Book Review: Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav

Will create a detailed blog reply elaborating on the poems I shared in one the comments below this one.

The Book Hooligan

I’m not really an avid reader of poetry and my expertise in the genre is minimal at best. However, I do appreciate well-written poems that I read every now and then. I remember that the first poem that I really liked, that had a profound effect on me, was Allen Ginsberg’s Howl which I read during an American Contemporary Literature class.  Since then, for brief spurts of time, I read poetry whenever the inspiration to do so strikes. In this regard, I think I now have a handle on appreciating poetry.

Enter Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventures. Admittedly, I was intrigued by its hype and, therefore, decided to read it since it was short and also because I was curious as to why a lot of people were raving about it. Surely, a lot of people can’t be wrong all at the same time and that Leav’s poetry would merit…

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On the little prince: incomplete

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This has been a wonderful journey; somewhere someone too will take flight. They only have to wait for that chance to leap and take hold of the rope that pulls them towards the next star. Sometimes, that rope entangles them, leaving no trace, of why, they’ve gone. Sometimes they willfully pull themselves away, hurriedly wanting to see different places, know about other people, what they do, why they do it, perhaps for their own selfish reasons, or perhaps because it ties them to their purpose. Whatever purpose that may be we only have to see it for what it truly is.

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Abandon ship: Leaving arnis – On priorities, spiritual foundations, and family

Abandon ship: Leaving Arnis

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On changing priorities, building on spiritual foundations, a question on what i build my life on, and the importance of family.

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Quitting arnis…but it doesn’t mean i’ll stop watching events or research on its history in my free time 😀 – it’s a poignant memory, like that of a childhood home constantly deluged by the flood of circumstances. However hard you try to come back to it, the currents pull you away. It’s like that for me for the past six years, a constant tug of war between time, money and accessibility/distance. They say, a friend’s home isn’t ever far away…the question is, for how long? Now that I’m 25, priorities change and people must change or they’ll be extinct like the dinosaurs, I…I’ll come back soon, I hope. – Leaving arnis is like leaving a family. It’s not easy. Somewhere in Shakespeare, I read “Now i must look at the eye of the tempest.” Well, come what may.

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Now that i’m 25 i’m living on burrowed time, i have five years to strike a stable career or management position. So, yes, I’m not asking for a solution, I know what i said, napagisipan ko ito (I have already thought of it well enough – the pros and cons), it’s not very easy to make this decision. this time just lend me an ear, but that’s it, i know what i’m doing, so trust me on this. brothers. (To my brothers in arms Virgil Aldrin OrtegaPatrick GamayoPatrick Lubaton thank you for understanding. Kita pa rin sa mga events)

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it is also a public declaration that i will stop. I know what i am talking about.it’s a factor that TIME MANAGEMENT ALONE CANNOT ANSWER. There’s the distance of 14 kilometers from my home to the National park where I train. Since it’s Sunday, I also have to go to church, that is 6 kilometers from home, add that with 14 kilometers, that’s 20 KM. And a family dinner to go afterwards. Think about what i’ve been doing for three years. There really is a lot going on.

Maybe, this is just something I want to prove a point to those of my friends, out of their good will of course, to help. Well, it isn’t just time management. especially since you also want to take that one day off from your work week to train, have time for your family, and nurture your spiritual path. Yeah, maybe some people frown on this last part. Well, this was never an easy decision to begin with. It was never easy not to have anything to rely on when you’ve failed at work or in a sense been demotivated.

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i bet no one hired the same architect who designed it – build on stronger foundations

Somewhat, even if martial arts had been my identity, i reaserch about it, i watch videos on it on top of an entry level career path i’m on, somehow even if there is progress, it doesn’t make much sense. Somehow, it all crumbles down to rubble. Says in Ecclesiastes in the bible by Solomon, that everything is meaningless from someone who had just had the rest of the world’s riches, had wisdom and just some 700 wives and 300 concubines. Somewhere along those verses, he said that what is truly important is to have faith in God, paraphrased, good relatiosn with people? Is that it. Well, since I just 25 this year, a lot has changed. I suddenly ask questions that concern family life that I want to build upon. Waht would my son think if i reacted towards a problem? What would my wife think if I was still addicted in some things…that in a sense might hamper or affect My children, or would it cause years of grief with my wife? What would I do if my son would ask or tell me that he wanted to be a doctor or some other high tuitioned college program? Would I be able to give him strength? encouragement? hope? drive to success? or would i instead wallow in regret? failed opportunities? what i could have beens?

