I started Martial Arts training about 30 years ago, frantically inspired by watching the Kung Fu TV series starring David Carradine as Grasshopper Quai Chang Caine, and Bruce Lee’s range of immortal movies.
Although Caine was a character, Carradine’s portrayal of Caine showed me the peaceful Warrior’s way of life – strength to kill effectively, and gentleness and benevolence to change lives for the better.
Bruce Lee, on the other hand, wasn’t a character – He was for Real, as REAL as you get! Lee taught me to be obsessed with finding out the truth, the reality of what actually could work in a real life confrontation, and finding that out through continuous testing and development with people outside of my influence factor, who can kick some serious ass. That way you don’t delude yourself with grandiose ideas of how it would work, rather than knowing if it does or doesn’t through direct challenge of ability.
Lee broke open the mystical secrets of the Martial Arts and exposed them for what they really are…mental and emotional mindsets that evoke the best enjoyment of your life, by playing full on and entering the moment or – entering the dragon – as he might have said.
My Kung Fu teachers taught me how to hone my body in directed, intentional ways, to access intense emotions and to function effectively, in situations that would show up in a real life altercation.
They subjected me to serious experiences that brought me face to face with self preservation.
They also taught me that Martial Arts is a way of self perfection where you continuously aim at having a beginner’s mind, while cultivating character and developing ranges of ability.
I learned from Mr. Tony Blauer the reality behind the reality of how bodies, mammals (yes us),react under extreme pressure and how centuries of Martial Arts have failed to take that precious discovery with importance.
I learned from Sifu Paul Vunak to get off my middle age ass and get back to not knowing shit all, and move like a babe again.I learned to put it all together without end.
I learned from Tuhon Mark Mikita – nothing, I’m still working on approaching this giant in the world of Martial Arts with enough awareness to honour him. I’m learning to learn to learn, and that it all can land in one place.
I got my life back,my soul passion back,my spiritual backbone back, from Mr. Marcus Soares and fellow students of his in Brazilian Jujitsu.
My first slap to my Martial Arts’ pride and face came when Mr. Royce Gracie defeated highly skilled martial artists in a battle inside a cage called The Ultimate Fighting Challenge.Mr. Gracie taught me, that again, I know shit – disillusioned me from the mystical aspect of Martial Arts and replaced it with a desire to return to the drawing board,to break with my untested traditions and cross train fervently.
In 2000, I was given a great opportunity by a man who took a chance on me and gave me a spot light spot on one of his workshops.This man, Mr. T HarvEker, helped me bring the varied pieces of my experiences into the form of experience that The Unforgettable Challenge evolved into.He helped me spread the culmination of all I learned from my great sources into a radical “shake you up”, “find yourself in the worst predicament”…that has touched many thousands of lives.
After seeing my son, Shaman, at the age of 13,co-lead his first The Unforgettable Challenge,I was moved to bring it out of the “temple” and into the hearts of experience of every one willing enough to set a day aside to take a chance and challenge themselves.
I could have said a lot more, but that’s pretty good I think…
The Unforgettable Challenge