Quick Tip: The River of the Way

Wondrous beyond measure the great way. It flows off into nothingness like a vast river. When a newcomer arrives on its banks, he stands in awe at its majesty.

When a weak newcomer enters the currents of the great way he is overcome by its incredible strength and quickly leaves out of fear of helplessness, never to return again.

When an average newcomer approaches the currents of the great way he immediately looks for a downed tree or piece of land toward which to swim. Then very cautiously he enters the currents. Spending a considerable amount of time fighting them in order to arrive at his predetermined “safe” tree or piece of land, he tires. When the “safe” destination is finally reached, he barely has enough energy to pull himself out of the currents. Exhausted, and inspired by a fear of drowning, he swiftly departs, never to return again.

When a strong newcomer enters the currents of the great way, he fearlessly swims into its center, where the current is the strongest. Being content with the direction in which the current flows and never trying to change directions, he never tires. He is completely unafraid and surrenders to the great way. Occasionally, when the current leads into a downed tree or the shore, without hesitation he will dive back out into the current’s center.

Every so often, even a strong newcomer will make the mistake of leaving the currents to circumvent a downed tree. Once he has left, a myriad of distractions will present themselves making it almost impossible to enter the current again.

Master Sean Pearson

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Throughout his career, in an effort to become a truly well-rounded martial artist in both practice and philosophy, Master Pearson has studied a wide variety of martial arts: Taekwondo, Kali, Kyudo, Iaido, Aikido, Judo, Jodo, Bando and Tai Chi. He holds dan rankings in six of these arts and master ranks in three of them. To this same end he has studied and achieved national recognition as a wilderness survival instructor, a certified hypnotherapist, and a lecturer in Neuro Linguistic Psychology.


  1. I like this post, Sir. It seems that this could also be a description of how to gauge commitment to an institution like Ho An Seek or even commitment to the martial arts lifestyle.

    In relation to “the rest of the world” and a “normal” lifestyle, it can be hard at first to devote one’s self to the study of martial arts and the accompanying lifestyle therein. There are jobs to be worked, outer careers to be built, girlfriends to fulfill, family to aid, and a myriad of other things that “should” be done. One is generally met with much outer resistance when beginning to devote one’s self to a practice like martial arts that so profoundly changes the course of one’s life. The path often seems lonely as very few will understand or sympathize with one’s decision to lead a lifestyle so different from the norm.

    However, once the decision of commitment is made and maintained, it is no longer difficult to continually justify the giving up of other things for the sake of martial arts because the decision has already been made and submitted to, and every step along the path makes the other one’s that much easier.

    If one should stray far from the path though, it will become difficult to return because then one would have lost one’s momentum, and at that point the millions of other things that “should” be done return, and it is all to easy for one to become lost to mediocrity based on seemingly good intentions.

    Starting something or returning to something left behind, especially when it is in great deviation from the status quo, can be very difficult, but commitment and strength of character in persistence to see it through can guide one to the correct path and maintain one’s course on that path.

    These are the thoughts raised in me from this post, Sir, and I hope that they are appropriate.

    Mr. Walsh

  2. I like this a lot (thank you Sir!) It fits in with what I am finding lately, which is the more energy I use/ busy I am doing what I need to be doing to get things done- the more energy I have. Staying alive in the current implies a good amount of energy- not simply “going with the flow.” Well, still going with the flow, in a very conscious way, paying attention, keeping yourself above water. I was talking to a friend at work today telling him how I have to keep moving- he said like a shark, I guess if they stop moving then they die. Swimming like a shark in the current, perhaps? (Am I being whimsical yet?)
    Also I like the part about the myriad distractions- it seems funny- until I look around and realize I’m almost 30, have 2 small children, haven’t been doing martial arts, etc., how did this happen again? Happy to be swimming in this particular current! Also I like to think of it as an analogy for life in general… thanks everyone!

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