Whether or not you have an interest in martial arts, you will find your heart and mind stirred by Searching for O-Sensei: Learning and Living the Wisdom of the Warrior. With an engaging blend of honesty, humor, and compassion, author Thomas Collings shares his long journey of dramatic encounters with martial arts and Zen masters throughout Japan and China. Return with him to the “mean” streets of New York City where this most unusual Zen street cop must use the ancient wisdom of his teachers to survive violent situations, and resolve life or death conflicts. Searching for O-Sensei is both an engrossing memoir and a profound exploration of teachings by the martial arts legend and spiritual teacher Morihei Ueshiba, who infused tactical skills of the warrior with life changing spiritual insights.
A lifelong fascination with mystical traditions of Asia takes Collings on adventures which offer a rare glimpse into the lives of several extraordinary 20th century Asian masters. After years immersed in Asian Zen, sword, and martial arts study, the author finds himself back in New York City as a law enforcement officer during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. His daily encounters with addicts, drug dealers and parole violators test the depth of his warrior skills, wisdom, and commitment to the spiritual principles embodied by his teachers. Ride along with a peace officer caught in a violent world, using wisdom gained from “budo” training and the teachings of O-Sensei, to bring awareness and clarity to the “fog of war” that engulfed many drug infested neighborhoods during the 1980’s and 90’s.
The reader shares in a wealth of examples how these principles can manage volatile situations and aggressive behavior. Collings also examines the exhibitionistic and “performance orientation” of modern martial arts, offering ways in which O-Sensei’s “battlefield awareness” approach can refocus training on more practical skills for protection and defusing violent situations.