philosophy

Once upon a time, there was a Zen master who--er, stop me if you've heard this one before.

This grey-haired-yet-never-grouchy man offered wise words to those who came seeking him, regardless of who they were. One day, a scholar came to him for counsel, however it became painfully obvious that the visiting scholar wasn't truly ready to receive advice. He would interrupt the master with his own stories and failed to properly listen when he did give a chance to speak.

Not cool.

Rather than losing his temper, the master suggested they sit down and have tea.

The master gave his guest a teacup and began to pour. And pour. And pour even still. He kept pouring the hot tea until it completely filled the scholar's cup and, even then, continued to pour into the overflowing cup.

Aghast at the spilling hot tea, the scholar leapt up and cried "Stop! The cup is full!"

"Yes," The master said calmly with a knowing smile. "You are like this cup--so full of ideas that nothing more will fit in. Come back when your cup is empty."

Mic drop. There is a powerful lesson to be found in that story and it is about much more than customer service.

In Zen Buddhism, there is the belief--one that is often adopted by Japanese martial arts--that the beginner has one of the most powerful mentalities.

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Warning: this article is likely to make you equal parts hungry and insanely inspired to train hard. Seriously. Don't blame me if you start doing sit ups with cake in your hands.

Growing up, I loved to be in the kitchen. In fact, I loved cooking almost as much as I loved eating. One of my favorite past times would be to go to the local library and delve deep into the numerous cookbooks they had. My goal wasn't just to idly waste my time however. Eleven-year old me would voraciously read the books in order to learn new cooking techniques and food combinations.

Essentially, I wanted to be able to kick butt in the kitchen like Bobby Flay! One of my favorite cookbooks covered the techniques and recipes as taught by the famed Parisian cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. Bear in mind however, I wasn't born into this world as a French speaking, Savate-kicking Parisian. I was born and raised in the United States and still ate the occasional McDonald's happy meal.

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What the Basic Philosophies of the Chinese Philosopher Mean to Us

"It is man that can make the truth great, and not truth that can make man great."

—Confucius

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To Master the Supreme Philosophy of Enshin Karate, Look to Musashi's Book of Five Rings for Guidance!

In the martial arts, we voluntarily subject ourselves to conflict in a training environment so we can transcend conflict in the real world. After all, we wouldn't knowingly train in a style that makes us weaker or worsens our position. The irony of all this is that we don't want to fight our opponent. We prefer to work with what an opponent gives us to turn the tide in our favor, to resolve the situation effectively and efficiently.The Japanese have a word for this: sabaki. It means to work with energy efficiently. When we train with the sabaki mindset, we receive our opponent's attack, almost as a gift. Doing so requires less physical effort and frees up our mental operating system so it can determine the most efficient solution to the conflict.In this essay, I will present a brief history of sabaki, as well as break down the sabaki method using Miyamoto Musashi's five elements

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