One day my son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I think I want to learn Karate. Now this gladdened my heart. Over thrity years of martial arts at the time, and I had never forced my sons to do the art. I had encouraged them, talked to them about the benefits, but never forced them.
The Art is something that should come from the heart, and if it wasn’t in their heart…then I shouldn’t try to force it.
So you can understand my gladness when one son finally decided to learn the martial arts–it was a chance to give him what can’t be expressed in words. Well, maybe it can, at least a little: virtue, strong body, a spirit that won’t quit, things like that.
So I started up a class for him, and shortly I had a half a dozen students, and it turned into the toughest, most brutal class I ever had. And, interestingly, a motto appeared from nowhere, and I’m going to tell you what it was. Before I do, however, let me tell you a couple of things about that class.
I had six students. Of the six, M had broken fingers the whole year I taught it. S cried during every class. J ran out the door and down the street several times. We broke my son. Actually chunked out his sternum. B nearly died, Of all, only C didn’t get serious injury. We don’t count bruises, bloody noses, black eyes, shins and forearms beat to a raw pulp, or things like that.
Now I tell you this because I want you to know what these guys went through, and what drove them. What motto inspired them.
But, before I tell you about this motto, I want you to understand what a gentle soul I am. I wouldn’t hurt the flea on the back of a dog. I wouldn’t even hurt the dog. (Unless it’s a Chihuahua, sorry, if it’s a Chihuahua then all bets are off. I think every Chihuahua should have VOIT tattooed on it’s hairless little…fanny.)
Anyway, Chihuahuas aside, I am a gentle soul. But there comes a time when you have to get the job done.
And when some people are blubbering about how rough life is, I want you to remember the motto we lived by in the toughest class I ever taught, a class run by a gentle soul, for gentle souls, The motto was:
DEATH BEFORE INCOMPETENCE!
Don’t mean to shout at you, but, be polite, open the doors for ladies, help your neighbor move his refrigerator, even… bite your lip when there is a Chihuahua around.
Be a thorough and utter gentlemen. But, when push comes to shove, when somebody has to do the blankety blank job, when everybody else is blubbering and feeling sorry for themselves, and saying it can’t be done…
Roll up your sleeves, put a grin on yer not unhandsome face, give a little growl of satisfaction and whisper to yourself….
DEATH BEFORE INCOMPETENCE!
And, having said that, excuse me, but I need to go do some Tai Chi.
Al Case (sometimes referred to as ‘The Master Founder’) has 40 yrs exp in the martial arts and is a professional writer. He is the discover of matrixing technology and neutronics. He is the webmaster at MonsterMartialArts.com