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When a novice starts learning martial arts, he wears a white belt, symbolic of innocence. After months of practice, the white belt gets dirty and turns brown, symbolic of the first degree of attainment. After more practice, the belt gets soiled and eventually turns black, symbolic of full attainment.

If the practitioner does not stop learning even after full attainment, the black belt starts getting frayed, turning almost white, symbolic of return to innocence. The frayed white belt represents technical competence of an experienced martial artist, combined with the innocence and receptivity of a beginner. It signifies going beyond technique and embracing no-technique—coming full circle.

story source: white belt

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The original martial arts used only one belt as described above. But now-a-days the different colored belts are used to describe the practitioners growth.

At inner spirit martial arts, the white belt was symbolic of the crane. Where speed was developed and patience acquired. A crane can only survive a tiger’s attack with evasive maneuvers.

Through much practice, exercise and persistence one attained an orange belt. The symbol for the Tiger, strength.

Then comes the green belt. Where the student learns holds and throws. Agility, vitality, perseverance.

here is where many schools differ, some will have blue belts (water), purple belts (air)  and other colors before the brown belt. Many will go from brown to black as is many customary practices. At Inner Spirit Martial Arts the brown belt symbolized: Earth, well grounded, growth, deeply rooted and solid.

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as shone here…

Red belt symbolized… the dragon, full of fire, energy and the stage where one readies them self for black belt testing.

To attain the black belt one must demonstrate their abilities in their style of martial arts. One of the key elements is teaching, for a black belts primary task will be to teach others… coming full circle.

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I thought about this when I went to work the other day and I was asked to mentor a new officer. To teach them the ways of our profession. I realized I had come full circle in my employment. No matter what you do in life, when you have reached a certain point in your life, you will end up teaching others. Rather it be a profession or a grandparent. So, teach them well…

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may you pass your wisdom on to another this day

(~_~)

The Historic 36th chamber and 18 wooden warriors of Lohan Hall in a southern province, Shaolin Temple, is shrouded in some mystery, for they were destroyed in the early 1700’s. In the movie, Kung Fu, with David Carradine the last part of this test was depicted with the 500 pound urn filled with red hot coals that burn the mark of the Dragon and the Tiger into the fore-arms as the urn is moved in order to pass and graduate.

It is said that many students did not survive the hall of wooden warriors and this in turn caused a lot of students to run away. But those that did pass the test, bore the symbol on the fore-arm and became teachers themself. Below is a description of each of the 18 wooden warriors and what you had to do to pass each one.

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The Fukien or southern Siu Lam (Shaolin) temple was built on Gau Lin Shan in Fukien province near the border of Gwan Dung Province. Built in 1399 a.d. during the Ming dynasty, the temple became known as “South Siu Lam/ Shaolin” before being utterly destroyed during the Qing (1644-1911 a.d.) dynasty.

The abbot Jee Sim Sim See (Sim See means Zen master) put Hung Yan Sim See in charge of thirty six chambers. Here, Siu Lam’s (Shaolin) warrior monks and unshaven disciples learned the Siu Lam (Shaolin) martial arts in a step by step manner, not advancing until each skill had been mastered. An “unshaven disciple” was a person who stayed at the temple primarily to study the martial arts and did not take Buddhist vows and become a monk. Jee Sim is also credited with devising the “wooden dummy hall”. (Lohan Hall)

The wooden dummy hall was erected in the Lohan Tung or Buddha hall. The eighteen wooden dummies purpose was to test the kung fu skill of potential graduates. The dummies names and movements were as follows:

01 – Lohan Or Ga Yit:
When the student entered, this dummy was in a seated position holding a monk’s ornamental staff. As the student approached, the dummy swung the weapon toward the middle of the student’s body. If the student retreated, the dummy would close, swinging the weapon faster and faster until the rear wall was reached. The student in this case would have to either duck or jump over the weapon which would shatter the student’s bones if it connected. If the student avoided the blow, he was expected to kick the dummy over, defeating it. All of these dummies were activated by the pressure of the students weight on the floor. Also, defeating all the dummies was achieved similarly by knocking them over.

02 – Lohan Or Lan Tor:
The dummy is seated with its hands together as if in prayer. The student is alternately punched and kicked by this dummy. The blows must not be directly blocked because contact with the dummy would result in broken bones. The student must avoid the blows and knock the dummy over.

