One of my favorite bits of martial arts wisdom was recorded by Stan Pranin of the Aikido Journal in an interview with Yukiyoshi Takamura, one of the great teachers of the last 100 years in my opinion. I’ll let his words speak for themselves, adding only that I agree absolutely with his statement.
Pranin: If you had to provide only one bit of wisdom to impart for someone seeking a martial arts instructor, what would it be?
Takamura: Everyone is looking for a master or… guru in the West, but the word “master” is so overused today as to be meaningless, much like having a black belt today is meaningless. A genuine master is almost impossible to find because you won’t quickly recognize him. He is much more than a teacher. Genuine teachers strive to be masters but only one in a hundred thousand finish the journey. There are only a handful of true masters on the whole planet. Funny how they all end up in the San Francisco yellow pages!