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There is a sublimely convergent moment in flamenco, which the Spanish call duende, in which the musicians and dancers achieve an almost spiritual, albeit brief, synergy of sound, rhythm and movement. Perhaps something similar takes place in the Japanese martial arts, when body and mind merge to create perfect equipoise.

Many of us dabble in the martial arts at intermittent times in our lives. My own enthusiasm propelled me to a black-belt ranking in karate before a different life took over and higher aspirations ran into the sand. Other practitioners stay the course.

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