03 – Lohan Mook Jit Lin:
One foot of the dummy is on top of a lion with the other standing on the floor. This dummy tries to use a low sweeping kick to hit the student. Once it starts, the move is repeated, faster and faster while rushing toward the student. The correct response is to use a jumping kick to floor the dummy while avoiding the sweep at the same time.

04 – Lohan Seh Lei Fut
This dummy stands holding a staff in the right hand and holding its left hand at the breast. It uses the staff to block the student ‘s path and attacks with the free hand. The student must lock the arm and sweep the dummy to down it.

05 – Lohan Ah Lah Luet:
This dummy stands holding a begging bowl. It tires to slam the bowl on the student’s head. If the bowl land precisely, the student will be unable to easily removie it. Avoiding the initial attack is the most essential element in defeating the dummy.

06 – Lohan Seui Pou Tai:
This dummy stands holding prayer beads. When approached, the dummy tries to hit the student in the abdomen. Suddenly, the beads are swung towards the student’s head. The second blow was designed to catch the student unaware as he was trying to stop the first blow.

07 – Lohan Fu Lao La:
The dummy stands with a wine cup in its left hand. The dummy strikes with one hand using drunken style and then throws the cup at the student. The student must avoid these movements and immediately counter.

08 – Lohan Ga Jim Ting:
As it is approached, the dummy stands erect. If the student comes close, the dummy uses a low kick against the student. The dummy must be kicked down before it can continue its attack which becomes faster & faster.

09 – Lohan Fuk Law Lei:
The dummy stands in a bow and arrow stance facing the student. When the student comes into range, the dummy attacks with repeated thrust punches to the body. The student must sidestep to kick the dummy over.

10 – Lohan Dat Mo:
The dummy is seated sideways holding a book. If the student tries to pass, the dummy throws a sidekick as the student goes by. If he can avoid the kick, the student must fell the dummy from behind.

11 – Lohan Chung Haw:
The dummy stands holding a head sized temple bell. As the student approaches, the bell is thrown. The student must avoid the bell.

12 – Lohan Jang Chan
The dummy sits facing the student holding a book next to a pile of stones. The student is shot with projectiles that shoot out of the head of the dummy. The difficulty is in trying to close in on the dummy while it shoots these projectiles.

13 – Lohan Dou Shuen:
The dummy is holding a staff, but is making awkward, stupid looking movements. This is an attempt to lure the student into thinking that the dummy is not functioning properly. The student is attacked as soon as he attempts to go by. The student is expected to be able to avoid such surprise attacks.

14 – Lohan Yan Lang:
The dummy stands looking at the ground. When the student stands on the proper part of the floor, the dummy will thrust its fingers towards the student’s eyes. Students failing this test did not graduate for obvious reasons.

15 – Lohan Hung Lung Sau:
This dummy holds a shiny begging bowl. Suddenly, the student has a blinding light in his face. As soon as this happens, the dummy throws a barrage of blows. The key point is not to get blinded by the light reflected from the bowl. If the student is not blinded, the dummy may be kicked over relatively easily.

16 – Fuk Fu Lohan:
The dummy stands on one foot on the back of a tiger. In one of it’s hands is a large ring. The dummy tries to put the ring over the student’s head while kicking him from below. The student must avoid the ring in order to not get kicked in the groin.

17 – Lohan La Gum Luet:
The dummy stands holding a monk’s spade. The dummy charges while spinning the spade in a figure eight pattern. The student who had stopped was considered eligible for graduation.

18 – The final step
The door to the hallway leading out of the Lohan La Gum Luet was blocked by a one hundred fifty pound urn containing hot coals with the mark of the tiger head/dragon body on the handles. The student had to hug the urn with their forearms. This branded him with the mark of a Sui Lam master. The highest experts had marks only on one arm, having used one arm to lift the urn.

Many great teachers were trained at this temple. After the end of the Ming dynasty, the Ming loyalists used this temple as the headquarters in Southern China. Eventually, the Qing Emperor Hong Hei (1662-1723 a.d.) found this out and ordered two generals Chan Man Yiu and Jeung Gim chao to take three thousand soldiers and rout the temple. General Chan Man Yiu knew well the reputation of the Siu Lam people had earned for their martial arts.

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The Temple was burned to the ground, every monk; except five were killed. These five survivors seperated and each kept the Art alive. They were Wu Dak Dai, Choy Dak Jung, Lei Sik Hoi, Fong Dai Hung, and Ma Chiu Hing.

