On motivations in Karate and how fate tends to interfere with arnis training

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A few words, it is not an accident that I get two different karate ryu’s (Tang Soo Do and Shito Ryu) for two consecutive years and be taught free of charge. While Arnis to me is as essential part of my identity as Filipino as much as an Okinawan learn Uechi Ryu or any other Okinawan Style of Karate, i constantly find that distance, time, and financial constraints (DTFC) pull my training to a stand still. That I could only go on considerebly for three to five months in training arnis before finding myself out due to DTFC reasons.

One main factor that affected my training is that I find that I no longer have the capacity train for arnis both in time and most especially due to financial reasons. In my absence, I have also been able to think and rethink about my motivations, both extrinsic and intrinsic, for pursuing martial arts in general. So far, I found it equally important for me to join a bigger group, if not at least to have a training partner or sparring partner who you could share your learnings, and interest in pursuing arnis, as opposed to what training with our Guro’s have always been 1-on-1. I most especially would point out in mild irritation like an itch you can’t seem to find, that in executing techniques you suddenly find yourself alone without getting the experience of actually having a live partner to feed you attacks and vice versa. I just find it irritating to have someone feed you with strikes, or at least do train arnis with you and find out soon enough through looking in theri eyes and reactions that this is only a one-sided amusement. Hence, that is why a bigger group is one of the factors that I am looking for in a  group. I will be defensive with this since some might see this as not being mature enough in the art. Well, as long as i’m paying and getting what i want from it, then I think i’m doing good. It really is awfully and terribly alone to find that you cannot share with anyone the joy of your interest in a Fighting system.

As such, I think people pursue MA for different reasons, one of which I have just recounted in the above statement, in my defensive stance in answer to those who have frowned upon my external motivations – Well, it’s still a motivation. I pursued arnis perhaps not only to be one day proficient in it but in a sense join a group where I can share it with others who enjoy the art as well both in and out of training. As of now, what I do have is Karate, in which the sensei is a village neighbor and the other members are made up of my best friend, his friend and a few training partners (a total of six students).

I have split my month in half. As my karate sensei told me that there will always be other things more important than karate, like family, spiritual paths (if that is one of your priorities as he had said), dating, other friends and work. As i had said, i split my months in half, since i wanted to spend half of my month, 2 sundays off, from karate to invest in my spiritual foundations. And the remaining two sundays for continuous training. Although I do miss training with them, the bible study group that I could see myself growing with was only available during mornings. So that meant forgoing faster progress for setting up of my spiritual foundations. I could not put both my feet in one or the other, so i had to schedule them. Also, in the past few months, although there was always small improvements, i found that pursuing Karate and all the other hobbies that I do love do not make any sense. How utterly unsatisfying they were, that even though it is an important part in my life, Karate Training is not the most important nor an essential part in my life. What is essential, though, was a strong spiritual foundation, a stable career and close family relationships. All the other parts of my identity is important but not the most essential parts. In truth, without spiritual stability, i’d be the worst karate-ka with a short fuse. Without a stable career, how can i support my further training, or even feed my children, prepare them for their future, or even show gratefulness to your sensei by providing tokens and gifts? Or what is fighting prowess without family? I’d rather be the most inept person but to have my family than be the fastest and strongest yet lose my family. I have sought for a more balanced weekend. Maybe, it’s like spending half of your time off from work with your girlfriend and the other time in rebuilding your relationship with your father / mother. And after giving up two weeks of karate, albeit excruciatingly, i found the sense of balance i was looking for. I tried doing only one or the other before and found myself hating myself and those choices. Karate is an important part of my life. It is not just the martial art, but more so, of the relationships that i’ve spent time building. This may be seen by others as a low-type of motivation for karate, but to me, it is. Maintaining relationships will always be a priority to me. It is one of the main factors why I do what I do. I have to train harder as well, since I don;t want to be left behind by my friends, by my sensei who spends his time to teach us. That is important to me, the time and trust master have spent to be able to teach Karate to us.

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So, where is arnis in the picture then? I wanted to attend arnis only during saturday afternoons but it has already been two years since i have not relied on my parent’s cash flow (since i’m already working) and even then they would rather spend money for gym than for my pursuit of arnis. But for the past months (January through March), i’ve been spending it on meds, dental, paying off my debts and cellphone plan fees. So for now, I have to be content with karate. Still, i cannot stop thinking about how fate is regularly puts me off from arnis. You know how it is for me for the past few years as a college student pursuing arnis. There was not enough opportunities for me to cultivate it in a bigger group.  It has always been like this, distance, cash flow and time. But it doesn’t stop me though from attending closer arnis events like those in alabang this may 19. These are just a few of the factors that derailed my choice for taking another break from arnis. The second factor is my loyalty to our old masters, that is stopping me from moving from luneta to an arnis group in closer proximity. (If there really are regular trainings in sm southmall) or those of the paranaque-based eclectic arnis LARAW. At least, Karate is an MA completely different from arnis. Just like what another teacher said to me a few months ago, “there will always be other times to train arnis”. Do keep me updated bro.

