Laughing at the Beast


Laugh at the cleverness of the beast and the beast will defeat itself.
~David Carradine~

We’re off to see the wizard.

In the beloved classic, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends set off on a perilous journey to the Emerald City to see the Great and Powerful Oz. Their hope is that the mighty wizard can help them. Dorothy wants to go home. The Scarecrow wants a brain. The Tinman is in search of a heart. The Cowardly Lion seeks courage. When they arrive they are met with a scary and horrifying visage of the wizard. They are also sent on a mission to prove themselves to him. After completing the mission they return only to be frightened once again by the terrifying image of the wizard. All seems hopeless until Toto, Dorothy’s tiny dog, pulls the curtains aside exposing a small, weak, and scared old man controlling all of the effects and projecting a false image of the wizard. Exposed for what he really is, the wizard becomes a totally different person.

Wizards in our life

I think a lot of us have people like the wizard in our lives. There are people out there who portray themselves as something that they are not. They frighten us or intimidate us. There are a lot of bosses like that. Sometimes people we compete with in the business world are like that. Sometimes they simply act as something that they are not in order to promote themselves.

We often take this image at face value. We let it get to us, let it intimidate us. We wring our hands and worry about it. We are stunned when we discover that it was all a charade. We don’t know how to react to it.

I think this is partially what David Carradine was talking about when he wrote the quote about laughing at the Beast. That quote was part of the Twelve Rules found in his book, Kung Fu. Many people have discredited Carradine in the past. Some have said he wasn’t truly a martial artist. Others have taken his personal life and held it under a magnifying glass especially after the events that led to his death. I grew up with the television series Kung Fu. It was probably the first sample of the martial arts I was exposed to. Luckily it was filled with as much philosophy as it was action scenes and fighting. I think in a lot of ways more so. Naturally when Carradine wrote a book on the subject I bought and read it. I kept it for many years and finally passed it on to a student some time ago never to see it again.

Carradine said to laugh at the cleverness of the Beast. I think that means more to not take everything you see exactly as it is presented.

Pulling back the curtain

I recently had my very own “Oz Moment”. A curtain was pulled aside and I was allowed to see some things as they truly are and not how they had been promoted to be for so long. For days I had no idea how to think or act. I had been baffled for a long time as to how to deal with…we will call it a McDojo for lack of better description. After having coffee with some other instructors and talking about some things, including this, I stumbled on some YouTube footage that threw me for a loop.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about it. What I saw was some very substandard karate no matter what style you practice or what level you are. It was a student testing for a beginner rank. It was terrible. Don’t get me wrong; I am NOT blaming the student. A student will do what the teacher tells them to do. They will do things as they are taught to do. I saw terrible technique, awful stances, no power. I saw a beginning student attempting to do techniques that were too advanced for the level they were at.

I sat back. I watched the video again and again. I was, for lack of better word, dumbfounded.

Laughing at the Beast

I have learned something from this. Surprisingly, it is something I already knew and it disappoints me to no end that I have allowed the Beast to intimidate me or fool me. I learned that I should never lose confidence in myself or what I do. I realized that people will do and say things to make themselves appear in a certain light. And yes, there will be many people out there who don’t understand what something truly is or what something truly means who will believe the hype simply because they don’t know any better.

What to do?
Like myself, all you can really do is believe in yourself and what you do. If you are right, you are right. If what you are doing is right, it is right. You have to be an example. You have to let your light shine. In time your light will cut through all of the darkness and hype. Most of all you have to STAND.

Take a moment and look at all of the people in history who have stood steadfast in the face of adversity. If Winston Churchill had believed Hitler’s hype, where would Europe be today? If George Washington and the Founding Fathers had given in to the British army we may have never gained our independence.

The Wizard was a bully in the beginning. He was just a scared little man. The Beast is no beast most of the time. We give it that power. We allow it to have that place in our lives. Let the intimidation roll off of you. Forget the fear for a moment and look at things for what they may really be instead of what you have been led to believe that they are. Refuse to sacrifice yourself and what you think is right in the face of fear and intimidation.

  1. December 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Very well said, Sensei.

    And Happy Holidays ! !

  2. December 13, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Reblogged this on MysteryCoach and commented:
    I fell over this today. I’m currently looking for a new paralegal position, this one is too far and I have no intention of dealing with anymore Wizard of Oz people… enjoy. 🙂

  3. December 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    At least where I live there is a laws against bullying, abuse and intimidation. Brilliant post and a burning subject – too many of those Wizards out there .. and everywhere.

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