To my Dear Friends in the Martial Arts Industry / World (from Tom Callos):
I am writing you this letter to introduce you to one of my teachers, Thich Nhat Hahn.
You may listen to a radio interview with Thay (“Teacher” in Vietnamese) by following this link:
Thay isn’t wise because he’s a Zen monk or a Buddhist or a revered figure or a historical icon, he’s wise because he so eloquently and precisely talks the talk and walks the walk of the absolute opposite of violence.
He knows how to talk about peace and compassion and finding one’s center in a way that is so clear, perfect, and enlightened that if you listen carefully, you will instantly absorb some of his wisdom.
It’s the kind of wisdom, I think, martial arts teachers should know and have (study) as well as they know how to block punches and kicks. It’s the kind of wisdom that popular fiction (take the TV series KUNG FU for example) often connects to martial arts “masters,” but that you and I both know isn’t taught at martial arts conventions or in the magazines or well, almost anywhere in the “martial arts industry” (and that’s a shame, as the world could use a lot more wisdom and a lot less “martial.”).
I’m not selling you something here –I’m just telling you that the first time I heard Thich Nhat Hahn was like the first time I saw a Bruce Lee movie. It was like the first time I saw Royce win the UFC. On all three occasions, I instantly became a better martial artist –moved and inspired by the obvious mastery of these individuals.
In our world (the martial arts world), we’re so completely inundated with the calls to “get our gross up” and to be a “martial arts millionaire” and with all the hoopla from the UFC and MMA, with all the association-based political neck squeezing, and with every other business guru trying to tell us (and sell us) on the latest business strategy –well, I find Thich Nhat Hahn’s dialogue a much needed break from all this trivial financial ego-focused voodoo.
In the end, I think Thich Nhat Hahn is the Bruce Lee of common sense and usable wisdom for the martial arts teacher. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to something I think is monumentally important to our industry –and the world.