Watching this video of how to fold your Gi gave me a lot of flashbacks to a time long gone. A time of ritual, stances, bows, endless zazen. Why ritual? Where outside a dojo would you need all this stuff? Most of us live in societies where most of this oriental protocol would not only be foreign, but affected. It would ring false. I practice alone and yet I go through the dojo etiquette as if surrounded by many, the invisible many of my past and present. So I bow in respect for a time, my teachers, my style, for that space in time that I willingly carve out of the day, for the now.

There are martial lessons lurking behind these rituals. To open a door for others, to stand aside while they pass. To greet with my eyes. Body language. Soft as a ripple in a pond, pliable as grass in the wind, steadfast as the silent rock in the stream of things.

To fold it all in place. To shake it loose. Why ritual indeed.

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