Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I learnt a new word while in Montréal, and see it everywhere now : décalage - discrepancy. Take the long-tasselled sword: one has to pay attention to both the nature of the blade and to the nature of the tassel and be able to move with both so that the discrepancies between them disappear. In order to affect the space around you. In order to act on the world. Otherwise the sword & tassel are just decorative objects we hang up on the wall. I know, from brief moments of success, that it is possible to integrate the blade and the tassel just by thinking and moving with clarity.

Sébastien and I had an exchange about the décalages of various things - of power, time, language. Recently, I have been thinking about the décalage of capacity. I watched Josh work the sword last weekend and was struck by how different his interpretation was. Some of the moves seemed unrecognisable. Partly because Yang Shifu has just taught us different things. But mostly, because Josh is at least 100lbs bigger than me. I like to think of myself as a very big woman. But I'm not. And I don't think I'll ever be as powerful as Josh.

Nevertheless, the trick seems to be, still, to think and move with clarity.

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