The Unbendable Disease

Martial Arts Poetry…


(April ‘95/#8)

Martial Arts Poetry? Hah! Real men don’t read poetry! Right? Wrong, just ask any samurai what haiku is.

This poetry, while probably not very good, is based on a drawing by aikidoist Mitsugi Saotome, on pg 125 of his book ‘Aikido and the Harmony of Nature,’ which is very good. His drawing, I understand, is based on an old Japanese folktale. The point behind all this is that this is what the martial arts are really all about.


kenpo chopFour men sat at the end of a table

They wanted to eat but were really unable

They had fingers and forks and knives for the peas

but their elbows had caught the Unbendable Disease

Their bellies were empty and their appetites strong

but forks were too short and arms too long

so they sat and grew skinny as the food grew cold

and wondered just why their arms wouldn’t fold

wrestlingStarving and watching the food piled high

one man had a thought so very, very sly

and reaching his arm out, the elbow so straight,

he tried to steal the food off his neighbor’s plate

The men so scrawny began to fight

beating each other, they knew they were right

they fought over food, from scrap to wine

and all forgot that they had come to dine

kung fu mantisThey kicked and stabbed and clubbed and bit

and choked each other until they were sick

and the food pile high over which they fought,

that smelled so good, began to rot

Four other men at the other end

stared in amaze at the plight of their friends

‘Don’t they know the cure for disease

it’s to look after your brother man’s ease

Why fight over things you can’t have?

Getting along is the universal salve!’

So saying they grabbed their forks as they sat

and fed each other until they grew fat

That’s it for this martial arts poetry, so which end of the table do you sit at?

karate food


This has been a page concerning Martial Arts Poetry.

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