“Wind & Water”
Whatever the case may be, this is a Way founded on deception. The experience of victory is nothing more than attacking with various pretexts, shifting from one tactic to the next and forcing your opponent’s hand. Before engagement, be aware that the adversary is in attack, and never let your heedfulness slacken. Shita no tsukuri, a downward centerdness, is indispensable. If you do not conduct your opponent in Attack, your usual techniques will be futile when you are set upon precipitately and furiously the moment the fight begins.
Once one is engaged, it is essential to put the mind, body, and feet in Attack, and the hands in Waiting. Take in everything before your eyes. This is the lesson of grasping what is before you. If one does not observe with uttermost calm, all the lessons of the sword will be useless.
“Hearing from the sound of wind and water” means to be calm and silent above and to stay intensely alert underneath. The wind has no voice; it makes a sound when it hits something. When it blows above, it is silent. When it blows below, touching tree, bamboo, and all creation, its sound is boisterous and frenzied.
Water too has no voice when it fails from above. Touching things when it comes down, it makes a rushing sound. Taking these figures as examples, the saying means being calm and silent above while staying intensely alert underneath. These are instances of having an utmost calm and stirless quiet on the surface, while keeping resolutely alert on the inside.
It is bad when the body, hands, and feet are rushed. Attacking and Waiting should be applied one on the inside and one on the outside. It is bad to be fixed on one over the other. One should contemplate the mutually changing yin and yang. Movement is yang, stillness is yin. Yin and yang move within and without; when yang moves within, be still without in yin. When yin is within, and is manifested without.
This holds for the martial arts as well: activating the Ki within, moving resolutely, while without one remains stiles and quiet. This is in accordance to the precepts of nature. Whatismore, when curiously in Attack on the exterior, if one is calm within while in Attack without, so that the inner mind is not seized by the outside, the exterior will not be in disarray. If one moves both exterior and interior, at once there will be disarray. Attacking and Waiting, moving and stillness, should interchange with exterior and interior. Waterfowl float on the surface of the water, placid above while padding below. In the same way, if one keeps the inner mind vigilant and accumulates results from this practice, inner mind and outside dissolve, inside and outside become one, without the least impediment. To reach this level is the ultimate achievement.
~ Yagū Munenori, The Sword and The Mind, p. 36-37.