What We Stand FOR
Here’s what we think: It’s OK to try hard at stuff if you want – that isn’t an insult to anyone else.
In tenkara (and life) some folks seem to think it is lame to get really INTO something. We think the opposite. We believe that there’s no higher calling than being so passionate about a “thing” that you spend most of your time thinking about it and wanting to know – and UNDERSTAND - more.
Here’s another idea that we like:
It is not important to be better than anyone else – but that it is 100% OK for you to want to be better than yesterday…
That’s what we’re all about. It doesn’t even matter if you achieve that goal of improved skill, knowledge or understanding- just being curious is the important bit.
Thinking like this means that there is no shame in not knowing something – instead it becomes the most exciting moment when you realise that you have something new to learn. It also means that the raw beginner will be envied by the expert– because a beginner is hit from left and right with new discoveries the whole time.
It also means you aren’t afraid of new and different cultures, you’re not afraid of words you’ve never heard before – that there is always a (good) chance that there is something valuable to learn from others. You aren’t afraid of looking foolish in front of the wise, know-it-all establishment.
You can decide for yourself what you are allowed to enjoy.
This is why we’ve found ourselves travelling to Japan each year to study with as many top-level tenkara practitioners as possible. That study is just as much about the culture and philosophy as it is the fantastic, high-level technique. By bringing all that home with us and finding that it also works just well on our familiar streams, we think it would be incredibly selfish to keep those discoveries to ourselves.
What we are AGAINST
In short, “the race to the bottom” – but not only that…We also reject the idea that loving one thing means that you dislike/disrespect another (this means it is perfectly possible to like throwing streamers on a fly-rod AND also love Japanese tenkara approaches…shock, horror!)
We will also fight tooth and nail to AVOID surrounding ourselves with clients and followers that we don’t like or respect (or share any common values with). We look forward to meeting and fishing/drinking with folks who share our passion for tenkara, fly fishing and life.
We strongly reject the idea that the sterner and less humorous you are about something – the better you are at it. Serious things can - and should - be treated with humour, warmth and a love of life. In our small way, we want to use the sharing of tenkara as one contribution to the fight against mediocrity in the modern world.
Biographies of John and Paul; Tenkara Addicts (We didn’t choose the Tenkara Lyfe…)
Dr Paul Gaskell was born in 1973, has fished obsessively since age 6 and worked as a professional freshwater biologist in both academic and applied research - as well as practical trout stream habitat protection and improvement. All his career choices are just sly ways to better understand and enjoy fishing. He also likes climbing, cooking and fighting with people (with their consent) in a number of martial arts.
John Pearson is a lifelong angler and studied for a degree in field biology motivated by his obsession for fishing. He has contributed both as a photographer and writer to angling publications in the UK, USA and Japan in addition to producing 12 DVD fly fishing titles (including 3 from Discover Tenkara).
John now divides his time between teaching tenkara in person and directing and producing the online TV show Tenkara in Focus.