In the province of Che-chiang, south of Chu-chou on the Divine Continent of Aparagodovaniya, stood a mountain 10,032 feet tall, and on it was a tip exactly 365 hands long and twenty-four cubits in circumference, so as to mimic the divine perfection of the 365 solar days and the 24 seasonal terms that the world was divided into. It was known as Lan-k’o Shan, the Rotted Axe Handle Mountain. And in the village at the foot of the great mountains dwelled a boy who was curious, and in his curiosity he would go to every adult he could find and ask them every question he could find.
And if the grass grows during the Jingzhe, when insects wake, why does it
Sleep in winter, when man still walks? Does it tire as a man or a lion tires?
Does it eat as a man eats? If man harvests the rice and the grain to feed
Himself, does the grass harvest man to feed himself and his children both?
For when man returns to the soil, does it not feed the grass as the man once-
And as the young curious boy spoke, the adults would flee at the very sound of his presence. They had wood to chop and rice to harvest, and their work was always beguiled by his idle speech and incessant questions. When the boy watched them would sometimes even follow them to their woods where they harvested lumber and to their rice paddies.
Finally, the boy did find an older man, a man who had the years of wizened service to himself and his village. The boy entered the man’ser hut and sat down.
He had mottled and leathery skin that looked as a rug from the West
And yet it had seen years of use;
a cobra who had forgotten to shed his skin
and be reborn.
His skin was old, but kept in good health;
an ancient bauble from the Celestial Court passed
down, but kept in a reliquary so as to preserve it.
The young boy asked the man many questions until the man smiled and answered them all, one by one. And then the young boy asked the old man about what the name of the mountain meant; why it was Lan-k’o Mountain (Axe-handle mountain). The man stared at the young boy for a long time before he told him.
I had a friend who was annoying as hell and really got on my nerves but happened to be hot. Anyway, mutual dislike matured into mutual attraction and i developed a huge crush on her. Anyway my friends were telling me to stay away because outwardly she seemed like a fucking nightmare and they knew we didnt get on. Anyway i ignored them and an awkward yet exciting argument at a works party later we got together. It was amazing. Mutual hatred turned out to be mutual awkward sexual attraction neither of us wanted to accept. But once our lips touched it all made sense.
A few blissful months later she was diagnosed with leukemia and i was distraught. The love of my life was on the precipice of oblivion with only myself as the single thread of hope.
By an incredible coincidence i had the same blood type and so my marrow was a match to hers so i was able to donate my marrow to save her life.
I had an audition at a movie studio. I showed up at one of the entrances to sign in. There were numerous people in the small room I was in. A lady walked toward the exit door to leave. She went out of the door. As she left, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her take a few stutter steps. I turned toward her, she stuttered a little more, and then she fell face first into the concrete sidewalk without sticking her arms out to brace herself from the fall or anything. A pool of blood started forming on the concrete underneath her face. I looked around, and no one else had noticed that she fell. I notified the guards that were there. They looked at her bleeding on the ground, motionless, and said they weren’t allowed to help her for “liability reasons”. I said “WHAT!?” I went down toward her and turned her over. Her face was broken and a mask of blood from the impact of the fall upon the concrete. I looked at her, and remember thinking to God “Okay, God, if this is the moment you’re going to pick to give me aids or some disease cuz I’m going to try to help this woman, then fuck you. You’re an asshole.” and I immediately started giving her mouth-to-mouth CPR – her blood all over her mouth and nose and everything.
I saved my best friend’s and my own life with a joke.
We were living in a tiny cabin in SE Alaska. A local dog with tags reading “Joey Hughes” had been hanging around our place a lot so when we heard some animaly noises right around the door my friend called out softly “Joey Hughes?” A brown bear yearling peeked its head inside our ten by ten cabin and proceeded to take an exploratory step inside.
Now of course this all happened in about 5 seconds. I understood the situation but my danger brain had not yet kicked in when I whispered (quite unnecessarily), “That’s not Joey Hughes.”
Sometimes the best wit reveals obvious truths.
The half hysterical giggle this statement elicited from my buddy startled the bear and it halted its approach, then backed out. If the whole bear had entered the only way out would have been a three point turn or through our frail human bodies. I think you know which option the bear would have chosen.
