Facebook Martial Arts Shared Post – Blackbird Karate via Aikido Republic

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.
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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!

All the time I tell people this truth. It is not amendable or conditional. Anyone who calls himself a master or allows his students to refer to him as “master” in his presence, isn’t a master. Occasionally, he may be a well-meaning teacher who misunderstands the definition of the word, but most of the time he is an ego-driven narcissist seeking adoration. He will have very little to teach because there is so little room in his heart for his students. Instead of looking for a master, just look for a good teacher with a sense of humor, especially if he’s driving a crummy old car. (Laughing while motioning towards his old Toyota.) My old friend and Sensei, Matsuhiro Namishiro used to say, “There must be lots of smiles along the way or the journey is not worth it.” He was correct you know!