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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle


by Graeme Muirhead

Following a conversation with Richard Price at Spring School, we thought it would be fun if I took pictures of myself practicing Kata at some of the national land marks in America whilst on a 2 week trip across the mid-west. No sooner said than agreed, so, as August approached I was looking forward to the fun beginning.

Those of you who know me will know that this was a very important trip for me. I have always wanted to do this trip & visit these places. Whilst sitting recovering from my accident I decided that it was very important to do and not just to dream. One of the things I have learned over the years of my martial arts training, which also mirrors life is that no one gives you anything - you have to get up and do it for yourself and when there are obstacles in your way it is very important that you find a way past or through never letting them stop you. If you give up and blame people or circumstances as a reason then that is only an excuse, the real reason may be that you just can't be bothered or it is easier to blame someone else or a circumstance for your inability to move forward. The reality is we have the power within ourselves to accomplish any of our goals or desires, if we focus our mind on the goal that we want to achieve then set about achieving it.


I made a bucket list, (things to achieve before I kick the bucket), and from this list I managed to cross out eight items just on this one trip alone. The trip covered 3,638.4 miles in 15 days starting from Phoenix Arizona, via the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley into Utah, up through Colorado to Wyoming and on to South Dakota where the biggest motorcycle rally in the world is held, with 500,000 bikers in attendance at Sturgis SD (South Dakota). I also paid homage at the site of The Massacre at Wounded Knee. The trip back crossing from South Dakota into Wyoming via Bighorn National Park led me into the wondrous Yellowstone National Park then into Idaho, back to Utah and finishing in Phoenix Arizona at the starting point.

First on my agenda was the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. With the Grand Canyon standing approx 200miles long, 14miles wide & a hell of a long way down, I thought it would be fun to stand on the edge of the south rim at 6am doing Kata and Kwanku Dai felt just right. The Grand Canyon was awe-inspiring. You could feel the history, never-mind see it. If you ever get the chance to go and see it I would recommend that you take that chance. The energy felt very special doing kata there for me.


Second on my agenda was the spiritual Monument Valley, which is part of the Navajo Indian Reservation and is seen as very sacred ground for them. In fact there are places where you cannot go and places where you must have a Navajo Indian Guide. So on Highway 163 in Monument Valley whilst standing on a rock I thought I would perform Kata for the Great Spirits of the Navajo Indian Nation. I have to say it certainly lifted my sacred spirit.


I saw some awesome sights and visited some very spiritual places. I feel like I have come home with a determination to learn more skills that will allow me to get through life with these new handicaps and turn them in to positives instead of negatives.

Bring it on!



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