Many movies have been made where the wooden warriors theme was dipicted, such as “The 36th Chamber,” “Kung Fu,”  and lots more in the Asian film industry.

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source:  Kung Fu Fever, Shaolin 18 wooden men                                             Header Picture: Gaiaonline.com                                                                               Lower Pic; Shaolin Warriors                                                                                           Two wooden warriors with Shaolin monk; KingFilms.TV  

  Tiger and Dragon picture        Shaolin with sword                                              Monk meditates on one leg                                                                           

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~Life is a training ground for the tests that will come~

(~_~)

Introducing, …Kung Chew, a creation from my mind, a drawing that turned into a full blown character as the kids helped me to create his adventures. In 2007 he was all over our living room in different comic strips and in 2010 he came alive in a blender / computer graphics movie we all took delight in using our voices for the characters. The movie,…”Kung Chew and the Zen Gum ball

 

(click to enlarge)

Kung Chew and Master Bubble make a pilgrimage to obtain a Zen Gumball. On the trail they are attacked by the ABC gang (already been chewed) and get out of this by blowing a huge bubble and as it pops they disappear, with-out hurting anyone!

When they arrive in town, Kung Chew meets up with his girl friend, Chic as Master Bubble goes on to obtain the Zen Gumball. The Gumball machine is in POP’s candy store. Master Bubble places the quarter in, turns the knob and out comes a Gumball with words of wisdom stamped on it. (like a fortune cookie) Master Bubble saves the gumballs for emergencies and to spread the wise words for others to chew on mentally.

The opening has always been the same in the cartoon and the movie…However his adventures are still only begining.

 

(click to enlarge)

 

Deep in the forest of rubber trees and chic. (Chic is the tree for which Gum is made.

Kung Chew works hard, mastering his Art, wriggling through excercises.

He imagines himself dueling an army, defeating them single handedly, one by one, blow by blow.

When out of no-where a bee lands on his arm. Kung Chew became riddled with fear and ran as fast as he could …away!

Master Bubble was meditating nearby, watching with one eye open as Kung Chew and the Bee went flying by. He had a bewildered look on his face.

    

The Bee came and landed on Master Bubble’s leg…………..Kung Chew crept up with a big stick then swung to hit the Bee.

“Smack,” Master Bubble reached up and stopped Kung Chew from hitting the bee.

“You train to defend yourself against multiple attackers, yet you run like a rabbit from a one inch insect?”

“Perhaps the Bee was attracted to your sweetness and wanted to bite you rather than sting you.”

Kung Chew stood silent for a moment, with a bubble-dumb look upon his face, pondering Master Bubble’s words.

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I think the unique thing about this is that it grew from the family, ideas from my wife, the kids. The Movie has alot to it…I think it ended up being a little longer than 15 minutes, with music like… “I want candy!” and of course in the end they all play instruments and sing this song with dance and a great guitar scene.

Now when I say great remember, I am not a computer graphic guru, it was my first attempt and I learned alot about doing such a project. It took a year to make, with dubbing out voices and getting the mouths to match sound. In one scene, when Master Bubble turns around fast, he comes all apart and goes back together in the flash of an eye, the physics was to much for him, I tell the kids, but the wife knows, the physics was to much for me. (giggle)

Blender was not that easy to learn. (It is a free game making software that allows creation of graphics and has a movie mode) I spun off after kung chew and tried to make a movie called, “Thirteen Dragons,” (about the thirteen Shaolin fighting monks.) But that is when it got frustrating and I gave up on being a computer graphic designer since it takes so long for one person. When I watch a CP movie like pixel or ‘Kung Fu Panda’ I notice they have about 50 plus people to create a movie and that wouldn’t make it easier but probably a lot faster than a 15 minute clip taking an year to make.

I have now decided to try and make a childrens book with this charactor. Every one who comes to the house gets to see the movie and say’s it is a grand idea, do something with it. So, I am still churning out paper after paper with this little guy and his adventures, entangled with wisdom quotes, humor and traditional martial arts ethics and a message in every tale. I have placed Kung Chew into the Zendictive story of “Carrying your Burdens” and “House of a thousand mirrors.” Now, that I am down this week,  and can’t do much out of bed, I have picked up the pen again. When the body is down the mind still ticks. “You can’t keep a good man down!”…………so, what do you think???