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From Left to Right; Joey (second batch of Fusion: Combining both Orabes Henerales (MMOHes) and Arnis Defense Silat (ADS) – the combined style headed by Patrick Gamayo)l Guy in blue shirt Learning Silat (ADS ) from Guro Freddie Fernandez; Paolo Jerome Cristobal learning MMOHes from Guro ‘Boy’ Laurena; Patrick Lubaton – Senior Student – student of Silat (ADS), Guro Freddie Fernandez who created his own style from automatic arnis, and arnis tulisan combined with modified pencak silat birthing Arnis Defense Silat, he specifies in breaking techniques; Senior Student of MMOHes; Guro ‘Boy’ Laurena specifically known for his MM Orabes Henerales a combined form of Kali Illustrisimo, Moro Moro Orabes Heneral and De Salon / Italliana forms (from an exclusive family based arnis style); Virgil Aldrin Ortega, Senior Student MM Orabes Henerales; Patrick Gamayo graduated from both Guro Freddie Fernandez’ Arnis defense Silat and Guro ‘Boy’ Laurena’s MM Orabes Henerales. New batch same as mine, but started his own style oncorporating our two masters’ styles into one. Tentatively known as Orabes Silat Fusion. – Patrick G. has extensive training in the sparring type of wushu that fights in narrow bridge on elevated ground, and Taekwondo.

34 months in Hiatus: Word Play #1

Several words from Hiatus:

It has been long since I’ve touched on the topic of poetry as a poet. And I am in a sense getting back on my route by handling the same materials that moved me, similar to what K did in remembering who he in MIB. This would come out as word play, but in a sense i’m trying to feel my way back to that poetry dip. Well, here it is:

Word Play #1

,

Comma intended

like reading poetry

and seeing

pauses in the line

breaks, and clinch

in every joke,

the drama it ensues

in pauses

 

So there we have it. Word Play #1. These are not poems, but from these words some can be poems. My hopefully poem or part of a poem. 34 months in hiatus. 

 

Time to polish my bad poetry. 😛 😀

Silence in Oriphino Jazz Pub

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So, it’s not a Jazz Pub, but it often was full of 9-15 musicians all in one room, sharing the twinkle of liquor, the smell of smokes and japanese food. It just so happened that they were about to move that week.

I met my Japanese Neighbor, Mr. Sacho years before when I slipped a letter through under their door. I could not bring myself, a stranger, to ask to come in and listen to them play Jazz. But I had spent more afternoons outside listening to them play. I could not say what songs they were playing, but I was sure it was Jazz. What with all the trumpets and the trombones, the electric bass guitar, the pianist who had by coincidence had the same surname as mine, the Growling Drummer who reminded me of Louis Armstrong, the singing ladies who were Mr. Sacho’s Secretaries, the percussions which looked like bowling pins with rough edges, and the Japanese Man’s favorite instrument, the Saxophone.

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There were three of which he had, and one which he owned for his entire life. He both had the Soprano, the Alto and the Tenor, but it was the biggest that he had loved the most. Getting back to the Sax Man, he had been delighted to have a neighbor who enjoyed his type of music. Once, he even invited me to learn to play his saxophone, the biggest which I would always get a sore thumb from. After jamming with his entire group, he would all ask them to eat from his table. Everyone would get a bottle or two of beer and a sip of liquor from Mr. Sacho. So, it’s not a Jazz Pub, but it often was full of    9-15 musicians all in one room, sharing the twinkle of liquor, the smell of smokes and japanese food. It just so happened that they were about to move that week. If he had the whim to do so, he would try to teach me the basics of the saxophone, or ask me to play with the band if one the key players were gone. Sometimes he would even want me to bring several pieces, usually the saxophone, home with me. I was just across the street, and he’d want it so much that I learn his intrument which I could practice all afternoon when I get back from school. I declined politely since I was not musically inclined like my siblings and could not the difference between the subtle changes in sound. I COULD, however FEEL the way the musician’s play their music.

