One day, a sword master invited an old friend to his home. The friend was also an expert in weapons. The master had conceived a means to demonstrate and assess the level of expertise that his three sons had achieved in the art of the sword. The master placed a vase on the top of the door so it would fall on anyone who would open it.
Once the master and his friend were comfortably seated before a steaming pot of tea, the master called the eldest of his three sons. The son's steps were heard as he approached the door, but he stopped short in front of it. He gently opened the door, and then took the vase and cradled it in his hand... smiling. He then turned around and delicately put back the vase in its initial position. The master said: "This is my eldest son. He has progressed very well, and will soon be a master in his own right."
The master then called his
second son. The son opened the door without hesitation and almost
received the vase on his head. At the last instant, thanks to his
instincts and swiftness, he moved and seized the vase before it
fell to the ground. The master said to his friend: "This is
my second son. He still has much to learn, but I trust that he
will succeed. His heart and his will are true."
The third son came in brusquely. The vase fell and violently struck his head. But even before the vase dropped to the ground, the third son drew his sword in a flash and shattered the vase with a powerful and accurate strike. The master said to his friend who was laughing loudly: "This is my youngest son. He is still rather clumsy and knows little about the art of the sword... but he is still young."
The essence of this story, inspired by the art and spirit of Bujutsu (Budo), was used as a basis in the selection of the Samurai warriors in Akira Kurosawa's movie "The Seven Samurai".
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