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Old 03-08-2008, 10:55 AM   #6
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 244
Re: Aiki strategy outside the dojo

A story that taught me "Everyday mastery"

He forced himself into the old man's residence. The old man listened as the young samurai demanded that he be taken as a student of the old sword master.

"I hear that you are the best swordsmen in the land. I have come to learn from you," he said pridefully.

The old man explained, "I am retired. I no longer take students," The young samurai huffed in disgust and now tried to cajole the old man with insults.

The old man instructed his servant to show the young samurai out the door. But, before doing so he said to the young man, "regardless of your arrogance, I feel sorrow for you. As such, I am going to give you a gift." The old man then took a flower from a nearby vase and handed to the servant to give to the young man. "This is what you seek," said the old man in finality.

The young man left Yagyu's home and then immediately threw the flower to the ground. A little boy who happened to be nearby, picked up the flower and brought it back to the inn where his mother worked.

A powerful samurai was staying at the time, waiting for his opportunity to meet a great teacher that resided in the town. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the little boy playing with the flower. Immediately, he called the boy over to him. He asked the boy to let him look at the flower. He then said to the boy, "Where did you get this flower...can you show me where you got it?"

The boy took the powerful samurai around the corner in front of the house where he found the flower. The samurai knocked on the door and was greeted by a servant. He told the servant, "I've come to return this flower to its owner. The servant took the flower to his master and then returned to grant the samurai entrance.

The Old Man greeted the samurai and asked him his name, "I am Mushashi," replied the samurai. "May I ask your name sir?" I am Yagyu.

Mushashi stated, "Sir, I have been waiting at the inn to meet you. I came to this village to take instruction from you. And now, I have met you by happenstance.

Instead of replying to Mushashi's request for instruction he asked "Where did you find this flower and why did you return it to this household?"

Mushashi explained how he had seen the young boy and how he asked the boy to take him to where he had found the flower. Mushashi then stated "The ikebana, the cut of the flower could only have been made by a master swordsmen."

Yagyu thanked Mushashi and then stated "I will not take you as a student. Mushashi held back his emotions of disappointment. To which Yagyu lastly replied, "You are already a master."

(Of course this story was a fictional account. There is no record that the two actually met. Nonetheless, the story changed my life.)

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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