TGJ: Ascent to Ryoku Mountain and the Temple of the Clouds

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

Tiger was walking alone along the ridge of the mountain. Blake had wanted to come
along, but Tiger had to tell him that he needed to do the last leg of this journey alone. “Blake, you’re a good friend, and you’ve been a great companion, but I need to do this on my own.”

Blake was a little put off at first, but then he came around. “I understand, Tiger. I will be with you in spirit. I’m honored to have shared this much of your great journey with you.”

Tiger thanked him and then started off.

He had taken one last look at the parchment map he had found when he and Blake started
this great journey. It was now complete. Creativity, the last of the twelve leadership traits,
represented as a book with empty pages, had appeared on the map. He was now on the last leg of his Great Journey to Ryoku Mountain and the Temple of the Clouds.

The air was crisp and mild, and the sun felt good on his face. He let his mind rest on thoughts and images as they came and went, keeping him company. He knew where he was
going this time, as he walked purposefully without hurrying.

In the distance, the temple sat on the mountain peak. White clouds bumped into the towers reaching up from the solid stone structure. Tiger wasn’t sure how far the walk was, as distance could be deceiving here, but he was content to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful vistas that surrounded him.

After about an hour, the path turned away from the edge of the ridge into the end of a broad meadow. Tiger could hear sheep bleating up ahead. After a few minutes, he saw them in the meadow grazing on grass. The herd looked to be well-fed and well-cared for. He saw tents a
little farther ahead along the path he was following.

As Tiger approached the encampment, one of the shepherds saw him and waved to him. Tiger waved back, and the man walked toward him.

“Good afternoon,” the man said.

“Good day to you, sir,” Tiger replied while extending his hand. “My name is Tiger.”

“My name is Kai,” the man said. “Where are you from?”

Tiger thought for a moment, as this wasn’t as easy to answer as one might think. “I’m
from California.”

“Is this far away?” Kai asked. “I have not heard of this place.”

“Yes, it is far away.”

“Then you must join us for tea. It is time for all of us to gather for a break from our work.”

Tiger smiled and said that he would be delighted to do so. Tiger knew that many of the people in this area would take a refusal of hospitality as an insult, and he didn’t want to be
impolite.

Kai guided Tiger to the center of the campsite, where many of the shepherds and their families had gathered for tea and a break from work. Kai introduced him to the group who were sitting on blankets and small folding chairs. His presence caused quite a stir, as they were not used to visitors, especially from far away.

Tiger’s hosts were curious about where he came from and marveled at his gi. Tiger thought about how he should answer them and decided to tell them the Story of Shotokan Karate
Leadership Schools.

He told them how karate was a system of self-defense that gave its practitioners enormous energy, confidence, and freedom. He told them about the great and humble leader, Gichin Funakoshi, and how he had a dream to see karate practiced by people from all around the
world. And he told them how Shotokan Karate Leadership Schools had created a system that used karate as a platform to train young people to be leaders so that they could transform their world.

The shepherds were very attentive and asked Tiger many questions. When he had finished, Kai asked Tiger if he would like to stay for dinner. But Tiger told him he had to move on and excused himself. Kai asked him where he was headed, and Tiger told him that he was going to the top of Ryoku Mountain and the Temple of the Clouds.

Kai looked at Tiger very seriously and nodded. He said, “Many times members of our community sought to visit the Temple that lives in the clouds. They would journey for many
days without ever coming closer. After many more days, they would return. I am afraid that
perhaps Ryoku Mountain and the Temple of the Clouds is only a mirage.”

Tiger smiled at Kai and thanked him for his hospitality. He turned away and continued his journey. Tiger suspected that the Temple of the Clouds was only to be found by those few who knew the way.

In the middle of the afternoon, when the sun was at its warmest, Tiger gazed at the distant
Temple; it appeared to him that it had moved a bit closer.

As he walked, Tiger thought about the many adventures he had embarked on through the
Book of the Empty Mind. He remembered the day at the beach when he met the Old Man, and how important he had become to him. With each leg of his journey, Tiger’s grasp of what he had said evolved. “Tiger, what you see with your eyes is merely the surface of all that there is to see” was his admonition. Tiger had come to realize how this applied to leadership, karate, and the relationships he shared with all the people in his life.

The trail that Tiger was following had returned to the ridge. The Temple of the Clouds
was only visible at certain times, as rocks and boulders obscured the view.

