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.