Sanada practices, and considers connections between sword and tennis. Drama, I-2

Sometimes intense focus shut out the rest of the world; sometimes it only brought the world closer.

Sometimes, especially during kata when he attended to the essential line and nature of each movement, Genichirou found moments of connection between the sword and his other passions. They didn’t come as thoughts, they had no path, no start or finish; they were moments of knowing, moments of fact, present and then gone like a reflection in some window he walked past.

Yukimura would use this low guard, that tempted the unwary to make an overhead attack, and then step in, light and flowing, and make this strike full across the body, inexorable destruction smooth as running water.

Renji would make this step, that turned out of the way with such simplicity and hard calm, and allowed attack or retreat with the same poise.

Akaya would always take the outside, like so, the powerful, rounded attack that cut through where the opponent thought he was strongest, a challenge to the one who used it.

Tachibana would use this strike, overhead and centered, ferocious and direct.

Atobe would take this step, sliding under a high guard into a low, efficient cut.

Fuji would favor this straight thrust to the center, the one that demanded patience until its moment came to drive through the inside guard as though nothing had ever impeded it.

Tezuka would use this stance, the one that appeared so stable and unmoving to the thoughtless, motion spiraling up from the feet, invisible and contained through the body, a riptide released only once it was focused.

Pieces of his own team, pieces of other players, if Genichirou only watched and didn’t wait they showed themselves in flickers, bright and passing and true as sun glinting on the spine of his sword.

No movement in a kata had reflected Echizen, yet.

What came to Genichirou, as he stood and breathed in stillness, was that if he ever followed the sword far enough to use a live edge outside of kata and tameshigiri then he might find Echizen there.

“What are you thinking?” Yukimura asked, from where he leaned in the doorway.

“Nothing,” Genichirou answered with perfect honesty.

A low laugh tumbled through the warm air. “And what does nothing look like today?”

Sometimes Genichirou wondered how Yukimura learned these things about him without ever being told. He considered for a moment. “The first thing it looked like was you,” he stated, at last.

Yukimura smiled, and all of the day’s moments of fact rearranged themselves around that fact.


  • Note: tameshigiri is cutting practice with a live blade, a la Iaido, generally done with straw mats or rolls or bunches. This is, if I’m not mistaken, what we see Sanada doing in the manga.