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"A Strong Will Can Pierce a Stone"



"A strong will can pierce a stone" is a Japanese saying that I have never really understood until recently. There is a story in Japanese folklore that explains it. Basically, the story was about a man, whose wife had been killed by a tiger. He was later consumed with the desire for revenge on the animal. He gathered up his longbow and set out daily to find the tiger that had killed his wife and get his revenge. Sometime later the man found the tiger sleeping. He drew back his bow. His heart was fully focused on avenging his wife. He carefully aimed with all his being and fired the shot. It went right through a vulnerable spot and into the tiger. He drew another arrow and got closer to the animal to confirm the kill. As he got closer he discovered that it was not a tiger at all that he had shot, but a large striped stone that merely resembled the shape of a tiger. He looked for his arrow and found that it had penetrated the stone, exactly in the spot he had been aiming for. His story got around and people started to talk about how great a warrior he had to have been to pierce the stone.

The man tried again and again and never could shoot another arrow into the stone. He eventually realized that what was missing was his intense will for the arrow to make its mark. When he was consumed by vengeance, hitting the target was the natural result of that kind of resolve. This is the story behind the saying "A strong will can pierce a stone."

The martial artist can take from this one of the greatest universal truths of martial arts and in life. A person's intent and resolve in their hearts and minds will cause you to transcend your own limitations. Every elite athlete in the world must learn this lesson to perform at the highest levels. Without conviction and belief in your mind, it leaves room for self-doubt about yourself and your abilities. Your body becomes whatever your mind tells it to. When your will is fully devoted to a task, you will accomplish way more than you ever thought you could. The conviction of a warrior is that your adversary will have to kill you to stop you once you engage in battle. When you quit caring about the cost, the opportunity to win will present itself.


On the same side of this, if you are focusing on what the enemy is doing to you or what it is costing you, your mind will be on these things and will miss the opportunity for victory. You get what you are focused on. Be intense. Do not do any action with only a half measure. Practice everything with full intent. Intensity and intent can be trained and developed. If you do not train at full intensity, you will never surpass your own limits when the opportunity presents itself.


Remember, "A strong will can pierce a stone." You can achieve what you think is impossible for you once your will surpasses your unbelief. The key to your own success is waiting for you to use it.

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