BizStore » Books » The True Believers
Item Dimensions: Array
Number Of Pages: 299
Publication Date: 2017-12-08
True Believers. From the first time I heard the phrase, it bothered me. Every religion needs zealots. The ones who are totally dedicated to the mission. Their goals are aligned with the group’s goals. Any other roles they have in life are ultimately distractions. Every criticism of the group is a criticism of them. But that’s not what we were. No way. For some years now I had been living in Monterey, California, training in a traditional Japanese martial art: Seibukan Jujutsu. I thought I had hit the jackpot. An amazing school, warm people, and a deeply fulfilling martial art. We were more than a gym where you worked out, we were a movement. We had a rich and complex philosophy, as much a self-development system as it was a martial art. We were growing too, with over a dozen schools up and down the west coast and more popping up overseas. We were changing the world, one student at a time. I was a part of something. And we owed it all to our teacher. A world class martial artist and a captivating instructor. He was the source. He had created the art and it’s philosophy. We’d follow him to the ends of the earth. I’d seen grown men break down in tears thanking him. Hell, I’d been one of them. But True Believers? Fanatics? Isn’t that a little dramatic? Every time I brushed away this question, it always came back. Another year would pass, and I would feel our intensity ratchet up even more. Our student's got younger and more dedicated. Our hierarchy became more elaborate. Our etiquette began to extend off the mat. We would almost speak in code, so much jargon in our sentences that “normal” people couldn’t follow our conversation. But what really bothered me was the sacrifices we were making. Relationships were being ended and careers were being abandoned. Not to mention the money we were paying. At the time, we did it all gladly. But I couldn’t help wondering, was Seibukan still serving us? Or were we serving it? I’ll tell you how it happened slowly, by degrees. From a twenty year old kid, eager to embrace a new identity. To learning how to fight, then questioning if I knew anything at all. All the way up to receiving a master’s license, while privately facing a crisis of conscience. I’ll tell you about leaving quietly, then returning for one night to confront my teacher and make things right. The path out, that allowed me to keep my integrity without sacrificing my love for martial arts.