former UFC champion, warrior-poet, philosopher-king-- myth, future legend, who knows?
i like to think that down deep, i'm a good person. i've no proof of this-
it's just a hope, a passing fancy. tanner was a great person, a great man.
he was the man we were told we should be long ago
when the mist still settled over the mornings of our youth
and we didn't understand what being a man meant, or could mean...
if we live a life worth living and screaming at,
we will end up (or begin with) demons.
the demons haunt and give chase- seduce and beguile,
deliver and abuse... we make art or poetry
out of the remains of these experiences--
we live or maybe die because of, or in spite of, them...
tanner's death in the desert cannot be called an accident.
i don't, for a second, believe he was looking to off himself.
he was too engaged by the world around him
and the world he created. he was, if nothing else, a warrior.
suicide is too easy a way out... even if you pick a hard way out.
but it made sense in a horrid way. tanner was a man
that was too good to die of some sad old age,
riven with disease and dementia.
he was certainly too strong for pills or booze
and too smart to go for the shotgun. and too wise. too wise...
"BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF ONE..."
that was his line. his mantra.
the power of one person to affect change in the world.
i think that he believed that so much that it killed him.
that it drove him. that it pushed him to test limits,
perhaps best left untested...
most people stagger through life
without any trace of a singular philosophy.
tanner not only had it-- he died from it.
he could have been in Vegas hotels,
living it up with the whores
and the dreamers of material dreams.
he could have put it all on the line
and worked his way back into title contention.
maybe, maybe not... maybe his time was done,
but no matter. his was a way of solitude.
a martial artist as close to Musashi as we've come in our time.
i've disappointed myself so many times,
i've quit counting, or worrying about it...
and now, at 45 years young, my power is in the 3 OF MY FAMILY...
but i look at the life of evan tanner and i know--
i know that the path i've taken-- with all its stumbles
and regrets, all it's lost hours and postponed possibilities,
was the right path. just because you're a seeker doesn't mean
you're going to find anything.
but i've found more truth in 18 rounds on the heavy bag,
slipping in puddles of my own sweat,
than in any number of books i've read.
i found more truth going 3 days without eating
trying to hitchhike to Vienna, than in all jobs i've had
or all the churches i've sat in...
tanner was a great man and a bad-ass...
and (like me) i'm sure he cried for the simple things...
as a new father, tortured by the bliss and grace of my baby girl,
i know tanner would have been a beautiful father.
and i'll leave it at that...