Monday, July 17, 2006

Letter to the 100. April, 2006

Good Morning to the 20 or so of us that currently make up The 100.

This morning, here, in a few hundred words, I am going to offer you some instructions/directions to help make your involvement in this Association (which is really a movement — a revolution and/or shift in our thinking) something that guides and inspires you — -and something that benefits your school — -and, perhaps, if we're very fortunate, everyone you come in contact with.

First, imagine that I produced a large variety of promotional materials — REALLY good ones — around self-defense instruction. Imagine I gave you an angle with which to promote your business that just knocked people out...and that as a result you enrolled hundreds of new students.

Now imagine you really didn't know anything "authentic" about self-defense. I mean, you could go thru the motions — but the truth was that you'd never defended yourself, you'd never taken any authentic self-defense courses, volunteered at a rape crises or domestic violence program — — -let's just say that all of your "self-defense training" was practicing traditional martial arts up and down the dojo floor. All sizzle — no steak.

This is exactly what we DON'T want to have happen with our activities in The 100. I am going to produce promotional materials (print, video, partnerships, curriculum, audio, whatever-is-best) around subjects like PEACE EDUCATION and ENVIRONMENTALISM and SUSTAINABILITY.... And the materials will be, excellent. T

he strategies for expanding our impact in our communities — and inspiring all sorts of new people to look at your schools with new interest...they will come. However, first, we must educate ourselves, authentically, in the new subject matter — so that when the opportunities arrive, we are truly prepared.

You follow me?

One of the things you MUST PLEDGE TO DO — as a member of this team of activists and, dare I say, "revolutionaries," is to fully and authentically educate yourself on the subjects we tackle as a team. You make sure that when we start laying down our sizzle — that you've got a freezer full of steak (or, for you vegetarians, some sort of soy-based alternative).

Step # 1 — We are going to re-embrace PEACE EDUCATION as a team — in a way that has not ever been done in the martial arts. Now realize that Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, was a peace activist in a very profound way — -he even named his art "The Art of Peace."

So too were many of the great masters who have proceeded us... Now it's our turn. We're going to adopt a set of tools that we will, first, LIVE, then we will teach to our students — and then, with their help, we will arm every interested citizen in our communities. Our education will be like the Polio vaccinations of the 60's and 70's — with one simple shot we will protect millions of people from harm. We will arm people with Peace tools that will help them get a mental, emotional, and physical grip on conflict — and how to resolve it without aggression...both internally and externally.

It's nothing new my friends, we're just going to make it our mission to teach these skills — the very deepest "roots" of authentic self-defense — to our friends, students, families, and fellow citizens. It will be our gift to the world. If you embrace this idea with your full potential — YOU will become THE MOST proactive Peace Activist in your community. You may become THE (or one of the) most respected spokes-people for Peace and non-violent conflict resolution.

ANY parent or employer who wants his or her charges to learn the skills of peace-in-life-and-action — -will want to send them to you for instruction and training. That is our objective. We don't have to reinvent the wheel on this one. There are many, many people who have dedicated their lives to peace and peace education...what we're going to do, after studying the subject matter thoroughly, is to take action on these ideas in an unprecedented way.

I'm now going to assign you two books (or books on tape?) to begin your journey (as we must begin somewhere):

Book # 1: THE ART OF PEACE by Morihei Ueshiba, as translated by John Stevens. I have corresponded with Mr. Stevens — and I hope to have more of his input on the subject in the future. You don't have to study Aikido to appreciate Ueshiba (although it's not a bad idea)...and his ideas should (when studied with an open heart and mind — searching for opportunity) have a profound impact on your martial arts CORE BELIEFS.

Book # 2: Thich Nhat Hanh: CREATING TRUE PEACE: ENDING VIOLENCE IN YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR COMMUNITY AND THE WORLD. If you have not been blessed with meeting/reading/listening to this amazing peace activist, you're in for a life-changing treat. Your learning curve is going to go right off the scale.

So there you have it.

My first act in this new association, The 100., is not to send you a packet of promotional materials — or a new strategy for member upgrades, or a slick and fancy campaign for school, it is a request for you to lay a foundation of understanding about conflict, peace, passion, purpose, and education.

Honestly, Men and Women, our teachers should have been laying down this foundation for us from day 1....they just didn't know any better (if they didn't). We will. For all the future teachers of our various arts, we will lay down a heavy foundation of education in peace and non-violence that doesn't just scratch the surface, but that leaves a powerful and permanent positive impact on our students lives — and everyone they have the good fortune to come in contact with.

Peace is as important a part of the martial arts and life — as is any other subject.
The two books I've assigned you to read, above, is as good a place to start as any.

More to follow — (and I task you all to open your mental "window" to anything and everything about Peace...and you watch, all sorts of stuff is going to start flying through it). Keep in mind it takes a village to raise a "master." All of our education will NOT come from any one source (including The 100.). Together, collectively, we will teach each other, learn together, tap into all of our resources (like the great peace teacher and our friend, Terrence Webster Doyle — and others).

Oh, and one more thing: If you already have read these books, if you're already Mr. or Mrs. Peace Education, then it's your job to help, not to think or act like you're already there (of course you know this, but it's better to address ego up front, no?). The assignment above should take you no more than two weeks. Let me know how you do. Oh, and keep in mind...there's study — and then there's STUDY. Practice STUDY.It's time to prepare...Oh man are we in for a wild ride!

Tom Callos

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