The Journey

As my first post, I thought it would be a good idea to also use this as the ‘About’ page to provide some insight into my journey.

It was the summer of 1996.  At that time, I had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  I grew up in one of the worst and most notorious neighborhoods in inner-city Philadelphia, so pretty good street smarts and experience with violent confrontations.  I also had boxing and wrestling experience.  So, I thought I well equipped.

I wasn’t.

As I opened the door to my bank, a handgun was pressed into my forehead by a guy in a jumpsuit.  He used it to push me backwards just outside the doors.  A split-second later, another guy came out and pushed another gun into my right ear.  Great, two guns now.  I must have missed that class.

Defeatedly I said, “What do you want me to do?”  Forehead-guy said, “Get inside!” while ear-guy yelled, “Get on the ground!”  So I said, “So, which one is it?”  Ear-guy then said, “Get inside and get on the floor.”  Done.

Now, I’m lying face down on the tile floor, just inside the doors.  Not a good feeling.  I heard scared voices, commotion, and crying and realized the two gunmen were gone.  For the next three hours, we were locked inside the bank as the local FBI questioned everyone.  As I sat there, I had time to contemplate.

I realized that I didn’t know what I thought I knew.  I was disappointed and a bit angry.  I resolved that going forward, I would research and train with the experts of reality-based personal protection and violent confrontations.  And so I did.  Along the way, I earned a first and second-degree black belt in Hapkido.  Always the martial artist.

Training in Hapkido provided the mindful yin to the aggressive and brutally honest yang of reality-based personal protection.  Grandmaster Gedo Chang guided me through Ki Breathing, meditation, and the philosophy and approach of Zen.  Living the way, so to speak.

Then I began to apply this reality thing to all aspects of life, because what we practice in the dojo, doesn’t directly translate to the street.  What we learned in business class doesn’t fly in the boardroom.  What we absorbed from that book is great information, but it doesn’t account for the variables and dynamics of reality.

So what do we do?  A great jazz musician named Charley Parker once said, “Master your instrument, master the music; then forget all that bullshit and just play.”  Study, train, practice and master it, so that in reality, we can just play.  In 2012, I wrote a book entitled, “The Gray Reality” and its tagline is “The better we understand the black and white of things, the more effectively we can operate within the gray.”  Reality is a million shades of gray.

However, no matter what we know or do, no matter how hard we train or practice, the situation is bigger than we are.  It’s unexpectedly overwhelming, like two guns to the head on a nice, sunny day.

A few years back, I began training in yoga, going more towards yin.  It has helped me physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I highly recommend it.  I’ve gone on to yoga teacher training (RYT 200), still learning, walking the journey.

I follow and study the approach and philosophies of Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev of Isha) as well as Leslie Kaminoff (author of Yoga Anatomy), because they are both realistic and down to earth; none of that weird mystical stuff.

My goal with this blog and eventually teaching yoga is to share insights and wisdom through reality and life experience that will help, if even in the smallest way.

Thank you for visiting.


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