You could say it was the giggle, not my ill (perfectly) timed joke that stopped the bear but you’d be wrong.
Source: Empty Flower
Twenty years ago I decided to go to China to continue my traditional martial arts training. I lived in a smaller city in a rural province and hooked up with a group of Xingyi practioners in their mid 50’s – 80’s who had reps for their abilities.
My teacher brought me over to his teacher’s house one day and we hit it off well and later he invited to come visit him. When I got there he got pretty excited telling me he wanted to teach me, that my teacher didn’t know crap, that he could defeat him instantly and I should study with him. I said I would like to study Xingyi with him. His response was “Xingyi — Bah — I want to teach you real fighting.” That surprised me that the top Xingyi dog in town didn’t equate Xingyi with real fighting.
Unfortunately his wife, who was the head coach for the provincal Wushu program and later invited me to study Tai Chi with her, got word to me she didn’t want me to come over because her husband had a bad heart and got too excited when he was showing me things.
In high school, our AP Economics teacher was also one of the sponsors of our Senior Class (to collect dues, advise event planning, etc.). One morning, she started her class with “the importance of being responsible” and proceeded to tell the story of a senior girl who claimed to have paid her senior dues (that were due that day), but could not show a receipt, and therefore would not be attending the prom happening that week. The teacher verbally lambasted this girl’s character, calling her a liar and telling us that her tears were not going to change the situation. All of this while never admitting any fault for record-keeping (which was shoddy at best) or ever once giving her any benefit of the doubt.
When it was ultimately revealed who the girl was through our questioning, and we found out that she marched next to me in drumline (who i talked to everyday, who worked to take care of her family and didn’t have a lot of money as it was), I went ballistic. “She’s one of the most responsible people in our class! There’s NO way possible that she didn’t pay her dues.” Down the hall, I could feel this friend’s tears, knowing that she had just saved enough to buy her dress the previous weekend and had finalized her plans. Our classroom rallied behind me, pleading with our teacher to give her a break or some time to pay it back, even if it was her fault. But the teacher was relentless. “Sorry, rules are rules, Mr. R___. I can’t just let anyone who claimed to pay their dues waltz into prom, now can I?”
Source: In Context
A story from the late aikido teacher Terry Dobson.
The train clanked and rattled through the suburbs of Tokyo on a drowsy spring afternoon. Our car was comparatively empty—a few housewives with their kids, some old folks going shopping. I gazed absently at the drab houses and dusty hedgerows.
At one station the doors opened, and suddenly the afternoon quiet was shattered by a man bellowing violent, incomprehensible curses. The man staggered into our car. He wore laborer’s clothing, and he was big, drunk, and dirty. Screaming, he swung at a woman holding a baby. The blow sent her spinning into the laps of an elderly couple. It was a miracle that the baby was unharmed.
Terrified, the couple jumped up and scrambled toward the other end of the car. The laborer aimed a kick at the retreating back of the old woman but missed as she scuttled to safety. This so enraged the drunk that he grabbed the metal pole in the center of the car and tried to wrench it out of its stanchion. I could see that one of his hands was cut and bleeding. The train lurched ahead, the passengers frozen with fear. I stood up.
I was young then, some twenty years ago, and in pretty good shape. I’d been putting in a solid eight hours of aikido training nearly every day for the past three years. I liked to throw and grapple. I thought I was tough. Trouble was, my martial skill was untested in actual combat. As students of aikido, we were not allowed to fight.
“Aikido,” my teacher had said again and again, “is the art of reconciliation. Whoever has the mind to fight has broken his connection with the universe. If you try to dominate people, you are already defeated. We study how to resolve conflict, not how to start it.”
I listened to his words, I tried hard. I even went so far as to cross the street to avoid the chimpira, the pinball punks who lounged around the train stations. My forbearance exalted me. I felt both tough and holy. In my heart, however, I wanted an absolutely legitimate opportunity whereby I might save the innocent by destroying the guilty.
This is it! I said to myself as I got to my feet. People are in danger. If I don’t do something fast, somebody will probably get hurt.