Grandmaster Rose 10/1998 Fall Address

C&S Self Defense Association

Dear Students and Friends,

I hope you all enjoyed your Summer. Here in New Hampshire, the end of Summer simply means the beginning of our magnificent Fall where the leaves turn spectacular colors. The papers are full of reporting on peak color periods for various areas. People come from all over the world to see our leaves turn. We fondly (and sometimes not so fondly) term them "leaf peepers" and welcome their tourist dollars but not the traffic jams that they bring. Once the leaf season ends, New Hampshire empties out like a sink. We get a month or so of respite, then the ski season begins, and with it more tourist dollars and traffic jams. And then Spring. And then Summer again, and… well, life continues. Life goes on. The names and the faces of the participants may change, but the cycles of life itself all remain the same.

It all comes down to change. We, the participants, must face change at each step in our lives. And we must be flexible to change. Change should not create conflict for us. Rather, we should look at change as an opportunity. What kind of an opportunity? What kind of opportunity do you want? Make it whatever opportunity you desire.

At a major company meeting today, our President Henry Bertolon spoke about opportunity as it relates to being "lucky". He told us that every time he hears someone refer to him as lucky (President and CEO of a $400 Million company, wealthy, power, prestige, etc.) he just laughs. He told us that, "…luck is simply the result of preparation and opportunity. We all have the same opportunities, but only those who are prepared when opportunity comes are lucky. I was prepared 18 years ago and took advantage of an opportunity. Luck? No. I was prepared." Pretty cool stuff, don't you think? And this guys not even in karate! Wisdom can come from many places. We aren't the only ones studying the laws of nature! Wisdom comes from the correct application of the information we posses, just like luck comes from being prepared for opportunity. If you don't hear it from me, then hear it from Mr. Bertolon. He's a pretty smart fella. After all, he keeps signing my check…

So, here is the question I pose to you: what are you doing with your time (spare or otherwise) to prepare today for tomorrow's opportunities which you don't even know exist? First, I guess you will have to ask yourself if it is even important to be "lucky", to be able to take advantage of life's opportunities. Maybe you are content in your life. Maybe you are happy. Maybe. And then again, contentment can easily breed stagnation. What good is air if not breathed and what good the human spirit if not to rise to life's challenges. Our Art trains us to be warriors of life. And, isn't a warrior one who is always prepared for battle? Sun Tsu teaches that every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought. Why? Because of preparation.

Preparation is why all of our Green Belt level and above students perform the Sanchin breathing form every morning when they get up. Sanchin means "breath of the dragon". We arise each day as the warrior dragon, prepared to do whatever necessary to accomplish our goal of achieving peace and harmony within the nature around us. We arise each day and prepare to take advantage of as yet unknown opportunities where others just get up and go to work.

Preparation is why all of our Brown Belt level and above students meditate every morning when they arise. Meditation calms the mind and prepares us to think clearly and calmly about how each task that we perform during this day prepares us to take advantage of as yet unknown opportunities where others just get up and think and complain about their problems.

Life is immutable; we are not. It is we who must bend to the wind, not the wind which must go around us. Be flexible in your thinking. Prepare yourself each and every day in each and every way to be better, better, and better. If you study with me, then you are a warrior. Act as such. Do not cringe in fear or trepidation. As a warrior, you are prepared for opportunity. Carpe diem- seize the day. Seize your life. You are the warrior.

In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose

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