Blog Archive

12 November 2013

Musing on Style - Oni Fly Black Condor

Paul Gaskell of Discover Tenkara showed me some of Tenkara no Oni's - Masami Sakakibara - fly patterns during the Tenkara Open Day on the River Nidd. We both agreed that Masami's fly dressings have a unique style evident I would suggest in this video. Such a simple pattern yet accomplished with great care and attention to detail. I love how Masami cuts back through the wound hackle which helps to strengthen it too.

Such style, I think, comes through long practise and familiarity with the materials one uses. If we all dressed the same pattern with exactly the same materials and compared them, a Takeyama Sakasa Kebari for instance, then we would notice beyond the immediate differences of form, perhaps a more subtle difference, that being the style of each fly reflecting something of the essence of the tyer.

It's a concept still evident in oriental philosophy and culture that includes Japan, namely, Qi (Chinese) or Ki (Japanese) meaning very broadly energy or vitality. It describes not a rarified sense of the mysterious as some would have us believe but rather one of deep familiarity with and embeddedness in nature. A quality that can be discerned in all things and all disciplines, such as a master carpenter, a dancer, a cook, for instance, where the thing that they do cannot be separated by any contrivance from their being. It is the difference between doing and being, or perhaps more accurately, the doing and the being become fully integrated. The work of the master carpenter can be recognised because it carries the essence of the carpenter in every cut, chisel stroke and application of finish.

I remember my struggle to grasp the techniques and applications of sword play in both Japanese and Chinese martial arts. My teachers would admonish me at a certain point in my practise to forget the technique, to stop copying them and instead, express myself without any pretense in the movements of my sword.

This video, for me, captures the essence of style that makes Masami's fly dressing uniquely his. I seek not to copy his style or way, but rather find my own.

Tight lines and happy tenkara


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