by Terry Barnett
I first met Guro Dan in 1978 and for almost 35 years he has been my guiding light. Like many people I marvel at Guro’s encyclopedic knowledge of the martial arts and the way he continues to strive to improve and broaden his knowledge. However, for me the greatest gift he bestows upon those of us lucky enough to be around him is how he heightens our awareness of one thing…love. Without ever preaching, without ever insisting that we follow a particular ‘way’ of life; without ever placing any particular responsibility on us he presents us with the greatest template for compassion and honesty that one could hope for. In Guro’s position it’s near impossible to avoid some negative reaction along the way but when it comes he simply moves through it like light cutting through dark…when you bear witness to this you cannot help but want to up your game emotionally. As a man who could choose to spend his time exclusively with the greatest martial artists on the planet, to see him giving the same level of attention and respect to a beginning student or seminar attendee acts as a reminder to all of us that we need to work on our egos. More than all of this through is his total disdain for anything that would seem to unfairly favor one person over another…he is the ultimate in fair play…simply the best there is.
I cannot think what I did to deserve to spend some of my time here with this giant amongst men but I am thankful every day that I am able to do so. His presence makes the world a better place…he builds instead of tearing down; he pulls people together rather than dividing them and he provides the finest example of what a great human being should be. My life has been affected in so many ways by knowing him but most of all he has taught me the truth of life…something that was put so eloquently by another giant of humanity, John Lennon, when he wrote ‘…love is the answer and you know that for sure’
Thank you for everything Guro.