libro que dices, al que le preguntabamos cosas es el I-Ching y no, el que consultabamos allá era de Sayri.
Hace raaaato que no lo consulto! mira de lo que me recuerdas....

Mario C said...

A los calígrafos, mis respetos, mi firma tiene influencias de una caligrafía árabe que viera en una revista cuando estaba en secundaria. El mundo nos une, saludos.

Leyendo a Martha, yo también me acuerdo de ese departamento en la calle de Tenancingo. Yo puse un cine en el pueblo Tenancingo, Edo. Mex. El mundo nos une, más saludos.
Mario

jazmin velasco said...

Hey chamaquito, pensaba en estos días en las pérdidas que tuve que sufrir al mudarme para acá. Una de esas pérdidas es un libro pequeñito de un calígrafo árabe famoso que me regalaste... creo que en un viaje que hiciste a Egipto...