If you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything.
Last week, I emailed Jeffrey K Mann, author of one of my favorite books, “When Buddhists Attack“. I was doing research hoping to find a website for the book or a blog by the author, but there was nothing. So I googled Dr. Mann and found his email address. I emailed him offering web-development for a personal website free of charge.
The reason is that the book really helped me, and I wanted to give back in some way. I was thinking that it would be cool to create a website with a blog where people could interact and ask questions to Dr. Mann.
My father was a Physics professor at Kansas Wesleyan University. So I grew up in academia, and understand that professors don’t make much money. Or, they are so engrossed in their research that they aren’t aware of how tech is changing things. A website is really needed in any field you work in these days. So I have a certain sensitivity towards teachers. They deserve a lot more respect and do not get enough credit.
I just think a website is the perfect product which would allow sharing of knowledge and discovery to those also seeking. Tech is moving really fast and I suspect professors aren’t aware of the need for a website in their career.
Anyways, Dr. Jeffrey K. Mann replied to my email saying,
Thank you for your e-mail. Sorry it took me a couple days to reply.
I’m very glad to hear you like the book. While it’s not for everyone, I think it has some value for certain kinds of folks.
I was curious to learn more what Dr. Mann meant by “certain kind of folks”. I had a hunch, but I wanted to be sure. It’s not often that I have conversations about martial arts that are on a philosophical level. And, that’s really all I am looking for.
So I replied,
I’m curious by what do you mean by certain kind of folks? 🙂
A few minutes later, Dr. Mann emails me,
Oh, I suppose I was thinking of people who are into martial arts, but also intrigued by more than just the physical aspects. I suspect that people who are only interested in the combative side of martial arts may not find value in the book. That’s all.
I’ve only had a couple people in my life, other than my brothers, who I could discuss martial arts philosophy with. So hearing a person with such in depth knowledge share the same experience was validation.
yes I totally agree with you! I recently left an MMA gym b/c everyone thought I was crazy for talking about the things you discuss on your book. It’s difficult finding a good school. They’re all about making money.
Jeffrey K. Mann’s wrote his book for the certain type of folks who seek martial arts with a goal of spiritual insight. My father, a physics professor, called this metaphysics (beyond the laws of physics).
So I’d guess you could say this book is for the practitioner who seeks to learn about the MetaPhysics of the Martial Arts.
My twenty year old design cofounder, Brandon Groce, has been writing about business issues in the martial arts industry. A former BJJ teacher of his, Greg Souders from Lineage BJJ in Bethesda, MD, said he doesn’t deserve a “platform” to speak his mind. Greg Souders said that the reason is Brandon lacked experience and accomplishments.
I replied to Brandon,
Yo, this is bad martial arts teaching. It doesn’t embody martial arts spirit at all. Also, nobody in tech startup culture subscribes to it.
Brandon has been writing articles to tell his story from when he was a BJJ instructor at Evolve Academy Gaithersburg, MD. Brandon feels that his former MMA gym has unethical business practices. In that they are primarily motivated in making financial profit over the best educational interest of their students.
Sam Altman, Y-Combinator, highlighting the fact that aptitude is what’s important. Not Experience.
A good martial arts teacher gives a platform to their students to speak from. And, they teach them how to build their own platform. Even a 8 year old while belt should be encouraged to speak. Even a young child understands right from wrong, and should be taught early to stand-up for whats right. This is a virtue of martial arts.
I was very shocked to see what Greg Souders said in the facebook message. This guy shouldn’t be allowed to teach kids.
Before I go further, I’ve never personally met Greg Souders. We have spoken once over the phone. There was a point in time where I wanted to help Greg with his new BJJ school for marketing, web development, and branding for free. Because, Brandon said he was a good guy and struggling. I’m the type of person that’s always willing to help a person if I can. That’s just me.
I think it’s wrong for a martial arts teacher to put down their student by saying they haven’t accomplished anything. In a way, it is manipulative. It’s an attempt by Gregg to put down his student so that he can have control.
Furthermore, Greg Souders’ Facebook message is full of empty accusations. He doesn’t back anything up with factual evidence which makes me believe that this is Greg’s attempt to control his student.
1) How can he “review” me when he’s never met me?
2) Brandon never attacked Greg Souders.
3) One doesn’t need experience to have a personal opinion and to stand for it. (See Sam Altman Video)
4) Why does Greg think that his student, Brandon Groce, isn’t forming his own opinions? This is insulting because, he doesn’t give Brandon credit for having his own intelligence.
Greg Souders said to Brandon,
“You speak as if you have a platform to speak from…”
Well literally speaking, yes Brandon does, because he built the platform to which he spoke from.
Let’s remember the courage of Bruce Lee while still in his early 20s. Did he have experience or accomplishments? Yet, he challenged traditional authority within the Chinese community, joined with progressive-minded martial artists twice his age to spur evolution & innovative thought.
High performers are the risk takers and aren’t afraid of being wrong. In fact, we embrace risk & failure. This is a concept not understood by conformists. They avoid speaking against the status quo for fear of being ostracized by their peers.
Greg Souder seems to be saying that students who lack inexperience and accomplishments do not deserve a “platform to speak from.” I disagree with this kind of thinking. Martial arts teachers who teach this actually hurt their students learning.
Because, in order to learn/grow; we must push past boundaries into area where we have no experience. Insight is rewarded to those that take the courageous leap into the unknown where other fear going.
If you aren’t experiencing being wrong, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.
It is detrimental to the student’s learning process when dissuaded to speak. A martial arts teacher that dissuades their students from speaking is hurting them. Because, it hinders the student’s from taking the risks of being wrong. It is only in failure that we learn.
However in this case Brandon is right for speaking up. While Gregg Souders doesn’t speak for what is right, because he is fearful of being ostracized. But, that is another matter for another post.
I would be infuriated if any martial arts teacher told my little brothers they couldn’t speak in class, because they lacked life experience. I’d be canceling their membership on the spot, and looking for a new teacher.
Think about it: if you are right on something where everyone knows you’re right then it doesn’t matter that you’re right. If you are right about something where people think it’s surprising, then you take a risk of being wrong but you also open yourself up to the joy of surprising yourself with your own insight. It’s a risk high performers are willing to take. -Penelope Trunk
To be a truly creative, you must be willing to be wrong often. This is why I believe kids should be encouraged to build their own platform and speak their mind no matter what the content is.
One of the exciting things about startups is that they are a surprisingly even playing field. Young and inexperienced, you can do this. -Sam Altman, Y-Combinator
Did lack of experience hold Mark Zuckerburg from building Facebook? Mark had zero startup experience.
Why does Greg Souders judge me
He’s never met me, yet he’s really trying to convince Brandon that I don’t give a “fuck” about him. I find this to be very odd behavior.
Finally, I want to thank Mr. Ryan M. Danks for laying out beautifully on what a good BJJ teacher is.
A good teacher has a servant’s heart. -Ryan M. Danks, Martial Artist