The daylight was failing now; the air became crisp, but Tiger was comfortable in his gi as he walked on. Tiger saw that he was no longer on a trail. He was now walking on a path made of the rock, which had been worn smooth by the passing of generations of feet. He felt proud to share this path that so many had walked on before. He thought about how many passages it had taken to polish the stones. It occurred to him that Sensei had polished and honed his character and skills through years of training.

As the dusk slipped into darkness, Tiger had reached a great staircase. Every twenty steps, a torch flickered at either side to light the way up, with the towers of the Temple beckoning in the distance.

Tiger put his foot on the first step and began his ascent. They were taller and longer than normal, and it took extra effort to ascend them. A test of my resolve, Tiger mused. He arrived at the first pool of light after twenty steps. The next step was twice as high and had the figure of a bowing karate-ka carved into it. This time a figure in seiza was carved into the stone. On the next step there was a carving of a karate student in forward stance; then came the step with a student doing a front kick, followed by another one with a carving of a student sword-hand blocking in back stance, which was followed by a step with a student who was roundhouse kicking. Continuing his arduous climb, Tiger saw another step with a student performing sideelbow strike in side stance, then one with a student performing a step-in-punch middle-body, another one with a student side-snap kicking; followed by one with a student side-thrust kicking, and yet another one with a student performing a pressing block and spear-hand thrust in forward stance.

As he climbed the steps and saw the different carvings, Tiger came to understand the meaning of it all. The carvings represented the basic karate skills, and the steps stood for
repetition, which was necessary to master these skills. When Tiger reached the top of the
staircase, the final carving was the same as the first: a figure bowing. Tiger looked back down the staircase and realized that he hadn’t even thought about how many steps he had taken to get here.

Tiger took one last look at the flickering staircase, turned, and moved on. The path had
changed into an avenue wide enough for five men to walk down. He charged ahead and saw that the path turned to the right.

As he arrived at the turn, Tiger came to an abrupt stop. The path ahead was paved with stone and lined with twelve free-standing granite columns, six on each side about five yards
apart. Much farther ahead, Tiger could see there was a stairway leading to the Temple of the
Clouds. He was awestruck by the strength and immensity of the structure. It stood alone on an open field atop Ryoku Mountain. It appeared to be about a hundred feet high and twice as wide and long, and made of thick sturdy timbers.

Tiger stood up a little straighter and walked on. As he approached the first of the columns, he looked up and saw the symbol for the Black Belt Shoka Leadership Trait of Courage—a small child standing up to a large man. The next column displayed Courtesy—a figure bowing. Then came Integrity—a handshake; Humility—a child sitting in seiza; Self Control—a closed fist in an open hand; Trust—two figures sparring; Endeavor—a figure in side stance; Responsibility—a belt tied in a square knot; Cooperation—two figures stretching each other simultaneously; Justice—a dove with the Scales of Justice in its beak; Compassion—a hand reaching up and another hand reaching down to give a hand up; Creativity—an open book with blank pages.

These pillars were the Traits of the Black Belt Shoka Leader, the foundation upon which a leader stood. Tiger passed the last column and ventured into the darkness beyond.
After he had walked about fifty steps, he saw a circle of light. As he approached it, he saw a man sitting cross-legged at a table with a teapot and two cups.

“Sit, Tiger, and let us speak,” he said.

Tiger sat down as the man poured a cup of tea for both of them. The man was trim and in
excellent health, and he gave the impression of being a lot older than he looked.

“The journey of a Black Belt Shoka Leader is a long one,” the man said. “What wisdom
do you have to share with me?” Tiger thought for a moment about all of his experiences in the dojo, in his life, and with the Book of the Empty Mind.

“I have come to realize that for me to be able to receive all that I could from my journey; I had to release my mind. The first time I opened the Book of the Empty Mind I did not know
what to expect; it was new, exhilarating, and mysterious. I learned a lesson but perhaps missed its deeper meanings. As I practiced Heian Shodan as a Team Member, I just wanted to put all the moves in the right spot. When I practice Heian Shodan as an Assistant School Leader, I am still learning new things about the kata that I have performed thousands of times. Releasing my mind allows me to be able to receive whatever lesson or insight there is for me that day, because I am in a receptive state. By letting go, releasing, I can hold on to so much more that is important.”

The man picked up his cup and sipped. “Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Tiger. Your
insight will help you in your journey. You may proceed.”

“Thank you, sir,” Tiger said as he stood up. And as he did, the light faded and the man
was gone.

