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The Lighter Side


This is one of my favorite stories. It illustrates how we in the west sometimes take things too seriously in the martial arts and at times demand reverence and strict attention to correct detail when a Japanese teacher might be less stringent.

My friend was in Japan studying with his sensei. One day before class the sensei told his students that they were to practice formal bowing that day – the only time in many months that they did this.

The day was especially hot and muggy and class was held in the basement of a large building (tucked away in the bottom of a large library). They all lined up to begin class, and the direction in which they bowed had one of those in-wall air conditioning units (turned on full blast). As they bowed in the direction of shomen, their Sensei dramatically intoned, "Mitsubishi no kami sama..." (“God of Mitsubushi”) -- Mitsubushi referring to the brand of the air conditioner

So much for reverence.

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