Over the last couple of days I've taken time to reflect on the past week spent training in Belgium. It was a great opportunity for me to meet new people, train with people I've never trained with before and make new friends. In all honesty, it felt just like I was at home hiking and training with my students. Which in my perspective means the experience was a great success.
First I owe a big thank you to David Moreels and his family, especially his wife for her amazing home cooked foods and support. It is no easy task organizing an event like this. It takes a great deal of dedication, commitment and support.
David and his son Jamie are excellence proof that our Inner Triangle distance training methods work. This was the first time we've met in person and trained together and everyone who attended could see how well they performed in Kali. David Moreels is Kali Center's official Belgium Chapter leader and is now listed for training in Belgium under the "school" menu tab.
Kali Center is not a martial art alone. It is a martial art to the regular people who are not knowledgable of what the true nature of our study is. The study of Kali Center is The True Skill of the Blade at its Fullest potential and extraordinary standards.
To fully grasp the potential of Kali and the blade you must take a journey through the path of the blade's history. How far does this knowledge really go? Was it founded in the Philippines? Did the Spaniards bring this technology or is it even older than this?
Yes, there are documents of the Spaniards mentioning the islander natives fighting fiercely with fire-hardened sticks but, we're not talking about that here, I am talking about the blade education, the sword/bolo.
Even at the Battle of Mactan when Lapu-Lapu's warriors felled Magellan we must admit that for 49-60 Spaniards to engage offensively with no battle strategy in play with a siege that lasted for hours against hundreds, how few moved from beach to village, there must have been a tremendous amount of skill by the Spanish. Even though victory was the Chieftain's that day, upon the return of the Spanish with Juan Sebastián Elcano the Spanish proved victorious for 333 years over the Natives. The Spanish also fought many encounters with the invading Chinese from the North, the Japanese, the Moro Moros, etc. When we travel back in history this is no coincidence.
During the Greek rule over Iberia, the Turdetani tribes people of that land were educated by the Greeks in math, science and technologies. The Iberian people of the Turdetani and Bastetani tribes were referred as the most skilled and fierce fighters in all of Western Europe by the Greeks and the Romans, even by Julius Caesar himself. The Iberians eventually became what is known today as Spanish.
Iberia was a land of war for hundreds upon hundreds of years during the Roman Empire and fight for rule. The history of these people didn't just fight tribal wars, they fought against militaries. It is likely that over the hundreds of years after the Roman wars leading up to the Spanish global conquest that these fighting tactics and skills where not only preserved but perfected even further.
During the 333 years of Spanish occupation of the Philippines we know of high class Filipinos who trained in the strategy, tactics and techniques of Spanish warfare. Many even sailed to New Spain (Mexico) who trained to fight with the Spanish with some returning to the Philippines afterwards. Near the end of the Spanish Colonial Period there were high class Filipino men who traveled to Europe learning fencing arts by the Italians, Germans, French, Polish, Belgians, Bulgarians and Spanish and returning home.
When we see strategy, tactics and techniques today in Kali that reflect the clear influence of the Spanish and other European fencing arts in well known styles and systems such as Kalis Ilustrisimo and Pekiti Tirsia Kali, (Two of the most effective blade fighting Filipino Systems that influenced many of today's formed FMA) even down to the geometry and mathematics that are used, one cannot help but see the direct pattern in lineage of education.
This isn't to take anything away from Kali. In fact quite the contrary. If it wasn't for the Filipinos and living in a strong blade culture of today, then perhaps this knowledge would have been lost forever due to the invention of firearms and modern warfare.
Just as the Iberians preserved much of the fighting science of the Greeks, the Filipino's I believe have done so with the Iberians/Spanish.
We know that the Iberian Falcata (Short Sword pictured above in the Top Right) had influence over the short swords of both the Greeks and the Romans and have a remarkable resemblance to the blades being used today by the Philippine Force Recon Marines, the Talibung (Pinute) and Ginunting.
Coming back to Kali Center...
The basic training operations of Kali Center isn't necessarily to preserve this knowledge as a Filipino Martial Art but as a global human martial science of blade fighting, the true identification of Close-Quarters Combat.
We hold onto the term Kali simply because as the Iberians preserved the Greeks knowledge, and the Filipinos preserved the Iberian/Spanish knowledge, we believe we are now preserving the knowledge and with the term Kali (to Dig) we are continuing to dig deeper into this science of system and intelligence. Just as it is possible the Spanish had done with the Greek roots.
Since it was Kali that first brought me to this research, I feel the term Kali is only fitting to pay my respects to the roots of my path but, in all honesty, the correct term that seems to be most fitting is, Kali Destreza Alítheia, loosely translating to... "To Dig Deeper into the Skill of Truth."
Ignorance is bliss. -Thomas Gray
Take a look at this comment...
It doesn't hurt my feelings however, there is a lesson to be learned here.
Before I decided to write this post, I did some research and checked out this man's channel and watched many of his videos. Why? Maybe there's something I can learn? Perhaps he's doing something much, much better than I?
Training in Kali, especially with Kali Center is a challenging and demanding experience. The dynamic athletic performance, mental expansion and emotional frustrations are battles all students must overcome time and time again as they continue to advance in skill. The more advanced one becomes the simpler Kali become but, doesn't get easier.
There are basically two ways to go about when training in Kali. This is both the teachers and the students decisions. There is the pure Kali way and like all martial arts, there is the comfort way, or watered down way. At first, it's up to the teacher to choose which he or she will represent and share with their students. Unfortunately for the students, they don't always know the difference. This trickle effect pasted on for generations of teachers make it so that even many of today's teacher don't know the difference between pure and comfort.
I'm not interested in fame, popularity or making it into some book. I'm interested only in the journey of my chosen martial art and pushing my own physical and mental performance while diving into the furthest depths of Kali. One must walk his own path and not become confused by another's path as being his own. Goals work in the same manner. Many men set goals they've picked up from another later resulting in confusing, feeling lost and overall quitting.
The only way to prevent falling from your own path is to reflect on your purpose. What are you truly training for? Why is that purpose important? What makes the purpose important? How are you going to commit yourself to the self discipline necessary to reach the accomplishments you seek to obtain? Remain an open mind for evolution to take it's natural course during the process over years and decades.
It's the age old argument. Which martial art is the most superior? Can it be Kali? The answer is "ABSOLUTELY YES" but, here's why and it may not be why you think!
Is there a such thing as the most superior martial art above all other styles and systems? It's really a yes and no answer. No because there are too many factors that could come into play in a life threatening and self defense situation. On the other side the answer is YES when we dig out of the limited fighting applications of martial arts and look deeper into the arts as a whole.
As a martial arts practitioner since the age of 6 I think it's safe to say I've lived (and still do) a full Martial Arts Lifestyle. I've been bullied growing up, used my various training in self defense and can say with 100% certainty that martial arts gave me the opportunity of an incredible life.
Though I have many aspirations for my time in this life the one thing that has remained the most constant in my life is martial arts. To this day I train for hours not only to strengthen and balance my body but, to increase focus in my mind and live a disciplined life. I'm not perfect by any means but, my training keeps me honest about who I am, where I am and how much further I have left to go. My training allows me to accept all things in my life positive and negative.
You hear all the time about how martial arts has all these "other" life benefits like confidence, fitness, self discipline, self respect, focus, work ethic, etc. But, where are these benefits? How do we go beyond the fight in martial arts?