Tiger looked toward the Temple of the Clouds and began walking again when torches
started to rise up along the sides of the avenue. As the light grew brighter, he saw that he had walked into an area that was perfectly flat, and along the sides stood many students in karate-gis.

A powerful male voice shouted, “Kihon!”

Immediately Tiger was surrounded on all sides by dozens of karate students who lined up
along with him.

Then the voice commanded, “Yamae, make forward stance, now step-in-punch upperbody, twice middle-body. Ich, ni, san, shi, go, rok.”

Tiger kiaied at the end of each combination, as the voice put him and the other students
through the basics at a blistering pace. “Step-back rising block, reverse-punch middle-body. Ich, ni, san, shi, go, rok. Return. Step-in outside-forearm block, side-stance side-elbow strike, downward-back-fist strike. Ichi, ni, san, shi, go. Step-back, back-stance sword-hand block, frontleg front-kick, forward-stance spear-hand thrust, ichi, ni, san, shi, go.” The voice continued to take the students through their basics at a relentless pace. The students had run through all of the basics except for the last.

In front of each student there appeared a light, much like a firefly hovering in the air. The
voice said, “Punch ten times at the small moving target, and stop your fist within a quarter of an inch without hitting it.” The light jerked to the right of Tiger and stopped. “Ich.” Tiger punched and kiaied, his punch stopping a quarter inch from the target. Again the target moved, down to the center. “Ni.” Tiger punched and kiaied. Now the target shot up to the left. “San.” The target moved; “shi,” the target moved; “go.” This continued until the final time, “ju.” Tiger punched again with kime, stopped a quarter inch from the target and kiaied.

Everything turned silent as the students stood, and the lights hung in the air. “Yame,” the
voice said. Tiger returned to the ready stance. He was still flanked on all side by students. “You may proceed,” the voice said. As rapidly as they had appeared, the students shot out into the fading torch light, leaving the Temple as a beacon for Tiger to Follow.

Tiger continued on his path toward the Temple of the Clouds. He was now halfway there.
The light again arose around him, but this time he found himself in a large square. Tiger stopped and stood at the ready, waiting for his instructions. He could see hundreds of students surrounding him on the edge of the darkness.

“Kata!” this time the powerful voice was female. “Yame” Tiger stood ready. “Rei” Tiger bowed. “Heian Godan.”

“Heian Godan,” Tiger said clearly in loud, firm voice.

“Hajime!”

All of his training had come down to this day. As he performed the kata, Tiger realized
that each movement came from a place deep inside him, flowing out of him like water. When he finished the last movement he stood ready and watching for more imaginary attackers.

“Yamae,” replied the voice.

He then returned to natural stance and bowed.

“Bassai Dai!” said the voice.

“Bassai Dai!” Tiger thundered.

“Hajime!”

Tiger was still for a moment, as his surroundings melted away. He performed the first
move. In his mind he saw and heard each attacker. The fluidity and kime of his movements made his performance memorable. To all who were watching, there was no doubt that he was stopping the many imaginary opponents who were attacking him. Each technique was crisp and smooth, and his kiais were loud and powerful. When the last one rang out, it reverberated back from the adjacent peaks like an answer to his cry. He held his attention.

“Yamae,” said the voice. “Proceed.”

With that, the light faded, and Tiger walked toward the Temple. As he moved closer, he
could see the temple’s features. Carved on the beam above the open doors was a tiger enclosed in a circle—the symbol of Shotokan Karate. Below that were the carved images of the Twelve Traits of a Black Belt Shoka Leader. Tiger walked into the temple and stood in the center. As he did, a spotlight arose that highlighted the center arena.

Tiger prepared himself for what lay ahead. Another voice spoke this time, “Kumite.”

Tiger surveyed his surroundings and saw that there were again many students surrounding him.

One stepped out and walked over to face him.

“Rei,” Came the command. Tiger and this unknown opponent bowed to each other.

“Hajime” The sparring match began.

Tiger kept his mind empty, as his opponent closed the distance and attacked his head. Tiger stepped back, blocked the punch, and then front kicked to the middle-body, while stepping-in and punching to the upper-body. His kick was blocked, his punch ducked, and his
opponent countered with a side-thrust kick to Tiger’s mid-section.

