I wanted to talk a little bit about the vajra fist. The vajra fist is taught in many, many disciplines and applies to almost anything involving the hand holding or touching something. It is taught in Kyudo, horsemanship, swordsmanship, or weapons of any kind, holding and using a brush, sports, anything really. It is a sort of universal truth. It is totally related to the principles of heaven, earth and man. That is also known as Lha, Nyen, and Lu. In akido they say upper and lower. Whatever part of the body it is the upper part is supple and relaxed and the lower part is intensified or purposely made tenser, stronger, more supportive. If one is holding out one’s arm, the upper part is relaxed and the lower part is intentionally tenser or an added intensification. If I were to teach you the golf grip (or baseball bat) I would teach you that the two little fingers grip the club very tightly, the thumb and forefinger are very relaxed (within a closely prescribed form or position) and the middle finger is neither tight nor loose. The same principle applies in tea ceremony, eating oryoki (monastic meals in Zen monastaries), tennis, football, anything. I could be instructing you in any of these things but, as an illustration, I will instruct you in the grip of the yumi or the japanese bow. The little finger is squeezed very tightly. It is what is really holding onto the bow. There is a hierarchy in the digits of the hand. The thumb is seen as very virtuous and the little finger is seen as very wicked. The little finger is similar to Lu or servants (as a principle). Servants may try to be lazy, do not much work and cheat their masters. You do not want your little finger to develop these bad habits. You want your little finger to develop discipline, exertion, be willing to take the entire project on it’s back. It is very similar to the concept of warrior’s seat in another essay. The thumb and to some extent, the first finger, represent Lha, the heaven principle. Heaven is the King. Heaven is relaxed, All blessings just flow naturally as long as Heaven is not cramped or blocked. This is similar to the principle of good head and shoulders. I guess it’s really easier to talk about the grip on the brush. The two little fingers are squeezed together rather tightly. This represents one’s good discipline. This is one’s warrior seat, stability, willingness to work hard, going forward, rejecting slackness, all the Lu virtues. The thumb and forefinger just caress the brush very gently, without any tension really. They barely touch. The thumb is curved forward in a relaxed way and not tensely bent backward. The middle finger is neither tense nor loose. This is also exactly the description of the grip on the yumi or anything else, really. There are tiny variations using different implements, balls or weapons but all are basically the same. A good analogy is Seiza posture for sitting in Japan or for meditation, also called in Shambhala, the warrior posture. You sit on your knees with the feet delicately touching such as big toe resting on big toe. It can be excruciating finding rest in this posture until your joints are loosened. Even then, sitting too long can be quite challenging. The rewards are great, however. It is a tremendous encouragement not to be lax in the lower body. You have to discover how to shift your weight forward toward the knees and away from the feet, but this is what one is needing to learn in any case. There’s a kind of forwardness in the human posture altogether that is wanting in the uninitiated. We call it forward vision in Shambhala. A willingness to go forward all the time and overcoming the tendency to want to hide in a backwardness and laziness. We say “Ride the Horse of freedom from laziness.” All these things are closely interrelated. So choose your implement and practice your vajra fist. This is closely related to the essay, Hands Up. The hands are very important and a vast field for developing oneself.