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Takudo-Ketsuryoku (Selection of the Way and Exertion of Effort)

If one has decided on what to do based on the two acts of determining on one’s intention and selecting the way to it, then the next thing one must do is to exert the effort to accomplish it. A hundred empty wishes and a hundred fruitless plans do not match up to a single action. Success means ultimately the result of energy applied toward a certain purpose, and the more energy is applied, the greater the success will be, as well. Even if that purpose and the means to it partake of something entirely good and entirely beautiful, they must be put into action or ultimately they will be like a beautiful dream. What is needed in war is resourceful stratagems, but winning and losing are not decided by resourceful stratagems alone. Those who are skilled in stratagem win by exerting the effort, and those whose stratagems are crude may at times be able to avoid defeat by exerting their efforts, so winning and losing are usually determined by the energy one puts into action. One may be thinking at that time that the purpose is steady and sound and the means is steady and sound, but when it eventually comes to the point of action, all kinds of difficulties and all kinds of obstacles will arise so that what is required, more often than not, will be a tireless will in exerting unflagging effort. This is the reality of life.


Success and failure occur largely according to the law of cause and effect. Major results do not come suddenly, and obtaining considerable results necessarily requires considerable effort. Therefore it is necessary to be resolved that when something is of value, then the greater the value, the more protracted will be the effort required. Great things cannot be brought about by the inspiration of a single day. Young people are filled with passionate enthusiasm, and they will easily become impatient to achieve success all at once, but rushing is not itself reason to achieve success. When impatience does not yield success, one grows weary; when weary, one loses heart; and when one loses heart, one may easily fall into despair. Those who are quick to advance may also be fast to retreat, and there are many such who, despite the intensity of their initial enthusiasm, contradictorily end instead without attaining any success at all. What is necessary in life above all is the business of building and not the action of destroying. At times destruction is required, but that is in order to build something even better. When it comes to that business of building, it necessarily requires a long time. It is easy to do something to damage one’s body in an instant, but it is no easy matter to develop that body to make it sound. This is what all business of building is like, so if one is ever to engage in any project that is good and beautiful, then one must be fully resolved to avoid rushing into it, to take sound and steady measures by steps that take one forward a little bit at a time, and if one once begins such a project, then one must engage in it with the firm determination to use all one’s strength for the rest of one’s life to accomplish it.


Kano Jigoro, Seinen shuyo kun (Teachings for the Cultivation of the Young), Dobunkan Publishers, 1910