If I died tomorrow….

15 May

I was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of six. At that time, half the children diagnosed died. In retrospect, I suppose that I originally never believed I would live a full, normal life. I suppose that was one of the early attractions I had to the figure of Bruce Lee. He had died young, but he left a legacy that meant he was still alive in minds and hearts.

I have always been extremely lucky in the martial arts teachers I found and were able to study with. I already had a pretty significant experience by the time I ever met the late Chan Tai-San. I was still very young, but I ended up not only running his school but also his organization and/or reputation. To say that was not easy would be an understatement. But I did it with relish. And along the way published more than 50 articles in various martial arts magazines.

Beginning in 1994 I started training people to fight. It exposed me to new people and a very different corner of the martial arts world. I became very interested in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and I did a lot of cross training. These experiences taught me very important lessons; to follow truth, not to be restricted by what people call tradition, what doesn’t work, and of course, what really works. More importantly, it taught me not only how to train, but the right mind set and attitude.

I didn’t just train fighters, I worked as a matchmaker, I promoted shows, I worked with athletic commissions. I introduced in New Jersey the idea of amateur MMMA, not just as a “farm system” for professional fighting, but because amateur sport also is a developmental method for martial arts when done correctly.

These days, perhaps I have gone full circle. I am involved in using martial arts as a fitness tool. Many of my students have absolutely zero interest in any kind of fight training. They use martial arts to be healthy and happy. If it hadn’t been for martial arts, where would I have been after 2 years in a hospital? There is nothing wrong with martial arts for fitness, indeed there is much positive in it. But ONLY if you do it with truth and accept fully the consequences.

If I were to die tomorrow, what would I hope to have achieved? First and foremost, I have NOT tried to pass on a system / method / tradition / lineage. I do not believe in such things. No teacher is a carbon copy of his own teacher, nor of those that came before them. It is not only impossible, it is in no way desirable. My teaching method is not passing on laundry lists of techniques. Instead I hope those who trained with me learn to think for themselves, to have body awareness and awareness of truth. And realize that truth is something they have to experience personally and can only be understood by self experience.

I hope that I have shared ideas and methods to train practically if that is what you want to do. It does not matter what you practice it is HOW you practice it. I hope that if you practice martial arts for fitness, as physical education, etc that you do so with truth so that you do not fall into the traps that plague so many who follow that path.

I hope that I have taught people to question everything, and to look for the truth themselves. In the age of fake news, we also have fake history and fake “facts”. Understand the real history, so you can understand not only the mistakes we have all made but WHY we make them.

I hope people understand that the messenger is not the message. Whatever weaknesses, and shortcoming I have as a person, ignore me and look at lesson. Simply put, you don’t have to be my friend, you don’t have to like me, you can even hate me, but look past all that to what I am saying.

Finally, as a historian, I warn you that history is cyclic in nature. Others have come before me and said the same things. The problems of today, were the problems of the past. They will be the problems of the future. There will always be a need for people to challenge the status quo and ask hard questions.

Good luck and go train!

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One Response to “If I died tomorrow….”

  1. kickingtoes May 16, 2017 at 5:15 am #

    Great advice

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