Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

The Boy With One Arm

There was once a young boy born with only one arm who wanted to learn Judo. So, he went to an old Japanese Judo master and asked him to take him as his student.

The Judo master taught the young boy a very exciting Judo “throw” in the first week of the boy’s training. The boy was super excited. “My teacher trusts me enough to teach me this move. I will train hard.”

In the second week, the master asks the boy to practice the same move and this same pattern continues every other week. The master tells the boy to keep practicing the same “throw” over and over again.

About three months pass this way, and the master continues to push the boy to practice the same move.

“Why is the master holding me back and not teaching me anything new? All my other friends are learning so many exciting moves”. One day unable to hold himself back, the boys ask, “Sensei, should I not be learning more moves like the others?”

“Don’t bother. This is the only move I want you to practice, and this is the only move you will ever need to know,” says the master. The boy cannot not fathom why his teacher is saying this. But he is an obedient child. He continues practicing the one technique he knows.

After about eight months, the Sensei takes the one-armed boy to his first Judo tournament. The boy is terrified, coming face to face with other well trained and more experienced Judo players.

The tournament starts. Surprising himself and others, the boy easily wins the first two rounds. The third round is a little harder, but the boy manages to pull off the only one move he knows, and he wins. The fourth round also amazingly goes the same way, and to the astonishment of everyone, the boy is in the final to take on a much stronger, tougher, and more experienced opponent.

In the finals, after the game starts, the one-armed boy finds himself outmatched and outmaneuvered. Concerned that the boy is unable to match his stronger opponent, the referee calls a time out and asks the Sensei to have the boy throw in the towel. The old master refuses and asks for the boy to continue. When the match resumes, the opponent gets cocky and tries to pin the boy down in a flourish. Unfortunately, for him, in doing so, he drops his guard for a split second. This lapse gives the boy the one opening he needs to make his trademark move, the only move he knows. The one-handed boy makes the “throw” and pins his opponent down to win the tournament.

After receiving the trophy, while traveling back home, the Sensei and boy review what happened in every match. Surprised at his victory, the boy asks his Sensei, ” How is it even possible that I could win a tournament with one arm and one move?.”

You won because of two reasons. “One, because of your discipline and dedication, you mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of Judo. Two, the only known defense for the move you have mastered is for your opponent to grab your left arm that is not there!!”

Thanks to the master’s sagacity and the boy’s hard work, the boy’s weakness was transformed into his biggest strength.

In life, sometimes what we think of as our weakness may turn out to our hidden strength.

  • “I don’t have relevant experience” – Maybe it’s an advantage that you can approach the challenge with a fresh perspective.
  • “I don’t have enough budget” Maybe it will force you to be more creative and innovative.
  • I am not good at communicating” Maybe it is an opportunity to demonstrate your real value through results instead of depending on just smart communication.

A disadvantage can become an advantage when we show up with a positive attitude, a can-do spirit, and the right guidance.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: