I know a coffee shop, hidden in an industrial estate, where sometimes the queue runs out the door and into the street. The guy who runs is almost certainly not in it for the money, he isn’t driven by a business plan, he didn’t wake up one day and say ‘hey. I’m going to make a great living out of making coffee’ – her is just totally into it – really, really, into it. The first time I went there I asked for a latte – his response was ‘NO!’ Then he set out to make me a coffee, which I had to drink black, with no sugar – because of the particular beans he was using from Ethiopia that month and how milk didn’t quite go with them or some such thing – I call him the Coffee Nazi (Seinfeld Soup Nazi reference). I admire him greatly – he is an individual driven by passion – he lives for his coffee. And as a result, has a queue of people outside his door. He didn’t have to market to them – they found him!
And so it is with the odd martial artist. When we are driven by passion and a strong sense of purpose, the world beats a trail to our doorstep. For me, it’s all about passionate commitment to solve the puzzle that is martial arts and to help other people find what they need within in it’s landscape. I believe that martial arts teachers should be clear on the idea that they are in the service of other people – if not, then they should forget about teaching. It’s never about showing others how good we are at what we do – it should be all about deepening the experience that our students have when we are on the mat, in the ring or on the floor with them. When we are truly passionate, we want others to share the same experience that we ourselves are having – just like my coffee nazi. Bless his cotton socks. JBW
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