Step-Up Like A Donkey Or Get Buried Like A Jackass

24 Jul

Goshin-Do Karate-Do (DeFelice-Ryu) has a vast treasure trove of myths, tales and fictionalized truths. This rich oral tradition, while couched in terms of the martial arts, provides insight into the challenges of life itself. After all, does not our karate training prepare us to “defend” ourselves against the daily challenges that would bury a lesser person?

Personal experience has led me to reflect on one such tale.

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal worriedly cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the animal. After all, it was just a jackass. The farmer invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

That’s Life. You will have the proverbial dirt shoveled on top of you. Draw on your training, especially the lessons of your kata; shake off the dirt and step up.

Respectfully submitted,

   szmitowski_print_small    HANKO-DEF-R-reverse

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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