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Individually, Kurai Dori might be seen as our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional position to our environment. Lately I feel the need to look at Kurai Dori even more encompassing as I feel it as all these things and more. Could Kurai Dori be One's relationship and awareness to the World around them and everything's presence is in it? To me, it must be more about the "relationship." I cannot believe Kurai Dori is simply about "us" and our position in the World but more so about how the World around us reacts to our presence. The understanding of this relationship may allow one to become "zero" as Soke often states.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
~ William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence," 1810

If one understands their presence in Nature, then one may be able to manipulate themselves within it at any given time. That statement alone bares deeper examination (or condemnation), so I will remain in the shallow end of its exploration. The position you adopt toward others is influenced by the World around you as well as your own state-of-being at the given time. Did you have a bad day at work? Are you outside and the ground is icy? When you walk into a room full of people, are they scattered or in groups? What is the mood of the room...and each group? Who stands out in that same room? Who doesn't? Etc. This all affects your relationship to that around you and thus joins you in some weird way. The people around you will now react to the position you take toward them...and so on and so on.

If this is too far fetched for you, think of the tori-uke relationship on a basic level. Intention far exceeds physical action. Before the uke attacks, can you feel his intention? When he reaches out toward you, do you feel attacked? Does he grab you or merely lay his hand on you? Can you manipulate that intention? Can you manipulate him based on his mood? Etc. Now think about how what you do next depends on that uke's well as your own. This is all Kurai Dori. You, and those around you, are reacting far before a physical action takes place. It's like an intuitive dance. Sometimes it's slow while other times it's fast. Sometimes you are out of rhythm while other times you just sync with those around you. It's taijutsu. It's Kurai Dori.

Whether it is physical, conversational, or otherwise, try to be intuitive of what is happening. Start with yourself, then your opponent, then the World around you. I believe if we begin to understand these interactions, it will not only make us better budoka, but better people if we wish it to.