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The Ten-Thousand Things


The famous Japanese swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, is credited with the saying, “From one thing, know ten-thousand things.”  In many eastern cultures, “the ten-thousand things” is a way of saying “everything.”  So, one thing can tell us everything about our opponents, our environment, and even ourselves.  This is why small things matter in our training: the small things are everything.


If we are sloppy with small things, that indicates how we feel about our training, our dojo, our efforts, our fellow students, and our teachers.  When we throw our shoes in a pile, or we leave the dressing room a mess, or we don't wash our uniforms regularly, it may not seem like a big deal, but we will never really grasp the art because our training time is bookended by sloppy actions and thoughts from the moment we saunter into the dojo until the moment we dig through the pile of dirty shoes to find our own and leave.  A little bit of poison can taint a large well.  One sloppy thing taints your whole practice.


But there's a good side to this too.  We also learn ten-thousand things from one POSITIVE thing, one well-directed adjustment in behavior.  If you want to change your whole world, your whole practice, your relationship, or your work situation, then change one thing.  Change it today.  Change another thing tomorrow.  You get to choose to do something differently, and when you do even one thing differently, the ten-thousand things are different.  Small changes transform the whole world.


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