Silak Dianne Atienza demonstrating Atienza Bladed Women Concepts

In Sayoc Kali & Atienza Kali we often talk about a Feeder’s “intent”.  Usually this means targeting a specific point and acting with purpose.  One of my instructors, Guro Ramon Rubia was detailing to me last week about the progression of traditional eskrima training which entailed “educating the eyes”, manipulating the body and recognizing openings.  Earlier that same day at the Inosanto Academy in Marina del Rey, Guro Willie Laureano spoke on how power exists within proper technique.  All of these ideas converge on the idea of true intent, learning to see and then acting genuinely.  Pamana Tuhon Sayoc is famous for telling his students to “trust in your training.”  The moment we can do that, trust in our training and trust in our instructors while also training honestly and intentionally we truly begin to grow.

All too often martial artists, particularly Filipino Martial Arts practitioners get caught up in the cycle of drills.  “If you don’t own the drill, the drill controls you”, Guro Ramon added yesterday.  We see it all the time, and even while working specific techniques out of Punyo Sumbrada with Guro Willie, several students had a hard time breaking out of the pre-arranged choreograph that they had done for years.  Taking this idea even further, how often do we go through the routine of going to class or training with our partners and then slip back into a state of low awareness in every other aspect of our lives?  It kind of reminds me of the holy and pious churchgoers that suddenly become rude and arrogant as soon as they leave mass and continue that way for the rest of the week.  How often do we train for situational awareness when we incorporate mass attack strategies, yet get caught off guard when we’re checking Facebook on our phones?

This past week one of our IEFMA brothers had the misfortune of having things stolen.  While the criminal is ultimately responsible for the theft, it does provide us with an opportunity to discuss the dangers of the routine.  The lessons we learn in our training, whether it involves constantly changing workouts so our muscles continually adapt, or being mindful and purposeful in our training so that we don’t get locked into infinitely cycling technique sets, can and should be applied throughout all aspects of our lives.  Pamana Tuhon Sayoc, responsible for creating and organizing the most comprehensive edged weapons system curriculum in the world has also said that “the knife is just a tool”; that what we do and train in is “to learn about life.”  I once came to Guro Travis during a difficult time in my life.  Without telling me what to do, he simply instructed me to find my template, and identify my targets.  “After that” he added, “everything else is just an obstruction.”

Find your template.  Identify what you want, who you are or who you want to be.  Dig deep and figure out your goals then pursue them with purpose, honesty and intent.  Power exists in the technique.  We just have to trust in our training.

Thank you to all of my instructors.

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