Farm life for a teen can have many hours of down time. This was especially true in the 1970s. Our television had only three stations, the radio stations weren’t even in FM stereo, and the phone was for serious or family matters only.
With limited options, my outlet for fun became books — tons of book — all of them adventurous: The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Horatio Hornblower, and everything written by Jules Vern, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein that I could find. I even found my mother’s ancient copy of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I ravenously devoured that author’s works as well.
My appetite for adventure led me to read about various characters who knew one martial art or another. The Hardy Boys, for example, knew judo. As a girl with three older brothers who liked to pick on me and tease me, the idea of kicking their butts some day was very appealing.
Then came the television series Kung Fu, the story of kung fu master Kwai Chang Cain, including flashbacks to his childhood training. Oh, man, was I ever hooked martial arts philosophy after that. It dove-tailed so well into my love of nature, farm life, and the cycles of the seasons. Here are a few quotes from the show:
Master Po: [after easily defeating the boy in combat] Ha, ha, never assume because a man has no eyes he cannot see. Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Master Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Young Caine: No.
Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
Young Caine: [looking down and seeing the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?
Caine: Is it good to seek the past, Master Po? Does it not rob the present?
Master Po: If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.
Caine: If you plant rice, rice will grow. If you plant fear, fear will grow.
Your turn, what kind of childhood influences led to your current passions and dreams?
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Photo Credit: Tobias Wallin