A Personal Journey in KunTao Silat
What does it take to be a good martial artist? How about what it takes to be a great martial artist? If modern schools of martial arts are analyzed objectively, the phrase “crazy”may come up more often than not. There are many schools which practice a modern form of Chi Kung demonstrations in Japanese Schools, Korean Schools, and more, without the understanding of what chi is; which is is far from Chi Kung as one could get. This is especially obvious with multiple of long term students who come into KunTao Silat with career ending or life altering injuries which prevent significant practice in Malabar KunTao Silat.
It became clear from the first class that all previous training to date, while not exactly worthless, was not even close to what is occurring in this class. On the outside looking in, the system of KunTao and Silat look much like any other art in the world. The exception being, this group doesn’t run around in funny looking robes or pajama-like uniforms as though the time is the 16th century. They dress like normal Americans, with a small exception; they carry knives. As it is a bladed art, it makes sense to carry what you train with. The fact is, there are very few occurrences to wander around with nunchaku, katanas, wakizashi, or sai, without looking a little odd.
From the very first class, I had knowledge I could leave with, apply if necessary, and not have to practice it for months before I could pull it off. That alone, is worth the price of admission. There was no Bruce Lee pill, just using a strong work ethic to learn a completely new train of thought. So let’s start here with what it takes to be a good martial artist.
Is a good martial artist someone who can just run around beating up everyone in sight? The simple answer is no. A good martial artist is someone has the necessary training to become a warrior when called. One who trains regularly and aspires to learn all there is to know around them. It is a student who is forever a student.
What makes a great martial artist then? A great martial artist is more than a fighter, a warrior, or one versed in the ways of combat; modern or otherwise.
A great martial artist is beyond the fighting, but has reached a new plane of existence. It is one where health, fitness, spirituality, and more becomes a reality. Most fighters think they have the health and fitness part down. The common fighter e exercises daily for cardio, core strength, and diet.
The great martial artist does this and more. Chi Kung exercises are employed over the common, standard exercise routines. Diet becomes much more than simply watching your waistline. The Great Martial Artist is a healer, spiritual leader, a teacher, and a skilled practitioner.
Witnessing the master teacher alongside of his pupils, it is clear who has a moral compass and who does not. The mere title of master does not make one Great; what makes them great is having a god and to teach His way. To guide along His path, for the path of the warrior is not obsolete, it is simply idle for the time being.
It is important to know when, how, and under which circumstances it is acceptable to utilize such powerful skills of internal strength against another fellow man.
To be a student of martial arts does not mean it is necessary to be religious, because when the time is right, religion will find the student. It is up to the teacher, to guide the student when it does. A teacher, who is capable of such a feat, is what makes them Great!
Thank you Sigung Steve, for being that shining light and I pray that I am half the teacher you have been to me.
Aric Fowler, Guru Malabar KunTao Silat