The Cost of Freedom

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of those who feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you. May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
— Samuel Adams

As Martial Artists this quote should have special meaning to us because our practice of the Martial Arts pays tribute to those who developed the arts in order to defend themselves from unjust servitude. Yes I know that is a broad interpretation but it is the spirit of the Martial Arts that I am speaking to, the spirit to be free despite the outward bent of society.

Faith

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, Reviews
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I am reading Give Us This Day – The Classic Memoir of the Bataan Death March for many reasons but mostly because I grew up knowing one of these men and what little he told me had a great impact on my life. In reading this book I am discovering something about myself as well, especially the things I take for granted like my freedom.
The following passage really struck a cord with me as we to often tend to blame God for our problems. The following passage takes place a few days before the American soldiers were forced to surrender…

We had lain the whole day in the foxhole, fearing to raise our heads. The fury of death raged above us and as the night drew on, we huddled together. I could hear a man in one of the foxholes near us praying.‘Oh God, don’t let me die. Take care of me. Don’t let me die, God. Please God, don’t let me die.’

Side by side, Rass and I listened to the man’s words. We were used to our own prayers, seldom audible, but prayers nevertheless and fervent. Rass spoke up, speculating.

‘You know Sid, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you come right out and pray to live. I know that you want to live, but I have never heard you ask God to let you live.’

‘No, Rass, I never have asked God to let me live, and I’ll tell you why.’ I looked over at his puzzled face in the faint light. ‘When I was a little boy, at home in Watonga, there was a hardware store that was giving away a little red car. You got tickets on this car with every so many purchases at this store. I have never seen a little car like that since. It had bicycle tyres and it was big enough for three kids to ride in it. It had a real gasoline engine, like a washing machine engine, I guess, because it went “pop, pop, pop.”‘

‘Dad and Mother saved up the tickets they got. I never in my life wanted anything like I wanted that little red car. For a month before the drawing I didn’t think a bad thought. All day long I kept thinking, if I’m real good, God will let me have that car. I’d pray every night for an hour down on my knees beside the bed. I’d pray that I’d win that little car.

‘Oh, the dreams I had of driving around in that little red car. It’s funny, but my mother was running around forcing tonics down my throat. She was sure I was sick because I was so darn good. And as the day came closer, I was more careful for fear I might even think something bad, or do something bad, and then I wouldn’t get that car.’

‘I’d go down in the afternoons and look at it and run my hands over it and her the sound of the motor going “pop, pop, pop.” The I’d go home and pray for that car.’

‘Finally the day of the drawing came and I stood with all the other kids and their folks. My dad had the tickets all laid out. I waited as a blindfolded little girl ran her hand down in a cage and drew out a number. When the number was announced–why dammit, Rass! I didn’t get that car. One of the meanest little kids in town got that car. And he never did anything good. I felt cheated. I felt that God had cheated me, Rass, because I didn’t win that car.

‘As I got older I used to think about it. The worst thing that could have happened to me was if God had let me win that car. I learned right then that a man hasn’t got a right to ask God for little red cars, because that’s not what we’re here for. God doesn’t go around giving little boys or grown men little red cars just because they ask for them. Men get little red cars because the work.

‘Since then I’ve seen so many die. Good guys too, Rass, guys that believed in God stronger then I do. When I see those guys die, I think, well, life is a luxury. Even if it isn’t a luxury I haven’t got the right to ask God to live. I’m not going to ask him for a little red car. With all these shells bursting around me I’ve got the feeling that my life is just like that little red car.’

My mind flew back to the day the war started and the prayer I had made after seeing the wounded lying in the hospital yard. God had given me what I asked for and Rass knew about that prayer. Things in my personality too weak for my control I had begged God to help me with. But life, no. It was a tangible, precious thing that I wanted with every breath. But hadn’t better men then I died praying to live? And God is great and I knew He wept for them and suffered their pain.

‘I do ask God to give me strength to take all this, to be a better man and to help me make myself a better man. If God wants me to live, if He’s got anything He wants me to do with my life, He’ll help me do it. If He wants me to live, He’ll let me. But I’m not going to ask for any little red cars.’

In my mind, Sid demonstrates a much stronger faith then he gives himself credit for. In ever battle, in every struggle, in every pursuit, if we can understand that we are not truly in control, that we cannot be, we will be more able to cope with fear. We can only control our inner self, to try to control more then that is futile and a waste of energy. We can choose to be one of two men who falls from a boat in deep water. One man struggles and splashes about in the water in a fearful attempt to not drowned only to exhaust himself and seal his fate. The other man, relaxes and does a back float accepting his state and waiting for what comes next, rescue or land. A proper faith in God helps us to accept those things which we have no control over. Faith is a formidable force.

I highly recommend this book: Give Us This Day – The Classic Memoir of the Bataan Death March. It is told in the first person with vivid details that capture your attention and make real this period of history. If you are at all interested in history or in the Japanese culture at that time this book is a must read!

Martial Law??

ktadmin Posted in News, Politics, Self-Defense, Video
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Are we headed for Martial Law in America?
Are forces being set in motion to defeat the American people from within it’s own borders?
Will ‘We the People’ have time to respond if these things happen?

I despise fear mongering so don’t take the above questions out of context. I do like to look at the facts and draw conclusions from those facts. Here I will just present the facts and leave it to you to post your conclusions as comments…

On September 30 it was announced in the Army Times that Brigade homeland tours will start Oct. 1. The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys. Now they are training for the same mission at home. Beginning October 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or man made emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks. This new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.

Also from the article and I quote: “The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose.”…well I feel better.
Source: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/

And during the infamous bailout debate we heard about Martial Law on the floor of the Congress:

How secure is our Freedom and how willing is OUR government to take it away??