MMA Bout: Karen Mazen Miller Roshi vs. Senior Samurai

English: The mma octagonal cage constructed by...

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Let’s see if I can create a verbal chess match using Karen Maezen Miller’s Blog post,Zen Charity as a koan that needs unraveling

Miller’s (MM) opening move.

First, be quiet.

SS: Really. You mean like stop my incessant talking, turn down the words, and maybe sit on a cushion and do nothing? Get real.

MM: Give away your ideas, your self-certainty,

SS: How do I do that? Give away where and what to whom? What will I have left? I’m confident in myself and all my stuff. Isn’t that an asset?  What happened to good old fashioned communication? Makes me a little nervous to be that psychically naked.

MM: [Give away] your judgments and your opinions

SS: I’m entitled to my opinions; I worked hard to get these ideas, why do I have to give them up, by God? This is the good old USofA.

MM: Let go of defenses and offenses

SS: What if somebody gets in my face, is rude, and makes me angry. How do I cope with that…huh? I’m a guy; I don’t take s—- from nobody!

MM: Face your critics

SS: Like return a phone call to someone I don’t want to talk to; do the things on my To-do list that I’ve been putting off forever? Worse yet, deal with situations with my boss, spouse, children, neighbor…. now! Critics? What critics? What’s not to love? I’ve build these sand castles for a lot of years I’ll have you know. Why should I be worried about the tide?

MM: They will always outnumber you

SS: You bet there are always more of them than me, but so what? And don’t you dare tell me ‘do it anyway’ And by the way exactly who are ‘They’?

MM: Lose all wars

SS: I’m not a loser, I’m a winner. I’m competitive that’s the capitalist system. I’ll be seen as a ‘wuss’ and people will run all over me. Who doesn’t want a good fight aside from you, the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa and martin Luther King?

MM: All wars are lost to begin with

SS: Wars are what this country was founded on. We’re always at war and I would go if called up. I’m tough… ‘Till’ the end. Never give up is my motto. Loosing is for wimps.

MM: Abandon your authority and entitlements

SS: Give up control; the hell you say! What about my position as father, breadwinner, boss, chief family potentate and the puffed/stuffed chest’ of my neighborhood? Huh?  What’s left if I do this crazy idea? What’s there to defend?

MM: Release your self-image

SS: I’m a spiffy dresser, have the biggest, baddest vehicle ….and a lot of them I might add. My kids go to the right schools and I drink the best whiskey. What happens to all of that? I work my butt off to maintain my image. Why, I am not even getting older it’s just those other guys who have wrinkles and can’t hit a golf ball out of sight any more

MM: [Release] Status, power, whatever you think gives you clout

SS: Listen lady, I’m Chairman of my town’s Selectmen, V-P of alumni affairs of the [insert college name], and self-appointed family [insert position]. You expect me to get others’ opinions, not have opinions; do things other than my way? Really, you think I’m really that stupid?

MM: It doesn’t give you clout, not really

SS: You’re ‘messin’ with me now and I don’t like it. You don’t really know who you’re dealing with. I might not have any idea what ‘it’ is but you must be one of those liberal [insert trite/ rude put down comments]

MM: [Clout] was a lie you never believed

SS: I can’t remember who and how I got those impressions and ideas but it was someone I trusted….like my grandparents, teachers, bosses. You telling me I need to think for myself and decide what’s good for me and my family, community, planet? No, ‘go along to get along’ is what our capitalist system was built on? It turned out pretty good

MM: Give up your seat

SS: I really hope you mean for older ladies on a bus. Let me tell you right up front, anything other than that will have to be pried from my cold backside. You hear me now ‘sweetie’? Am I clear?

MM: See what you are

SS: About 5’6”, 170 lbs of lean, mean, fighting machine. I was in the Marine Corps you know.  Even if that was 50 years ago. What more do I have to know. I’m really not aging, and am still the head of the family, go-to guy for my kids and grandkids. And theses aches and pains are simply because I try to do everything for everybody. Even when it’s not necessary or expected. How else do I keep my image up?

MM: Unguarded

SS: Like give up my arms, militia membership, ‘the way the world is’ mentality? In your dreams! People will roll over me once I show weakness. I hope you’re not talking about some sort of compassionate thing here?

MM: Unprepared, unequipped

SS: Men are supposed to be the protectors: something about hunters and gatherers. I got guns, so bring ‘em’ on. Just for the record so we’re clear, I don’t show my emotions to anybody except my dog. That’s different.

MM: Surrounded on all sides

SS: I don’t think you might mean that my guy friends and I say, “I got your back?” What more you saying? I live in ruralNew England and have very few neighbors. My state motto is Live Free or Die. Get it?

MM: Alone

SS: I’m tough, good under pressure, nothing and I mean nothing bothers me. I’m not alone I‘ve got my hunting dog and that’s all a guy needs. I try not to think about much and keep myself very, very busy

MM: A prisoner of no one and nothing

SS: Nobody tell this guy what to do. I’m my own man and beholding to nobody. Not even my wife.

MM: And now that you are free

SS: Haven’t I been telling you I’m already a free man? Are you not listening? Don’t you appreciate my pithy wisdom and insight? And by the way free of what? Huh?

MM: See where you are. Observe what is needed.

SS: This whole thing might be getting to me. I’m getting nervous and don’t really know why. I don’t actually know a need when I see one. I’m proud that I don’t even know a feeling when I see one. Although come to think of it, I really had a hard time holding myself together at my friend’s funeral last year. My buddies seem to be dying lately and I miss them. It doesn’t seem right that my retired Ranger buddy really needs me just to get him to the VA hospital for his medications and treatment for PTSD because it’s not good for him to drive alone.

MM: Do good. Quietly.

SS: You mean without telling anybody about it. Twitter, Blog posts, Face book and e-mails to everybody? How do the accolades come my way? When do I get noticed? What about me? How do I get appreciated if nobody hears about me?

MM: If it’s not done quietly, it’s not good.

SS: Making a big scene about giving the street person 50 cents and telling them not to spend it on wine isn’t good? I’m compassionate. I also buy Girl Scout cookies.

MM: Start over

SS: At my age I’m too old to [fill in the blank]. I’m playing out the string

MM: Always start over

SS: You’re repeating yourself. How old are you and how long have you been forgetful?  Speaking of forgetful I’m exhausted from this. Naps are for old people so I can’t do that…maybe a 6-pack will do.

Good luck with all your radical thoughts. I’ve enjoyed the conversation and perhaps I’ve given you a lot to think about!

Your move.


Senior Samurai



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