ON PATIENCE (by Paul Masse)

<< There is a saying in Japan, “The peach and chestnut tree, three years. The persimmon tree, eight years. The great stupid yuzu (a type of citrus) tree, eighteen years”.

It refers to the amount of time it takes for the tree to bear fruit. The peach and chestnut tree bear fruit after only three years and the persimmon tree after eight. But the yuzu tree takes an astonishing eighteen years to finally come to fruition. The interesting thing is that the peach and chestnut tree are considered weaker trees in that they can suddenly stop producing fruit for apparently no reason and they fall prey easily to disease and infection. The same is said for the persimmon tree. But the “stupid” yuzu tree strong and robust and once it starts producing, it can produce fruit regularly for years and years. The leaves are thick and leather like and the yuzu has many uses for maintaining health here in Japan.

This year marks the fifteenth year that I have been consistently training with my teacher Masaaki Hatsumi Sensei here in Japan. And it seems that I finally am experiencing the emergence of, not yet fruit, but the feeling of buds of fruit starting to appear on the branches of my martial tree. For several years, I was concerned that I was slow understand my teacher and maybe would never grasp the meaning of his teachings. But like the yuzu tree, it takes time to grow your martial tree strong and robust. And when it starts producing fruit, it should produce fruit for your students, family, friends and humanity for years to come. Like the yuzu tree, it should be useful in a variety of ways for the world.

So even though Momotaro, the demon banishing boy warrior, was born from a peach and the shape of the peach often reminds me of my beloved, I have a new found affection for the “stupid” yuzu tree. Realize that good things often take time a patience. I am extremely grateful for those that cared for my “tree” all these years when it seemed that it would never produce anything!! It is important to find a good teacher who will continue to throw fertilizer on your tree even when it appears hopeless and understand that each tree blossoms in its own time. >>

(Paul Masse, February 19, 2009)