Long ago in Japan, there lived a young son of an emperor. The young man had just turned 17 and felt deeply that it was time for him to find a teacher of the martial arts for him to begin his training.
As the son of an emperor, he was entitled to choose any great master from their lands, and there was no question among the people of Japan that the old master that lived as a hermit on the top of some mountain was the one.
So, the young ruler accompanied by his guards and entourage, made the voyage to the mountain to recruit this famous teacher. Finally, arriving to the hermit’s hut at the top, after a long day of travel, the son of the emperor was facing the old man who quietly looked into his eyes as the young man began to speak.
“I am the son of the emperor great teacher and I have travel a long journey to begin training with you immediately,” the young man demanded.
To this, the old master replied, “good for you young man, on your determination to begin on this path, but I cannot be your teacher. I have been retired now for many years from such practices and now I live here away from human beings."
The young ruler demanded again that the old teacher fulfill his duties as he requested by royal nature, to which the old man replied softly, “you can do of me as you wish, but I am not meant to be your teacher.”
This peaceful and fearless response from the old master made the young ruler pause and reflect before readjusting his feelings and words, proceeding again by saying, “I apologize great teacher – my desire to learn from you turned into a fire that consumed me with arrogance and demand – I now please ask you if you would accept me as your student of the martial arts."
The old man also took a pause, smiling with his eyes, and then replied, “young ruler, I am not meant to be your teacher in this life. But I know who is…”
The old master agreed to accompany the son of the emperor back to the imperial palace in order to prepare an unusual interview with three selected samurai warriors that could become the young man’s martial arts teacher.
This strange setting consisted of the son of the emperor and the old teacher receiving each samurai one at a time in the palace's empty large hall, where the main doors had been intentionally prepared to slide open, holding a tray with a cup full of tea at the top to quickly shower whoever attempted to enter the room. The young man and the old teacher sat and waited to observe each samurai's entrance.
The first samurai is called…
This impressive and well seasoned warrior walked through the hallway of the palace with a focused and intense presence, encountering the main doors of the room and pushing them away with his hands to enter. Almost immediately, he could sense the falling tray without even looking up, and with a lightning move, the samurai took out his sword and with a single cut, split both the tray and the tea cup in perfect, equal halves. Not a single drop of tea fell on him, as he continued to walk into the room to meet the young ruler.
At this time, the old master said to the son of the emperor, “he is my oldest son… He is the disgrace of my family.”
The young ruler could not understand this strange description after witnessing such an amazing display of control, precision and skill. So, he remained silent as the room and entry doors were prepared again for the next introduction.
The second samurai is called…
Just like the first samurai, this warrior was also very skilled. He entered through the hallway with a proud, self-confident stride, and pushed the entry doors open. Without even looking up, the samurai sensed the tray and tea cup falling down, and quickly and gracefully caught them both, and then slowly, elegantly he placed them on the ground without spilling a single drop of tea in the process.
After the second samurai had entered the room the old man said to the young one, “he is my middle son, he... is ok...”
The young ruler remained silent and puzzled by the comments of the old master, for him the skills the two samurai had displayed were far beyond any he had witnessed in his life. But there was still one final samurai left to enter, so the room and entry were prepared once more.
The third samurai is called…
This peculiar man walked through the hallway of the palace, in a relaxed and natural manner. He arrived to the entry of the room where he was able to see though the space in the middle, and he stopped to observe the situation -- looking up and examining the mischievous tray. Then, he simply turned his body sideways and entered the room through the space in between the doors, never touching them as he entered. Nothing moved, so nothing happened to the tray or the tea. Once the third samurai was inside the room, the old man (smiling through his eyes) said to emperor’s son, “He is my youngest son. We call him ZENDOKA, and he is your teacher.”