The Martial Arts Zen Master, the Cleaver, and the Pot


Martial Arts Zen Master Training!

Speaking of a Martial Arts Zen Master, I drive my wife crazy.

zen masterWe have these pots and pans, you see, like any family. And these pots and pans are old and dented, black on the bottom,need to be replaced, but I am too cheap.

So a few months ago a glass pot broke. It was the glass pot I used. My wife was kind enough  to buy me a new pot.

Over the months I have used that pot for everything. Mush to meat, I cook, and the pot, oddly, stays shiny. In fact, it looks new; you can’t even tell that it has been used.

Drives my wife crazy. “Why can’t you make the other pots and pans shiny?”

Because I began my Martial Arts Zen Master training after the pots were bruised.

There is a story about a Butcher who was a zen master. Year after year he chopped meat, and he never went to get his cleaver sharpened. He chopped bones, sunk the blade into the chopping block, and it never got dull.

One day the local blade sharpener asked the butcher why he never needed his cleaver sharpened.

The butcher replied, “I chop with awareness.”

And, when I cook, I cook with awareness. Awareness built by decades of Karate and Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan practice. Don’t turn the flame too high. Don’t cook too short or too long. Do this, and other small actions, by observing what you are doing. Build awareness in the small actions of your life, and your life will become larger.

To be truthful, I don’t claim to be a zen master, rather a zen beginner, but I am making progress.

When I start to get  frustrated with a task, I calm myself down and look for the small pieces that are unsetting the larger whole.

When I write and the words are becoming disjointed, I go back to the beginning and look for the one word, in the one sentence, where I turned left instead of right; where I left the intent of my written communication.

When I do a martial arts form, I never go faster than I can become aware, and I examine the form or the technique for the small movement that derails the whole sequence.

It’s in there. If things aren’t going right, then I made a mistake, and I just have to slow myself down enough to look for it.

And, heck, if I can keep doing this, and even get better at it, then maybe I, too, can become a real, live Martial Arts Zen Master.zen master training

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