The Bell Ringer
May 11, 2009 · 8:00pm EST · Posted by Fujiyama Dojo
Fujiyama Dojo
P.O. Box 20003
Thorold, ON, Canada
L2V 5B3
(905) 680-6389
Shortly before Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered all peasants to surrender their weapons to supposedly be used to help the construction of a huge statue of Buddha, a ronin came to a temple in search of a certain samurai who was currently living among the monks. The ronin asked several monks, and was directed to an older man, dressed in very modest clothes, who was ringing the temple's very heavy bell with a rickety wooden stick.

The ronin looked at the man and smiled arrogantly. "So, you are the famous Nakamune," he said. "You used to be a samurai. Now you are just a fat bell ringer."

The man bowed and smiled back, "Yes, My name is Nakamune. I have been told that you have been looking for me."

"It has been said you are very good with the sword. You studied many ryu and have learned much in your itinerant training. Your skills are renowned and I want to learn from you."

Nakamune shook his head slowly. "I cannot teach you," he said. "I do not teach swordsmanship anymore. See, I have learned many techniques with many weapons, but my first lesson was right here, in this temple and my teacher was the abbot. I realized that it was the first technique I learned, the hardest one I ever faced, and the one I profited the most from because it taught me patience and humility. I lost that for a while, but I realized it and then I came back here."

The ronin began to laugh. "You are a foolish old man now!" he said disrespectfully. "I thought you had much to teach me. But those who recommended you were wrong. You are nothing!"

"Then, you are free to go and seek your knowledge somewhere else.", said Nakamune.

The ronin seemed ready to leave, but instead the tone of his voice rose as he said; "So, you came here to practice the first technique you ever learned and all you do is ring that stupid bell with a stick," he said sarcastically. "You do not even do it right! ... And worse yet, you do not carry a sword."

Nakamune shrugged and pointed towards the road. "You should be on your way now, my friend. What I know I cannot teach you. My best technique is my first technique and that would not please you."

The ronin looked at him with defiance and shouted; "Of course it would not please me to practice a beginner's technique again and again. That is ridiculous!"

"One should never leave the basics," replied Nakamune, hitting the enormous metal bell with his wood stick once more.

"You dare to give me advice!" screamed the ronin. "You have lost your soul. I should teach you a lesson and perhaps you will remember how to be a warrior!"

"I have not forgotten," said Nakamune. "You do not need to teach me a lesson."

But the ronin had already assumed a fighting stance, and charged at great speed with a loud kiai. However, just as he took a few steps towards Nakamune, he found his sword flying from his grip, and he fell to the ground; his hands numb with pain. He looked up and saw Nakamune's smiling face and outstretched hand. In his other, he held the wood stick.

The ronin got up. His eyes showed no more arrogance. "I am sorry for my foolishness," he apologized. "Would you, please, teach me?"

Nakamune shook his head. "I cannot," he replied. "You must train your spirit first. Then, perhaps."

"I will return", said the ronin before leaving, "and I hope you will accept me then... But I would like to ask you something. What was the first technique you were taught?"

Nakamune smiled again and calmly answered, "Bell ringing with a wood stick."

The ronin began to laugh out loud and so did Nakamune. The ronin was still laughing as he walked away, and Nakamune rang the temple's bell again and again with his wooden stick.

The temple's bell never sounded better.


Current Class Schedule