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In their own words, a musician had to be horny and imagine as if they were making love with their instrument. I could go on with the details but I choose not too. *laughs* There were a lot of rowdy jokes and boisterous laughter, i’m not sure which ones the other neighbors complain from, the Jazz or the laughter. I would roar, if I could, like the drummer especially when they sing ..mmm.. Louis Armstrong with the Umph! I can only sigh in memory how it was. I remember my siblings who were more musically inclined to note the subtle, which to me was, errors in their playing. But, it didn’t matter much. It is a different experience all together to watch the musicians’ reactions as they play with the Umph!, how it felt like when the lead trumpet would “riff” and how the bass player would …mmm…. *laughs I especially loved the trombone solo with the Pink Panther song. I can feel the chills in my spine and would love to hear from them again.

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But, it is sad, that it was only when they were about to move that I was able to get a camera with the three big capital letters. *laughs* I was not able to get hold of pictures from which I could always look at from a photo album, but I had carried often the memory of those moments where I could literally feel the bump in my heart wish that I could play with them, and I did, even if it was only the bowling pin-like percussion. I loved how, I could not, remove, that smile, when, I, had, played, with them (Comma for Intended Drama). Think of Po the Fat Panda in Kung Fu Panda when he had that smile when he was in the middle of his idols. And we could hear him say in sloooow motion “I looove yooou Guuuys”. Well, I too had the same feeling even if it was that one moment. I felt like a child in their company. Like the sense of child-likeness or child-minded. I’m sorry, haha, i think music is just one of those cases, well several if you do know me, that I do. hahaha. Or maybe just genuine enthusiasm. 😀

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The percussion box – D300

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Banjo – D300

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The Percussion Box II – D300

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Oriphino Dining Table – D300

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Liquor Bar – D300

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Kanji Text – D300

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Piano and Drum Set – D300

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Before Moving – D300

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Side Note – D300

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Moving Out II – D300

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Silence in Oriphino – D300

By Sukoshiyama

Dated 19 April 2013

In Response: To Maggie Mae

First, I want to thank Maggie Mae, a poet who I am currently following. I hope that you could find this discussion interesting, she really does write provocative poetry that will sure ignite your lost sense of curiosity and wonderment.

http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com/

My Reply:

Wait, before anything else, i’ve got to say wow, nice layout! (it’s been three years since i’ve written poetry and what my lit prof kept telling me was that i should find a better word than nice for expression, but i still couldn’t find a word. hahaha)

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Just as a writer of filipino fiction and essays, Butch Dalisay once said it, a writer’s block is a state of fermentation that an idea is not yet ripe for it be used, perhaps we are still lacking in experience, wisdom, and enough vocabulary to cover every word. :D (yeah, i dig this blog, i can totally feel your experience brewing with well grounded black coffee).

yep, a poet is only as good as his last one. hahaha, my last one mind you was ‘Profundity’…was it? See? I don’t even remember what date i wrote it! hahaha :D

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Yeah, after I lessened my time training in Karate and Arnis, most of my free time went to that i guess. I found out that I missed having a good conversation about books, a pinch of philosophy, a batter of spiritual foundations (or any spiritual values you follow which keeps you sane in a cut throat work place :D :D :D ), anime, manga, anything that could be discussed about. I missed that part there. Although I’m sure that the physical aspect would have slower progress, i find that it is more balanced, think of it as having fullness, as opposed to focusing on a few things which I would just do, i think I like to keep my whimsy once a week after 5-6 days of schedules. if you know what i mean sister. :D :D:D

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hmm…it’s actually conversing with people, about books, or just pretty much writing about anything, aaaaand the whimsy. I am more of a rainbow than a laser. :D :D :D
And i want to thank the poems that i liked in your collection that inspired me, wait, that is an inappropriate word for the experience…the poems in your collection reignited, yes that’s THE word, REIGNITED. :D Thank you for being one of those people. :D :D :D

let’s all not get too much preoccupied with our work to forget what scientists and children both have, curiosity and the sense of wonderment.

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Wow, i can almost have this posted as a response blog and have it linked to your site. I do hope that it reignites more followers, eh?

-Sukoshiyama

P.S.
Seriously, thanks Maggie Mae.

Now that you’ve read it, well,  i might analyse her poem for the sake of doing it since I do SO MUCH ENJOY reading her work.  “The Only Hands I Want To Know”  Please check her poetry out.

