On a scale between 1 and 10.
A “1” teacher is unprepared, lacks the skills, and shouldn’t be leading a class, nevertheless, he or she is, indeed, “leading the class.” You’ve seen them, yes? At one time you might have been a “1” teacher —I know I was.
A level “10” teacher is someone who doesn’t just give you a workout, doesn’t just teach you excellent, effective, valuable technique —-a “10” teacher reaches you with something more than words.
As a result of his or her class / influence / teachings / reminders / example, you walk a little taller, your heart is bigger and more open, you see more clearly, you are inspired to be more, you are open to growth and change and improvement, and some-how, some-way, a teacher like this resets your mind and spirit.
You might not at first recognize it happening, but when you’ve been around this kind of teacher, open and ready to learn, it’s as if you are given something that is now yours —-and because of this person’s influence you are a better, bigger, simpler, smarter, more compassionate human being.
A “1” is like a bad smell; you can endure it, but if at all possible it’s something to avoid.
A “10” teacher is like a visit from someone you love deeply, someone you treasure, respect, and admire. A “1” experience is quickly put behind you. A “10” experience is something you hold dearly, like a child, like a magic stone, like a rare book, like the finest of your memories.
A level 5 teacher has a good grasp on what makes a masterful class; it’s a knowledge he or she has, but is not living. A level 5 teacher tries very hard, but because the lessons are in the head —and not (yet) in something owned through long-term, disciplined, spiritual practice, the level 5 teacher is not a master teacher.
A “5” can look like a master teacher. A “5” can move like a master teacher. A “5” might think he/she is a master teacher. A “5” might even talk like a master teacher, but knowing something and living the practice are two very, very different places.
To move beyond a “5” (and good businesses can be —and are most often —run by level “5” teachers, I know —as I was a “5” for many years), you must be educated and possibly a bit weathered. For sure, you have to study your own ego —and get a grasp on how it can cripple/color your awareness and viewpoint/outlook.
A level “6” and up teacher doesn’t have to be famous. He/she doesn’t have to be well known in the world of martial arts. But a teacher moving towards “10” both embraces the tools of the kitchen, the make up of the food, the care in its preparation, the particulars of its presentation, the environment it is served in, the people who eat it, and what it means beyond the necessity of feeding one’s body.
A level 10 might be compared to the saying that the Iroquois based their most important decisions upon:
What it Takes
I think to be a “10” you might be born with it, like Mozart was born with music, like Bobby Fischer was born with chess. But if not born as a prodigy of mastery and connection to the great awareness, you might be awakened to it by a great teacher or teachers, you might have 1 or more epiphanies caused by the birth or death of loved ones, by illness, by something you read or see or experience.
I really don’t know exactly what it takes —-but I do know that the path to mastery ought to be intentionally pursued (by people like us). The question of what mastery is —and how to make it the fuel that drives your machine (your love, your business, your diet, your training, your reading, your writing, the way you deal with the inevitable conflict in your life, with your children, your loved ones, the problems of others, and your martial arts journey) is the question that ought to be asked at the beginning of each of our actions —maybe at the beginning of each breath.
If we had a “10” awareness and intent at the beginning of every endeavor, well…I can’t at this time in my life imagine anything more indicative of the kind of mastery I think of when I ask myself, “What is mastery?”
As you may know, I am a “business consultant.”
But I ask myself, “How important is business? How complete is the person who achieves a culturally acknowledged level of ‘success?’ Is there something more valuable to everyone involved, than ‘business?’ And so, as a result, I can’t define myself as a “business” consultant, as that title just doesn’t fit the scope and scale of the work I admire the most, from the people I consider to be “10’s.”
This is why, in part, that The 100. is what it is, looks like what it looks like, and sounds like all that it sounds like. The 100. in the longterm, may not be important to the martial arts industry —or the world. Nevertheless, I have to behave and think and be what it I would be if it was important. I don’t see any other way. What is mastery is what is 10.