Reprinted/posted with permission of the Daily Journal Corp (2009)
I have had one lesson, taught twice, that was very important to my career and life, and rather than subject any of you to the abject humiliation of the experience, share it with you openly.
The first installment came during my training as a martial artist, which I pursued ardently for more than 20 years. It had to do with developing the skill of the "eye of the crab," used both for recognizing danger early and scuttling out of its way, but also intrinsically radiating the message, without being confrontational, that their taking a piece out of you was not a worthwhile exchange for the piece you would take out of them...and thus, they pass you by. That all sounds great coming from a wise and ancient gung fu master, but it was not within the real world of experience that is so much better a teacher...if only we survive it!
The second installment came a few years later when, as a black belt and thoroughly self impressed 20-year-old, I was crewing on a sailing yacht in the Mediterranean for a summer. My berth was at the base of the stair ladder to the cockpit, next to the radio and navigational units. We were tied up in "stern to" fashion at a quay in Calvi, a port in northern Sardinia. It was hot and I was sleeping on top of the sheets wearing bathing trunks.
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