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2 friends
Long ago in Japan there were two lifelong friends who were both Kyu-Do masters. One night while they were drinking at a nearby tavern, they got into a violent argument. Alcohol will do that even to the best of friends. They decided it would be best if they took separate roads home. One took the high pass, while the other walked in the valley. About half way home, a lot more sober and a lot calmer, the one who had selected the high road heard something down below. When he looked he saw his friend, now his ex-friend, preparing to release an arrow at him. He realized immediately that he was dead, but with the reactions acquired through many years of practice he notched an arrow to his own bowstring and released it down into the valley. Just as he did so, he heard something behind him, he turned and saw a mountain lion fall dead with an arrow in its throat. He then quickly turned and looked into the valley and saw his friend dead with his arrow in his heart.

Always remember that all arrows and most harsh words should be saved until one is absolutely positive of the target, and even then there are much worse things than receiving an insult or even an arrow to your own body. We can ill afford to lose any more masters.

-- LR August 28, 2011

The Beauty of Old Weapons

Why would anyone choose to study a martial arts weapon, when the modern weapons are so much more efficient? In other words, why would you choose the Katana over an M-16 or a pair of Sai over an RPG?

The answer is quite simple. You wouldn’t, not if your goal is to kill everything in sight.  The modern weapons are built to kill much more efficiently; that's why they have replaced the ancient weapons. 

As long as you don't care about being in harmony with your environment, the modern weapon is your friend.  Like so many technological marvels, modern weapons are absolutely perfect tools for the job. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world. 

Let me give you some analogies.  If you wish to create a perfect picture, why use a brush and paint?  A digital camera and Photoshop will turn out a perfect picture every time.  Why would anyone play a real piano when, by its very definition, the instrument regularly goes out of tune, whereas an electric piano produces a perfect note every time?  Why would anyone take all the time necessary to cook a full meal, when they can simply pop something in the microwave that will take only a few minutes, will look better, taste better and in general will be perfect

The answer, of course, is obvious: There's something missing from the perfect picture, the perfect sound, and the perfect meal.  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say something has been added to make them truly perfect

In the 70 years that I have lived on this planet, physics has gone from an exact science to an almost exact science. That pesky Einstein and his quantum physics screwed everything up. Einstein comes up with some crazy idea that nothing is absolute or perfect. So even when you create something that's perfect, it's not, it's just a little farther out from the center of nature, because perfection does not occur in nature.

Now back to the original question, Why would anyone choose to study a martial arts weapon?
If you're looking for beauty, peace, tranquility and the sense of accomplishment that can come from mastering one of the ancient martial arts weapons, you can find them all in the art of Kobu-jitsu.

My teacher used to say, "Try to make your martial arts as ordinary as possible. Everyone else is trying to make theirs extraordinary, therefore everyone will perceive the ordinary as something extraordinary.”  It took me years to really understand what he was talking about.

May your martial arts bring you the peace, joy, tranquility and beauty that mine has brought me over the past half-century.

-- LR August 14, 2011

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Do-No-Kai Temple, in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, is dedicated to the promotion of true martial arts through the dissemination of technique, philosophy and information. This page is given over to philosophical and informative articles and stories from Shihan Riddle, in the time-honored tradition of martial arts teachers around the world and across the generations.

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