TGJ: The Plains of Endeavor by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

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

In his imagination, Tiger struggled on with his friend, Blake. The surrounding landscape
looked the same as far as they could see, just as it did when they first entered the Plains of

“It seems like this will never end!” lamented Blake. He saw the path meandering through
the endless fields of emerald green grass swaying in the blustery wind. A footpath veered off into the distance. It looked like it was a shorter and an easier walk than the path they were on.

“Should we take that path?” Blake asked. “It could shorten our journey.”

“No,” replied Tiger. “The map shows that we’re on the right trail.”

“If we don’t find another way, our feet will give out before we get out of here,” Blake

But Tiger remembered that Sensei had once said it was important to stay on the path you
are on. He had said, “Endeavor means to be willing and able to continue on despite facing great obstacles. Other paths will deceive you and lead to nowhere. You may get lost and never return. The road is long, but you will be successful in reaching your destination. There are no shortcuts.”

“I’m sorry, Blake, that this is taking so long, but we need to stay the course. Trying another route, hoping for a shortcut, will only get us into a lot of trouble. This journey is not
easy, but eventually we’ll find our way.”

Just then an eerie sound came from fairly close by. They were both startled so much by it that they nearly jumped out of their skins. They knew what it was, but hearing it in this place, at this time, creeped them out.

When the howl came again, they saw a wolf on a knoll a couple hundred yards away. It was a magnificent animal in many ways, but a dangerous one nonetheless.

Would it attack? The wolf had a bad rap. It was a predator. But was it the ruthless killer that so many believed it was? And what about the belief that dogs, man’s best friend, were descended from wolves?

So much was not known. And what would this wolf be like? Would he be curious or ravenous? Is he traveling alone, or is his pack with him? Tiger and Blake would have to find out.

The boys decided that the best thing to do was to keep an eye on the wolf up on the low rise as they kept moving.

The trail dipped and turned slightly, and as they rounded a huge boulder what they saw in
front of them gave them the fright of their lives. The wolf was standing in their path, not more than fifty feet in front of them and looking directly at them.

The boys froze.

He was nearly as tall as they were it seemed, but apparently he didn’t want to eat them.

The boys relaxed somewhat after realizing that he wouldn’t attack. But what should they do? He was blocking their path.

“Why don’t we circle around him,” suggested Blake.

“Good idea,” replied Tiger.

As they began moving around him in what they hoped would be a wide enough arc, the
wolf began circling them. But he wasn’t menacing. . . . He was smiling?

His eyebrows were raised, and his jaws were relaxed.

“Look, Blake, he wants to play.”

“He’s probably never seen people before, and he looks young,” added Blake.

The boys jumped and crouched, and the wolf jumped and crouched.

Tiger barked, and the wolf barked back.

Then, just as suddenly as he had appeared, he ran off out of sight.

“Well that was cool.”

“I can’t believe it,” said Blake.

That was the reprieve that they both needed. They were suddenly refreshed, and the long journey through the Plains of Endeavor seemed closer to an end.

As they walked the last leg of the trek, Tiger thought back on the lesson of endeavor. “Keep training” was a continuous admonition that he had heard, not just from Sensei, but from
all of the Black Belt Shoka Leaders in the dojo. Now he understood what it meant. But he also knew that sometimes it was necessary to take a break from the hard work and have a little fun along the way.

As they kept on, darkness fell and it began to rain. The friends were exhausted, but each
pitched in to set up the tent. They ate some of their food and, before lying down to sleep, looked at the map. Another word and image had appeared. This time it was ENDEAVOR and a karateka, or student, standing in a side stance. A side stance was the best stance for building strength in the legs and hips, but it required one to spend long periods holding this difficult position. This was a good stance to use for endeavor.

Back in Tiger’s bedroom, his father watched him sleeping peacefully. He gently took the
book from Tiger’s grasp, closed it, and put it on the nightstand. He quietly wished Tiger good night and turned off the light. He walked toward the door and took one last loving look at his son before closing it softly.



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.