(Nov 94/#3)

	I read, in one of the martial arts periodicals, way back when, about an instructor who was attempting to impress a row of watching parents with how ‘no nonsense’ his children’s class was.
	“Now,” he said to the seven year old, “Let’s get really serious, I want you to really kick me. I mean really!”
	So the seven year old kicked, the instructor missed his block, and the entire class and the watching parents were treated to the sight of a grown man crawling like a pale faced worm into the back room, where shortly sounds of puking, if you’ll forgive my turn of phrase, issued forth.
	I always thought there was something appropriate about this story, but I have to tell you I have a better one.

I was a beginner in 1967. As a beginner I thought tournaments were what the arts were all about, and breaking was obviously a section of heaven reserved for the truly able.
	One day my school had a breaking seminar. The head of the school went out and bought a huge quantity of boards and people almost fought each other over the chance to sign up for this once in a lifetime chance to learn the secrets of breaking.
	One of my friends at the seminar was a fellow named Jeff. Jeff counted himself among the truly dedicated, and he worked hard at the martial arts. During the course of the seminar, the mat littered with kindling and kiai’s, Jeff raised his hand and asked the instructor, “Is it possible to break a board with your head?”
	“Yes,” was the answer. “But one never attempts such a break until one has a lot of experience breaking and really knows what he is doing.”
	Jeff said ‘Thank you,’ and the seminar went on. Shortly afterwards we all moved into another room to continue the seminar. Unbeknownst to any, Jeff stayed in the first room.
	As the instructor continued with his speech and demonstrations we were suddenly interrupted by the sound of what I can only describe as a truly horrendous ‘smacking’ sound.
	We were deathly silent. Suddenly Jeff came through the door. He walked with a severe slant and a tendency to circle as he crossed the room and sat down next to me. Even his Zazen position was slanted.
	We all watched him for a moment, but he appeared to be absorbed in giving his full attention to the instructor.
	After a moment, when we were all fairly sure that Jeff wasn’t going to keel over permanently, the instructor continued.
	In the end the seminar was a grand success. After we bowed out we stood around talking about our experiences. I happened to be standing near the instructor when Jeff came up to him.
	“Sir,” he said, unaware that it had all been said before, “Is it possible to break a board with your head?”

Monster Martial Arts