It’s true, the Wu Tang Clan shaped me and my career. They influenced me to be more fearless and pursue the path less traveled. Back in 1998 the Wu was already proving itself to be one of the most innovative and respected rap groups in history. The rhymes of the 9 original members were inspired by the difficulties faced surviving the dark streets of New York’s five boroughs. Their lyrical imagery depicting street life, gang violence and the drug game was tempered and balanced by samples from martial arts, eastern philosophy and kung fu movies. Street fights, robberies and violence were as commonplace as martial arts schools and video stores. At the time martial arts was still something mysterious, exotic and training to “protect yo neck” was good business.
In the summer of ‘98 as legend would have it, somehow I stumbled upon the book Shogun by James Clavell. That book transformed my perspective as it transported my imagination to feudal Japan, a simpler time where people lived their lives in accordance with the philosophical code of bushido; the way of the warrior. Upon Closing the final Chapter one singular question bubbled to the surface of my consciousness.
How can I immerse myself in the study of Eastern Philosophy without shaving my head and moving to a Buddhist temple?
Since I wasn’t willing to quit college and move to the east to find myself I figured the next best thing would be to study martial arts. I looked around and there only happened to be one martial arts school in the college town of Blacksburg Virginia. However, that’s school existed in thrived for a reason. The first time I set foot in the studio I witnessed a tai chi class. Thirty students moved in relaxed, grounded and synchronized silence. All that could be heard were their feet sliding on the floors and a subtle rustle of clothing. It matched up exactly with what I was looking for. I signed up on the spot and committed to never stop training. That training was so “what I needed” at the time it opened me up to other possibilities.
How Wu Tang Made Me Do It:
Entrepreneur: Get out there and make something out of yourself. Weather you want to be a rapper, martial artist, engineer, doctor or whatever – nothing is stopping you but you.
Martial Artist: Find something that grabs your attention and gets you excited. If you love science fiction then double down. If you love cooking or art or science – whatever it is that gives you joy, double down.
Performer: One thing leads to another and you never know where the path will lead… I really liked Wu Tang’s music, message and style. That lead me to become interested in eastern philosophy. The study of which lead me to the book Shogun, which lead me to study martial arts, which gave me confidence to try more exciting things like stand up comedy, starting my own gym and most recently medical sales.
Fitness Trainer: Because I made a commitment in the fall of 1998 to never stop training, I have gone on the adventures of my life, combated my demons and fear and continue to share these messages with you today. I’ll never quit, give up or throw in the towel because I have built so much on top of the few simple lessons I learned from Wu Tang Clan. They made an impact on the world because they chose to do so. Quite literally, “they ain’t nothin’ to fuck with”.