The Zen of the Martial Arts
I’m going to go all zen on you today,
so check out now if you think philosophy is garbage.
probably the best definition for philosophy I ever heard
came from Bill Cosby.
He was asking the question,
‘Why is there air.’
All the philosophy professors would ask this
and that would lead them into a discussion of the cosmos
and life and everything.
And he said it’s a dumb question,
Just ask any coach and they’ll tell you
‘Air is so we can fill up balls.’
With that bit of droll humor in mind,
zen is supposed to be very philosophical.
but we’ll just let that sit for a while.
So when I was about 15 or 16
my brother comes home and he tells me a joke.
‘What is the difference between a duck?’
I look at him blankly,
it makes. no sense,
I shake my head
and he says:
‘One leg is both the same.’
And he walks off laughing hysterically.
Probably doesn’t even know what a ball is for.
But here’s the funny thing.
When I think back over my life,
that 73 long years that went by in a snap,
I don’t remember the jokes I heard.
I must have heard THOUSANDS of jokes!
But none of them were worth remembering.
But that joke about the duck,
and one leg being both the same,
it is vivid,
seared into me.
and I can’t forget it.
So my brother’s joke has had incredible impact on my life.
Which makes it the greatest joke of all time.
At least for me.
it has zen implications.
the most famous zen saying of all time
‘what is the sound of one hand clapping.’
Tell me that doesn’t make as much sense as:
‘what’s the difference between a duck?’
let’s translate that zen ‘joke’ to the martial arts.
‘What is the difference between a martial artist?’
And there are two very distinct un-zenlike answers.
And the answers,
applied to life,
result in two types of people.
The first type of person is one who needs to be entertained.
The second type of person is one who doesn’t need to be entertained.
And what the heck does that mean?
A lot, thank you, and here we go…
People are either creators,
or they are created.
People either search out something to entertain them,
or they produce.
This isn’t an absolute,
It’s one of those scales like:
to the degree that one produces
to that degree he doesn’t need to be entertained.
to the degree that one is entertained,
to that degree he doesn’t produce.
I look at kids today,
needing to be entertained by a brainless video game.
and I would be disgusted,
except I used to bury my head in a book.
I needed to be entertained.
Where this would have gone I don’t know,
because I discovered martial arts,
as you all know,
the martial arts seriously warps personalities.
instead of needing to be entertained,
to read the latest book,
to go to the latest movie,
to waste time chattering over the latest stupid joke,
I started working.
I worked out,
learning and doing forms,
repeating them endlessly,
looking for some odd concept called…’perfection.’
Could I turn the hand right,
could I snap the foot perfectly,
could I perceive the attack before it came.
It didn’t happen fast,
it was more like a slow cook,
but I stopped needing to be entertained.
I started creating.
Instead of reading books
I started writing books.
Instead of wanting to be absorbed by a movie,
I wanted to be absorbed by a form.
Instead of needing to be entertained,
I entertained myself…by producing.
I became a totally and utterly different human being.
What a weird metamorphoses.
Hopefully you now understand the point,
you see the zen of it all.
The end of life comes too fast
and you need to hurry to get everything done,
but you won’t get anything done
if you’re sitting around trying to be entertained.
And that’s the difference between a duck.
have a great work out!
Stop being entertained by fake movies
and learn how to use a real weapon
And don’t forget to check out the interview
I’m always pushing my novels,
did you know I write other stuff?
If you want to know the truth about government,
why we have riots and why idiots keep getting into office,
why the government seems to do the exact wrong thing
almost ALL the time…
then check out:
THE SCIENCE OF GOVERNMENT!