As soon as I can figure out how, I will place clips of the movie on the blog, (remember, I’m still learning how to work with all this media stuff!) In fact I still can’t figure out how to burn it on a CD or DVD to get it off this computer!

(~_~)

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enjoy your day

(~_~)

Yagyu Tajima no Kami was a great swordsman and a teacher in the art to Tokugawa Iemitsu, the Shogun during that time. One day, a personal guard of Iemitsu’s visited Yagyu Sensei seeking instruction in the art of swordsmanship.

Master Yagyu said: “As I observe, you seem to already be a master of swordsmanship; pray tell me to which school you belong, before we enter into a relationship as teacher and student.”

The guardsman said, “I am ashamed to say that I have never really learned the art of swordsmanship.”

Master Yagyu replied by saying “Are you trying to trick me? I am teacher to the honorable Shogun himself, and I know that my judging eyes never fail me. I can see that you already are a master”

“I am sorry to defy your honor, but I really know nothing” replied the guardsman.

This resolute denial on the part of the visitor made the old swordsman think for a while, and then he finally said, “If you say so, then it must be so; but still I am sure that you are a master of something, though I know not what.”

“If you insist, I will tell you this. There is one thing of which I can say that I am a complete master. When I was a boy, it appeared to me that as a Samurai I should never be afraid of death regardless of the circumstances. I had grappled with this obstacle for some years but finally overcame it. Death ceases to worry me and perhaps this is what you sense.”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Yagyu sensei. “That is what I mean. I am glad that I made no error in my judgment. For the ultimate secrets of swordsmanship also lie in being released the preoccupation of death. I have trained ever so many hundreds of my disciples along this line, but so far none of them really deserve the final certificate for swordsmanship. You need no technical training, you are already a master.”

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Courage is not the absence of fear but rather doing what needs to be done in spite of fear.

may you be the master of your day

(~_~)

The Karate Students ~

a story about learning to be great

reblogged from … Darren Poke   (Better Life Coaching Blog)

Darren’s blog is filled with stories that will enhance your life through lesson tales.  

excerpt; his…..  ” personal development blog is written by an experienced Life Coach to equip, encourage and inspire people to take meaningful action and make a positive difference in the world.”

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There were once two children who attended a large karate dojo.

They were both keen to improve their martial arts skills and impress their sensei.

Every time their sensei barked an instruction something interesting would happen.

The first child would immediately respond with what he thought was the right thing to do.  He would jump into a position and act according to his understanding of the instruction.

The second child would hesitate and watch everyone else to see what the right thing to do was.  He waited until they were all in position and then copy them.

As a result of their default responses something happened that defined how competent they got at karate and more importantly how they responded to life.

By acting immediately, the first child made a lot of mistakes.  He stood out from the rest and often had to be corrected by the instructor.  Sometimes, the other children would laugh at his errors.

By watching everyone else, the second child made no mistakes.  He conformed to the rest of the class and needed no correction.  No-one ever laughed at him.

The first child was undaunted.

He continued to respond immediately to the sensei and over time, his mistakes became less and less. He went from needing to be corrected the most, to being praised the most and he soon progressed through the different belts.

The second child remained hesitant.

He was always on the lookout for what everyone else did and as a consequence didn’t learn about karate, but about copying others.  He faded into the background and his progress was much slower as he became less instinctive about martial arts and more concerned with the opinion of others.

If you want to be truly great at anything, let me encourage you to be more like the first child.

Elite performers are wired for action, aren’t afraid to make mistakes and listen to their mentors.

Average performers procrastinate, are more concerned about the opinion of others and would rather conform to the crowd than bring unnecessary attention to themselves.

Be elite.

Jump into action and stand out from the crowd.

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food for thought… from Art~

 I remember when I took martial arts from Master Sharpe, he would always pair me up with Mr. Burdett, an ex-marine to do ‘Hol-sin-sols’ (one step sparring). Mr Burdett would hit hard (perhaps not as hard as he could but with great force) and he would tell me, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen… this is not a sewing class!”

When I have gotten into confrontations, (with my profession (prison guard) and like the other day…) when I get hit, I often think, these punches I recieve are nothing compared to Mr. Burdett’s. He prepared me for the real thing, what life was really going to throw at me. Of course the best way to take a punch is to not be there.

To be a great martial artist one must learn to heal others, for hurting someone is easy.

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Art Campbell 2003

may your day be filled with peace and harmony

(~_~)

Ekalavya was a little boy, born in a poor family, many many years ago. His people lived a little away from Hastinapura, the capital of the Kuru kings. They used to clean other people’s dirt for a profession.