Tiger moved quickly to close the distance, but his opponent moved just as quickly back. Tiger stopped as if to retreat and his opponent moved back toward him; then Tiger sprung the trap. He stepped-back and quickly stepped-forward, firing a punch to conceal the front kick he unleashed at his opponent’s mid-section: it was a solid blow. His opponent drew back, and then shot-in at Tiger. Tiger reacted smoothly, stepping to the left and blocking his opponent’s punch with an upper-level inside-forearm block. His opponent spun and Tiger stepped-in and caught him with a perfectly timed punch to his throat. Tiger’s control was excellent as the punch stopped a quarter of an inch from the target.

“Yamae,” the voice said, and Tiger moved back to his starting position.

“Bow; and step back.” Tiger bowed and backed up to the edge of the room.

Light suddenly illuminated his surroundings. Tiger now had a clear view of the platform at the front of the room. It was an open stage and as wide as the room. He could see figures
standing on the steps that led from the center arena up onto the platform. Then he heard Sensei’s voice calling him to come forward.

As he walked forward, the students who had been sitting in the darkness all stood up. When Tiger approached the stairs, he began to make out the others who were on the stage. They were the instructors he knew from the dojo, and in the center stood Sensei. A little off to the side was the Old Man who had given him the Book of the Empty Mind. Just then Tiger recognized him. It was Master Funakoshi himself. He smiled at Tiger, and Tiger smiled back.

Sensei gestured to Tiger to come join them. When Tiger reached the top step, he bowed
first to Sensei and then bowed even more deeply to Master Funakoshi. He turned around and looked back over the many Black Belt Shoka Leaders who had come out onto the floor and begun training as single group of well-coordinated teams. They were performing basics and doing what good Shoka Leaders do everywhere, demonstrating the Twelve Traits of a Black Belt Shoka Leaders: courage, courtesy, integrity, humility, self-control, trust, endeavor, responsibility, cooperation, justice, compassion, and creativity.

Tiger blinked his eyes and heard Sensei say his name, “Tiger.”

He was back in the dojo, and Sensei was at the front of the room holding a black belt and
calling his name.

He had lived this great journey in the mountains in his imagination—and for real in the
dojo. It had transformed him. He was no longer the scrawny nine-year-old kid he was when he started. Now he was thirteen, a strapping young man, a fine leader, and a force to be reckoned with. He was now a Black Belt Shoka Leader, and he was here to receive the symbol of that rank—the Black Belt.

The one thing he had learned from this journey was that it was not enough just to be a
leader; he had to be a true leader: a hero. This great journey was not just for him; it was for all the people of the world. He knew that this was not the end, but rather the beginning. He had mastered the basics, but he still had so much more to learn. Now, his great journey would take him on a spiritual quest that would result in self-mastery, not for his own benefit, but to give him the opportunity to do as much as possible for the greatest number of people.

With that, Tiger stepped forward to receive what he had worked so hard for over so many
years.

 

 

 

TGJ: The Meaning of Trust by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

After arriving at the dojo, Tiger found a place to sit and waited patiently for the class to start. He was excited about what he had learned since his recent promotion, but he restrained his exuberance enough to focus. Yesterday, Sensei had complimented him on the progress he had made with his kata, Heian Sandan. Tiger thought he was getting better, but until Sensei’s words, he didn’t know for sure. Now he felt confident and determined.

Wendy called for the class to line up. Tiger checked his gi once more. He wanted to set a
good example to his classmates. He remembered Sensei saying that leaders needed to set the example for those who followed them. Tiger bowed as he walked out on the mat and lined up with the other orange belts. His teammate Greg, who was standing next to him, was talking to the student on his other side. Tiger nudged Greg with his elbow and looked at him to remind him to stop talking. Tiger knew that standing quietly is a sign of respect to Sensei, the dojo, and the other students. Greg stopped talking, faced the front, put his heels together, toes open, arms by his sides, and didn’t move. Wendy gave the seiza command and the opening ceremony started.

Wendy led the warm-up exercises, and then Sensei had the students sit down with their
teammates. Sensei said, “The Black Belt Shoka Leadership Trait that we are studying this week is Trust. Please take a few minutes and discuss with your team the meaning of trust and being trustworthy. Why must a Black Belt Shoka Leader be trustworthy?”

After a few minutes, Sensei asked for everyone’s attention. Being the Class Leader,
Wendy was watching the class and noticed that two of the team members were still talking, so she walked towards them and, with a wave, got their attention and pointed to Sensei. They figured out what she was telling them and quieted down.

