A certain master-juggler, Li-Ho, once told Dimitri, his apprentice, a story about the legendary Yiliao. It was said that he was the first to achieve the near impossible feat of juggling nine balls at once. In a battle between the states of Chu and Song, the two armies confronted each other. When Yiliao appeared at the head of the Chu troops, juggling all nine balls with consummate ease and composure, the Song warriors and their officers lost heart and were so bewildered by Yiliao’s demonstration that they fled the battlefield, giving victory to the Chu.
“This,” Li-Ho said, “is a supreme example of the perfect performance to which all performers aspire.” Continue reading