Our Creed – Today I cried for #3

  1. Be loyal to your country
  2. Obey your parents
  3. Respect elders and teachers
  4. Trust in friends
  5. Preserve life, do not destroy it
  6. Be courageous, uphold justice
  7. Never give up
  8. Be ambitious
  9. Discipline yourself
  10. Love and respect each other
  11. Study harder
  12. Be the best of the best
  13. I am following my creed


Of Grandmaster Yu’s martial arts creed, the one I like to say loudly from behind my children is “#2, Obey your parents!” But today I cried for #3 Respect elders and teachers.  I attended the Zen Buddhist robing ceremony for another of my master teachers, June Ryushin Kaililani Tanoue.  She now not only holds the title of Kumu (master in Hawaiian) Hula but Sensei as well.  I cried as I watched Kumu June dance today a solo to a Hawaiian version of “Have you ever seen the rain?”  She spoke of her inspiration for choreographing and how she interprets the song.  Then she laid herself bare unabashedly in front of others, with the evidence of not only the physical excellence of thousands of hours of training but also the searching for and presenting of the beauty and soul that infuses nature, so that we might share it.  I was astounded by her courage and generosity and so I cried.


The last time I cried like this was at a performance by Jake Shimabukuro last Fall and before that at a performance by Keali’i Reichel in Oregon years ago. Jake has ventured where no one has gone before on the wings of the four stringed ukulele.  Keali’i Reichel has helped to galvanize excellence in Hawaiian music creating and performance and paid homage to one of my masters who has passed, Kumu Hula Palani Kahala.  Grandmaster Yu is clearly one of my masters as well.  As, truthfully, were my parents.  Do I dare to invest myself, to find passion, to share vision and bare my soul?  Am I brave enough to forego some opportunities in order embrace others?  My elders and teachers have shown the way and the path as well as the peak.  And so I strive to honor their gifts to me by meeting their courage and their patience by quelling my bleating and instead performing and living with integrity and soul.