Uncategorized May 12, 2020

Originally posted on March 15th, 2018 by Geoffrey Green

“If you don’t question your training, then there’s a good chance you may be following a cycle of dogma.” – Tuhon Timothy Waid

Each journey begins from a different path of intention. In the case of the martial arts, some have regarded them with meanings akin to what the original definition of their invention was for –weaponry honed for the purpose of battle. And, still, some other veterans may regard them as “expressions of the human body”. Such a reference, in this case, regards the SAME art, regardless of the predilections of the practitioner (whose attributes will inevitably influence how he regards and ultimately assimilates the art). The undertaking of the art happened on intention, and, in each intention, a catalyst should be identified. Perhaps it was something we wanted to do or perhaps it was something done to us. Perhaps the motive is reconciliation, perhaps it is revenge.

Whatever the catalyst which spurred the need…the original idea often gets lost within the material pursuit. Consider not the disparity in the above definitions of martial art, but also the notion that what the catalyst was may not align with what is the motivation to continue. In my ten plus years of dedication to the Filipino Martial Arts, I have realized that the true student does not really know for what he is asking. We only may go with our best guess toward what we believe will guide us correctly….and, by submitting ourselves to training; we are already acknowledging our humility in this effort.

Bruce Lee wrote that “the pages (of study after their assimilation) are afterwards best utilized to clean up a mess”. Grand Tuhon Gaje has emphasized “Learn to Forget”. These dictums, I believe, serve as caveats to the risk of one abandoning his intentions in favor of a programmatic life. The ultimate achievement in the pursuit of a system is mastery of the system. Cohesion, mastery of the system, and mastery of the self may yield as its final product mastery of one’s self within the system. The dedicated student would be wise to consider this; although, how can he know what he is to become before he embarks on the question? I submit - How can the true student know what he is asking for?

Signifying the recognition of progress in martial arts, rank is bestowed by ones teacher. Considering our caveat: Is the evidence of rank a sign of mastery over oneself or is it material evidence that a man doesn’t trust his own instincts? Acknowledgement of the futility of one’s instincts is admitted readily as a man submits to the learning process this is necessary to achieve understanding. This is for the pursuit of some higher understanding. But, is how much of the will submitted commensurate to how vulnerable a student is to self-deception? To what extent is surrender of will a favorable mission? It seems paradoxical that it has been long considered among warrior arts, that to approach training, one would first do best to enter a childlike state of mind, one of open assimilation and readiness to submit to learning. Embracing this potential for unconditional naiveté we must consider: What is our goal? Do we keep it in mind before EVERY training session? Do we remember what it is we even set out for in the midst of our quest for mastery through the estimation of our teachers? What degree of compromise is allowed with such a goal? And, what demands of our teachers might prompt us to submit to such a compromise?

In summary, is what we are internalizing congruent with the need our catalyst awoke within us, and to what extent is that internalization manifested in capability versus conceptualization?


Therefore, when considering how to ask the question, first ask: What is the strategy of what I am learning and is this strategy congruent with my goals for learning it? If what one pursues has no strategy, it does not mean it is not at least POTENTIALLY useful…rather, it means that its practicality is randomly achieved. If this is successful, perhaps it may be overwhelming to an opponent, or perhaps such victory might be achieved by accident. To be reliable, the weapon must be replicable, and the degree as to whether this is possible concerns the similitude of the training method to achieve the weapon. Just as the pursuit of any physical endeavor is not dependent entirely upon the time exercising the endeavor as it is arguably more dependent on the vaster quantity of time PREPARING for the endeavor, so is the honing of a human weapon more dependent upon training for the fight, than the actual fight itself (which may or may not come). Consequently, the fight must, as close as possible, approximate the training method. Admittedly, less possible to predict with certainty, it is here particularly important to distinguish how the fight may actually be as opposed to what parameters the fight may be permitted. Such parameters may be dictated by external parameters (rules of sport, known fighting surfaces, and perimeter) or internal (what RULES are we allowed to engage our opponent, or perhaps more dangerously, with what RULES may they engage us?). All the while, chaos smiles and nods in waiting.

Properly consider your path of sacrifice before you smile back.



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.