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Somehow, now, i truly felt, not understood, felt Robert Frost’s poem on “diverging paths”. Truth is, once I have a family, it’s my family that I rely on and they in me. What would float my boat? Well, some choose what works for them, i choose mine. Somehow, to make a sturdy boat, i need quality nails, to keep the wood from falling apart. Now, i’m just raft, soon I’ll be carrying weight more than my own. So i’ll need a bigger ship for a bigger current and stronger waves. I can’t just move along the waves like I usually do, I have to have a rudder and a sail. I have to have somewhere to go to, if not how would my family go anywhere? Well, i have to start with knowing my faith, facing my doubts and other people’s. I know many people have given up with the idea of God in their lives, but I just can’t remove the concept of having a God who would serve you, who would wash your feet, who would carry you since you cannot carry yourself.

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under the context of having disciples talk about who was the greatest, jesus displayed how leaders should be, serving not ordering. – washing feet was the dirtiest jobs in thoses times that even the jewish slaves would not do, only those who considered gentiles were to do it. – it was a custom for the host to have his guests’ feet washed as a sign of hospitality.

I want to have what my mother had during that short quake in Pizza hut, when i noticed how the water moved in the glass and how i felt dizzy, when she stood up, held our hands and prayed in thankfulness and protection. There were many instances that my family members changed. How I could feel that inner joy. I wanted to have that. When things don’t seem to go your way, how will you get up weaker but stronger.

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How would I give my family hope when there is none? purpose when everything feels so meaningless? i never got those questions when i turned 24 last year, only just this year, January 2013 weird concerns bugged me. I need to dig deeper, why do I follow my faith? How can I grow in my faith in Christ?

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You train in Arnis, but since time and work and distance pulls you away from it, what happens to whatever it is that you’ve been investing on? You learn but somehow you also forget. You can’t seem to get enough of just one or two trainings a month. And, somehow, you feel that the time you spent in training seems to push you away from your family. I seem to have lost several months of bonding time. I’m not sure how some people treat family here. Maybe some of them would only shrug and say, they’ll always be there or they’ll always be here even if you grow old. Well, that’s the thing, i can’t just treat them like wallpaper. Family time is important to my family. We have dinner every saturday night, together since both my parents are busy throughout the week, my siblings are busy with school, organizations, i with work and martial arts. I have to have a good relationship with my dad, with my mom, with my sister or brother. Now that we’re in our 20’s I had once thought that we already were close enough, but we weren’t. Many instances and problems came and we had to hold on to each other, to reach out for each other, to keep our hopes up for a falling sibling, how do we reach out with someone, how do we build time to understand, to show love, to show patience and sacrifice? To encourage. I don’t get that outside, we rarely talk about it with my friends. Although they know what i’m facing, at the end of the day, it’s still my parents who would pay for my hospital bills or rent or extra money when i go broke. When I get my own family, I don;t think I would have as much time with my parents as I had before. Although, He, my father, does want to have one family dinner every week. The chinese respect their parents, that’s a good trait, my father learned from henry sy, owner of the biggest chain malls in the Philippines, the richest taipan in our native shores, how they each spend family time once a week, his sons and daughter with their family. Family is important, family is tight. It should be. It’s where we stay when we don;t know where to go. at least to me. Honor your father and mother.

People stand in what they believe in, it maybe spirituality or their own selves. Their successes or connections, I have to stand with what i want to believe in. I have to be grounded at it.  I’m not saying i’m perfect, i’m imperfect, we all are. And that’s why I need a God, a personal God.

Ending my post, this is setting my priorities straight. That there will always be bigger and more important things than arnis, or even karate, which I now focus my training efforts on. This is an important part of my identity, it is where most of my friends are, it’s either from people who do martial arts or who’s into literature or into the spiritual path I now am in. For anyone to rely on me, i first have to stand up for something, or else I’ll fall for anything.

I put down my sword, and rise up with the sword of the spirit for today I’ll battle not with flesh and blood but against the powers and authorities of these broken world.

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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

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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. 😛 😀

On a postcard for S.

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last night
you breathed on me.

the grass
reminded me
of the faint color of the sun
on your skin.

i remember,
how we treaded lightly
on folded grass;
a reminder
of how we dutifully stayed behind
for each other.

“like friends”
we would say together

how our own weight
carried
our sentences
to each other
almost touching.

– 8JUN11