My opponent snarls and lunges at me. I know no fear. Deftly, I slip aside and with the liquid motion of a serpent, redirect his angry energy. The smooth motion ends abruptly in my firm wristlock. My enemy’s surprised stupor is short-lived; I have incapacitated him with a willow-leaf palm and an ear-piercing cry of “Kia!”

The opponent falls to the ground, pity fills my heart, but another opponent arises. The process is repeated over and over. At some point in the cycle, I cease to be aware of The Opponent. Eventually, I cease to be aware of myself. 'I' is lost in other identities. I am a ninja creeping in the night, then a noble samurai sacrificing life for honor, then a Neolithic warrior proclaiming victory of the hunt, then all at the same time. These identities also fade. I think no thoughts and feel only the fury of my movements and the rhythm of my kata. Permeating even this is a feeling which transcends sensation or emotion. It is a calm and it is beautiful.

cc Matt Strauss