Sensei directed the class’ attention to Tiger’s team and asked them to tell everyone what
they had just talked about. Greg began to speak, “Trust means to know that you can count on someone to do what they say they are going to do. As Shoka Leaders we are being trained to solve big problems. And to solve these problems, we will have to work together. We have to know that others are depending on us, that the success of the whole project is depending on us, and that we are only as strong as our weakest member.”

“Thank you, Greg. That was very good.”

Sensei continued, “Trust is having faith in someone or something. It is having confidence
that the right thing will happen without trying to control it or make it happen. A trustworthy friend is dependable and responsible. It means that you can count on him to do what he says he will do. This is a crucial trait for a Black Belt Shoka Leader, because followers need to trust their leader.

“Trust is also like building a tower. It takes a lot of work stacking up the blocks to make
it tall, but take one away and it could come crashing down. You earn people’s trust over time but lose it in a flash.” Sensei paused to let his words sink in.

“And trust is the firm reliance on or belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person
or thing. Trust is also important in our daily lives. When you get sick, you can depend on your doctor to her best to make you well. Trust is what you feel when you tell a secret to your best friend and you know he will keep it a secret if you ask him to. Trust is a small word, which can make a big difference—whether or not you have a successful team or friendship. To fully understand trust, you must practice it every day in the dojo, at home, and in school.”

“Your Class Leader, Wendy, is now going to tell you story. It’s called ‘The Boy Who
Cried Wolf’ and is one of Aesop’s Fables.”

Wendy stood up and walked over to the front of the room. She stood proudly in front of
the class. She had known in advance that she was to do this, so she was well prepared to tell the story.

Wendy told the students about a shepherd boy who thought it would be funny to cry out
“wolf” and see what the townspeople would do. When the townspeople came rushing up to help him, he laughed at them. The townspeople didn’t like this at all. A few days later, the boy did the same thing, and when the townspeople came rushing up, he laughed at them again. Then about a week later, a wolf actually came and attacked his sheep. This time the boy cried wolf for real, but the townspeople ignored him, and the wolf killed his sheep. That night, when the boy didn’t come back, the townspeople went out looking for him and found the slaughtered sheep and the boy hiding in a tree. The townspeople asked him if he had learned the lesson of trust—that if he told the truth, people would trust him but, if he lied, they wouldn’t.

As soon as Wendy had finished, Sensei asked the teams to discuss what the story meant
to them. When Sensei asked for a volunteer from one of the teams to talk about what they had discussed, Tiger raised his hand and was called on.

“We said that trust is the strong belief in the integrity of a person or thing,” Tiger noted.
“It is the confidence you have in someone to fulfill a task or the faith that something will do what you need it to do.”

“That’s excellent, Tiger,” Sensei said. Tiger beamed with pride.

Sensei told Wendy to have the class spread out to begin training. She told the students to
do this, and made sure that they were evenly apart. Sensei began the class by having the teams do a combination that he had prepared. They did it first at slow speed to adjust their form. Then they did it at medium speed to find the proper timing and rhythm. Finally they did it at full speed to simulate actual combat.

After working on the combination for twenty minutes, Sensei had the teams work
independently on Heian Shodan, the first kata. Tiger was the leader of the Hornets, and Greg and Stacy were members. Tiger was happy for this opportunity, as he remembered that one of the requirements for the Assistant Class Leader rank is to teach a new student the kata, Heian Shodan. Stacy was new to Shotokan Karate Leadership Schools and didn’t really know the kata yet. Tiger knew it well and was confident that he could help his teammate improve. As they begin, he noticed that on the first movement, Stacy was stepping her right leg out to the right, instead of her left leg out to the left. Tiger pointed this out to her, and she told him someone else had said that the right leg moves first. He nodded, knowing that this could have happened. Stacy started to make the correction, but it took several repetitions before she got it right. Stacy was confident that Tiger would continue to help her get better. Greg was doing well, too, and Tiger complimented him on his stances, telling him that they were long, low, and strong—just the way they need to be. Tiger was happy to see his team improving. Sensei glanced over and noticed how well they were doing and that Tiger really cared about his team.

When kata practice ended, Wendy led the students through the conditioning exercises
that were designed to strengthen all the major muscle groups, and then she proceeded with the closing ceremony. Class ended with Tiger feeling really good about his progress.

On his way home, Tiger talked to his mom about what they did and how well his team
performed. He told her that he really enjoyed leading his team. His mom smiled inside, knowing her son would be a fine leader someday! Tiger was exhausted and ready for bed. He thought about the boy who cried wolf and then took the Book of the Empty Mind out from under his bed. It had been a long day, but Tiger turned the page, closed his eyes, and resumed his journey.

