Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Samurai Champloo Episode 23

That episode is entitled Baseball Blues and it depicts a vicious baseball game between an American team captained by Admiral Joey Cartwright and a Japanese team that includes a 15 year-old girl, an 80+ year-old man, a dog, and a squirrel. The Japanese win. Perhaps this is why:
Take the infamous 1,000 Fungo Drill. For one day at Japanese spring training, professional players take a deep breath and begin fielding grounders. At first, fielding grounders is largely a mental exercise. You think about the process, about the careful placement of your feet, hands and head. Left. Right. Left. Right. After a few hundred grounders, however, your brain will pack up and leave town for the beach. Your body will start acting automatically, without central systemic guidance, and in turn a mental exercise will become a more purely physical one. Left, right, left, right. But after another few hundred grounders, your body too will stop working the way it normally might. It is no longer yours, and you are no longer you. Now you will have reached that very particular departure lounge where what was once a physical exercise becomes spiritual. Now it's your soul at work. Leftrightleftright. And there is no axon or muscle fiber that remembers anything the way your soul remembers everything. That is the purpose of nagekomi: to open your soul as wide as a prairie, allowing it to swallow those secrets you have learned about yourself and lock them away inside the deepest parts of you, where they will survive long after your body dies. Nagekomi is that moment of clarity that comes in the last hundred yards of a marathon; it is that instant your throat closes and tears begin to run down your face. It is not a pursuit of a temporary, earthly glory. It is not gravity bound. Nagekomi is weightless, and it is forever.

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