The Mirror

written by Bryan K. Mossey

Guro Dan Inosanto always has said that you can tell more about a man in 5 minutes of training than you can from 5 years of conversation.

What do others see when you train?  What do you see in the mirror?  More importantly what are you going to do about it.

Stop for a moment and think about that.  When you look in the mirror what do you see?  Are you training hard enough?  Are you giving it everything you have?  Are you helping others achieve their goals?  Are you pushing yourself?  Are you pushing others?  Are you helpful to a new student, or are you a bully?  Are you completely consumed with your own development to the detriment of others?  Who you are when you train is who you really are – not who you would have the world believe you are through titles, promotions, belts, the house you live in, or the car you drive.  Anyone who has trained hard enough and long enough has had the arts bring up his own demons. Perhaps they are from past failures, past success, insecurities, current physical limitations, ways in which you were wronged, or voices that told you that you could not succeed.  Perhaps you are short, or fat, or don’t learn quickly, or are not athletic, or not popular, or had abusive parents.  Perhaps you were always successful, and now you are faced with challenges that seem overwhelming.  Whatever your personal challenges, they will come to the forefront through the mirror of martial arts.

For some, that can even be the fear of success.  When this happens, you have two choices: face your short comings head on and decide to overcome them and grow as a human being, or tuck tail and run.  As Sifu Mike Mathews said to me, “You must face the bear!”  The bear comes in many forms.  It is not always the man standing in front of you, but more often than not, it is the man you are today.  You can make excuses, talk your way around it, or go into denial and say that your shortcomings don’t exist.  We all have areas where we need to grow as people and martial artists, myself included.

The arts can help us all grow if we commit to pushing ourselves. There are many paths to self-knowledge.  However, in the arts, this only comes through constant conditioning and working to achieve your goals of self-improvement.  The secrets of the arts lay in self-discovery and ultimately self-knowledge.  Hurting someone is easy.  Knowing yourself and helping others is difficult.  Only by pushing yourself beyond the limits of what is comfortable, and what is normal, will you grow as a martial artist and human being.  If you never push yourself, you will never understand the real value of the arts. Integration of the self with the mind, body, and the spirit  starts with hard work, honest evaluation, and setting goals.  At my last seminar with Guro Inosanto, I had one of these self-reflecting moments with my man in the mirror.

I had just had knee surgery and was struggling with the pain to keep up. Jun Fan drills on one leg can be quite a challenge.  I remember telling Guro I was sorry that I was not in top condition, but was giving it all that I had. Then I saw my good friend, Sifu Clay Johnson.  He asked me how I was doing and I started complaining about the pain in my knee from just having surgery.  With a wisdom that only a man who has dedicated his life to the arts in the face of insurmountable physical challenges few can ever understand, he smiled at me and said “Don’t quit.  Hang in there!”  For those of you who don’t know Sifu Clay, he  is confined to a wheelchair and has no use of his legs.  Here is a man who faces physical limitations that challenge every aspect of his life.  The pain he endures daily is something most of us will never understand.  Yet here he was, training harder than most people who have no disabilities.  With a smile on his face, he was knocking the heck out of the focus mitts and smashing sticks like the true Escrimador that he is.

Now I ask you, what is your limitation? Sifu Clay answered that question for me and gave me a new perspective that day.  Perhaps he can answer it for you as well: Jeet Kune Do, “having no limit as limitation.”



Martial Arts Goal

To remain a humble student of the arts, with an open heart and mind. To uncover my ignorance and seek my own path to liberation. To continually develop as a human being and martial artist. To never grow complacent with what is, but always look though discovery to what could be. To honor the legacy of my instructors, and show reverence for the knowledge that has been faithfully passed down to me. To protect and serve my instructors, students, family, and friends to the greater glory of my Creator.


  • 24 Years Martial Science Exploration
  • Competition Experience Ranging from College Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Gymnastics, Golden Gloves Boxing, Thai Boxing, State and College Power Lifting, Fencing, Grappling
  • Retired 1st Lieutenant, US Army, Expert Infantry, Air Assault
  • Divemaster, Master Scuba Diver, and Open Water Scuba Instructor, PADI, SDI-TDI
  • IDPA Qualified Sharpshooter and 3 Gun Competitor, Jay Laluz
  • Full Instructor, Black Belt, “Uchi Deshi” Mike Mathews – Aiki-Jujitsu, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Filipino Martial Arts, Maphilindo Silat, Thai Boxing, Ground Fighting
  • Associate Instructor, Marc McFann, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Filipino Martial Arts, Mande Muda Silat, Thai Boxing, Combat Submission Wrestling
  • Associate Instructor, Dan Inosanto, Jun Fan Gung Fu
  • Associate Instructor, Dan Inosanto, Filipino Martial Arts
  • Apprentice Instructor, Ajarn Surachai Sirisute, Muay Thai
  • Apprentice Instructor, Paul Vunak, Jun Fan Gung Fu / Filipino Martial Arts
  • Blue Belt Instructor, Professor Pedro Sauer, Gracie