Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Words of Wisdom from Tomorrow’s Leaders

Gabriel, a 9-year-old purple belt, became Tao of Texas Martial Arts’s newest Junior Leader today. As part of meeting all the requirements for this coveted position, he carefully and thoughtfully wrote the following essay on what makes a good leader:

“A leader shows a good example to other people. A leader helps people to achieve goals. A leader incourages people to do the right thing.

“A leader corrects you when you’re doing something wrong. A leader motivates you when you are discouraged. A leader shouldn’t discourage you. A leader should be very calm and polite. A leader corrects people very nicely.

“A leader tells people what to do very clearly. A leader does not critisize people. A leader does not lie to people. A leader does not cheat nor does he tell his students to cheat either.”

One word: WOW.

Gabriel's essay made me think of the many masters I've worked with over the years who sadly did not live up to the last two lines. It also made me wish the concepts he mentioned in his essay were standard operating procedures for Austin and Washington lawmakers.

This young man has a good head on his shoulders, a good heart in his body, and a brave, compassionate soul.

We need more young men like Gabriel walking this earth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Kung Fu...

New words to a holiday classic

‘Twas the night before Kung Fu, when all through the house
A creature was stirring, and it wasn’t a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
And, big surprise, a burglar decided to start there.

My children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sparring matches danced in their heads.
And mamma in her dobok, and I in my gi,
Crept down the stairs to surprise the bad-guy would-be.

When out in the living room there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from the hallway, prepared for blood splatter.
Toward the burglar I charged like a flash,
I hit and hit him. I literally kicked his a--.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave luster to his bruised cheeks from blow after blow.
When, what to my overwhelmed eyes should appear,
But a switchblade knife—pointed at me, “Oh dear!”

With my trusty Kung Fu, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment: “Don’t let that knife stick.”
More rapid than eagles his attacks, they came.
And he grunted, and shouted, and called me bad names!

“Get out of my way, or I’ll hurt you, old man!
“This isn’t the time to be a UFC fan!
“I’ll slice you real bad; I’ll throw you against the wall!
“Now get away! Back off! Before I cut you all!”

And then, in a twinkling, I remembered my form
A punch and a tiger claw—and I was reborn.
As I drew in my leg and threw out a kick,
Down to the floor the man went—and now he looked sick.

His eyes—how they dazed! His nose—how it bled!
His cheeks were all swollen! He had a cut on his head!
He drooled from the mouth and was curled up in a ball,
And the shock on his face told me: That was all.

The stump of a knife he held tight in his teeth,
And a bandana encircled his head like a wreath.
In the blink of an eye, he climbed out the window,
And on the lawn he fell in a noisy crescendo.

He ran to his car, to his Homies he whistled,
And away they all drove like an Iranian-bound missile.
But I heard him exclaim, as they screeched out of sight,
“You Kung Fu guys are crazy. But, man, can you fight!”