March 29, 2005, 02:21 AM
"Uncle" Bill Martino, foremost US representative of Himalayan Imports, has died after a long struggle with cancer. Bill was known for his kindness, fairness, and persistent good humor.
We sure as hell will miss him.
March 29, 2005, 02:37 AM
He'll be mourned at points around the world. A good man.
I hope he goes to a reward.
March 29, 2005, 12:02 PM
There's quite some discussion about this at the HI forum on Bladeforums.com (http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=739), which Bill moderated, later with the help of Rusty. Here's a post Bill made a year ago- I think those who never had a chance to get to know him will be able to see what a beautiful soul he was.
I am hesitant to make this post but I think it's necessary to reiterate the philosophy which sets the modus operandi of Himalayan Imports, BirGorkha and the HI forum. Seems it is time.
When I sold our first khukuri in 1988 I did not do it with any hope of fame or fortune. I did it because I knew that the sale meant some kami in Nepal would be paid for work done. The first ad which sold this khukuri cost $135. The khukuri sold for $150. Another ad was placed, two khukuris were sold. Another ad in another magazine, and a couple more khukuris sold. Finally, ads in 3 or 4 magazines, sales generated from articles about our khukuris made Himalayan Imports a viable business. Advertising cost at that time was about 50% of gross sales.
Then onto the internet and everything turned around and today we are able to provide for the welfare of perhaps 150 of Nepal's lowest caste and the poorest of the poor. Khukuris have done it and therefore they are related to almost everything in life -- eating rather than starving, having shelter rather than sleeping under a bridge, the basics needs of life, and an offer of hope for the future. And, I think very importantly, the effort is not charity but simply an opportunity. Remember, under and unemployment combined in Nepal is near 80%. Having an honest job is a blessing in such an environment and this is what we do. We provide work and opportunity.
So, the driving force behind Himalayan Imports and BirGorkha is dharma, duty, an effort to make the lives of some of the less fortunate somewhat more tolerable. Fame, fortune, profit, the normal motivations which drive most businesses do not drive us. Seeing that a family has enough to eat is more important than making a profit. I see Yangdu sell knives at cost on a regular basis when we have a decent inventory -- this to keep the kamis working.
When our village sarki recently sliced a foot long gash in his thigh we took him to the hospital, got him fixed up, and paid him his "workmans' comp" for a couple of weeks until he was able to return to duty. This is standard practice for BirGorkha. Our social services fund could easily be turned to profit but we don't do it. Dharma comes first. The Dharma path is the one that I have chosen in this life and Pala, Yangdu, Pradeep, all associated with HI and BirGorkha honor my decision and participate gladly.
When I was asked to moderate a forum on Knife Forums I agreed and said I would have only these basic rules -- no profanity, no personal attacks, no badmouthing of competitors products. Anything else was fair game. We started over on the old knife forums and our forum soon became the most popular on that site. I think the reason for this was we were an oddity. I followed my own rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and this seemed to attract people. And I was younger and stronger then and could give a good deal of time to moderating very "iffy" discussions. I don't think I ever deleted a post, almost never edited a post, and never banned anybody although at times I was sorely tempted to do so. I used my Buddhist philosophy to good advantage and we waded through some very difficult discussions.
Then I was asked to moderate this forum on Blade Forums and agreed. Same philosophy as the Knife Forums HI forum. As you can see the forum has been and is still pretty popular. Because of my very firm belief in free speech and expression I allowed some posts which most would have banned. There were trying times when politics, religion, customs, entered into the discussion, especially if driven by zealots and fanatics and we had a few. But we survived and the forum became a place where anybody could say just about anything and it remains that way today to a high degree.
Along the way Rusty and I became good friends and visited personally. Rusty became pals with Pala and Yangdu. As he came to know me he began to understand what I was trying to do with both HI and the forum so when it became necessary due to health problems to get help in moderating Rusty was a natural. I am indebted to Rusty and grateful beyong description for the great effort and fine job he has done.
I wanted the forum to be not just a place to discuss khukuris and blades in general but a place where somebody in trouble could come, state his trouble and ask for help in the form of prayer or even money. I wanted it to be a place where help and advice could be solicited. I wanted it to be a place where ideas, philosophies, could be discussed. However, I wanted it to be a place motivated by the first rule, "Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself." I never wanted to see hate or loathing as part of the discussion or posts made simply to stir up contentions and discontent.
And here is the secret to making a decent, meaningful post: No matter what subject you might be posting about if you do so with the basic rules in mind, "Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" you'll end up with a good, meaningful post that will probably be of some kind of benefit to all. Check your motives before making your post. As my old guru used to advise me, "if you can't do it with love don't do it at all."
If we follow the rules this can be a fine and worthwhile place so let's all give it the old college try.
March 29, 2005, 01:22 PM
He was a good man and they are known by their peers.
His forum is very special.
I once complained to him there was no gun forum I cared to visit. He recomended the High Road.
March 29, 2005, 03:17 PM
We are all wearing black today in the Himalayan Imports forum....
At last count 2,600 people have viewed the... thread about his passage, with some 160+ paying their last respects.
Bill will always be remembered- well- by all of us who own these khukuris.
March 31, 2005, 06:47 AM
It's because of Uncle Bill I love Khukuris. I have a bunch of Himalayan Imports Khukuris and swords proudly displayed on a stand in my bedroom and have made gifts of them to my close friends.
I've met Uncle Bill and Yangdu (his wife) only once and I must say they are very un-assuming and gentle people. But I could tell, if you ever got into a scrap, Uncle Bill is the guy you want beside you. I have nothing but respect for him and the Himalayan Imports products and you will be hard pressed to find anyone that has an opposite opinion.
This was a great loss but Uncle Bill knew for a while he wasn't going to be here long. He even left a "goodbye" post to help us not grieve so much when he was gone. All in all, he was a good guy. I’m very sadden by his departure.
If any of you don't know what a Khukuri is or are interested. Please check out the Himalayan-imports.com website.
In this world of instant gratification and quickie meals, it's kinda nice to see something made the old fashion way. A block of spring steel, a hammer, fire and lots of talent will give you a Himalayan imports khukuri. Plus you will be helping a lot of Kamis (Nepalese knifemakers) and their families.
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