Thread: The Climb
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:19 AM   #3
Tim Lee
Location: Dallas Texas
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 11
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Re: The Climb

As some of you know, I am a lover of Aikido and a teacher of Pencak Silat and a very old friend of this columnist. As I read this months column. I am reminded of a couple of my teachers who reaching an advanced age, made this explanation of their training. "Ok you see I do this thing or I do that thing, I use to be able to do this thing or that thing better or differently, but now I practice Old Man Silat".paraphrased all but the "old man Silat". As they told us this I saw a man moving in incredible efficiency smiling and just effortlessly moving. As we get older there is a need for greater efficiency, as Aikidoka this is not new ground this is every training session. The careful application and smoothing of the icing. In my respective art our first sash level a white sash has a name of course. After about 10 years of focused training you may have the opportunity to test for our westernized "Black Sash"... our old Sultanate dialect for the white sash is Taraf Mula "one who has begun to train" at the level below black sash we reach a level we call Sekitar the red sash. This is an ancient word in our dialect and it mostly means one who has become connected to his environment. Ok there is alot in that... you understand your environment, you appreciate your environment, you are omniscient...you are one with your partner and surroundings ( careful I could be slipping out into Aikido).. I questioned my Grand Master... what is the meaning of this and rattled off my understanding of the translation. He smiled in the way of a Maha Guru and said "what's your next level? I said Taraf Mula Batic..."which is?... Ok one who has begun to train Black Sash. So after these riddles in the sand it came to me that as we age in our system whether the system is a physical art or the system we call our body, we learn that we have now begun to train. It is the same thing as the expression in Aikido that we should always train with the open mind clean slate of a white belt. As we age we are bound by routine..we have done this...this way and it works so we perfect it into a rut and fail to grow. I started really understanding when the old Silat master said... Practice Old Man Silat, that he was teaching the lesson of efficiency, blending and coordination, doing nothing nothing left undone, etc.( whoa speaking Japanese and Chinese here what is my teacher to say) Somedays, I am sure you all have headed to the dojo and just dont feel like being there. You are distracted by work, family, traffic whatever the hassle we have a million excuses pick one..You tell yourself maybe I should just go home or whatever. I encourage you to show up and train that day, this is where the beginning of enlightenment in your art starts. This is a revelation after many years training that I have learned, I do best in class when I am not feeling well. At this age I am having more of those days. If we are to protect ourselves and our loved ones, at some point in an encounter on the street it wont be on your Best Day. Chances are the purveyor of violence will have sensed that by our body language or lack of intuitiveness or distraction. So what I see Sensei Ross hitting on is practice "Old Man Silat", ok "Old Man Aikido" reach for a level of enlightenment that smooths what you have learned make it efficient at any age the greatest lesson is Train ON, something he has told me at many Breakfalls in my life, Train ON. This has been the message of many great martial artist who have reached a level of enlightenment. Sensei as I watch you I dont see a man of 50, I see a guy who has smoothed the icing with the wisdom of your years. The walks in the wood, the visits to the creek have opened your senses to things the rest of us hope to find. Happy 30th Year in Training. I look forward to the next 30. Train On ..Oh and I'm about 2 weeks older than you OK......
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