Banzo's Sword

Matajuro Yagyu was the son of a famous swordsman. His father disowned him thinking that he lacked the qualities of a real swordsman.

Matajuro sought out the great swordsman Banzo. The latter discouraged him, “You wish to learn swordsmanship from me but you don’t have the necessary requirements.”

“I’m willing to work hard. How many years do you think it would take for me to become a master?”

“The rest of your life.”

“I cannot wait that long. I’m not afraid of hard work. I can put up with anything, only please take me under your tutelage. I’ll be your servant and serve you day and night, then how long would it take?”

“…in that case, maybe ten years.”

“But soon I’ll have to take care of my father, he is getting old. How ‘bout if you put me on intensive training, then how long would it take?”

“Thirty years.”

“But, you said ten before. I’ll do anything to take the shortest time to train. I really mean it.”

“Then it will take seventy years. A man in such a hurry as you seldom learns quickly.”

Matajuro had to give up, “Alright, I agree with whatever you say.”

From that day on, Matajuro worked as a servant for Banzo. He cooked his meals. He washed his clothes. He cleaned his house and yard. He cared for his garden. And all the while, Matajuro was forbidden to speak of fencing or to touch a sword.

Three years passed. Still Matajuro did as he was told. But he was sad thinking that he had no future.

One day, while Matajuro was working, Banzo sneaked up from behind and struck him one terrific blow with his wooden sword. The next day, Banzo did it again. Soon, Banzo’s attacks escalated to many times a day, day and night, everyday. When his servant was least expecting it, Banzo would attack and give him a taste of his sword!

Matajuro found himself having to work and to be on guard for his master’s unannounced assaults. In this way, he learnt very quickly. His progress was so impressive that it brought a smile to Banzo’s otherwise stern face.

This is how Matajuro became the greatest swordsman in the land.

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