- A hungry
- One day a hungry old man
entered a small village and noticed a sign proclaiming
the name of a local iaido (sword) school.
- Knowing that it was
customary for a dojo's sensei (teacher) to accept all
challenges the old man decided upon a very dangerous plan.
- If he could entice the
sensei into a duel and be defeated but not killed, he
would then by tradition be offered food and drink, as
well as a place to sleep for the night.
- Summoning up all of his
courage the old man approached the dojo and then walking
boldly in he proclaimed his intention to challenge the
sensei to a duel. In response a senior student stepped
forward, introduced himself, and said that his sensei was
at home resting but that he would gladly accept the
challenge in his place. The old man refused and instead
asked that a student be sent to the sensei's home to tell
him of the challenge.
- Upon hearing his students
report of the events that had just taken place the sensei
immediately put on his swords and hurried to the dojo.
When the sensei arrived he and the old man politely bowed
to each other and in turn introduced themselves, after
which the old man re-issued his challenge, but explained
that it was not his intention to challenge for ownership
of the dojo as was sometimes the case, this duel was
merely to be a test of each man's skill with a sword. The
sensei accepted and because of the nature of the
challenge and they agreed to fight using only wooden
bokken (practice swords) so that if a customary fatal cut
was made neither man would be killed.
- The old man in truth had no
skill at all with a sword, he was simply seeking a meal
and a place to rest and this plan had seemed to offer the
best prospect for success and so as he stood facing the
dojo's sensei across the tatami mat he just held the
wooden sword very casually at his side. The sensei upon
observing how open the old man was to an attack and how
unbelievably foolish his defensive posture appeared,
suddenly began to believe that this duel might not have
been such a good idea after all. Slowly in his mind he
began to wonder about the old man's skill and in turn he
began to doubt himself and his own chances for victory.
- He knew, however, that his
own reputation and that of his dojo was at stake and so
he took an aggressive posture. For what seemed a very
long time the two men just stood there facing one
another, neither of them made even the slightest move.
The old man for his part could not understand what was
taking so long, but he knew he had no choice in the
matter, all he could do was wait for the sensei to attack
and claim his victory. The sensei on the other hand had
by now thoroughly convinced himself that he did indeed
face a true iaido master, but even so he knew that he
must do something very soon and so he started to move
towards the old man, determined to press home his attack
with all of his skill even though he felt sure now that
he had no chance of winning.
- The old man seeing the look
on the sensei's face and sensing that he was about to be
attacked in full force quickly dropped his sword and
falling to his knees he broke down and confessed that he
in fact had no skill at all with the sword, going on to
explain that he had not eaten in days and that he had
hoped merely to survive the challenge and then be offered
a meal and a place to sleep for the night.
- Upon hearing this the
sensei was suddenly overcome with the realization that by
allowing his own doubts to fill his mind, and by
fantasizing about his opponents abilities, he had almost
- He decided then and there
to change the name of his sword style to "Mu Nen Ryu"
- "The School of No Thought".
- In life
things are not always as the seem, knowing how to
fiction can often be the difference between success and
- Part the
clouds - see the way.
objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
- of the
human spirit through physical and mental training."