@cat wrote about keeping a bat under their bed, a weapon. What it meant for there to be a weapon under the bed, and what it meant to feel the need to keep a weapon under the bed.
I’m reminded of my Aikido. I haven’t gone to Aikido practice ever since the pandemic started. Aikido sells itself on the peaceful aspect of it. There is no actual fighting. There are no contests. It’s probably really ineffectual. This is a fighting style useful for samurai living in a world of inexperienced and unarmed peasants. But make no mistake, the techniques are – wether feeble or strong, effective or artificial – they are definitely intended to hurt, maim, and kill. Thus, in your mind, you can either focus on practicing moves and working on the technique, deciding not to be bothered by the presence of an enemy (or our partner, as we like to call them in Aikido). Or you can focus on how put all your focus on that moment, on your stance, on your move, on your timing, and then you start thinking like Musashi:
The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut them. More than anything, you must be thinking of carrying your movement through to cutting them. – Miyamoto Musashi, The Water Book, The Book of Five Rings
And if you take this approach, then violence is always there. It’s not the violence of a riot, I think. It’s the intent of killing. And it scares me. It scares me to feel this at the bottom of my soul, a blackness, a tar pit, a void.
One day I was walking along Langstrasse, the red light district of Zürich and a motorbike fell over, next to me. I felt that adrenalin spike and I was expecting an attack. It took a minute to come down from that energy and it was strange. My body was ready for something I did not want.
One evening I was looking down into the backyard of our appartment buildings because I heard some kids. I saw the walkways, the lamps, the bushes, and then a crowd of boys move in, maybe around twelve years old, maybe a bit older, blustering and idiotic, as they are, as I used to be. And one of them kicks one of the lamps and breaks it. And from that black pit rises a violent storm. “I’m going to get my jo, my staff, and I’m going to run down there, on my bare feet, and I’m going to chase them down, I’m going to find the slowest of the pack and I’ll smash their fucking little head!” And then a few seconds pass and I think to myself, what have I become? What fantasy has martial art made possible, made imaginable? Is this how bloodlust starts? This is not who I want to be.
The presence of weapons is a scary thing. Who knows what might happen one day.