Great morning to you!
It’s such a great morning
that it makes me think…
is there any day on earth
that is not perfect for working out?
I had a student once,
his name was Nandor,
came from Hungary,
or one of those East European countries,
one of those communist countries.
We were talking one day,
I was quite curious about communism
how people dealt with it,
and all that,
and I asked him point blank,
why did you come to the United States.’
He was silent for a second,
but I could see the currents swirling in him,
I could feel the bottled up emotion
and he suddenly blurted,
in the most desperate tone of voice you could imagine,
“They wouldn’t let me study Karate.’
Blew me away.
But in those countries
and the other martial arts
were reserved for police and military
and the sons of the ruling politicians.
So he had left his home
and traveled halfway round the globe
so he could study Karate.
this brings me to the point of this newsletter…
how privileged you are
to be able to study the martial arts here.
for those of you in different countries,
let me share a bit of history,
because what we started here
will end up being true around the world,
it’s coming to your home town.
Here’s the story…
Let me start by saying that I used to own a private school.
I took the little Johnnies and Janies in
and taught them math and reading and writing and…
I used to get in trouble.
I had two kids who would laugh hysterically through my history class,
go home and tell their mother what I said,
and she would come in the next day
and threaten to pull her kids out.
she hated me.
But her kids loved…my history.
one of my lessons dealt with the United States,
and how she came to be.
there was once a bunch of fields and forests and things,
and these colonists were hunting and fishing
and having the time of their lives,
but their mean old father,
a guy name of Georgie the Third,
didn’t like it.
I guess he couldn’t go hunting and fishing,
and didn’t want anybody else to hunt and fish.
So he sent a bunch of his people over to the colonies
and told them to kick some colonial butt
and take some names.
these fellows from across the ocean
chased the colonists around
shot at them,
but they couldn’t win.
Not because the colonists were better,
but because they wouldn’t stand and fight.
They just kept shooting from behind trees
and running into the forests.
So time went on,
and that strategy probably would be working till this day,
but the people in charge of the colonists
wanted them to stand and fight.
So they marched to the top of this hill,
it was called Breed’s Hill.
It was a hot day,
the temperature over eighty.
The British had on these big winter coats,
lots of wool.
And they were carrying eighty pound packs.
And the British generals,
sipping their tea
and crunching their biscuits
gave the command to charge.
So these Johnny Yorkshires
ran up this big, old hill
wearing their heavy coats and packs,
and the colonists had themselves a duck shoot.
They just kept loading and firing
and shooting those British fellows down.
the charge failed,
the Liverpudlians came dragging back down the hill,
and the generals,
they were very upset.
coming back before the hill was won,
didn’t they know there was only so much tea and crumpets
the generals could eat?
another charge was ordered,
and the Sussex lads ran up that hill
slower and slower and…slower.
And the colonists shot more ducks,
the charge petered out
and the fellows from the Thames got tired
and turned around
and went back.
Now the generals were fit to be tied.
Tea and crumpets were about gone,
and those darned lollygagging fellows
from the shire
better just turn around and
go up that hill and…
asked some anonymous wag,
‘Could we take our coats and packs off?’
there was a lot of harrumping
and general clearing of the throats,
in the end,
the generals said it would be okay.
And a third charge was ordered.
those fine British lads charged up that hill,
shooting and fixing bayonets and…
and the colonists
(having run out of ammunition anyway)
turned around and left.
Headed for some forests somewhere.
So the British won the battle,
but the colonists said they had won,
and changed the name to Bunker’s Hill
(probably just to confuse matters),
and there was your history.
in this manner
the colonists won their independence.
Losing battle after battle,
until after Valley Forge.
During one winter,
the British set up in some comfortable inns.
at ham and pudding
and tea and crumpets,
and roasted marshmallows over the fire.
they would have roasted marshmallows,
if marshmallows had been invented.
Maybe they roasted hot dogs,
while the British were living the good life
the colonists weren’t.
Temperatures below zero.
So cold that the colonists ate the bark off of trees.
That was their veggies.
they tossed their shoe soles
into the soup.
Then they marched barefoot,
wrapping pieces of their coats around their feet
leaving bloody footprints.
if you didn’t keep moving,
then your feet froze solid
and those feet would get amputated
and thrown onto a rather large pile of used feet.
After Valley Forge
the colonists were different.
They had survived an enemy so harsh,
the British weren’t much.
Then the Colonists were willing to fight,
and then they were willing to learn
how to stand up and face the enemy.
I could tell you more,
but let me ask you a couple of questions,
and point some things out.
Have you taken advantage of your life
to study the martial arts
as best you could?
you might live in some country
where you had to join the military
or be a politician’s son
if you wanted to learn martial arts.
Have you tossed off the restraints
and made yourself
into something special?
That’s question number one.
Question number two:
Have you endured a Valley Forge?
This could be great or small,
but it is the point at which you wished to quit,
Maybe a desire to slack out of class one night,
maybe working extra at the plant to afford classes.
have you overcome that which would stop you
and make you less than you are?
no third question,
but a point I wish to make.
We live in the best of times
and the worst of times.
You can study whatever art you wish,
you can be strong,
healthy and wealthy,
maybe even wise.
Some people say the world is in trouble.
The Sheiks are going to come for us,
the communists are going to enslave us,
the bankers are going to charge us a fee.
I say the world is on the brink…
of a great breakthrough.
I say that the freedom that was rung in
at Bunker Hill
and Valley Forge
and won by American Johnnies and Janies
at home and abroad
is about to burst upon the world.
it depends on you.
It depends on you being willing to stand and fight,
on you being willing to endure
and mean people,
and to come out on top
in the end.
That’s what it depends on.
I celebrate July 4.
That is the day it started.
That was the day the world changed forever.
If you live in the US…
If you live outside the US
you can be an American anywhere.
You can believe in liberty
and the right of men
to be sovereign.
Being American is not a political statement,
it is a statement of belief and spirit.
It is a desire to stand up to the fellows who say no,
and say yes.
you can’t stop me.
I am going forward.
And just remember,
somewhere in the world
Nandor is doing martial arts.
He was in the heart of the beast
and he said no,
and he made yes happen.
that’s all I’ve got to say,
except that here is the obligatory URL.
Temple Karate is the Art being created
by people halfway around the world
around the time
the Americans were fighting for freedom.
Something to think about.
that all said,
Happy Independence Day!
I’ll be out of town,
up Santa Cruz way
over the 4th.
I won’t be out of touch,
computers are everywhere,
so happy Fourth
and make sure you
and light firecrackers.
It’s the American thing to do,
“Think of the frog with its legs hanging out of the stork’s mouth and with its hand around the stork’s throat. NEVER GIVE UP!” ~ Unknown