July 29th, 2008

“A cut above the rest”

Posted in Website Information by Mark

This year after taking stock and taking charge of several issues in my rather chaotic life, I came to the realisation that there where several skills that I had a hankering to learn  but had yet to master, languages was one and the use of a Straight Razor was another, there are more skills, but I will limit this post to the Classic Razor.

A few years back a close friend of mine became interested in straight razors and I thought he was just plain mad to attempt something so dangerous as to apply a very sharp blade to a very bare neck, this comment needs to be taken in context, myself and Eddie have dueled and sparred over the years with various classical weapons,  and I am aware of his skill and control of these particular Japanese bladed weapons, it was this knowledge that made me acutely aware for my own personal health & safety.

The straight razor was commonly called the “cut throat” razor, I don’t think it earned this dubious distinction from peeling apples, no matter how deftly or precise that operation may be performed. My stepfathers father was a barber in London and though I don’t know if his razors or scissors have survived, the notion of using a razor myself, has always been hanging around somewhere in the recesses of my mind, under the topic of, “maybe this is something I should look into”.

So it was with great trepidation, and a lot of sweat, that I took my first step, albeit this step was taken with my hand, on the path to the closet shave I have ever had, and closer still to the ever elusive desire for self mastery.  Its amazing how steady your hand is, and how calm you become, when your own neck is on the line, this was the first realisation I had, it may have been an epiphany but I couldn’t/wouldn’t take my eyes of the mirror  to allow myself even the most fleeting moments of introspection.

I use the term self mastery because there seems to be two distinct processes  taking place a the same time, one is learning the skillful use of an extremely sharp instrument, and the other learning about yourself. This learning experience has been an interesting journey of self discovery, like a gambler who uses his own money, its not until you put your own neck on the line that you learn to trust your own instincts and skills, the downside of gambling is loss of money, whereas the downside of poor shaving technique is possibly the loss of some blood.  It’s a good thing if you suffer from Iron Overloading and bad a thing if your anaemic.

Anyway to make a long story boring, I started shaving, and its been several weeks now of regular shaving and I haven’t cut myself I can now feel the differences in blade sharpness and heft, and I can appreciate them. There is no room for doubt, or an imprecise stroke, there is no place or space  for ego between the blade edge and the skin, there is less distinction between where the blade starts and the skin begins, you become an artist through self education and self enlightenment, and you become painfully aware of your own mortality with a single drop of your own blood, shed by your own hand.

 To grasp life by the throat and to live to the fullest, takes a skill and determination that requires practice and constant honing, it is only through the process of wearing down a razors edge with continuous use against your skin that you can create a razor sharp mentality, and a polish/shine that radiates outward that puts you simply “a cut above the rest”.

 “The wearing down of one, sharpens the other”,  but that’s just my spin on it……..M.

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