Sample Samurai Pen Worksheet
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a cloze activity
By Colleen Messina
1 Chu Lin ran her finger along the flat surface of the curved blade and watched her reflection shimmer. What a handsome sword! A pale jade dragon with glistening ruby eyes formed its handle. The silver blade gleamed clean and cold in the early morning light.
2 For as long as she could remember, Chu Lin wanted to be a boy!
3 Her family inherited the traditional samurai blade from her grandfather, who had been an austere samurai warrior. Her brother would receive the sword when he came of age, but Chu Lin had no claim to it at all. She imagined wielding the proud weapon in defense of the emperor, but that was impossible. Much to her discontent, she was just a girl. Japanese society labeled girls as timorous and ineffectual. Chu Lin felt she was only a nuisance, and she could never endeavor to be a warrior. She had no alternative but to learn dreary culinary arts, but she thought tea ceremonies were boring. She wanted action, like the kind she would have if she trained to be a samurai!
4 Her brother's samurai training began early in the morning. Clack, clack went the wooden sticks as the neophyte samurai practiced fighting. He was only thirteen, but he had already mastered many moves. Later, after breakfast, he practiced with the katana sword. Chu Lin could only watch as the sword cut through the morning air with the grace of a bird's wing. Chu Lin knew her brother's moves so well that her own muscles tenses and relaxed in rhythm with his routine. Training even continued at night. The teacher struck him by surprise as he slept so he learned to stay on guard!
5 His teacher also demonstrated how to dress for battle. After putting on a red short kimono and baggy trousers, the teacher added shin pads, chain mail sleeves, and the chest guard. He put on body armor and tied a silk cord around his waist. He then added a mask and a helmet. A long chronology of family warriors had worn this special armor.
6 Chu Lin often came by the training room on the pretext of bringing tea. This morning, against her will, a tear escaped. Soon a river of tears flooded her cheeks, and she couldn't stop them. She choked back her sobs, but she couldn't expel her desire to become a samurai! She felt discouraged. What could she ever do?
7 To hide her tears, Chu Lin ran out of the training room and down a corridor. She ran right into her grandmother! Chu Lin was ashamed of her tears, and tried to hide them from her staid grandmother. The old woman radiated serenity, and her turquoise kimono fell in ordered folds as if they were obedient to the will of their mistress.
8 "Grandmother, I love grandfather's katana sword! He must have been very brave!" said Chu Lin. She hoped her eyes didn't look swollen from crying.
9 "Yes, dear, he was. He was a hardy warrior and left us a proud legacy. Once he even received an ovation from the Emperor's family," said grandmother with a smile. "My child, you look upset. Let us imbibe tea. Tea is a panacea for any problem!"
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