And for this reason they were shunned by society. Ekalavya and other kids of his group knew they too had to follow their parents’ professions. Their parents often told them, “You are not meant to go to school. What use is school for carrying garbage which is your only job?”

“Don’t go near those people; they are high born, we are low born.” Ekalavya didn’t understand.

“Why, but why?” he asked his mother. She replied “God set these limits.”

“God! Why would God want nice things for them and dirty things for us? Hasn’t God made all of us?” Ekalavya asked.

She sighed, “Darling I don’t know, but there are bounds we cannot cross, this is God’s rule.”

Ekalavya became quiet. From that day the only important thing for him was to understand the meaning of “limit”. You know, kids (and grown ups) are sometimes cruel. One day Ekalavya and his friends trapped a little ant and were watching it try to escape. The ant tried and tried till it found a little opening at the edge of the trap and escaped. Other children moved to trap it again but Ekalavya stopped them shouting, “The brave ant has broken the bounds. Limits are meant to be broken. I am free, free”.

One day, Ekalavya saw beautiful chariots come into the forest near his village. He saw boys of his age get out of the chariot one by one. What lovely clothes they wore! Last, an old man with snowy white hair and spotless white clothes came out looking stern and calm. The boys seemed a little scared of the old man but with one dusky handsome boy, the old man’s behaviour was different, he smiled and patted this boy on the head.

Ekalavya heard his father’s voice, “Come away boy, there is work to do. Those are the Kuru princes, with their teacher Drona. The boy he just patted is his favourite, Arjuna. They have come to practice ‘archery’. Don’t go near them.”

“Father, all I want is a pat from the grand old man.” so saying, Eklavya ran towards the old man Drona.

By then the boys had started shooting with bows and arrows. What amazing things Arjuna did! He could shoot at a target with his eyes shut. He could shoot with his left hand as well as the right. And the teacher Drona? His arrows made fire, chased things in circles, brought rain and lightning. It was magical. Arjuna’s eyes never left his teacher. It was like he wanted to absorb every bit of Drona. And you could see that Drona too was very proud of Arjuna.

The practice ended. Ekalavya went up to Drona and with folded hands said, “Great sir, please teach me”.

“I don’t teach the low-born,” was the cold reply as Drona turned away.

“Master, your arrows don’t seem to mind any limits, they bring rain and fire, they bring night and day. How then can you be bound by stupid thoughts of high and low birth?” With this Ekalavya walked away from the glaring Drona.

The next day, Ekalavya carved a statue of Drona on a tree trunk with a knife. He made himself a bow and arrows. Each day he would bow before the statue, practice shooting and imagine a pat on his back from Drona.

Some months passed. The grand princes and their master came to the forest again. As Arjuna reached to take aim of a particularly difficult target, an arrow reached Arjuna’s target before he could even aim. Shocked the boys and their teacher looked around. They saw Ekalavya, who went up to touch Drona’s feet.

“Who is your teacher?” Drona asked. Ekalavya quietly led him to the statue. Drona looked at it for some time and said, “If I am your Guru, give me my fee, my guru dakshina“.

“Ask, sir”, bowed Ekalavya.

“I want your right thumb,” replied the stone hearted Drona. Without the right thumb to support it, how can any archer ever hold a bow?As Arjuna and the other princes watched in shock, Ekalavya wordlessly cut off his right thumb and laid it at Drona’s feet.

Many years passed. A great war was going on in Kurukshetra between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, cousins who were related. Arjuna was on the side of the Pandavas. His teacher Drona, and many of his cousins, who had been Drona’s students with him, were on the other side.

After the day’s battle, a sad Drona was sitting in his camp. Suddenly, like a respectful prayer, arrows fell near his feet one after another. He looked up and who do you think he saw?

Why, Ekalavya ! The young Ekalavya said, “Master I have learned to shoot without my right thumb. I have learned to shoot with my left hand, and with my feet. I have taught others and raised an army. Today I’m known as a great archer.”

Drona was speechless.

“Master, I set your greatness free from the limits of your own mind. I made it my teacher in the form of your statue.

Your great love for Arjuna crossed the bounds of fairness when you asked for my thumb. You thought that it would finish me as an archer. But great masters always end up teaching something. By asking for my thumb, you made me learn to shoot with both hands and feet. And for this lesson, I offer my services to you in this war.”

