Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Jun 8, 2020 - Feature of the Week

Quartet of Courage

(Note: all photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

When you were born, do you remember anyone ever telling you that you would need courage to survive and manage the challenges, hardships, calamities and exigencies of your life? No? Me either.

As we live through the upheavals of the coronavirus pandemic; the oft changing and bizarre dictatorial edicts of power-obsessed mayors and governors; the frustrating and ceaseless reversals of scientific assessments and, in the United States, the senseless, wanton, hate-driven destruction of life and property during the riots across America, how does one cope with such needless and lunatical madness without going mad?

Certainly staying balanced and centered is requisite, especially at times like these. But another virtue, perhaps the most powerful and necessary of all virtues during such troublesome and uncertain times, is courage–having the indestructible strength and undying fortitude to persevere in the face of all odds. Verily, to lead a successful, substantive and meaningful life, courage is mandatory.

Following are four quotes from famous individuals regarding courage. Read them. Think about them. Absorb them, because with them one can not only survive but thrive.

This first quote is from Clare Boothe Luce–an American author, ambassador and politician of the 20th Century.

Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.

~ Clare Booth Luce

The next is from Horace, a Roman poet who lived sixty-five years BCE (Before the Common Era).

It is courage, courage, courage that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity.

~ Horace

The third quote is from retired United States General Stanley McChrystal, who cited it in a Fox Business News special event entitled, “Sam Houston & The Texas Fight for Freedom” hosted by Brian Kilmeade. It’s a very revealing statement, especially coming from a general who commanded JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) in the mid-2000s.

Courage is something that is different in every person, but most people are not courageous alone. You get courage from the people you’re around. If the people around you show optimism; if they show steadfastness, it’s contagious. You don’t want to let your comrades down.

~ General Stanley McChrystal

Last but not least comes from François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, generally known simply as “La Rouchefoucauld.” It is something to remember, especially for those faux fighters who constantly proclaim their prowess.

No one can answer for his courage when he has never been in danger.

~ La Rochefoucauld

Life is not easy. As these four famous individuals observe, courage is critical to our success in anything we do. Yet, courage did not come with our birthday suit as a standard piece of operating equipment in the armory of life. Most often, we have to develop courage, little by little, challenge by challenge, crisis by crisis. As we do so, we eventually become impregnable to whatever difficulties life throws at us. And isn’t that one of the greatest of all tests—to learn to be brave, to be courageous? Of course it is, and that is where the nobility and grandeur of our life rests, i.e., in demonstrating courage against all odds.

~ finis

© 2020 Richard Andrew King and Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts