“Painting with words” – His kata

Questo racconto è il frutto delle preziose lezioni di scrittura creativa dell’autore australiano Arnold Zable, writer in residence al Collegio Internazionale Ca’ Foscari nei mesi di novembre e dicembre. Attraverso la tecnica “painting with words” gli studenti del Collegio hanno realizzato brevi descrizioni di attimi, persone e luoghi, dando vita a scenari profondi e suggestivi.

That night he wished to die. Once more,  people  played with his feelings, their levity crushed his heart, that was dark like the gloomy Venetian sky he was gazing.

Alone on the island, like a damned ghost, he was seeking redemption in that endless black mantle where silver clouds danced in wavy impulses, becoming a unique entity with the underlying sea.Its waves were permeated by the divine moonlight, reflecting the ancient, filled with history buildings of Venice, creating the flux where past, present and future merged into the Absolute.

This vision made him react.With the gaze focused on the sea and the sky, he began HIS kata1, the one he painstakingly trained every time in the dojo2. At the same time a soft breeze began to blow and his movements were lighter too. While he was performing each technique, he could feel the wind, smell the acrid dried salt it carried, see that calm and immense sea and the full moon that enlightened him with its heavenly, silvery rays.

He was doing HIS kata, aware of each technique and movement and of every sensation that the Venetian landscape donated him.

He put all his Spirit in every technique, the floor of the platform was very solid and he felt deep- rooted on it, like the twisted trees surrounding it.Nevertheless, his movements were elegant and light.He felt himself bound to this Earth and these damned, insensitive people but at the same time he realized that HIS karate could make him fly over the silver clouds, in a dimension where there was no distinction between him, that landscape and HIS kata.

He ended HIS kata with a powerful kiai3. The wind ceased blowing. The sea, the clouds, the moon, the buildings…everything seemed motionless and static. He smiled.


1 a “kata” is a part of the practice of karate. It consists in a sequence of techniques(punches, kicks, elbows, throwings etc…) aimed at imaginary opponents. Founders of karate said that “kata” were the “heart” of karate.

2 a dojo is the place where karate is practiced.

3 the “kiai” is a sort of  shout emanated at the end of a “kata”.

Gerolamo Nidasio


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