what is useful in the martial arts is not contained within the
four walls of a dojo. dojang, gwoon, studio or academy. Learning
and absorbing usable knowledge is not located within the structure
of your style or system, whether it is Chinese, Japanese, Korean,
Thai, Indonesian, Okinawan, Burmese, Filipino, French or whatever.
Learning comes from all your contacts, experiences and all facets
of your life. The assimilation of learning is called knowledge
and the proper use of knowledge is called wisdom.
Knowledge in the martial arts can come from fields outside the
martial arts. Knowledge can come from your peers, your elders,
your juniors, your teachers, your students and even from your
a light conversation outside of a classroom, you can become aware
of a concept that a two-hour classroom lecture didn't reveal to
you. Your friends in different martial arts such as Aikido, Jujitsu,
Bando, Penjak Silat, Savate, street fighting, boxing or wrestling
can help your growth if you empty your cup and taste their tea,
rather than trying to convince them that your tea is better, and
let it permeate your mind, body and soul. Both of your cups will
be richer for the experience.
In the early
50's and 60's, most martial arts were prejudiced
against other methods or were too proud to learn another style.
It is a pity, because I feel you can learn from every contact
you make. I believe you owe your allegiance to truth, knowledge
and personal growth. Some people give their alliance to their
style or to their instructor. I feel this is a noble gesture,
as long as it doesn't restrict your quest for total knowledge.
I believe you owe your allegiance to personal growth as well as
to a particular style, system or person.
personally encourage my students to study and to look into other
systems and other instructors, as long as they are respectful to
all parties concerned. No art, person, culture or thing is intrinsically
better than any other. A Porsche is no better than a hollowed out
canoe in the jungles of the Amazon. I try to bring instructors from
many different styles into my Academy as guest instructors to help
my students grow. No system has it all. Each system has something
to offer and together, they yield a better, more well-rounded martial
I think it
is important for an instructor to remain a student at heart always
- to constantly seek better ways of training and execution. It
is important to be creative and to experiment and to seek help
in areas where you lack expertise. Even a teacher with a doctor's
degree in U.S. history needs to seek help when he needs information
about Southeast Asia.
I consider myself very fortunate to have so many wonderful guides
to help me grow in this life. My father, my mother, my martial
arts instructors, my school teachers and my many friends have
all helped in my growth, self-improvement and development. The
goal of martial arts is not for the destruction of an opponent,
but to be used as a tool for self-growth and self-perfection.
The practice of a martial art should be a practice of love - the
love for the preservation of life, the love for the preservation
of your body, the love for the preservation of your family and