Drona’s eyes filled with tears. He answered, “Yes, it is true, bounds and limits are in the mind. Real courage is fighting against wrong limits and respecting the correct ones. Ekalavya, you have taught me this….  limits of the mind.”

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‘aim’ … to target the limits of the mind

(~_~)

A long time ago there was a young samurai and his fiancé who were deeply in love. One day his fiancé was walking through the forest when she was attacked and seriously mauled by a man-eating tiger! No matter what the young samurai did, nothing could save her… and she died

From the depths of his sorrow he vowed to revenge his beloved, by seeking out the tiger and killing it.

So he took his bow and arrow and sought out into the forest, month after month in search of the man-eating beast. Searching daily in the forest, the samurai finally saw a sleeping tiger in the distance and concluded that this must be the tiger responsible for the death of his lover!

He drew his bow, took careful aim and released the arrow which found its mark and pierced the tiger’s body deeply. Drawing and mounting another arrow he slowly approached the motionless creature to confirm the kill… only to find his arrow stuck deeply into a striped colored stone which happened to resemble that of a sleeping tiger!

After this, everyone in the village began to talk about how strong he was, because he could pierce a stone with his arrow, and people became determined to test him. However, regardless of how many times he attempted to repeat the undertaking his arrows kept bouncing off the rock.

This was because he now realized that his target is only a stone. In the past his resolve had been so profound that he was actually able to physically pierce a stone with his arrow. However, now under different circumstances, he was unable to repeat the same feat.

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Moral of the story?

“A strong will can even pierce stone”. In other words, resolve can serve as a powerful vehicle for achieving seemingly impossibe things.

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This story reminded me of the mothers day post, if you missed the read,,, click here…

Tiger’s son

~another great tiger legend tale~

May you achieve seemingly impossibe goals today

(~_~)

Matajuro Yagyu was the son of a famous swordsman. His father, believing that his son’s work was too mediocre to anticipate mastership, disowned him.

So Matajuro went to Mount Futara and there found the famous swordsman Banzo. But Banzo confirmed the father’s judgment. “You wish to learn swordsmanship under my guidance?” asked Banzo. “You cannot fulfill the requirements.”

“But if I work hard, how many years will it take to become a master?” persisted the youth.

“The rest of your life,” replied Banzo.

“I cannot wait that long,” explained Matajuro. “I am willing to pass through any hardship if only you will teach me. If I become your devoted servant, how long might it be?”

“Oh, maybe ten years,” Banzo relented.

“My father is getting old, and soon I must take care of him,” continued Matajuro. “If I work far more intensively, how long would it take me?”

“Oh, maybe thirty years,” said Banzo.

“Why is that?” asked Matajuro. “First you say ten and now thirty years. I will undergo any hardship to master this art in the shortest time!”

“Well,” said Banzo, “in that case you will have to remain with me for seventy years. A man in such a hurry as you are to get results seldom learns quickly.”

“Very well,” declared the youth, understanding at last that he was being rebuked for impatience, “I agree.”

Matajuro was told never to speak of fencing and never to touch a sword. He cooked for his master, washed the dishes, made his bed, cleaned the yard, cared for the garden, all without a word of swordsmanship.

Three years passed. Still Matajuro labored on. Thinking of his future, he was sad. He had not even begun to learn the art to which he had devoted his life.

But one day Banzo crept up behind him and gave him a terrific blow with a wooden sword.

The following day, when Matajuro was cooking rice, Banzo again sprang upon him unexpectedly.

After that, day and night, Matajuro had to defend himself from unexpected thrusts. Not a moment passed in any day that he did not have to think of the taste of Banzo’s sword.

He learned so rapidly he brought smiles to the face of his master. Matajuro became the greatest swordsman in the land.

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“life in every breath”

the great battle… 

A martial arts student was working out when he asked his karate instructor, “What fighting style beats all other styles of martial arts.”

The Instructor thought a moment then replied, “A long a time ago, a fight broke out between Wind, Water and Fire.”

It all started when Wind said to the others, “I am wonderful. I am much more important then either of you. I am the most powerful thing on earth.”

And the others said, “You are not!”

And Wind said, “Yes I am. I help do many things. I dry out the land after a heavy rain. I help scatter the seeds and pollen so that plants can grow. I carry children’s kites and dry their family’s laundry. I carry clouds, butterflies and bees through the sky. And most important the Creator has used me to carry great signs to the people of the earth. I am very important”, said the Wind. And blew a big gust of hot air right into their faces.

