15 minutes and 30 years.

9:45 AM Friday, October 22, 2010

I get my gi's from Kensho International. It is a company owned and run by Mike O'Donnell. Mike is one of the good guys. Mike teaches karate, is a small business man and makes some of the finest hand crafted kobudo weapons on the planet.

We talk about everything under the sun while we walk from room to room filling my order. Mike starts talking about this artist he saw that makes the most realistic water color painting he has ever seen. As we progressed to his office to do the paperwork Mike quips that the painting, “Aren't cheap either.” He went further, “I asked him (the artist) how long did take to make the painting?”

The artist replied, just as Mike suspected he would, and in a creative way, “15 minutes and 30 years.” he said smiling back at Mike.

I'll do the do the math....15 minutes, divided by $10,000 dollars equals $666.66 per minute. That is an outrageous amount!

If we measure it by the 30 years the cost of the picture now reads like this; 1 year = 525,948 minutes x 30 years = 15,778,400 minutes. $10,000 / 15,778,400 minutes = 0.00063 per minute. The result is an hourly wage even the most needy from the Indian caste system would refuse; 0.037 cents.

For the record Mike, as a master woodworker was in on the joke, he wanted to see how the watercolor artist expressed his value.

Years ago, I was in Shihan John Roseberry's dojo and on the wall was a quote from his teacher Seikichi Toguchi, “A teacher gives the student his life, the student gives the teacher his spare time.”

So there it is, a painter and a martial artist giving you two ways to express the value of what we do as martial artists. Count it one way and the arts are virtually worthless. Measure it another way and the value is extraordinary.

So how is your value measured and how do you measure the value of your teacher...15 minutes or 30 years?


  1. If I may, the good student, the pupil, gives you his future.


  2. Kris: You continually urge me to open my mind, whether I want it or not.

    Keep defying the status quo. There are alarmingly few like you out there.

    Bobbe Edmonds

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