Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Reason Why

(thanks for the inspiration KN!)

Today I got asked a question from an old friend and fellow student.
He wanted to know why I chose to be part of the Kali Majapahit family and to represent KM here in Japan.  It's a valid question, and given that my Kadua Guro black belt is my fourth black belt, did I really need another one?

To be clear, it was never about collecting belts.
Of course, I was proud to test when Guro Fred asked me, and even more proud to do so in front of my students.  The testing pushed me to the very edge of my endurance and skill - just like it should.  In the end, I stood exhausted before a room full of people I deeply respect, all of whom in one way or another have contributed to my success in Kali Majapahit and in life.  No victory could taste sweeter.  I was humbled and grateful.  I still am.

It was never about lineage or accreditation.  I consider myself to be focused on knowing others as individuals rather than titles or ranks.  I have been blessed with the chance to meet and train with some of the best martial artists in the world, and I am not done yet with that. However, now when I travel, I travel with the Kali Majapahit logo, and I carry the responsibility to represent us as a truly non-partisan seeker of truth.  I have love and respect for every martial artist that feels the same.  No politics, just training.  Who we are on the mat is who we are off the mat.

So why did I choose to be part of Kali Majapahit??
I chose to be part of Kali Majapahit because it stands for the things I stand for:  personal development, health, martial arts.  It is about freedom of expression, exploring inside and outside, and about taking responsibility for ourselves.  It is about making our lives what we want them to be and becoming who we can really become - reaching our fullest potential to be happy, constructive human beings.  It is about sharing and fellowship.

Kali Majapahit is about using the training as a vehicle to learn and develop awareness of the body/the self, the environment, and other people.  Kali Majapahit becomes a container I can use to encapsulate all other arts I have studied and a lens for viewing every new style, system or technique I see.  I love the fact that the curriculum grows and changes - Guro Fred spends an incredible amount of time obsessing over how to make the knowledge accessible and enjoyable for us - and this method is at the heart of how we understand and teach Southeast Asian Martial Arts.  I want to share this with everyone.  This is my religion.

I sometimes think all my other training was preparing me to meet Guro Fred and take this journey together.  The other teachers, my brothers and sisters, have inspired me and kept me firmly on the path.  They want the same things I want - from myself and from my students.  Our art is not about violence, it is about self-expression.  It is about confidence and developing ourselves to be more than we were before.  Honestly, any well-taught martial art could be a vehicle for personal development and growth, but Guro Fred has DELIBERATELY put Kali Majapahit together with this objective firmly in mind.  It is no accident. He planned it to be like this.  

I am proud to be a part of it.  See you in class.

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