I remember hearing Master Earwood say, “Bring an empty cup to class”, and not fully realizing what it meant. After training in the martial arts for many years, I can say I finally understand it’s significance.
Whether you train for a short while or are a life-long martial artist, you always need to keep an open mind to your martial arts training.
Meaning, there is always a way to train better, smarter or more efficient.
Unfortunately, many students reach a point in their karate training, usually at Brown belt or higher, where they believe they know it all. They have reached a point of excellence (usually in their own minds) that they no longer need to train because they simply are TOO GOOD.
Master Earwood was right to “plant the seed” early in my martial arts training because I have always looked to learn new systems or new ways of training. I believe this is the only way you can really excel in the martial arts.
Have you heard the story about the samurai and the Zen master?
Once upon a time, there lived a wise Zen master in Japan. People from all over the world would visit him to ask for wisdom about life.
One day, a famous samurai came to visit the master.
“I am a great warrior. I have come today to ask you to teach me wisdom. Open my mind to enlightenment, master.”
The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss it over a cup of tea.
As they sat down, the master poured the samurai a cup.
He poured and he poured. As the tea rose to the top of the cup, it began to spill over the table.
The samurai shouted “Stop! You are spilling the tea everywhere. Can’t you see the cup is full, old man?”
The Zen master stopped pouring, and smiled at his guest.
“You are like this tea cup. So full of yourself that nothing more can be added.
Come back to me when your cup is empty, because there is nothing I can teach you.”
The samurai ran out and never returned.
Next time you attend class or participate in a seminar, will your cup be full or half empty?
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Sensei Chris Feldt is the owner and chief instructor of Samurai Karate Studio, a leadership academy located in Northeast Columbia, South Carolina. His school teaches karate to children and adults ages 4 and up. SKS specializes in self-defense, anti-bullying, stranger danger and character and leadership development.
Mr. Feldt was an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina for college credit in karate and self-defense.
Samurai Karate Studio has been recognized as a leader in martial arts instruction by being honored with the Best of Columbia Award for four consecutive years in a row.
Sensei Feldt has been a guest speaker in the Richland 2 School District covering school talks on stranger danger, anti-bullying strategies, kindness, and making good choices. He is available for both private and corporate self-defense seminars.