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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi at Yamadera in Yamagata Prefecture


Scars: An eye for an eye

I have a scar about 3-4cm long just above my right eye socket. It’s noticeable if you know it’s there, but not if you don’t. I’ve had it for more than half my life now. It came about in a planned attack at a waterpolo game.

One evening at Huia Pool in Lower Hutt where I’m from, we were playing a game in preparation for the national schoolboys championship against another team from Wellington. In that game, I’m not going to lie but I was somewhat of a threat, scoring goal after goal.

After one of those goals, I turn around to get back to the halfway mark, and members from the other team physically held me back. Next second, one of the junior players comes up to me and punches me. I shout, ‘hey he just punched me’ but to no avail. They had timed it so well the referees weren’t watching.

I try to get the guy who had punched me, but his teammates were too well prepared as they held me back. And that’s when a river of red starts flowing over my right eye. I was high on adrenaline so didn’t really register what had happened, but the referee was telling me to get out of the pool.

In the end, I had to sit out the rest of the game. Thankfully my friend’s mum who was a nurse happened to be there because without her, I would have needed stitches at the hospital. Also thankfully by then, the damage was done. Our team had done more than enough to guarantee the win.

Sometimes people feel threatened and sometimes they take cheap shots. Sometimes it’s planned, and sometimes it leaves scars. But it’s up to you how you choose to react in those situations.

If you lash out at them, an eye for an eye so to speak, it makes you at the very least look just as bad as them. It’s best to take a moment away to assess the situation, come to terms with it, and move on. They feel threatened by you, but their feelings of inadequacy have nothing to do with you.

If you are to use the situation, use it as fuel for your own fire to do something well, regardless of how it affects the perpetrator. Plus, if they’re going to leave a scar, it at least makes for a good story.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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