What started you on your career path?
I’ve spent 50 years studying, practicing, and teaching the martial arts, a career first inspired in 1966 when I saw Bruce Lee on TV in The Green Hornet. As I immersed myself in the practice, I came to understand that, like most factors that make up a life worth living, the real work is a thing of the spirit. The mechanics of it all is just a delivery system for life lessons that are meant to bring about clarity of thinking and purpose-driven action.
What are you proud of?
I am proud of having launched an acts of kindness program in the international martial arts community, just after 9/11, that has been a catalyst for many millions of kind acts done around the world by young people. One of my students, Brian Williams, carries on the work through his non-profit ThinkKindness.org.
What are you passionate about?
Printmaking --and art in general, be it art expressed on paper, canvas, in performance, in sculpture, and/or the written or spoken word. Art makes us more human.
How do you define success?
Success is defined in how we take what we know and apply it in helping ourselves and other people, places, and things. I coined, “Out of the dojo and into the world,” to describe success in the context of teaching people the core principles of martial arts practice. For the teacher, success might be measured by how students take what is practiced on the mats (or in any classroom) and apply it in --and on behalf of --the world at large.
Any advice for the next generation?
Read. Study things worth knowing. Do for others. Don’t major in minors. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember that if a picture is worth 1000 words, then an action is worth 1000 pictures.