|Me in a couple of more decades (sketch by Soke|
Sometimes I feel like a Shaolin monk and wish that my joss was favorable so I could win the next lottery. No, I'm not into fancy cars, just the perfect dojo (martial arts school). Whenever I visit the Japanese Friendship Gardens, I wonder if they would sell to me if I won the lottery?
Hey, while I was training at the Juko Kai International Clinic in New Braunfels, Texas last weekend one of my favorite people and best friend Hanshi Ron Smith, 10th dan, declared we were shaolin monks because of our lineage. And he's right. 'Shorin-Ryu' translates as 'Shaolin Style' and we are bringing a message of enlightenment to our students with the training of traditional karate and kobudo. (for those who lack enlightenment, 'traditional' suggests a method of martial arts training that have been taught for centuries and nothing like sport martial arts which leads to a different person altogther - remember the Karate Kid?). The only thing missing is living in a Shaolin temple so we can be influence by our surroundings 24-hours a day. Guess this is why the Japanese Peace Gardens of Phoenix are so attractive. But, when I win the lottery and buy the gardens, I'll move them to a mountain retreat away from downtown Phoenix and away the contrails from Sky Harbor and provide a sanctuary for all of my family members who would like to escape the rat race and begin a life of peace and a lifelong study of martial arts. But don't worry Phoenix, I don't buy lottery tickets - so you are safe for now.
|Japanese Friendship Gardens. Imagine re-locating the Arizona Hombu here. Talk about a perfect setting to study |
Personally, I get a little out of whack whenever I make a trip to Costco or Walmart with my wife where people act as if those grocery carts are weapons and threaten all who come near.
At one moment, when I am in the dojo and practicing kata, I'm at peace with the world. The next, I'm in Costco,and ready to produce impressions of grocery car rollers all of my opponents body. If only I had such a serene place to retreat as the Japanese Friendship Gardens, I might be able to be at peace with myself and the world and keep from practicing grocery cart kobudo on this next guy or house wife who refuses to yield space.