THE PEOPLE. THE MENTORS.
We all have them. People that we consider personal heroes, mentors, guides, and teachers (in the truest sense of that word). People that are at the top of their fields, and you are just beginning there.
I wanted to mention some of the people I consider my heroes in this post, and what they have done for me, how they have shaped who I am today. I wanted to do this for a simple reason: I want to thank them.
Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero and Stacy Peralta
In the 80s, they brought skateboarding to the masses. They allowed me to see that you could be wild, fast, and free. They enabled my wild side, and I became a skateboarder and punk rocker.
Henry Rollins was, and is the man. His raw singing style, his words, and unique (and straight in your face) look at the world spoke to me during high school. He shaped the way I approach things in more than one way. He gave me the anger needed to push through, to get shit done, no matter what.
By the time I was getting into climbing, I knew I needed some direction. Mark provided that. Not only as something to aim at, but as a way of no-bullshit life approach. His book, Extreme Alpinism, became my bible, my go to read for climbing planning and training. His second book, Kiss or Kill, became the place where his words mimicked mine. He captured there exactly what I wanted to say to the world. I still read that book every year. He continues to inspire and teach me invaluable lessons today, through his approach to physical training, mindset, his writing and now his photography. He is one of the superheroes I continue to follow.
Mr X and Mr Y
When I changed lives, and I began a new, harder chapter in my life, these two individuals trained me, gave me the ability to do things that I only imagined possible. They accompanied me to dangerous places, and we thrived in those moments where life hanged by a thread. You know who you two are, stay dark.
Adi Shamir fueled my love for crypto. He taught me to approach analysis in a whole outside-the-box way. His raw teachings of math and cryptography were essential for my career building.
Sensei Kawakami gave me back my inner peace. His Zen way of teaching Aikido made me look at myself and understand how much chaos and violence I had inside. He restored the center. He allowed me to be quiet once again.
He is a master climber, but he is a better friend. Food and cheap wine connoisseur, he restored my love for the mountains in a time where I was lost, where I needed to find myself. He gave me all that and more.
Sensei E and U
Both father and son made a tremendous impact on my approach to everyday life. They tamed my anger, and they provided endless friendship. I will stop here.
Mr S is a tough motherfucker, but his tough love and teachings made me the security professional I am today. He showed me true red teaming, a true approach to security problems and the solutions. He gave me a thicker skin that I already had.
I met Patrick through our mutual love for things minimal and geeky. He became a guiding light in those dark moments when I wasn’t sure of the direction. Thank you Patrick.
I also met Leo through our mutual love for minimalism experimentation. Over the years, he has been a constant reminder that nimble, light and minimal is a way of life. He is someone that can teach you a lot with very few words.
Kelly and I share a deep love for the mountains, and margaritas. He shaped a new approach to the mountains and climbing in there. “Sketchy” Kelly defined how fast and light you can go, and I adopted that everywhere, from climbing and traveling, to everyday things. We continue to drink margs whenever we get together.
For many years, as I was committed to get back into climbing post physical therapy, Steve House was my guiding light. His approach to climbing, his approach to gear, and his approach to training gave me a clear path forward.
Jason and his company GORUCK are a symbol of both strength and the “never quick” mindset. I met Jason as I was trying to get back in shape after my 2 years of physical therapy. I took one of the first GORUCK Challenges, where he was Cadre. He pushed me to the finish line. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch, and I’ve seen him and his company grow. His approach to mindset was key in my full recovery from a road-side explosive device that almost killed me.
I met Chris Kyle briefly, during a visit to Coronado, CA. I knew of him, I knew who he was, and while I was impressed, my own background and past life, made his achievements seem like a normal thing. However, the few hours we spent drinking beer, taught me some lessons that I carry with me until today. Rest in peace, Chris.
Mr J, Mr C and Mr B
These three individual had become over the years my anchors to sanity, in a world where stupidity and chaos had become the norm. They are the true heroes every person should have. They don’t judge, and they are brutally honest. They keep my center intact. Thank you guys.