The Tale Of Two Tigers

The Story of Respect

There is an ancient story of respect told by explaining the respect that tigers have for one another in the jungle. They respect one another, give each other distance and seldom fight each other. The story goes that they understand that should they fight; the outcome would surely be that one would die and the other would be maimed for life.

This used to be the respect black belts and warriors held for one another, but today I am afraid that we have drifted to a level of talking smack, disrespect, and ego’s beyond control. From my experience, many times the ones that speak the loudest are the ones that have the least skill and are merely puffing out their chest.

Imagine two warriors, facing one another with razor sharp swords knowing that the law of “One Encounter, One Chance” is in effect and in a matter of minutes, there are going to be four possible conclusions, and only one will offer the opportunity to survive.

The first option is they both miss during the initial engagement and must set up for the second attack.

The second option is that they are both are good, relatively matched in skill and today is the day that they will both die in battle as they successfully mortally wound one another.

The third option is that your opponent is better, and although you have lived a good live and trained hard, it is his day to walk away the victor and your day to die.

The fourth and only option of choice for the true warrior is that my opponent will die a quick and efficient death and you will return on your path and future goals.

Why is it today, that the students we train do not get this picture? There is only one chance to make first impressions. There is only one chance to do something right and to the best of your abilities the first time. There is only one chance to tell the truth, live with dignity and give it your all in everything you do. What is hard about this concept? Why haven’t we been able to pass that one to the next generation and all our students?

As far as I know, this thing we call life is not a rehearsal for something else. There is not a reset button where when things don’t go our way, we can just start the game over again. Sometimes I find it real hard to find restraint when I find myself surrounded with weak people that don’t have a clue, talk smack constantly and seem to push people around mentally and physically all the time. I must admit, I have thoughts that maybe… just maybe… that a warrior should protect the weak and helpless by putting these bullies in their place!

But then I remember the wisdom of the tiger. Even if we did win the battle, would we win the war? Legal ramifications, possibly everybody getting hurt or even the regret of hurting fellow human all must be considered. Maybe I should just keep my distance, walking carefully and avoiding those type of people realizing, when push comes to shove, in reality one of us will probably die and the other will indeed be maimed for life.


Terry Bryan, Sensei

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Terry Bryan