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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Retelling an old story

Retelling an old story

The Master Swordsman

In old Japan, the ultimate weapon was the sword. It was a much respected weapon often carried by a samurai and other people of Japan’s violent past. There have been many stories told about these skilful swordsmen and their incredible feats of valor. The following is about how a man became one of the most skilful swordsmen in Japan.

A brash young man approached a renowned master swordsman and beseeched the master to teach him how to use the sword. The master refused and asked him to go away, but the young man was very persistent. Finally the master relented and accepted the young man as a pupil.

For the next two years the master forbade the young man to even touch a sword and was given all sorts of chores to do. He had to cut firewood, fetch water, sweep the floor and attend to the master’s every need. The young man did everything as told but as time went on he grew impatient.

One day he asked the master why he still never received any sword-fighting lesson. In reply the master took a stick and hit him so hard that he had to run away.

From that day on the master would come up on him when he least expected it and beat him with a stick. He could not fight back for the master was far better a fighter than he.

The beatings continued while he had to carry out his chores. But gradually he learned to dodge and parry the master’s blows. After a year of this harsh beatings, he became very adept in anticipating and avoiding the blows. Soon he could cope with anything the master threw at him.

As his skill in avoiding the beatings increased he realized that this was the master’s way of teaching him how to deal with being attacked! What a strange way the master used, but it worked, for now he could handle any attack.

The master, on seeing that this young man had become so adept in avoiding being attacked, then gave him a sword and taught him how to handle a sword properly.

After a short time the young man became very skilful in handling a sword. So the master told him that it was time for him to leave. The young man knew now that the master had first taught him to be humble by making him do all sorts of chores. Next he learned how to cope with being attacked and finally he learned how to handle a sword. All these things he learned without really realizing it. So with a heart full of gratitude to the master, he left and continued to be one of the greatest swordsmen Japan had ever known.

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