“Is that so,” said fire. “Well, I bring warmth from the sun and light up the day. I cook food, keep people warm, and change clay into pottery. And most important, the Creator has used me even more than both of you to talk to the people of the earth. I am the most important thing on Earth.” And at that Fire leaped up and threw huge flames high in the air and made Wind and Water very hot indeed.

“You don’t know what your talking about,” said water. “I am better than both of you put together. I am home to millions of living creatures: fish, plants, whales, seals…oh so many that I can’t name them all. At that he paused to catch his breath and then continued. I give drink to those who are thirsty. What would the children do without me to swim in during the hot summer? But, most important the Creator has depended on me to do many things.To bless, purify, and quench the thirst of all Earth’s children. I am truly the Creators best and most wonderful thing.”

Wind was very angry. and said, “I carry the birds, bugs and bats. . . all kinds of things. How can you even think that you are greater then me. I am greater then the both of you for sure.”

At that the Wind puffed up his cheeks ever so big and blew as hard as he could. Fire leaped up high and Water hissed. They all yelled and shouted at the same time.

And the Earth, oh the poor Earth, it was such a mess.

The Wind blew things down, Fire burned things up and
Water gushed and flooded everything. It was terrible.

The Creator heard the three spirits making their awful noises, and heard the people on earth crying out for help. The Creator was very, very angry.

STOP!, commanded the Creator

. . . And all was silent.

The three spirits stopped and looked around and stared at the terrible mess they had made of the earth. They felt just terrible, because after all they weren’t totally bad spirits.

“We were being selfish”, said Fire.

 
“Yes, we were”, said Water.

 
“Look at what we have done,” said Wind.

 
“We have to fix it right now. ” So Water put out the fires, and Wind dried up the floods and Fire burned up all the things that Wind had wrecked.

Finally, all was back in order. “Do you know what?”, said Fire. “I have learned something from all of this. We don’t need to fight about which of us is the most important, because we are all important. The Creator has given each of us a special job to do.”

“Yes,” said Water. “We depend upon each other.”

“The more we work together and use the special talents given us, the happier we will be”, said Wind.

“Then the world will be a peaceful home for all of us.”

“So Water, Wind and Fire became good friends from that time on. And they behaved themselves most of the time except when Wind felt like a storm, or Fire felt like eating some trees, or Water decided to make a flood, no one’s perfect.”

The martial arts student then asked, “Which is the best? This does not tell me which style of martial arts is the best.”

The instructor replied, “They are all great styles, it is better to work in harmony with others rather than to be at war with others. All styles can be devastating, it is better to extend an open hand rather than to swing a fist in anger.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In martial arts the four elements are an important lesson. Each element compliments the other. Each needs the other to create the perfect balance in order for life to exist. The Korean flag has the four elements on it. (air is heaven here) Then there is the fifth element… Life!

A student asked his teacher, “What is the best way to live?”

The Zen Master answered, “Understand the elements and use them wisely, you will then discover the best way to live.”

 

may the elements be kind to you this day

 

since it is the year of the Dragon

If ever there was a wise man, it was the master of himself, the icon for Martial Arts and an inspiration of wisdom and enlightenment…

Bruce Lee … the Dragon!

Bruce Lee 1940–1973

This inspiring story is about Bruce Lee, a legendary martial art master.

“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile].

So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.”

I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”

He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.”

 I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-” if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.”

He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.

Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?”

He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

this story found here … Bruce Lee

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Born in the year of the Dragon on the hour of the Dragon destined Bruce Lee’s name “Little Dragon”

also called, “Small Phoenix” when he was very young.

Bruce Lee, born Lee Jun Fan, changed his name in order to be more like an American when he moved to the States.

nearly fourty years after his death and is still considered the number one martial artist of all times.

Don’t think, Feel, it is like a finger pointing out to the moon, don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There will be calmness, tranquility, when one is free from external objects and is not perturbed.

When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow – you are not understanding yourself.

If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.

Forget about winning and losing, forget about pride and pain

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The void is that which stands right in the middle of ‘this’ and ‘that’. The void is all-inclusive, having no opposite – there is nothing which it excludes or opposses. It is living void, because all forms come out of it and whosoever realizes the void is filled with life and power and the love of all things.

If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

exit, the Dragon

Art~

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