A collection of parables and teaching stories from the martial arts traditions of Japan and China that emphasizes their spiritual foundation.
• The teaching stories in this book are based on the lives of martial arts masters and are meant to inspire questions and insights for the student.
• Written for martial artists and anyone interested in Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Zen, and Taoism.
True martial arts should never be confused with simple combat techniques. Rather, martial arts are a way that an individual, after a long and difficult apprenticeship, can gain a profound understanding of the true nature of reality and one's place in it. Over time the apprentice discovers the laws governing the subtle forces of life and realizes that their mastery is only possible after one has mastered oneself. "He who has mastered the Art doesn't use his sword: he compels his adversary to kill himself." This quote from renowned sword master Tajima no Kami perfectly expresses the paradoxical nature of martial arts teachings in China and Japan. These teaching stories are not moral fables; in fact they have nothing to prove. Their purpose is actually to inspire questions and insights that will aid the student to achieve self-realization.
Most of the stories in this book are based on actual events in the lives of martial arts teachers who have achieved legendary status. The almost superhuman abilities of some of the masters described here are evidence of the secret powers that can be wielded by those whose martial arts training is not simply the learning of physical techniques but involves the mastering of the subtle energies of the mind and body. Master of the Art of Archery Kenzo Awa could hit the center of a target even when shooting in total darkness. Assailants of Tai Chi master Yang Lu Chan found their blows did more damage to themselves than to their would-be victim. By reading--and comprehending--the tales in this book, we can acquire the same essential knowledge that these masters had--that extraordinary forces are within the grasp of those who have achieved inner peace and self-mastery.
"Even though it is now a cliche to say that learning a martial art is as much about learning to conquer oneself as it is about learning to conquer the enemy, most martial-arts books are still about the latter. Pascal Fauliot lends a refreshing voice to the field by excavating some of the great educative tales from the martial arts traditions of China and Japan. Not exactly moral tales, these stories exemplify the ideals of excellence in the martial arts, and are as entertaining as a feature film. Some of the scenarios you might expect: the master who is bushwhacked but comes out unscathed, or the master who sets his student to mundane tasks rather than fighting techniques. Others will surprise: the master who shatters an enormous piece of bamboo without touching it, or the bully who thrashes a little old man only to find himself bedridden the next day. Purportedly all true, these are inspirational stories about learning persistence, self-mastery, flexibility, concentration, and harnessing the invisible power of chi. They are also lighthearted, and retold with an expert touch that the master of any art would appreciate."
– Brian Bruya, Eastern Religion Editor, Amazon.com
"All readers should find the stories and simple commentary in this little book entertaining, instructive, or inspiring."
– Robert Ellwood , the quest, September - October 2001