The dude who rides the low line and makes sure those amazing shots are captured for posterity…
I just recently spent another couple of weeks in the Philippines and was re-inspired. I’m sure that most of my friends and family had their excitement for me based on some imaginings of days in the sun while the rest of the east coast remained buried in springtime snow. Truth be told, there was a minimal amount of beach lounging and, instead, it was a brain-sizzling crash course on structure and repetition and diligence. It was my PTK language lab. I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to reflect on the virtues of exploring structure and examination in the context of creative arts.
“Arts.” The fact is, there must be something scientific in the application of any martial art. It requires a distinctive understanding of body mechanics, anatomy, psychology and simultaneously there is the creative ingenuity to realize all of these concepts in a 3 dimensional and changing laboratory. The ground is uneven, stamina is wavering, it is early in the morning or late in the evening, there is an opponent which is exploring a completely different array of questions, etc. etc. It’s been of interest to me to look at some of the foundational elements of the styles I’ve been practicing and to examine them using a more scientific methodology.
Particularly in the context of kali, which is predominately weapons based, there is not a lot of space for a reliance on techniques that have only been through the anecdotal fire. Sure, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel but we’d better make sure the wheel is well suited to the terrain we’re driving on. So we need to “road test.” That means taking each technique into a sparring scenario and hashing through its application. It also means developing the vocabulary and grammar to see the opportunity for the technique’s execution by developing, through practice, the capacity to discharge the element with proper form, angle, energy and intent.
Anyway, I’ll be following up on this as the weeks and months go by and hopefully I’ll be able to provide some worthwhile questions to add into the pool.
Not in service, Not in Service, Not in service
25 min, 35
Why should I expect the bus to show?
The streets haven’t even been cleared
The snow has gone black and slush
5 doormen, 5 custodians
An ex-con, a new mom
Students, grandmothers, teachers
We all, a slow trudge to Fordham
A slow trudge to Grand Concourse
The M79, the route is clear
An activity for… well, whomever.
I do this initiative in some of my classes called “Snowpocalypse.” It starts with everyone in the class taking scraps of paper and writing things they do for themselves and things they do for others, one item on each piece of paper. The collection of things they do for themselves focused particularly on things that they enjoy, whether at home, in school or out in the world, and the things they do for others should be focused on things they do by choice, not because they are mandated. Perhaps these are things they do because they bring them personal joy or because they are needs that they see should be met and they recognize their distinct capacity to do so. Next we ball all of these scraps up into “snowballs” and have a 4-5min snowball fight. Afterwards we all go about the task of picking them up (yes, this activity cleans itself up) and sticking them in their appropriate places on a Vinn diagram divided into:
- Things I do for myself
- Things I do for others
- Things I do for my community (in the intermediary position)
We take time to look at what we’ve constructed and give space for anyone to move the position of an action to some new category. We find that a thing which so often one person thought of as completely selfish endeavor, from the perspective of another, was a action of tremendous generosity. We process this by delving into a discussion around how we can make simple, every day things into opportunities for transformation and building. All this is to explain a process wherein we guide students to understand their capacity to affect change and growth in their communities. We come to recognize that service and personal fulfillment can be interwoven when each is approached with the proper perspective. We start realizing that “labors of love” don’t have to seem so laborious. I’m always curious about ways in which facilitators, instructors, educators guide their students on this empowering journey of self-realization and I hope to continue sharing inspiring activities as I encounter them. And I hope to keep encountering them… so feel free to send some my way.
The shirt is pressed
The jacket is pressed
The pants are pressed
Light starch in the briefs
Light starch in the socks
The day is pressed
Love making is pressed
Sleep is pressed
Light starch in the sheets
Pressed and starched
Inwood “market” on 207th