I was visiting your website [briansumner.net] and noticed that a lot of your graphics have to do with ninjas. Are you just a fan of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, or do you actually practice martial arts? Do you think that there is a link between martial arts and skateboarding? My friends and I are the only skaters in our town. It’s extremely hard to find spots. When you were in Liverpool, was it the same way?
I became interested in martial arts at a young age. You can blame Bruce Lee or The Karate Kid. I just always liked it and studied karate and kung fu. I had a funny ninja suit and a bunch of throwing stars. As I got more into skating, I started reading Bruce Lee philosophy books. His whole idea is very simple, and it can relate to anything. He loved martial arts, and by doing it he discovered himself and what worked for him. It’s the same for skating, tennis, guitar or anything you’re passionate about. Through time you will develop because of the commitment you have to it. He actually said that you can find yourself, your awareness, through any vehicle—his being martial arts and ours being skating. I adopted his idea when I started skating, and it got me stoked.
People really don’t realize you can learn a lot about yourself and develop awareness through something external. To some it might seem better to just sit still and not do anything, but when you have an activity like skateboarding, it teaches you to focus and enter higher levels of consciousness.
On the subject of Liverpool, I grew up and skated there for years. It was never really a bust; you just had to watch out for the street kids, but then we just ran from them. But I did hear that the cops in Liverpool are getting worse. Aren’t there scallies in every town? —Brian