– Sukoshiyama

Mmm…Finally, i found how i can categorize my poetry analyses for the fun of it, entitled “As the Mountain Moves…” Followed by the following words as needed:

  • Poetry: Title
  • In Response: To Name – a long response with interesting (at least to me 😀 ) ideas I might like to expound or elaborate on.
  • Poetry Analyses: Author’s Name, Apostrophe “S” & Title of Work.

– Sukoshiyama

On Flinching in Karate Class

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Three weeks ago, was the first time after a very long while that I practiced Karate with our Shito Ryu Master. And the whole training part was a little less than an hour. I was just on my way home from work which is more than 14 kilometers away from home.  The security guards at our village’s gate pointed up towards the basketball gym and said, your friends are up there training.  And I thought really, at this day? It’s not even sunday. You see, I have this neighbor who presently works as a chief engineer in Taisho, a Japanese construction company. He’s presently 60 years old and has been retired from teaching karate for almost 25 years. He had spent time teaching Karate in Tokyo, not sure which university though, but he said he was part of a club. And just like the first Karate Kid, it just so happened that he taught karate to me 2-3 hours a week every sunday. So, seeing them practice Karate off sundays was unlikely but then i thought, it is a holiday after all. I remembered how he invited us to train with him last December of 2012, I could not come though but my sparring partner (and also best friend) was free. He has been taking extra lessons ever since. He has more free time than me. Since he only focuses on his thesis defense for the month of march. I’m sure that if he gets back to work we’ll pretty much have the same busy schedule.

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So, the first thing I did notice when I went up was how my sparring partner improved in two things. One was the ferocity of his punches which were all aimed at the head, second was his damnable footwork. Damnable in a good and positive sense, think of it as a healthy and friendly competition. Wow, a month and a half (6Ssundays plus 4 holidays a total of 10 days advanced than me). I praised him when I entered, but only after gaping my mouth. That was when he started to grow conscious and his attacks faltered. It looks like I distracted his concentration there. I hurriedly went home to change to join them in their last hour to train spar. I jumped right into the fray, which is my good point, the bad point was I don’t know enough ways to attack. Our master’s attack defense seems so formidable. I could remember all my punches being quickly deflected. And he gave me a combination of punches, kicks and some techniques when i get cornered. This time though, he rested first and I was left with my sparring partner, Isagani, I found myself flinching, though i tried to stop it, whether in trying to deflect his punches or having my punches connect with him. Now the problem was that when I sense that my punch is about to connect, I flinch again. Our master yelled at me, don’t Flinch a lot of times, monitoring my reactions, punches and kicks thrown.

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Thinking about the play spar after a five minute break, I recalled Sun Tzu’s note of wisdom. War is a battle of deceit not just strength. When weak, retreat. When strong, attack. Well i could not remember all of those techniques that flowed out of my head, but in a sense, i knew i could not yet win over Gani’s attacks, so I have to find a way to disrupt his combination. I did so by calming myself, since I get rather jumpy when i’m excited, like a dog who haven’t been outside for a long while. I get that, i calmed down and my hyper focus began to dissipate allowing me to sense his attacks better. I was able to time my kick as a feint quickly followed by a punch or two. I kpet doing that since I had a longer reach, and i was able to get a second from him allowing me to stop his attacks altogether. I was like “Wow, I actually did it.” Then our master praised my quick thinking, he saw through my feints and thinking. I actually stifled a laugh, but found that i couldn’t. I really did TRY to swallow a laugh or two…but couldn’t. Now talk about humility. That didn’t work much with my master. He knows how I tried to do it and ended up flinching. At least in when i control my hyperfocus, dropping it for that higher sense thing. I could somehow observe him more, and watch and time my defense. Also, i could not yet attack as often, so instead I opted for defense and really observed how he does his. At the end of the blog, i’m really going to have to summarize all the lessons that I learned.

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(from the artofmanliness – face it, isn;t there a greater sucker for one fights women?)

Even though i sucked in play sparring class, I was able to learn more than from the past lessons. Think of it as combining all the other lessons I learned in my classes before, to the amount of revelations I got during the 45-minute play spar were higher. Maybe, for one, i learnt how to be calmer in attacking. In being calm, you get to sense your surroundings better, you not only focus on a way to enter his attacks, you try to observe how you can deflect his attacks (I was thinking that since he was way beyond my level and also because our master was in that flow). Also, I learnt how to execute my attacks using feints. Although master taught me that I still have a lot to iprove with my legs, it was a good attempt to try to control my opponent with my feints. Still the reason it didn’t work on him was because my kicks were slow, also my punches were weak since I flinch. Now the tendency to flinch in a way does affect my punches. Especially when I connect, I still flinch because I’m afraid of hurting myself as well as hurting others. When I do flinch whenever I punch I end up pulling my fists restraining them in order to control the thrown punch. I tried to control this instinct, I tried to tell my master that I was aware that I am flinching but could not control it yet.  I do try to swallow this instinct to flee, perhaps doing so would help me have a better grasp of the battle situation. Perhaps if I do, I would be able to control my punches more and time my attacks with accuracy better.

