Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm far from the top...

One of my favorite things to do when I have a few moments of freedom from my responsibilities as a mother, and martial artist is to surf the net, and learn about various things (mainly karate based information)

I stumbled across this biography of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi, and found an interesting challenge in it.

"Gichin Funakoshi was a humble man. He preached and practiced an essential humility. He did not preach the humility of virtue, but a basic humility of a man who is rooted in the true perspective of things, full of life and awareness. He lived at peace with himself and with his fellow men.

Whenever the name of Gichin Funakoshi is mentioned, it brings to mind the parable of "A Man of Tao ( Do ) and a Little Man". As it is told, a student once asked, "What is the difference between a man of Tao and a little man?" The sensei replies, "It is simple. When the little man receives his first dan (degree or rank), he can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of his voice to tell everyone that he has obtained his first dan. Upon receiving his second dan, he will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon receiving his third dan, he will jump in his automobile and parade through town blowing the horn, telling one and all about his third dan".

The sensei continues, "When the man of Tao receives his first dan, he will bow his head in gratitude. Upon receiving his second dan, he will bow his head and his shoulders. Upon receiving his third dan, he will bow at the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see him or notice him".

Funakoshi was a man of Tao. He placed no emphasis whatsoever on competitions, record breaking or championships. He placed emphasis on individual self-perfection. He believed in the common decency and respect that one human being owes another. He was the master of masters. "


Oh gosh.. what was the first thing that I did when I achieved Shodan? I contacted as many of my friends, and family as soon as I could to share my joy. I didn't just bow my head in gratitude. I remember laying there on my bed unable to sleep with a big smile on my face thinking "Unbelievable! I'm a Black belt." In my defense, I didn't contact others to brag, or boast, but more to allow them to join me in a deep important moment of my life.

Hopefully, by the time I achieve Nidan, I will accept that rank change with just a bow, and a willingness to accept anonimity because I am MORE than my belt rank.

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