October 15 and 16 was the first time for Guro Fred and Guro Lila to do a Kali Majapahit Seminar in Japan.
Here are my take-aways from it.
The Most Important Message
Guro Fred started the seminar with the most important message. Many would choose to ignore it or discount it, but for me, the heart of Kali Majapahit was explained in the first 10 minutes of the seminar: Kali Majapahit is a movement for changing the world.
To change the world we must first change ourselves. We must accept that fighting cannot bring us what we need and what the world needs. In true Martial Arts the battle is always against the Self, and our victory is what frees us to do what is right for ourselves, our loved ones and our world. Punching and kicking is very interesting indeed, but alone cannot bring any meaningful change without our understanding that it is merely a tool of self-discovery. A powerful tool, but a tool no less. It is a means to an end.
We were able to see all the various influences of KM at work throughout the seminar --- Filipino, JKD, Indonesian Silat, Hakka Kung Fu, Chinese medicine theory and even Parkour. Within the Filipino arts we saw stickfighting, knife, panantukan and dumog. Beyond this, though, we saw the common threads between them all. In our concepts, every distance, level, and direction can be explored and expressed. Many arts talk about being holistic and complete --- effective in every range and level, but few can actually show it. This is proof positive of Kali Majapahit's efficiency and applicability.
Guro Fred also spent a lot of time expressing the difference between traditional blade arts as they are taught in Southeast Asia, and modern "ethical" arts as we need them in the structure of modern society. Too often these effective combat arts are shown without regard to the consequences we face as martial artists when we use them. It is important to only use appropriate force. "Ethical" knife defense seeks to disable the attacker without causing death or permanent disability. This is at the core of Kali Majapahit's work with law enforcement and executive protection specialists worldwide and greatly appreciated since it shares their vision and allows them to be efficient within their legal and procedural guidelines.
Expression and Flowing
In Kali Majapahit we teach through concepts and examples. These are not rote kata for memorization, but rather principles of combat which are shown through practical technical examples. The ultimate goal is to FLOW, expressing ourselves and our background in our solutions. Every KM Guro uses the same concepts, but expresses them in an individual way. This is the "ART" of martial arts.
We all want to believe that every block is perfect, every hit finds its mark, and our opponent goes down and falls exactly the way we planned it in the dojo. At the same time we also know that real fights are chaotic and emotional - totally unpredictable. Kali Majapahit spends a lot of time exploring the problems that can happen when things don't go as planned, and our best responses to continue to erode our opponents' structure and finish the fight. This is rarely taught in other martial arts and open the door to real FLOW.
Wrap UpThere are lots of Filipino martial arts nowadays, but I believe that Kali Majapahit encompasses not only technical excellence, but also practicality, ethics, personal development and health. This is truly a complete warrior way which offers a lifetime of challenge and achievement for dedicated practitioners. This path is deep and long, and can take you as far as you want to go.
What did you think of the seminar? What were your take aways?
Please let me know.
Guro Fred and Guro Lila and I are already planning the next one... see you there!