Today we get a cinematic update/reimagining of the classic 70’s action-comedy “The A-Team.” And I can’t wait to check it out! But while on the surface we understood each of the basic personalities that made the team work (the planner, the pilot, the seductive “face”, and the snarling mechanic) behind the scenes there was a different dynamic entirely. Mr. T, the mohawked, super-buffed mechanical genius who was afraid of flying “B.A. Baracus” was secretly a softie. I know this because his former bodyguard, the amazing martial artist Cliff Stewart, is also my instructor. And Cliff tells stories about those days.
It seems that, while “T” crafted his super-tough public image carefully, behind the scenes he was an absolute wimp when it came to children. He donated time, money, and skill to children’s centers across the country, his generosity knowing no limit…except for one thing. NO PUBLICITY. No cameras, no reporters, no whisper to papers or television stations, or he would stop giving. This wasn’t about fame or self-promotion. It was purely because he loves children, sees them as the future of the world, felt a deep and abiding love for their hearts and minds.
That is an adult human being. On the path of the Hero’s Journey, it is the final step: “the student becomes the teacher.” This is the stage when you give back, teach what you have learned, share what you have acquired. Without this, you CANNOT move on to the next stage of your life, and even snarling B.A. Baracus knew it. Do you?
I don’t know how I’ll like “Rampage” Jackson will do imitating the inimitable Mr. T, but I know one thing: when it comes to filling THOSE shoes, I pity the fool.