Friday, November 27, 2009

First Class of Kali Majapahit Japan Study Group - Tonight!

Very exciting - tonight I start a new path, where I must lead beginners to develop their skills in Kali Majapahit. Tonight is the first trial class of the Kali Majapahit Japan Study Group!

Tonight's menu:

Warm-Ups and Stretches
basic warm - up and floor series leg stretches

Kadena: basic hook + straight elbows, basic uppercut + ascendant elbows
self-defense applications

Solo Baston: basic guard and grips + blocks versus 1-6
speed drills

Doble Baston: Kabka 1-4 + Sinawali 6
Variations: flip, abanico, redondo, dunga

Hilot: breathing exercises

I will write a post-mortem tomorrow. WISH ME LUCK!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stranger Danger

For the past two weeks, my 8-year old son George has really shown he is growing up. Proudly he announced that rather than having Mom drive him to school and pick him up every day, he would start to ride the city bus back and forth. We got him a pass, helped him the first few days, and were pleasantly surprised that he could do it on his own. Great help for Mom, and proof positive that he was becoming more mature and able to take on a bit more responsibility.

However, the other day he had a "slight error in judgement"...

He knew he had to be at second grade a little early to give a short presentation to the class on the weather (their current focus topic). He left our house 10 minutes early and waited at the bus stop for his bus to come. During that time a man pulled up in a Mercedes and asked him if he wanted a ride to school. Thinking he could get there quicker and easier than waiting for the bus, he accepted...

My wife found out about it later that night after he had come home. In his mind perhaps he knew he had put himself at risk...he said "Mom, I think I might have done something wrong..."
He explained about the man - her jaw dropped. Without him admitting it, he could have just...disappeared...without either of us knowing.

I got home late that night after the kids had already gone to bed, and she told me what he had done. She had been crying off and on since George told her he had taken a stranger's car ride to school. They had a massive shouting match and it was very emotional for both of them.

For me it was like being stabbed in the heart.
I felt sick to my stomach; I felt dizzy...I couldn't breathe...
Then the rage hit me like a wave of electricity...


At the very least I would beat him senseless and take him to the police, where hopefully he would be hung, shot, or dropped into a dark hole for all eternity. No normal adult has any justifiable reason for offering a ride to an 8-year old boy on his way to school. It is the classic ruse of a predator. George said "he told me he was a good guy, not a bad guy...", of course not fully grasping the fact that bad guys hardly announce the fact up front to their victims before they torture and kill them.

Just last week the news in Japan featured a story about a university student found dismembered after going missing. There are many of these cases even in Japan every year.
Japan's bizzare sexually-repressed powderkeg society creates a lot of pressure which ends up making some very, very sick people who are more than capable of causing unspeakable harm to a little boy. You can drive yourself crazy worrying...

How can you protect them all the time? It only takes one "slight error in judgement" for them to be the next kid on the milk carton; the next statistic. As a parent, you want to encourage your children to be independent, but to have enough sense to know and avoid big risks. I am at a loss as to how to handle this. My first reaction was to home school him for the next 10 years and never let him out of the house on his own again...yes, I know it's overreacting.

I have never felt more helpless in my whole life than I do now.
Never more vulnerable than facing the knowledge that I cannot protect my family from danger.

I have done my best to provide clear and lucid advice to people on martial arts and other topics in this blog for the past 3 years . I need to call those markers in. Now it's your turn to advise me.

What can I do about this???

Please give me your advice. I need it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Happy Bday to Me - 43

Well, today's my birthday and I am 43 years old. Thanks Mom and Dad for bringing me into the world.

A lot has happened in the past 12 months.
When I wrote a similar message a year ago, I was living in Singapore, just starting my master's degree. I had just gotten my shodan in Yoshinkan aikido in August, and was fully involved in my Kali Majapahit training.

Now I live in Yokohama and work in Tokyo (again). I completed my master's degree (3.566 GPA) and am going back to RYA for Yoshinkan training tonight. I started Muay Thai training this week near Yokohama Station. I am as committed as ever to my Kali Majapahit training, and working on getting my Japan study group up and running so I can develop good training partners. I am checking a location tonight where I can potentially hold weekly practice sessions and my magazine ad should be coming out soon.

I feel very good about myself and my life. Despite some darkness along the way, I kept my job and now it is starting to move forward again. My family are healthy and happy, and survived the move back to Japan without too much trauma.

Tonight I am training, which is the thing I love to do most. Tomorow I will celebrate with my wife and children, the other thing I love to do most.

Today will come and go, and tomorrow too. My life will come and go, and after me will be the impact I have made in the lives of others, and the legacy of my children to do the same. I am committed to my quest to find my own definition of happiness, and I feel closer than I was last year. That is enough for me.

I am looking forward to another year of good training, good health, and good progress.

Why don't you come along?

stay tuned...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, after returning to Japan on 11 October, I finally got back on the mats to train. Last night was my first class at Japan Muay Thai Center in Yokohama.

It is a short walk from JR Yokohama Station and has good facilities including an actual competition-size ring and a bunch of heavy bags.
They train amateur and pro Muay Thai fighters, as well as running the classes for beginners.

I am planning to go Mondays and Wednesdays from 7pm to 9:45. The classes include warm-up/cardio, an hour of basics (mostly shadow boxing and pad work) and an hour of technique including boxing and kicking and light sparring practice with pads.

The good news is that the people are good, the coaches are knowledgeable, and the other people are very friendly. It is a Japanese atmosphere with the politeness and respect that entails. They are very accepting of non-Japanese, especially if you can comunicate (no problem for me).
The workout is OK, and even though it was my first class, we got straight into the material. They let me fight southpaw, so I can fight right leg forward like we do in Panantukan.
I signed up for a year and will keep reporting on what I do there.

The bad news: I SAY AGAIN -


Two hours plus of Muay Thai training is about the workout equivalent of a single hour of Panantukan class. Within the first lesson, it was clear that I was at least the equal or better than any of the other students, and probably on par with some of the amateurs; despite being among the worst in KM at Panantukan. The curriculum is basic, which is fine, but there is not the carefully structured curriculum or innovative drills we use. Their pad work is amatuerish and oversimplified and the range of tactics even among the amateurs is, well...amateur. Simply, the teaching not wll thought out. It is a club, not a school.

Kali Majapahit and Panantukan offers such a rich learning experience. The difference was clear to me after a few minutes on the mat. Our school and our classes have so much more intensity and pack so much more into the lesson and the training. It reminded me how lucky we are. It should remind you, too.

I will keep training in Muay Thai so I can workout and keep fit, and meanwhile I will dream at night of a KM school in Japan where we can share the very best in martial arts.

Help me make my dream come true.