The term Hana refers to the flower in Japanese. It is also above all a primordial notion in Japanese arts.
Japan is an insular country which knows earthquakes, volcanic eruption and typhoons only too well. These are natural constraints which, combined with their history of the Japanese people (that is to say more than a thousand years of civil war in a highly warlike and militarised society) has enabled them to create and develop a considerable culture of the ephemeral (the great Buddhist influence on their beliefs, and two nuclear bombs aswell). The culture of the ephemeral is found both in houses (a Japanese house is rebuilt every 30 years) and in a certain number of major art forms (The Ikebana – the art of flower arrangement and the sad? – the tea ceremony). We talk naturally about Hana (Flower) for a person investee, or where an attitude creates a particular aura.
This term, whilst it can be applied to any person playing his own role, is particularly well-adapted to the performer. I would like at this point to refer to a text, found on the net, which deals with this subject.
The Noh-play is an art of performance realized in the theatrical relation between the actor and spectators. Zeami calls the aesthetic value of the performance „Flower“. There are three fundamental kinds of « Flower » as follows.
1. The « Flower » of Body (???) This „Flower“ appears in the sensuous qualities of the actor, especially, sweet voice and charming posture, which only the younger possess. But as he grows older, he loses this transient beauty.
2. The „Flower“ of Mind (???) This „Flower“ comes out at the dimension of performance which harmonizes Mind with Body. At this stage of harmonized Mind-Body attained through the discipline, the actor presents the graceful figure of the Body and expresses the profundity of the Mind. At the climax of the play, spectators sympathize with the deep passion of the personage, contemplating the elegant figure and movement of the actor. Then spectators experience the beauty called „Yugen“.
3. The „Flower“ of No-Mind (????) During the course of performance, the actor comes to lose his consciouness controlling the Body and techniques and reach the dimension of No-Mind. No-Mind is the creative subjectivity in human nature. At this stage of performance, the most splendid „Flower“ blossoms out.
Interesting, isn’t it? Both for the person who is tying and the person being tied.
I would also like to refer to the writings of a great master of French Aïkido, Franck Noel:
English Version bellow
Le Maître de flûte disait : „Il faut produire chaque note comme si, à elle seule , elle était tout le concert.“
Le Sensei d’aïkido n’a rien à ajouter à cela.
Habiter pleinement chaque instant. Saisir les harmoniques et résonances de chaque geste dans sa rondeur dynamique ou son pointu perçant. Se garder de spéculer et de se projeter dans les incertitudes du devenir pour simplement être présent et adéquat à chaque moment.
The flute master said : „One must produce each note as if, alone, it was the whole concert.“
The Sensei of aikido has nothing to add to that.
Live each instant to the full. Seize the harmonics and resonances of each gesture in its dynamic fullness and its piercing sharpness. Refrain from speculating and projecting one’s uncertainties about the future and be simply present and adequate to each moment.
Source : Aikido – Fragments of a Dialogue Between Two Strangers- Franck Noel.
This ability to live each instant is precious and unique. It must be highly present in Kinbaku.
In a culture that has the habit of dissociating mind, body and soul, the search for a harmony and connection between these three components of our being seems to be the real challenge for a western person encountering japanese art. A letting go, an empty mind that is in fact very present, alert to the instant and to the infinity of possibilities.
Many of those amongst us believe we have this ability, but it is often the case that when we believe we possess it, we lose it and our art (the expression of our being) becomes dull and technical.
Moreover, it is interesting to see practitioners of all kinds, of all arts, taking refuge behind the criteria of speed, technique, force, resemblance according to their practices (The practitioners of martial arts are often the funniest, or most ridiculous). What can be said of the infatuation for photography that hides the realisation of our Bondage work, in order to privilege the result we can brag about later?
On the contrary, connecting to one’s inner self and letting things out, whether grief or joy, pleasure or pain, and inscribing oneself resolutely in each instant, is certainly a curative act. A curative act, since we are all actors in a society where the present is so violently negated. The regular practice of Kinbaku must, I believe, be inscribed in a logic of listening and communication, but also in the development of one’s being. The extreme is not found in technical complexity, or in the intensity of a sensation, but in our capacity to develop intimacy with the other and with ourselves. Fertile ground for a flower!