Heroes Among Us: Sifu Dwight Woods

The following interview is part of a class assignment for Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts. Each interview has been conducted and created by students for this course, which celebrates those heroes in our communities. Heroism, for the purpose of this course and assignment is described as: 

  • Service of something larger than oneself.
  • A willingness to sacrifice in the name of service.

Author: SMU student Marquelle Elvis

Marquelle: Hi Sifu, I’m glad you agreed to share your time and participate in this interview. I just want to let you know first, that this interview is going to be used for educational purposes and it will be posted in an online blog. If you would like to remain anonymous that’s perfectly fine. I just need your consent to use this info.

Sifu: Yeah sure, that’s fine!

M: Great, thank you! Now let’s get started. The first question is, what three points of advice would you give to entrepreneurs following university life?

S: What kind of entrepreneurship? An entrepreneurship of community or company or for oneself?

M: In this case, we’ll focus on the individual, so for oneself essentially.

S: Ok, well my first piece of advice would be, to have a reason for going into the business for yourself. For example, people like to be their own boss, but have a better reason for going into business. You also need to have a message behind your reasoning for taking this adventure. It’ll better appeal to others.

Second, you want to make use of what is called the market triangle: Message, Market, Media. Choose your message, and then see what market is interested in your message.

The last point I want to make, is show up like no one else. In other words, be like no one else and do things like no one else does.

M: I really like the point of showing up like no one else, but there’s a quote from Bruce that I remember. At the end he says be yourself don’t look for a successful personality and duplicate it. So tying that in with showing up like no one else, would that mean to not mimic at all?

S: Well no, not exactly. You see, when you’re in a certain field, you want to know how the successful people operate and how their minds work. This serves as some sense of motivation for your success.

For example, when it comes to enjoying the same Side Kick success Bruce Lee enjoyed, you must emulate him, this holds as a way to push you forward.Think of it like this, if you were to take a camera crew and follow someone around, would you be impressed by the way that person lives their life, and the way they operate? There’s a difference between successful people. Both have things they don’t like to do, but the successful person pushes themselves to do it anyway.

M: Hmm….that’s really interesting and thought provoking. So, what was your defining moment of success to where you decided to take up martial arts as your lifestyle?

S: Well the key point for me was when I chose not to take a job from American Airlines. During that time there was a strike from the union and I had lost my job at Eastern Airlines.

I had to make a choice then of what it was I was going to do. I had to speak with myself and realize I didn’t want to start from the bottom and work my way up to the top again. I didn’t want other people making a schedule for me and then decided to take up martial arts as a full time life choice.

M: Wow, that’s definitely a defining moment. That’s really interesting how a decision like that changes things.

S: Yes, and another things you need to remember is, that as a business, people should ask themselves this question, “Why should I, your prospect costumer do business with you above and beyond all else?” When you have an attractive answer and meaning behind it, then you have a business.

M: Interesting, I’m also curious, what does Bruce Lee’s quote about water mean for you? I know he speaks of adaptability as an aspect of it.

S: It means being able to adapt in situations, and being able to sit in so to speak. Water can crash, (it can be a powerful force) or it can flow (a force that’s all gentle)

As people we need to have the capacity to use what is needed. If we need to be forceful in a situation, then we use that. If we need to be gentle then we must learn to be flexible. We cannot be forceful in a situation that needs gentility, and vice versa. Adapt to what the situation calls for.

M: That’s really interesting that you put it that way, I’ve never looked at that quote in that way. Stemming off of this idea and adding in the element of faith, how have faith and positivity helped you in your “dark-times”?

S: Well, growing up I didn’t really believe in traditional religious beliefs at the time and I didn’t replace that belief with anything. So, I didn’t have anything to believe in, and during my time of unemployment it brought me down to my low point and I began to question and doubt myself.

You have to realize, as Napoleon Hill says, that there is some Infinite Intelligence out there. That humanity is a part of that greater something. The belief that you are part of something greater will bring confidence in yourself and faith to you. If you think of Infinite Intelligence as the ocean and take a cup and scoop up a cup of water, that cup is metaphorically us as human beings. We should celebrate our differences, for we have a common origin. We are still aspects of our original creator, essentially our parents.

M: Wow, that’s really profound, I find that analogy very powerful. Now moving on from that idea, what was the importance of mentor figures in your life?

S: Well think of it this way, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will achieve success on their own. They will need some kind of help to get to their success. Mentor figures are important.

When I was starting out, I had listened to many people talking about the idea of Definite Chief Aim. That was familiar because I heard about and read Bruce Lee’s definite chief aim. I then heard that that concept came from Napoleon Hill. Once I realized that Bruce Lee and his Jeet-Kun-do were a product of Napoleon Hills definite chief aim, I came to learn of the teachings of napoleon Hill. That’s how I got started.

M: Interesting, now was your motivation for the martial arts out of fear for enjoyment?

S: To be honest, it was out of fear, due to not wanting to be under anyone’s command. It was a way of avoiding the pain of being controlled by others rather than the pleasure of getting into martial arts.

People are usually motivated by pain or suffering rather than the pleasure of something.

M: I find that to be very true, which this brings me to my last question. How important is giving back after you’ve gained certain wisdom through experience?

S: Well, there’s a quote by Bruce Lee that says, “real living, is living for others”. And that’s very true, but I don’t set out with the intention of consciously thinking of ways to influence others, but to be as I am, and to do as I do. I don’t have a strategy for calling attention to myself. I simply put myself in the service of others, and be as effective an instructor as possible.

Promotion, and preservation of Bruce lee’s Jeet-Kun-do is very important to me. Just remember don’t follow blindly, begin to follow the good techniques of others, but really understand the principle behind the techniques, this build a solid foundation.

M: This interview has been very enlightening and profound. I want to thank you again Sifu for having taken the time to speak with me and enlighten me with your words. Until next time.

S: No problem, and thank you for having me.

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3 Responses to Heroes Among Us: Sifu Dwight Woods

  1. Debi Ruiz says:

    Hi Marquelle,
    I really enjoyed this interview, Sifu was very enlightening
    And gives lots to think and practice with his wise and humble
    Words. Your questions were bright and in depth , and definitely
    Left me wanting to know more! I was very impressed! Nice work!

    Debi

  2. Gianni Galliani says:

    Marquelle,

    I concur with Ms. Ruiz. I found the questions to be in depth and the answers to be enlightening. It was enjoyable and makes me want to hear more. Sifu is definately a person I would want to have tea with and learn more about his experiences and philosophies.

    Gianni

  3. Rubber says:

    As simple as it can be this post really explains what’s needed for a good piece of writing. Things are getting more difficult every day for entrepreneur and good advice or reminders are always needed. I myself a small entrepreneur involved in manufacturing of Reclaim Rubber. Thanks Nice Article

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