Training an Army

The Old Master
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There was once a Martial Arts Master of exceeding wisdom and skill.  His prowess and insight into the minds of leaders were renown across the land, and he was summoned by the Queen to train her armies and Generals.

When the Master appeared before the Queen, she decided that this humble little man with wispy white hair and a broad smile could not be the deadly Master of legend.  Thus she ordered that he undergo trials to prove his worth to lead her armies into battle, something that the Master did not desire as he was content to sip his tea and teach his students in the mountains.  But out of respect for the Queen he consented to the trials.

The first trial was by spear.  At a distance of a dozen yards a soldier threw a razor-sharp spear at the Master’s chest, which he easily dodged with a smile and a comment on the soldier’s throw, suggesting he lean in more to get more strength into it.

The second trial was by arrow.  A young soldier stood two dozen paces away and fired an arrow at the Master, who caught the shaft in mid-flight and suggested the soldier calm his breathing as the missile was off target due to the soldier’s excitement.

The third trial was by sword.  A soldier stepped forward and thrust at the Master, hacking and chopping away.  Each blow barely missed him, sometimes nicking his hair or beard but never materially impacting the Master as he chattered away about staying in movement and the properties of water as a teacher and the virtue of practicing until your tools are an extension of your body.  The soldier grew tired over ten minutes of swinging the sword and continuously missing his victim, that seemed to know where he would attack before he did and thus easily avoided the blade. Finally the Master merely pushed the exhausted youth over, leaving him a heap in the dust.

The Queen was both upset at the ease in which her soldiers failed and impressed with the Master, declaring that he should instruct both her armies and her Generals in his ways.

“Ah your Majesty, but I have already done so.  Your men and your leaders have learned from the Trial by Spear to fully commit, to put their all into what they do at the moment.  In the Trial by Arrow I demonstrated that your people need to be calm, centered, and non-plussed.  Professional soldiers and leaders must have confidence and commitment.  And in the Trial by Sword I hope you picked up on the importance of practice, endurance, and the dangers of becoming rigid, of freezing up.  These lessons apply to your soldiers and to your leaders my Queen. I have taught you all you need to learn at this point, it is up to you to apply this wisdom.”

And with that statement the Master took his tea and his leave.

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