 

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old.  His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981, with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.

TGJ: The Desert of Integrity by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World to a Better Place

As Tiger and Blake continued their journey, the landscape became barren. Tiger tried to
remember the last time he’d seen a tree or flowing water. His journey with Blake had taken them into a vast stretch of desert with red rock canyons and a sea of sand. The walking was difficult, but each day Tiger felt himself grow stronger and more aware of the beauty of life. He’d thought of a desert as a dead and desolate place, yet as they walked and talked he was fascinated by the colors and textures of the rock, the deep blues in the sky, and the variety of hardy plants and animals that lived in this harsh environment

One morning, Tiger awoke early and decided that, while Blake slept, he would walk the
hundred or so yards to the small ravine where yesterday they had found a pool of fresh water fed by a spring. The sand crunched beneath his feet as he walked. He wondered what the new day would bring. He reached the clear pool of water and kneeled to take a drink. Then he splashed water into a bowl-shaped depression in the rock and used it to wash his face. He stretched out on a great, flat rock and enjoyed the feeling of the rising sun drying and warming his skin and the stone.

A sound startled him—the clatter of approaching hooves. He jumped to his feet and
focused his eyes on a cluster of six or seven horses, each mounted by a boy not much older than him.

“Well, hello!” the rider in the lead shouted as he dismounted. “What brings you to this
one friendly place in an uninviting desert?” He let his horse drink eagerly from the pool.

Tiger sensed that something wasn’t quite right with these boys. They were too well
dressed and riding horses that they didn’t seem to know. “I am on a journey with my friend,” he said. “We camped near here last night.” Tiger wanted to give them as little information as possible.

“What is your name?” asked a boy who wore fine, tall boots and thick gold necklace.

“My name’s Tiger, and yours?”

The boy who was apparently the leader answered, “I’m Raven. We’re going to have some
breakfast; would you like some?” The boys removed from their saddlebags fresh bread and fruit and some fancy cheeses.

Tiger thanked them for their hospitality, but declined their offer of food.

They’d eaten and chatted only a few moments when Raven said to Tiger, “You should
join us. We will get you a fine horse.”

The invitation surprised Tiger. Join these boys? He didn’t even know them. He said to
Raven, “You’re saying you would buy me a horse?”

The boys exploded into laughter. Tiger couldn’t imagine why they found the question so
funny.

Raven caught his breath and said, “We don’t buy horses, my friend. We steal them. A few
days ago we passed by a ranch with a couple of beauties. We’ll give you a ride there, and you can take your pick.”

Tiger looked at them serenely. Now he understood what wasn’t right about these boys.

“Truly, you steal horses?” he asked.

“We take whatever we need from a town or ranch, and then we ride on,” said Raven.
“Sometimes we split up into pairs and ride up to a home and tell the people we’re orphans or runaways and we’re hungry. The people always invite us in, feed us, and give us a place to sleep. We get up in the middle of the night, take whatever money and valuables we can find, and ride off.”

A second boy pulled something out of a pants pocket. He said, “Look at this gold watch I
stole from a trusting old fellow just the other night!”

Tiger shook his head. “You lie to people and steal from them?” he said. “How does that
make you feel about yourselves?”

Raven shrugged and said, “Hey, it doesn’t bother me a bit. We only take from rich people. My belly’s full, and there’s money in my pocket. And there are a lot of people who do
what we do, and worse!”

Tiger rose to his feet. “Well, that’s not for me,” he said, and turned to walk back to his
campsite.

He found Blake awake and ready to resume their journey. “I was beginning to worry
about you, Tiger.” Blake said. “Where did you go?”

“I went for water, and I ran into some thieves. I learned something important from them.”

“What was that?”

“I learned the meaning of integrity. I learned that I could ride if I would do what I know
is wrong, but I would rather walk and stay true to myself.”

Changing the subject, Tiger suggested that they look at the map. As he carefully opened
it, an image of two hands shaking with the word INTEGRITY began to appear.

“Wow! There’s another image, Blake.”

Blake looked and said, “Tiger, this map is going to show you the way to the temple and
record the leadership traits you gain along the way.”

“I believe you’re right, Blake. It’s very special. Well, let’s get out of here, because those
boys may decide that letting me walk away was not a good idea.”

And with that, Tiger and Blake packed their belongings and moved out, leaving no trace
that they had spent the night.

 

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old.  His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981, with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.