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The Elephant and the Butterfly

Two great karate masters were giving a lecture about the art to a group of students. The first master explained how difficult it is for students to fully appreciate the art, and decided to borrow the parable of the elephant.

"Three blind men felt an elephant. The first felt the trunk. The second felt the legs. The third felt its tail."

"An elephant is like a great snake," said the first blind man. "No, it is like four great trees," said the second. "No, it is like a rope," argued the third.

"You see," said the first Karate master, "the three blind men were describing different parts of the same thing!"

Everyone contemplated the parable. Soon, they turned to the second master and wondered what he would have to say.

"The three blind men all started to learn Karate," said the second master. "After many years, their Sensei asked them to feel another animal."

"It is very small and round," said the first blind man. "No, it is a hairy worm," said the second blind man." "You are both wrong," said the third blind man. "It is delicate with powdery wings."

"You see," explained the second master, "the blind men were feeling different phases of the life cycle of a butterfly: an egg, a caterpillar, and the butterfly." "Karate will appear like very different things depending on your level of advancement."

Everyone contemplated the second master's parable. Soon their attention returned to the first master. What would he have to say?

"Three blind elephants felt a Karate student....!"


Charles C. Goodin