For the over-thinkers out there.

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Script for those who like to read or for the hearing impaired.

My old Sensei, mentor and all round badass was moving house. He and his fiance, my soon to be step mum, were taking the next step in their relationship. However, there was an issues with the combination of assets. He owned a large collection of fantasy and martial-arts style fiction books like Shike by Robert Shea and Dai-San by Eric Van Lustbader. There was no room for old books in the new house and the fiance had put the foot down and said they had to go. He was loathe to say goodbye to his beloved books but he was keeping the peace and compromising when he needed to. He had also been teaching me all the different martial arts styles he had learned over the 20 years he been studying it, he also done a lot of different styles, which he then incorporated into his own. I loved it all and was I was a quick learner but would often struggle with knowing what to do next when sparing. I had the pattern movements sorted but I could never integrate that into action. He was a patient master with a struggling apprentice.

When we arrived at their house to give them a hand with the move. I was shown the box of books and he said that I could my pick. I decided, very quickly, that I would take them all. He was very happy that it as going to someone how would enjoy them. There were so many books and the box was so big that it was almost impossible to lift. I thought I better have a quick look inside before I started helping them move house. So I pushed my hand through the folded lid of the box, and then pulled it open to take a look. I started grabbing out the first lot of books and scanned the covers to see if I recognised anything. Just as I was doing this, I heard my girlfriend, now wife, walk up behind me. I then looked back and saw concern on her face, I knew she thinking about the amount of books and where they would fit in our house, but the look on her face slowly changed from concern to something close to love. She quickly nodded her approval and asked if I had found anything interesting, which I said there was and I was excited to start them. She nodded then turned around and went on to help pack up the some boxes. I was feeling very happy right then and there.

The day moved far too slowly as we made the trips back and forth between the old and new houses. I kept thinking about that box of books waiting for me at the old houses’ front door. I kept thinking about what was in there and what magic I could find. The day eventually came to a close. We were bought pizza for dinner that night as a thank you, we quickly ate, said our goodbyes (which always takes a very long time in that family), grabbed the box and then tetrissed it into the boot with all the other things we were given. On the drive home, I had considerable preemptive target confusion about having to choose the first book to read. This feeling followed me all the way home as I thought about the couple of books I saw when I pulled them out for the first time.

When the front tyres of the car hit the beginning of the driveway into our house, the target confusion feeling got a lot sharper and more intense. It was sitting in my throat and I was holding my breath. I needed to dive into the box and see what I was dealing with. So I jumped out and pulled the box out of the back of the car, leaving the rest of the stuff for my girlfriend to sort out.. I then slowly tried to navigate my way through the front door and smashed my finger on the door frame. I dropped the box, my precious I thought and pushed it forward with my foot and then dragged it the rest of the way into the living room. My stupid finger was throbbing but more importantly I was worried I had damaged a book.

Finally, I thought as I sat on my knees pulling the box open again. The anxiety had now been replaced by anticipation. I pulled out the books and started stacking them up by authors. I started to create piles and piles that filled the living room as I dug deeper to get to the bottom. I recognised a few here and there, some I had read, others I had heard about and some I had never heard about.

I looked into the box and the next book I grabbed was blue and thick. The back was showing and I flipped it over and giant blue words stood out, the name MAGICIAN was on the front and a weird giant castle and people on horses riding fast through a landscape. The name and the look of the cover conjured up in my mind an epic adventure that was exciting and full of magic. It was exactly what I was looking for. I now knew this was where I would start, I had found my target.

I packed away the rest of the books. Taking mental notes of what I would read next. Then sat down on the couch to begin. I was immediately drawn in by its slow and simple pace in which it introduced Pug. I connected with the innocence and curiosity of Pug. Then danger was introduced by a storm, then a boar and then he landed in serendipitous safety. The way danger was introduced set me at ease, the author wasn’t going to misuse my anxiety for a quick hook. There was longevity and pacing here I didn’t know I needed to feel.

In the book I met Kulgan and Meecham and found out Pug had magic inside him and potential to boot. I met Tomas, Aurtha, Carline, Borric and Lyam, Amos, then the Elves! The character development of Pug and Tomas alone had me hooked very quickly. Both somehow represented different parts in myself. Although I tended towards Tomas more, his story of being scared and then eventually overcoming this and then controlling his urge to fight and destroy. Their stories captured my imagination and soul. I’ve read all the books Raymond has created around about 5 times. After going through this I want to read them all for a 6th time.

The book Magician is split into two parts. Apprentice and Master. Magician is part of the series the rift war saga. Which also had Silverthorn and a Darkness at Sethanon. Then there was the riftware cycle - with the Empire Series by Janny Wurtz. So yeah Rift war Saga and cycle…. and oh wait yeah in the Cycle, there’s Krondors Sons. On top of those series, there’s the Serpent War saga. Then the Legacy series. Oh wait and Legends of the Riftwar, then the Conclave of Shadows series. The Dark War Series. Demon War Saga. Chaoswar Saga and that’s about it, I think. Over 30 books, all dedicated to one universe and I loved them all. As I was going through all the different titles for research, I could feel all the stories pop up into my head. I remembered the wonder, excitement, anxiety, hope and satisfaction from them all. These stories found me when I was happy and every time I dived into them again, the happiness and everything else all came back.

My old sensei was family to me. He helped me through my teenage years and guided me into the adult I am today. He also taught me to fight, not only with my body but with my mind as well. Importantly, he taught me to be calm and to realise everything is going to be ok. In the books, the structure is quite formulaic. There's the hero, a thief, a mage, a damsel (who's not quite a damsel), a person in the kingdom hierarchy that's on their side and those who are not. I'm not going to list every part of the formula but it's there and I love it. Near the end, the group who go on the journey end up being as close as family. The bonds are tied close together even though they may have started off badly, think Bobby de Loungville and Eric Von Darkmoor. These books always remind me of growing up and forming a family like bond, in the way I did with my old Sensei. He was the master and I was the apprentice, which is a common theme in this universe.

It always surprises me how books find you at the right time and right place, and have links to other areas of your life. It does sometimes feel a little bit magical.

In closing, my sensei, whether he intended or not with the box of books; had taught me about the integration of pattern movements into the real world. I had far too many choices when sifting through those books and didn't know what to do. There's also a lot of information when sparring and it's not always clear what to do, it then comes down to intuition, knowing when to pick something and target it. I connected those dots when I chose that book and from then onwards, I used my intuition more and I eventually was able to build it out and become a lot better and know when to attach or defend. I had overcome the paralysing effect of target confusion. The apprentice was slowly turning into the master.