Take the Staff

After many years of hard training at the two Shaolin Monks are approaching a milestone in their martial arts journey.

Their master tells them that they have one more test to pass before moving on.  The master then gives them each a wooden staff and tells them if they fail the test he will beat them severely with the staff.   Both students had been beaten before in their training and the threat is very real.

The master tells the students to take their staffs to their rooms and the test will take place in the morning.  The students do as they are told and take the weapons to their rooms for the night.

Early in the morning the master goes to the first student’s room and opens the door.  The student is doing his early morning stretches, no doubt preparing for his test.  The master does not say a word, and picks up the staff from its resting place.  The master promptly beats the student with the staff.  The only words that the master said to the student during the beating are “you have failed your test”.

The master leaves the student on the floor and proceeds to the other student’s room.  Upon opening the door the master sees the student in the center of the room.  The student is standing in a fighting stance with the staff in his hands.  The only words the master said to the student are “you have passed your test”.


The test was about control.  The first student was caught off guard with an unusual test.  The second student did not know what the test would be, but he knew if he controlled the staff he would not get beaten.  The second student put himself in a situation where he could not be defeated, before the test had started.

The moral of this story is to put your self in advantageous situations, and find ways to avoid negative outcomes.  Take the staff in life and maintain control of it.

I was told this story a few years ago.  I have looked for the original and have not been able to find it.  I recreated it to the best of my ability; the overall message remains the same.

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