Tennis Pro Nikita Kryvonos recounts visit with Kitabu Roshi/ with Audio

July 18, 2008 by · Comments Off on Tennis Pro Nikita Kryvonos recounts visit with Kitabu Roshi/ with Audio 


Like the Phoenix rising from ashes, victory comes if endure the flames.

Nikita in Bulgaria...Like the Phoenix rising from ashes, victory comes if you endure the flames.

Victory has its rewards but Nikita is only kidding us THIS  time.

Victory has its rewards but THIS time  Nikita is only kidding us.



Soul Sword Radio: True Victory/with Kitabu Roshi

Sometimes a book can change your destiny. Nikita Kryvonos began playing tennis {+++}in the Ukraine when he was five years old. Now at age 22, he is a naturalized citizen of the United States of America and a professional Tennis player. He has played in the US Open and traveled to Russia with the Davis Cup team as a practice partner. He loves Tennis, and that love has him seeking for a deeper uncerstanding. Kryvonos is always looking for ways to improve himself, on and off the court. One day he he had a strange experience during a match but he could not describe it. People remarked about his form and the power of his serve. My mother bought a copy of Soul Sword:The Way and Mind of a Zen Warrior. After I read it I realized that I had a mushin (No-Mind) experience. I was excited.

Part One: Mushin on the Tennis Court
Part Two: Nikita's father shares his experience with Zen Master Kitabu

I have read many books but this book was what I needed. Kryvonos sought a way to contact  Kitabu Roshi (Vernon Kitabu Turner, author of the book). Now, after several private consultations, Kryvonos plans to come to the Virginia Beach based Soul Sword Zen do (American Vishwa Dharma Zen) and train direction under Kitabu Roshi.  "I could not maintain the mu shin mind," Kryvonos admitted. "It is because you were trying," Kitabu Roshi replied. The Roshi does not promote the spirit of competition but he makes no judgment. Kryvonos understood, "My Tennis racket will be my Samurai sword," he said, signifying that he would approach The Way with the proper attitude. Nikita Kryvonos has agreed to share his progress with the Soul Sword Zen community. Zen is a method for renewing the mind and freeing the spirit from bondage. It can be practiced by anyone who approaches The Path with faith and humility. Tennis anyone? The field may be different but the practice is the same. Look for more on this continuing story.

Raymond Thrasher/Public Information

Kitabu Roshi Comments:


Awakening...transformation is a wonderful experience. There are no words to describe it but still we try. While it is not a result of our effort, there is still work to be done. The spiritual path is called the "razor's edge" because it is hard to travel, not easy. The easy way is just to go along with the norm. Kryvonos had a taste of what was possible. His appetite was whet with anticipation of  the possibilities.  The tennis pro would learn, as all students of The Way must, that we can not dictate or control the outcome of our practice in the midst of practicing. We can not think or will ourselves into No-Mind...mushin. At such a time, we may understand the role of the master.

"Drop it! "

"But master, I carry nothing."

"Drop it anyway."

When you come to the proverbial temple or zendo, leave your brilliant mind, your ideas, your preconceived techniques at the door with your shoes. If you don't, you will walk away with something.

Leaving with something in mind or your mind on something is not a virtue in our practice.

We erroneously believe that we must be able to conceptualize a truth in order to recognize or utilize it.  Zen, not the concept we read about Zen but Zen, itself, is direct experience without the mediation of thought. It is spontaneous, appropiate response that arises from wisdom without  duality. It permits no hesitation between thought and action. They are seamless. Reckless behavior is not Zen. Zen, or its Sanskrit origin, Dhyana includes Prajna (wisdom). This cannot be faked. When Nikita came to see me. He entered an unknown in more ways than one.

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