Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Eyes Have It

This year's Kali Majapahit Instructor Training Academy (ITA) in Singapore was fantastic in so many ways --- Guro Fred introduced us to his R.E.D. training program and the enhanced HIT elements of our new curriculum, I got to reconnect with my brothers and sisters for a weekend of training, my 14 year old son George flew down to join (and did an amazing job!!), and my veteran students Joe and Will tested and passed Kasama (assistant instructor).  Last but surely not least, Kasama Phil became Kadua Guro Phil (1st dan black belt), my very first student to train up to that level.  I couldn't be more proud of our KM Japan family and how much we have achieved together.

Out of a full weekend of fantastic sharing and training it is hard to find any one activity that stands out --- it was jam packed full of awesomeness.  For some it might have been karambit team-teaching, where each of the instructors showed a karambit technique for the group.  That was crazy good.  However, for me one drill by Guro Guillaume continues to resonate with me.

Guro Guillaume is a giant of a man.  standing at over 190cm and 100kg he is truly intimidating. For his size, he moves deceptively fast and smooth, and his many years of Kali training (he was one of Guro Fred's first students in Singapore) have given him an instinctive and graceful way of flowing. Trust me, you'd never want him to be angry at you.  At the same time, he is a loving husband and father, and a wonderful friend as well.  His martial arts is deeply rooted in spiritualism and psychology and he has incredible insights into the human soul.  He is a deep thinker and a perceptive student of people.

He gave us a very simple exercise --- stand directly in front of your partner and look deeply into his or her eyes.  Say nothing.  Just --- look.  Allow yourself to meet their gaze and connect. Allow yourself to let go of your conscious feelings about who they are and just see them as a human being, as a soul, connected completely to yours.  Without identity or classification, neither man nor woman, black or white --- just two perfect human beings.  It sounds simple, but is actually more difficult than most people realize.  Many people cannot stare into each others eyes at all without looking away or giggling nervously.  The eyes are just too intense and we begin to feel uncomfortable.  We have to keep breathing and focus on just looking deeply and letting go.

I was so lucky to have gotten the chance to do this exercise with my Kali brother and inspiration, Guro Vince.  When we relaxed and I stared into his eyes I was instantly taken back to the old dojo on Yan Kit Road where he and I first met --- my very first night when I was hypnotized by how he moved so effortlessly and dreaming of being like that someday.  When Guro Fred and the others were like magic and every moment was a wonder as new doors opened for me.  Without realizing it, tears were flowing down my face.   Tears of admiration for my dear friend and the amazing journey he has been on - this Kali journey we are on together.  I was overwhelmed feeling how lucky we both are.  I was so grateful to be standing there looking into the compassionate eyes of my brother.  I had missed him so much, and seeing his face brought back so many precious memories.  That exercise was a very special moment for me.

Later on, we all discussed it.  The real goal of the exercise is not recognition.  In fact, just the opposite. It is to break through any higher level thinking and just connect soul to soul.  This means that it should be just as powerful with a total stranger as it would be with your closest friend. By this definition, it was not a success.  However, I could not have been happier with what happened.  There will be other times to practice this, with many other people.  I am glad I got to try this with someone who means so much to me and who has been such an inspiration on my own journey.

The lesson is a simple one - connectedness.  It is a practice in engaging each other without any kind of judgement - just as two perfect human beings.  It is a powerful way of sharing and opening our hearts to each other, something I think this modern world desperately needs.

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and I was reminded how true this is.
I encourage you to try this exercise for yourself and see the result.
You may find it as powerful as I did.

Look Inside.  Connect.  WE ARE ALL ONE.

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