Four major writing projects I want to finish this month. The hardest is Tim Bown's manuscript.
It's frustrating, and sometimes I feel the anger-- and always the responsibility.
Tim was an extraordinary man. I don't use the word lightly. He was a traditional karateka with a big, popular, successful dojo. All the hallmarks of a McDojo. But it wasn't. He loved teaching and he loved karate and he even loved teaching kids. And he was good at it. Then he could go to the Animal List barbecue and earn the respect and the friendship of cops and thugs, traditionalists and non-traditionalists. He could hang with any of the groups without needing to become what and who we were. He was just Tim, and that was cool enough.
I had hopes and plans for Tim. He was a Bulletman, one of the instructors certified under Bill Kipp. The first time we met was for my second seminar in Seattle. He showed up with his armor. He helped coach and safety and played the bad guy. He was an excellent instructor, a good fighter, as egoless as you need to be to wear the suit. He also could act, no mean feat when your face is covered and you are wearing padded armor. Lastly, he understood the problems at the level I was trying to teach and was perfectly comfortable with the layers of violence dynamics and criminal personalities and force law and tactical and strategic judgment.
I had plans for Tim. I think he would have taken civilian scenario training to the next level.
Then he up and died. 32 or 33 years old. Three-year-old daughter. Just decided to go where the rubber meets the road and had begun his job with the Canadian Border Service. Dropped dead. Turns out his body was eaten up with cancer. Maybe for years he had been shrugging off tiredness and pain that might have crippled someone else as "maybe a little overtraining." None of us caught it. Didn't notice anything.
Turns out he wrote a book before he died and had been hoping to get it published. I volunteered to edit it.
It's hard. The book, "Leading the Way: Maximizing Your Potential as a Martial Arts Instructor" is many things. It's a book. It's a message in a bottle from a time and person who has passed. It's a memorial probably more than anything. And it's good.
But it's also a first book and written by a friend. I catch myself wanting to call Tim up. Places I disagree, places I think he said too much or too little. Places where he wrote about the writing, a beginner thing. But he's not here to fix or clarify or even argue. And I'm here to preserve his voice.
Most of the hard stuff is done. Changed very little. Need to do some fact checking, make sure everything is formatted consistently. Put in links and set it up for SmashWords. Add some testimonials... the only hard thing left is writing the foreword.