INSTANT WISDOM > SPECIAL > STORIES
05/18/04
                                                  
STRENGTH vs. WEAKNESS

The following is the story of one 10-year-old
boy who decided to study judo despite the fact
that he had lost his left arm in a devastating
car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese
judo master. The boy was doing well, so he
couldn't understand why, after three months
of training, the master had taught him only
one move.

"Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I
be learning more moves?"

"This is the only move you know, but this is
the only move you'll ever need to know,"
the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his
teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy
to his first tournament. Surprising himself,
the boy easily won his first two matches. The
third match proved to be more difficult, but
after some time, his opponent became
impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his
one move to win the match. Still amazed by
his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and
more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared
to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might
get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about
to stop the match when the sensei intervened.

"No," the sensei insisted, "Let him continue."

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made
a critical mistake: He dropped his guard. Instantly,
the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had
won the match and the tournament. He was the
champion.

On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed
every move in each and every match. Then the boy
summoned the courage to ask what was really on
his mind.

"Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only
one move?"

"You won for two reasons," the sensei answered.
"First, you've almost mastered one of the most
difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the
only known defense for that move is for your
opponent to grab your left arm.

The boy's biggest weakness had become his
biggest strength.

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