Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Making it your own

"One aspect of the arts of the Philippines that sticks out was described by Mark Wiley in his book, Arnis, Reflections on the History and Development of the Filipino Martial Arts: “...Filipino martial arts are more concerned with individualism and application than lineage and the establishment of a system’s name.” Aneh Palu is just a name and the information and skills one learns should be integrated into who they are. It becomes their art."

The above is a quote from the Aneh Palu Kali-Silat page, and I wanted to take a look at this aspect of KSMA philosophy. One of things you will notice if you attend a KSMA event is that Jay and I do not move or fight the same way, nor do we teach the same way, but we call this thing we do the same name. Why is this? First and foremost, we both have the idea that the art fits the person, not the other way around. A lot of people pay lip service to this, but if you watch, everyone in their school performs the same. If you are a beginner, you need the structure of drills or jurus, but after you start moving and learning, those should be personal notebooks for reference, not a limiting factor in what you feel in the moment. In the KSMA we strive for individualism in movement, personal flow, if you will. Jay and I are different people, with different life experiences and physicality. So we teach the same principles, in the way we have made them our own. The principles and concepts, the truth of Aneh Palu are a map to get you into flow, not an unbending set of techniques you must parrot back in order to advance.

Remember, our main goal is effective self defense and discovering who you are. Neither of these are accomplished by mimicking the teacher. Admittedly both Jay and I were strongly influenced by Bruce Lee and his cadre of instructors, and I think this is the biggest lesson we absorbed through the JKD journey inspired by these teachers we had. Another reason we are so random is due to the reality of an attack in a self defense situation. When it really happens, the techniques the attacker uses never follow the same script, timing, energy or pace of a drill or jurus. But, unsurprisingly, they do fall into one of the 12 basic angles, and they follow the laws of physics and physiology that we apply to our movements, allowing us to improvise in order to survive the contact. So, to be honest, we must structure our teachings to the truth we espouse and allow personal freedom, not just in our students, but in ourselves. It is a constant work, both physically and mentally to be honest and open with yourself in regards to growth, but it is the only way to truly live, and develop in a fighting art.

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