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Is Your Cup Empty Or Full? Why Bruce Lee Emptied His Cup On A Regular Basis

Jan 4, 2008
One of the core tenets of the martial arts is humility, but unfortunately some practitioners don't seem to embrace these values and instead insist on being aggressive, arrogant and boastful. If you know someone like this you might want to show them this short story about a wise Zen Master that is told in 'The Warrior Within' by John Little. (Or, you can just send them this article)........

It was obvious to the master from the start of the conversation that the professor was not so much interested in learning about Zen as he was in impressing the master with his own opinions and knowledge. As the Zen teacher spoke, the proud man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like "Oh, yes we have that, too" and so on.

Finally, the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured until the cup was full... and then kept pouring until it overflowed.

"Enough!" the professor once more interrupted. "The cup is overfull, no more will go in!"

"Indeed, I see," answered the Zen teacher. "Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?"

This little story nicely illustrates the qualities of being humble and open-minded. As a martial artist it is important to acknowledge that we don't know everything, and although we strive to reach our potential we can always learn from others, including our instructor in our chosen martial art.

One very famous martial artist who epitomized the quality of being open-minded and learning from others is Bruce Lee and the story quoted above was one of his favorites. Unfortunately for his family and for the rest of the world, Bruce Lee tragically died over 30 years ago on July 21st 1973.

Most of us remember him as an action movie star but he was also a very accomplished martial artist who was constantly learning and studying all aspects of the martial arts with unshakeable determination. The legacy he left us through his movies, and more importantly his writings, has probably influenced more people to begin their study of the martial arts than any other single factor. Bruce Lee studied several different martial arts and his cup was always empty and ready to be filled.

So my question to you is, "Have you emptied YOUR cup recently?" If not, then you might want to take a moment and think about this little story, and reflect on the status of your own cup. "Is it empty? Or is it full?"

If your cup is empty and ready to be filled again, then read my FREE Report, "Achieving the Black Belt: How to Successfully Take Your Karate to the Next Level". You can download it at http://www.freekarateinformation.com/beginner.html

Or sit down with a fresh pot of tea and e-mail me at Paul@freekarateinformation.com with your comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in karate.
About the Author
Paul A. Walker, is a 4th degree black belt karate instructor with over 25 years experience in the martial arts. In 2003 he attained his 4th degree black belt, after studying with the legendary Karate Master, Hirokazu Kanazawa in Tokyo for three years. Get more info at http://www.freekarateinformation.com
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