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"The Empty Hand"

603 Karate's blog

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A Monk, A Boat, A Dojo

I am often asked, “John, are you a monk?”  

And I assume that it is due to my serene demeanor and overly positive outlook (cough, cough).  

I suppose my flawless haircut has something to do with it too?

No, I am not a monk.  But I do have a quick monk story to share with you:


A monk decides to meditate alone, away from his monastery. 

He takes his boat out to the middle of the lake.  He moors it there, closes his eyes, and begins his meditation. 

After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the bump of another boat colliding with his own. 

With his eyes still closed, he senses his anger rising.  By the time he opens his eyes, he is ready to scream at the boatman who dared to disturb his meditation. 

But when he opens his eyes, he sees it’s an empty boat that had probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake. 

At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization.  He understands that the anger is within him — it merely needed the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him. 

From then on, whenever he came across someone who irritated him or provoked him to anger, he reminded himself, “The other person is merely an empty boat. The anger is within me.”


What else is already in you, just waiting to be brought out?

For me, it was police work.  If I have ever shared any of my police stories with you, you know it was not an overly positive experience for me.

But that career was an empty boat bumping into me.  It showed me what I had already buried within.

My police career put me into 

  • Very public situations (I used to be painfully shy) 

  • Leadership roles (which I would intentionally avoid in the past)

  • Teaching roles (I never thought I had knowledge worth sharing)

Discovering all of this potential I already had in me helped lead me to open 603 Karate in 2017.  I couldn't see it at the time, but all the challenges my police career put me through helped guide me to the best job I could ever hope for.

The sacrifices and inconveniences were worth the results.


We all have hidden or buried potential.  Things like fear or disbelief that you can do something often keep this potential untapped.

Pay attention to the untethered boats bumping into you.  What is already inside you?  It could be the answer to the results you are looking for.

All the best,

john g

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