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  • Kurt Hardesty

Splashing Water

There was way a young boy who wished to learn Kung Fu. When he came of age, he told his parents he was going away to seek a master. After a long search that is a story of its own, he found a master - a master of masters - who promised to teach him once he was ready. Until then, he would have to do what ever the master said. Until he was ready to learn, he would have to be his servant. For years the boy served the old man like a slave - preparing food, doing back breaking labor, house cleaning, and even laundry - but was shown no kung fu. As resentment built, he eventually demanded to be taught something. Anything. The master agreed to show him one exercise. He took the student to the basement, where there was a large basin of water. He told the boy, now a almost a young man, to remove all the water from the basin "like this," he said as he slapped the surface making a large splash of water that crashed to the floor, and walked away. The student did as he was told and emptied the basin. It took hundreds of slaps to get all the water out. He told the master his accomplishment and the basin was immediately refilled with out comment or praise. He was given more chores and told to empty the basin again when he was finished. Now the boy did chores and splashed water. Every time he emptied the basin, the master filled it up again and gave him more chores. A hundred times in a day this would happen, day after day after day. The boy lost track of time. Again, resentment at not being taught grew and he lashed out at the master, demanding he be shown real kung fu. Disrespected, the master sent him home. When his family saw he was home, they prepared a dinner for him in his honor, eagerly anticipating the story of his exploits and to see what skills he had learned in the long time he was away. Down trodden he said, "I have learned nothing!" They asked if he was unable to find a master. "No, I found one.... but he didn't teach me. He tricked me!" "What?!?" "He promised to teach me and instead made me his slave." "He didn't teach you anything? You didn't learn any Kung Fu?" "No! All he did was have me do his work and splash water... all for absolutely no reason!" he yelled as he slammed his hand down on the solid oak dinner table in frustration, shattering it into splinters.

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