“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”- Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
Wow- I smell the distasteful stench of…SMACK! My competitor in the 2010 Reefstck Aquascaping Throwdown, Mr. John Ciotti, has fired the first shots across the bow…Looks like it’s time to roll up the sleeves and swing back! Perhaps The “Iron Aquascaper” is being weighted down by hot air! OK- BRING IT!!!!
Wow, John, you did dozens of aquascapes this month? That’s a lot of trial and error, huh? Hopefully you’ll get the next one right! Seems like a big waste of rock and plants if you don’t! Being the 2008 Iron Aquascaping Champion is really impressive- a great achievement. What happened in 2009, though Ciotti-san? Someone else entered this time and you didn’t win by default?
<Ok- I need to be a bit nicer on this- to be honest, what John did was nothing short of incredible. It takes a lot of skill to go as far as he did in that contest…a true testimony to his game….OK, enough pleasantries- back to trash talking!>
I think it’s cool that you’ve been personally schooled in the art of Iwagumi, Wabi Sabi or whatever by the Master, Takashi Amano. I’ve had to resort to reading his books and watching his videos (and buying a few of his Cube Garden tanks!). I’ve enjoyed seeing his work, but I’m not trying to duplicate his work, or anything else that someone did before. That’s not the point of art, is it?
I think it’s great that you’ve got a few big names to call on when you get stuck. We all need a little inspiration now and again. I’ll bet, however, that if you want to name drop- my address book has way more big names than yours, baby! Don’t go there! Not impressed.
Here’s the kind of preparation a guy that doesn’t do this for a living does to prepare for battle: I start by reminding myself how grateful I am that I get to do this sort of thing ! Here’s what I do out of the ordinary: I leave my big fat ego at the door and let my work do the talking! I don’t need to follow some aquascaping school of thought- I CREATE my own! Why get caught up in some endless treadmill trying to duplicate someone else’s work, or to seek their approval, huh? That’s always been my philosophy.
I don’t need to focus on glories past- of the 3 consecutive MACNA’s that I have spoken at, of the numerous club presentations and demos that I’ve done, or the many articles that I have had published on line and in print all over the world each month. But I can if I CHOOSE to!!!
My goal is to produce aquascapes that WORK, aquascapes that are functional, and aquascapes that make sense. I don’t need to earn brownie points trying to impress some master somewhere by duplicating his work and following his rules- I want to produce aquascapes that entertain-aquascapes that inspire others to improve upon. And so should you, John.
After I have sufficiently inflated my head (sounds familiar, eh John?), I come to the conclusion that 30 some odd years in the hobby has given me some insight. On the other hand, I’m sure looking forward to hanging with you after the throwdown, John. We’ll certainly have lots to talk about- and a lot to learn from each other…But for now- you SUCK! You are the ENEMY!!!
Till next time,