It needed to be done. It was time. I started thinking about it on Friday - what I wanted, where I wanted it. By Saturday morning, I knew it would happen. Saturday night, it did.
Why? The easy is answer is that it needed to happen.
The slightly more philosophical answer is that it became time to celebrate having made a commitment.
My body is not a temple - in fact, it is a bit more like an amusement park. That said, I already have a tattoo, and would not get a new one just for the sake of looking like a magazine classified ads page. There has to be some meaning there.
If it looks familiar, then you are perceptive. It is the kris from our Kali Majapahit logo. The alibata script (alibata is the traditional Filipino writing system) says "kali". OK, so what does it mean?
Nearly 2 years ago, I joined the Kali Majapahit school in Tanjong Pagar. That changed my life forever. I have seen and done and learned so much since I came to Singapore, and the pinnacle of that learning was done in the school, with Guro Fred, Guro Lila, and my other training partners. So many good times, and so much good training. Thanks to Kali Majapahit, I fell in love with martial arts again. I learned to be free. I learned to let go. I rediscovered how to take ownership of myself, my life, my health, my relationships. I found a new level of happiness.
I am moving forward.
My new tattoo is a constant reminder of what I did here, and to keep on moving forward no matter where, no matter what.
A tattoo is permanent. My training and my commitment are also permanent. My kali will be a part of me until I die, just like my tattoo. The kris is not just the traditional weapon of southeast Asia - it has a spiritual significance not unlike the Japanese katana, the embodiment of the warrior spirit. This is a constant reminder that the way of the warrior is a spiritual journey taken with every single step.
Martial arts is not a path taken lightly. To do so misses most of the important teaching.
It is a path best walked for the rest of your life, where the slow, subtle changes can work their magic over time. A simple glance at mountains should remind us that over time, even the fundamental landscape of the planet can be changed. So much more so the ladnscape of our own lives. Spending a year or two training in martial arts is simply not good enough. The training should be a constant companion in your life, right by your side to guide you and give you strength. This cannot happen unless you become committed to it. Train until you cannot imagine a life without it. make it a part of every fiber, every cell of your body, mind and spirit.
O-Sensei said "whenever I move, that is aikido"
I am not suggesting everyone run out and get inked, although you are certainly free to do so.
Rather, I am strongly suggesting that each of you make a lifelong commitment to something you love. Relentless pursue your passion. Do not expect someone else to give it to you - go and seek it yourself, and spare no resource to discover it. Once you do, your life will become the great adventure it was meant to be.
My kris and I are about to enter a new stage of life - a stage that will have even more good times and good training; a stage that will bring even greater happiness. I hope you will be with me. I hope you will find your own great adventure, whatever it may be.
See you on the mats.