Friday, May 29, 2009


Doing a bit of Dumog (Filipino wrestling) these days.

Dumog is a brutal type of wrestling which involves takedowns, throws, joint locks, chokes, strangles, and submissions. There are common entries for closing distance, and then the opponent is thrown or dropped to the ground.

Dumog is not usually the first choice, since kalista prefer mobility, but it is an important element to use when circumstances require.

Some points that have arisen so far:
1) Snake
The same concept we use in disarms finds itself applied in Dumog. We snake the head and arms to achieve a better position, and to open up attacking sequences or disrupt the opponents attacks on us.

2) Cold Hard Ground
A lot of Dumog takedowns and throws are designed to make the opponent impact their head/neck on the ground as they go down. We practice these safely in the training, but on the street the opponent is likely out or dead once they hit the ground the first time.

3) Chains
Like our Karenza, techniques in Dumog are practiced in chains, not one at a time. They are a flow of submissions and counters in sequences designed to anticipate the most likely reactions to an attack and put finishes on from there.

4) Pressure
Once the opponent hits the ground, techniques are far more effective if our bodyweight is constantly compressing the opponent. This should make it tough for the opponent to breathe and move, and limit their energy to respond. Hips should be in contact and driving downward through the opponent and into the ground. This means not being on our knees straddling, but being sprawled with hips driving in. Submissions should snake in and then be applied dynamically, by arching the hips and back muscles to get the full body weight into the technique, not just the arms.

5) Striking
On the ground, the best weapons are knees, elbows, and headbutts. They should be vigorously applied to any nearby soft targets and pressure points.

try not to end up like this guy...Happy 'Mogging

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bending Spoons

Spoon Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible. _Instead_ only try to realize the truth...
Neo : What truth?
Spoon Boy : There is no spoon.
Neo : There is no spoon?
Spoon Boy : Then you will see, it is not the _spoon_ that bends, it is only yourself.

OK, yes, I know. Glib movie quotes are a pretty cheap way of trying to develop a personal philosophy (and Animal House is a much more fun philosophy to embrace than The Matrix). Yet, the above has a real practical point I want to address. Spoon Boy's wisdom is undeniable. Let me break it down for you...

Spoon Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible. _Instead_ only try to realize the truth...

How many times in our daily lives do we try to do the impossible? We believe that reality does not effect us, and that we can somehow make the impossible possible through force of will. This type of thnking wastes a lot of time and effort simply by virtue of the fact that it is a manifestation of our inflexible mind. We stop trying to realize the truth and start trying to impose our hopes and dreams on it. This can never be successful, and is the reason why we can not bend spoons. The principal focus of our training should be to discover the truth about ourselves.

Spoon Boy : There is no spoon.

So much has been written about this that I do not need to rewrite it all here. Suffice to say that we all spend a lot of time worrying about problems that never happen. Our lives can be as simple as we allow them to be. To achieve this, we must first learn to LET GO of the unimportant. Once we let go of something, to us it ceases to exist and can be ignored/forgotten.

There is no spoon. Let go of the things you cannot control or influence.

Spoon Boy : Then you will see, it is not the _spoon_ that bends, it is only yourself.

Even an ocean of tears cannot wash away the truth of life. We cannot change most of what we see every day. Does this make us victims of our own flawed destinies? Does it condemn us to a miserable existince of being pushed from one uncontrollable event to another? Maybe. Instead, though, maybe it encourages developing an awareness of the fact that what is important is not the events that happen, but only our reaction to them. This is a central determinant of our quality of life. You must bend. If you do not, you break. The breaking, not the bending, is what causes frustration and disappointment.

Thanks, Spoon Boy

Friday, May 08, 2009

Do you Realize How Lucky You Are?

I do.


I've been around the martial arts a long time. Too long, in fact, to waste time with people who are not 100% committed to being the best they can be at what they do. When I find myself in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, I feel lucky. So should you.

Just over a year ago I walked into a small 3rd floor dojo near my office in Tanjong Pagar... and had a magic moment. I went in expecting to see some kind of hybrid voodoo rain-dance combo of sticks and capoeira, halfway done by people who halfway knew a bit about martial arts - something that would look great on stage or in a video but which I knew would never work - something made of some old-time forms that had no real application at all. Something made up on TV. I was a skeptic. I had seen a lot of fakes over the years.

Then I met Fred. That was a magic moment that changed my life forever.

He introduced himself. We talked for a few minutes. He asked me to watch the class. I did.

Wow! That's all I can say. My jaw dropped. I was hooked forever.

I can count on one hand the number of people I have met over the past 25+ years in and around martial arts that were that good. Fred has it all - he is artistic, physical, graceful, ferocious, passionate, compassionate, cereberal, inquisitive, traditional, adaptive, sprititual, and at the end of it all, a gentleman and a true warrior in every sense of the word. Wow.

For many of the 100+ students we have at Kali Majapahit, this is their first experience of martial arts training. I hope they all realize how truly lucky they lucky we all are.

Let me be very clear: you are unlikely to ever find anyone that good ever again.

Many of you do not realize that becoming a true master like Guro Fred takes your whole life; 99.9% of those that start will never reach a level like that, and even if they do, they will not be brave enough to teach it to others. Most fall short in some area... Guro Fred doesn't. That is what makes him the best. He has a burning desire to improve constantly, and can deliver his message with passion in every single lesson. He makes you want to be better - at least that's how I feel every time I go. He brings the best out in me. I am never disappointed.

Fred has dedicated his whole life to living his martial arts in every moment, and it shows. To do that takes a sacrifice most people cannot make. He already made it for you. You get to learn from someone who has seen and done so much, and who really, truly wants to share it with you.
That is so rare. So rare that you may never get a chance to experience it anywhere else in your martial arts life again. Feel lucky.

The other Guros and assistants who developed in the school are also a testament to the high level of teaching and ability that Fred can create. That could be you. It should be you.

Soon, I am going to have to leave Singapore to go back to Japan. My only regret is that I will not have as much time to train at Kali Majapahit with Fred, Lila, Guillaume, Morgane, Maxime and my other friends and mentors. I don't dare even dream of finding anyone that good in Tokyo. You just don't meet people that good very often. I will keep coming back to Singapore to train with my brothers and sisters here. I just can't give up.

For my sake, please, feel lucky to have the chance to train at Kali Majapahit among some of the best in the world. Make the most of it. Go all the way and become a Kali Majapahit instructor yourself. Do it for me.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

"What are you going to do?"


"what are you going to dream about?"
"what are you going to wish for?"
"what are you going to pray for?"
"what are you going to hope would happen?"
"what are you going to get around to when you have time?"
"what are you going to think might be a nice idea someday?"
"what are you going to ask someone to do for you?"

or especially: "what are you going to blame for why you didn't get what you want?"

At the end of the proverbial day, the only question that ever matters is:

"what are you going to do?"

well...what are you going to do?

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
" - Eleanor Roosevelt