What is the realtion between martial arts and ikebana? I came across an fascinating article on the net by Dave Lowry, author of several books on budo and other martial arts. In his article To Blossom and Scatter Lowry looks into the way of flowers from the perspective of a budo practitioner.
I'll give you a few quotes to get an idea of the contents:
"It is important to understand that the practitioner of ikeabana no more seeks in his art to make a 'pretty bouquet' than the budoka seeks to learn 'self defense.' While both of these are byproducts of the study of these disciplines, the goal of the budo and of ikebana are consistent with the goals of all Japanese Do forms. They are pursued as a Way of life."
"There is in ikebana as well as in the martial Ways, a struggle for unity and harmony of elemets, for the interplay of hard and soft, for a moment of spontaneous creation based upon the foundation of a fixed form."
"Mono no aware, the 'recognition of life's impermanence,' is one of numerous terms in Japanese cultural thought that denote a deep appreciation of how wonderfully precious life comes to be when we come honestly face to face with its brevity."
Quotes from To Blossom and Scatter... The Martial Way & the Way of Flowers by Dave Lowry, published in Michi Online Journal of Japanese Cultural Arts.
There are also other articles on ikebana in their archives - have a look! Unfortunately it seems that they stopped publishing in the year 2000.
This much I have learned; the blossom
that fades away, its color unseen,
is the flower of the heart
of one who lives in this world.
(From Kokin Shu)