Karate-Do Zen-Shoto                           
                                                                                                 Dartmouth  N.S.     225-7032                        
                                                                                                        Training for Life
               One  the questions Zen Shoto Karate addresses is this, how can we teach and instill the skills and
               values that are needed to deal with conflict in a constructive manner without resorting to
               aggressive behavior or violence. And do so with confidence and assertiveness with the ability
               and objectivity to humanely deal with people who do resort to violent tactics.

               One way to get humans to behave in a particular way is to get them to see a personal advantage
               for them to start to behave in that particular way.

               The fairy tale of the prince in the mask illustrates this point. The story goes like this. Once upon a
               time there was a bad tempered prince who could not control his temper. When things went wrong
               or he could not get his own way he flew into a rage and hit out. One day the prince fell in love
               with a beautiful princess, who loved him in return but could not tolerate his rages, and certainly
               did not want to be hit. The beautiful princess eventually rejected the bad tempered prince
               completely. She told him that she never wanted to see his angry face again, and started to date
               other princes.

                The bad tempered prince threw a tantrum and stomped off to see the village wise woman and
                demanded that she make the princess love him and start seeing him again.

               The village wise woman replied of course that she could not make the princess do any thing.
               However she said that she did have a magic mask that just might do the trick. The mask had a
               face with a warm expression, quite unlike the prince’s real face which was made ugly by the
               angry expression on it.  The wise woman told the prince that if he wore the mask the princess
               would not be able to recognize him and he could court her and win her over again. As she handed
               him the mask she told him that if he ever said an unkind or angry word, hit out or scowled at any
               one, the mask would crack and the jig would be up.

              The prince put on the mask, courted the princess with his new identity and married her. The
              prince always behaved well and never did anything that would crack the mask and so kept the
              secret of his real identity.

               They had been living happily together for more than thirty years when the prince whose
              conscience had troubled him for some time became totally conscience stricken about deceiving
              for so long the woman he had come to love so deeply and who had made him so happy for so
              long. He had come to care for her so much that the very idea of even saying anything that might
              be hurtful to her vexed him greatly, yet to continue to deceive the wife he cherished so much
              troubled him more. He decided to tell her about the mask.

              When the prince told the princess about the wise woman and the mask and his real identity she
             just laughed and refused to believe him. He tried to tear off the mask to show her, but he could
             not even find the edge of the mask. The prince tore and pulled at his face till it was sore, but the
             mask would not come off.

             His beautiful wife kept laughing at him and told him to stop before he hurt himself. The mask
             had grown right onto him and had become part of his body. And the princess never ever believed
             he was the angry and mean prince she had known in her youth.

             By acting or practicing being the nice and caring guy for so long the prince had become the nice
             and caring guy. It did not matter why the prince changed his act, indeed he had at first changed
             his act for less than honorable reasons, but having practiced a certain behavior for thirty years it  
             became not an act but his  real self.

             This is how a martial art can work to improve or worsen the character of the participant. If the martial art
              practiced relies on out aggressing the opponent or on very powerful blows, then those will be the
             values absorbed by the practitioner. If however the martial art practiced uses harmony and calmly
             redirects the opponents own energy and aggression to the advantage of the defender, then those
             will be the values absorbed by the practitioner. The major difficulty is to persuade a would be
             practitioner that a non aggressive method is going to work much better for the individual in the
             long run than does a system of out aggressing  or being able to out punch and kick the opponent.  

             It does not matter why someone starts to train, it can be in order to gain the skill necessary to
             dominate others, but in the process of gaining that skill the student is caused to behave in a
             diplomatic manner, never aggressing but successfully defending against harm with skill and
             strategy, calmly and  effectively with the personal reward that brings. Like  the mask the prince
             wore,  regular practice of Zen-Shoto molds the character so that this effective yet calm and non
              aggressive way becomes entrenched.

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Contact us   (902) 225-7032  shotokai@chebucto.ns.ca.