Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Big F U

Weeks later I am still thinking about the Peaceful Warrior Camp 2018.  Fantastic photos from our Peaceful Warrior Photographer, Elsa Girault, posted this week and helped remind me of that incredible time training with the world's best in the sun and on the sand.  As always, some topics simmer before being done and I am thinking about them long after we all go home.  This is one of them.

Every morning at 0630 on the beach we start out stick work with Guro Claes.  He is a Viking from Gothenburg, Sweden; a great big bear of a man.  Trust me when I say you want to remain on his good side.  Fortunately, he has a great big heart as well and has taught me much over the many years at camp.  He is a perfect role model in my journey to be a Peaceful Warrior.

His voice booms out as the sun rises "Someone is attacking you?  You tell them F@@k You!"  "We're Filipino Martial Artists; we're stick fighters. If he comes, you smash him!!"  When Guro Claes swings the stick, believe me you're smashed.  End of.

I'm still thinking about that morning, and many others we shared on many other beaches over many other camps.  Every time I think about it I know he's right.

With a stick or a blade in our hands we should feel invincible.  Many years of training have honed us.  Our weapons are extensions of us.  We can block any attack they try.  We know we can hit them anywhere we like whenever we want.  If not, we need to train harder.  Train until we are without doubt.  Until swinging the stick or the blade; striking and kicking are as natural as breathing.

I would call Kali Majapahit the "beautiful art".  We flow and evade, we strike and recover.  When I watch Guro Fred move he's like magic.  Fast, smooth and effortless.  Everything chains together in an elegant and deadly dance.  Nothing is coarse or crude.  Everything has a purpose and a strategy and it is all part of a never ending flow. It's hypnotic.  I love it because it is equally martial and equally art.

At the same time, there is much to be said for directness, and we often spend too much time getting out of the way with spirals and circles and evading footwork.  If it is part of our strategy, then fine.  KM is amazing partly because of the deceptiveness of our fighting tactics.

However often it is because we lack confidence in our blocks or our control of the fighting distance.  We lack aggressiveness.  We seek to avoid the conflict rather than dominate it.  We are timid and shy; afraid to tell the attacker "F@@K YOU".

If so, we need to train harder.  We need to train not until we welcome the fight, but until we feel confident in the outcome, regardless of the circumstance or situation.  When we grab our weapon or set our stance we should feel like a shark in the water - a predator completely in our element.

Being a Peaceful Warrior means that we do not seek combat, but we stand always ready to protect what we love, and we have the ways and means to do so without doubt or fear, confident in our training and our abilities.

There is a time for pleasantries and niceties. The battlefield is not that place.  If that time should come, we do what we must.  The greatest mercy you can give is to finish your opponent quickly.  Their last thought, an instant before they hit the floor, should be one of regret - that targeting you was a big mistake.


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