Aaron Darko, Physical Trainer, and I Meet Again


Aaron Darko and Eric Arnow in conversation

Recently, I was having lunch with Aaron Darko. In the video, we talk about inspiration and continuous positive transformation.  Aaron is a friend of mine, and you might say, he is my first personal trainer. Back in March of 2016, I started working out. I had injured my knee again when a motorcycle ran right into my right knee, the same one I had injured in 1984 and again in 2014. Both those injuries required surgery. While the motorcycle accident didn’t require surgery, it did reduce the already small amount of cartilage in my knee. I was on crutches for 3 weeks.


I knew that if I was to save my knee from knee replacement, that keeping the joint strong was critical. I was going to a gym at the time and used a trainer for 3 months to get the hang of working out in a gym. While there, I met this guy, Jacob Hiller who looked like a Mr. Universe. Jacob trains people to jump high, as in basketball dunkers. He can jump vertically 44 inches!  Never saw such build before. He’d strap a 50 pound weight against his waist and do pullups!  Anyway, he couldn’t train me and was going away in a week anyway, so he introduced me to Aaron, whom he had also trained.


Aaron had trained for years with some some success, and then Jacob showed him his system. And gave Aaron amazing results. Now Aaron trains people himself as a personal trainer. We trained for two weeks, and then he also had to leave, however, we’ve remained in touch and are good friends. So recently he came back into Chiang Mai, where I live and we got together for lunch. Had a great time and he had talked about my doing a video with me.


Nothing Special But Inspirational


As for me, I don’t think of myself as anything special. Probably a result of my upbringing as well as having trained for years as a Zen monk and continuing on as a Zen student. A friend of mine and I were talking about personal development recently, and how he finds meditation so helpful. So I asked him what the first comprehensive Self Help and Personal Development Program was.


Answer: Buddhism. Founded by a former prince who gave up the throne, practices Indian Yoga and went on to develop a system of personal cultivation and practice focussing on personality development. One of the sayings is “Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Completely Beyond. Enlightenment!” That is a loose translation so all you scholars out there, don’t be too hard on me. We must go beyond ourselves, transform ourselves, not depend on Darwin. We must evolve consciously. That is the teaching I learned as a monk and it’s stayed with me. There are parallels in the Positive Psychology movement. Many people in that movement see the same origins.


Point being, we continually do our best and keep working on ourselves. While most religions talk about this, most people don’t think enough that way. You know, Couch Potatoes, as a good example. People don’t question and don’t try hard to improve themselves, do what they’re told, and get fatter and fatter, sicker and sicker, and allow themselves to be led by the nose. Often with disatrous results for themselves and indeed for their societies.


As people individually and as a species, we really have to go beyond this. Not just us, but the whole planet is at stake. So Aaron suggested I speak spontaneously some inspirational word to do your best and engage in  “Continuous Positive Transformation”.



Click here to watch, I think you’ll like it!