Once upon a time in China, some believe around the year one double-ought three, head priest of the White Lotus Clan, Pai Mei, was walking down the road, contemplating whatever it is that a man of Pai Mei's infinite power contemplates – which is another way of saying "who knows?" – when a Shaolin monk appeared on the road, traveling in the opposite direction. As the monk and the priest crossed paths, Pai Mei, in a practically unfathomable display of generosity, gave the monk the slightest of nods. The nod was not returned.
Now, was it the intention of the Shaolin monk to insult Pai Mei? Or did he just fail to see the generous social gesture? The motives of the monk remain unknown. What is known were the consequences.
The next morning Pai Mei appeared at the Shaolin Temple and demanded of the Temple's head abbot that he offer Pai Mei his neck to repay the insult. The Abbot at first tried to console Pai Mei, only to find Pai Mei was inconsolable.
So began the massacre of the Shaolin Temple and all sixty of the monks inside at the fists of the White Lotus. And so began the legend of Pai Mei's five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique.
-- Bill, Kill Bill 2
This may sound trivial for some but then this was more than a saga for all of us. This quote is just to give an introduction, but read on below !
"The ultimate aim of the art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the characters of its participants."
- Gichin Funakoshi
Two months ago when we met our master, we had no idea that she would be our bellwether guiding us using her "empty hands". Karate as a form of personal strength and to gain extra control over oneself was one of the sole motivation.
It all began at our "Dojo" (school) at Ananya this summer when we were training with kids for the Sunfeast 10K and during one of our breakfast discussions the idea of "Karate" cropped in as a cross training from a photographer who was capturing us at the volleyball matches with the kids. Who knew that she would become our Sensei who would lead all of us into this odyssey which seems like a journey in progress now.
We asked her, "onegaishimasu Sensei", Please teach me/us and that is how it all began. Tuesdays and Saturdays after the run we all diligently went through classes and practiced extensively during the last two weeks.
Today as America celebrated its independence we headed towards the first step, the Yellow Belt and all of us came out in flying colors.
What are you waiting for? You're faster than this. Don't think you are, know you are. Come on. Stop trying to hit me and hit me.
--Morpheus, The Matrix
This is what was that was going through during the endurance tests. Our Morpheous was Sensei Manjula under whom we've trained for the last two months. I could hear her chip in when I was about to give up during the endurance training and she occurred to me like Morpheous.
Though I just about reached the end, it was one heck of an endurance. Though I've been running all this while but I guess on the endurance aspect I've got a long long way to go and I'm sure as I graduate through these early days we all will come out much stronger.
Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle. In short, enter a mold without being caged in it. Obey the principle without being bound by it. LEARN, MASTER AND ACHIEVE!!!
-- Bruce Lee
This just a baby step that we all have taken and I'm sure there is a long way to go.
Aregato to Sensei Manjula, Sensei Rani and my training mates Vinodh, Narmada and Banna !
Thanks to George, Suman and Shivamma for a wonderful breakfast and lunch. Ananya is more than a home to all of us.
I'll finally end it with an anonymous quote below:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”
(Pic Courtesy: Sensei Manjula)