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.

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