Welcome to THE BALISONG JOURNAL
An online journal of Southeast Asian Martial Arts, Culture and Spirituality from Guro Jeff Davidson and Detroit Kali-Silat. We will focus on Filipino Kali, Batangas Knife, and Silat Melayu (especially Silat Kuntau Tekpi) - along with Yoruba (West African) fighting and healing arts- and other interesting diversions along the way.
Monday, October 18, 2010
The Heart of a Master
Ama Guro Jun with Detroit Students
My dear students:
You have just witnessed a demonstration of the absolute highest level of skill in the Martial Arts.I’m not only speaking about FMA. I mean that each of these great Masters that you have been privileged to study with this weekend has refined his craft to a level that very few practitioners of any Martial Art will ever reach – although that doesn’t mean you should ever stop trying!
I myself am nowhere near to them.I wouldn’t even presume to demonstrate anything that could even approach what they do, but instead I want to give you some advice - while your eyes are still bulging and your jaws are still on the ground – that may serve you well whenever you remember what you have witnessed here today.
A great Silat teacher who was also a sufi mystic once gave me the following admonition: “To do this Art, you have to do it with your whole Heart”.That was so many years ago, but it has guided me ever since I first heard it.So I ask you students a simple question…
“What is in your Heart?”
There are so many “teachers” and practitioners of the Martial Arts who can kick, punch, throw, stab, and slash with a high degree of proficiency, but if you look into their “hearts” you would maybe also find a great deal of Negativity.We cannot/should not ever presume to judge another person, but the evidence may be clear for you to see.Some of these people are motivated by such things as greed, envy, hatred, bitterness, and the burning desire to be put on a pedestal by others.They will tell you why they are “the Best” or “the Only” or “the Most Deadly” as they denigrate everyone else around them.G-d help you if you fall under their influence.
In the Heart of a true Master – such as these honorable men you are learning from today - you will find powerful, ever-present, and uncompromising Love.Love for their Art; Love for their Elders; Love for their Peers; Love for their Students; Love for their Culture. This Love is so strong that they are unwilling to compromise themselves for anyone or for any reason.People seek them out from all over the world to study with them - and yet they have come here today to you – to share one of their greatest treasures.
Many of you are just beginning your journey, and no doubt you are truly inspired now. But I tell you: if you want to follow in the footsteps of men like these, you will have to make a lot of sacrifices…the most painful of which may be your own Ego.
Anyone can become proficient in fighting.But what is their character?What kinds of people are following them?What do they inspire you to become?Although you may find a few people with the skill of a Master, the Heart of a Master is what you should strive for in a teacher – and in yourselves.