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Reflecting on what I learned during this experience, I could summarize it in hopes that I could always remember them better. It is always advisable, at least to me, that in fighting, one has to calm down to better sense your opponents reactions. It also helps you to better time your attacks. In my experience calming down helps you clear your thoughts. It can also help you with overcoming fear. The breathing in and out deep method of Sanchin helped out a lot in maintaining control and regulated my reactions. I tried it a lot of times, when excitement gets the better of me, I waste a lot of movements, unlike when I’m calm, I tend to get my punches to connect accurately as I wait for openings in my sparring partner’s attacks.

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This blog entry may be more therapeutical rather than written to inform or entertain. Think of it as a diary on your learnings. Something like that. – Yeah, I’d like to thank the other martial arts blogs that I’ve read for the past few months. What really helped was the noting out the lessons learned as to having to relearn them after a few months of a consistent training hiatus. Don’t worry; this ain’t part of reasons dot com. Really, sometimes you find yourself getting into recurring situations for several months or even years. I’ll explain it in a different post though, perhaps as a Flinstones Chewables to keep the thought running before I build it up as a full blog post on my The Morning Bath Post. Anyway, I’m done for today.

Sukoshiyama, The Morning Bath Post

– 16 APR 13

* The Morning Bath Post – General informal essays, Flintstones Chewables – lines of thought for future blog entries (one to two short paragraphs), Poetry – simply posted as poetry and poetry analyses, Ooh…Crafty! – Essays on cosplay

On getting back to poetry writing

it’s been two years since i last wrote a poem or even attempted to write one. Now comes the hard part, recognizing which experiences to magnify, retelling it in a way that seems natural, and working out the works. Pretty much, most of my writs are conversational essays. Well in a way, pieces that were talked about with friends and later elaborated in text. Sort of self-expression but in a way that answers your needs.

1993 Battle Chess and more Chess

While I was having a shower, I thought about a lot of other things. Mostly it was my past:

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When I was still a little boy then. I grew up with the battle chess. I still remember the huge pixelized characters fighting to the death. They had the lowly pawns in full battle gear; a shining grayish silver like those in the Cecon Vitamins advertisement. The pawns were equipped with a long spear that they use for attacking. The rook was just one big tower that looked like a pile of bricks and when captured or moves turns into the brick golem. One would imagine either a red brick or blue brick ‘thing’ from fantastic four that moves irritatingly slow. The knight carried a short sword with a four checkered shield for parrying. The bishop had a spear but with large blade on top. The queen had magic powers, while the king, an old and bearded guy who wears a gemmed fur coat and a scepter has a hidden dagger. Of course, as a young kid I didn’t find any difference between chess and checkers (dama and perdigama). All I thought chess was about was material superiority which later changed throughout the years. I could always turn back the time with the replay button which gave me a demigod status. Watching in delight the animations that take place, the king flattened by the rook, the king cornered by a bishop and sliced in a whirling tornado-like motion, and even the opposing queen seducing the king, Battle chess was surely a delight then. It was enough for a start.

When I had my nth birthday back when I was a kid, I was surprised to get a chess board. It was such a delight, at least now I don’t have to wait until physical education to play chess. I do think that it was strange to include Chess in P.E. classes; really, you don’t use physical exertion when playing chess except if you’re moving a 50 kilogram knight to capture a pawn. Hahaha. I remember back then in my hometown in _a_ _i__s. We still lived in a small subdivision; I used to bring my chess board around, walking through other villages as a young boy looking for an opponent to play with. Seriously, i walked around under the heat of the sun with only a few pesos in my pocket or sometimes even without anything with me except for my chess board; I would scour two or three subdivisions via the friendship route. I always kept three rules in mind when playing chess and that is first that I would never surrender no matter how bleak the circumstances are. Second, that I would always, always have a touch move rule, and lastly, a third rule which is I would never ever bet my money. One is that my parents forbid me to, while second, gambling can be addicting. Whenever I think about all these things, about how I would wander around villages with a chess board to play chess I would just laugh to myself. I don’t care what people think, and if they ask me why I laughed I just tell them I remembered a funny thought I just had.