Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Aug 3, 2020 - Feature of the Week

Bruce Lee: What to Pray For

Bruce Lee was, indisputably, the catalyst for the growth of martial arts throughout the world in the latter part of the 20th Century, and he was certainly the most influential martial artist in modern history. Who is there who has not been positively affected by him, his art, his movies? If there is one person who can be considered “the” icon of martial arts, it is Bruce Lee.

Lee was a thinker. That’s what made him exceptional. Anybody can be a thug or a bully but great fighters are great thinkers. Martial art skills aside, it was Lee's ability to think and apply new ways of doing things that distinguished him from the rest of the pack. The old ways, he surmised, were not necessarily the best ways.

Being a thinker also made Bruce Lee a philosopher. One of his most substantive quotes transcends the arena of martial arts to include the whole of life, the whole of every culture, the whole of humanity. It is succinct and, as far as Kiado-Ryu philosophy is concerned, accurate. That quote:

Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.

Who doesn’t want an easy life? The problem is that an easy life can, not necessarily will, make people weak and deprive them of the opportunity to become a substantive human being, an individual of high value, meaning and worth. Those people with easy lives are prone to being denied a massive treasure chest of virtues which are generally the product of a difficult and challenging life, virtues such as hard work, honesty, humility, strength, courage, wisdom, respect, common sense, discipline, self-control, determination, perseverance, persistence, fortitude, resolve, resilience, service, sacrifice, gratitude, generosity, grace, dignity and honor, just to name a few.

This is why Lee admonished people to pray for the strength to endure a difficult life. It is the difficult life, not the easy life, that challenges people and ultimately makes them shine like stars and become heroes and heroines.

How can muscles get stronger, for example, by someone continually laying on a couch or sitting in an easy chair? They can’t. Muscles atrophy when unused. They will become flaccid and weak. On the other hand, strength is a direct product of adversity; adversity generates difficulty, and it is in facing and overcoming difficulty that we become more whole as human beings, that we become substantive souls and, therefore, worthy of praise, admiration and recognition from on High.

Therefore, as Lee states: “Do not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”


© 2020 by Richard Andrew King & Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts