Friday, November 8, 2013

What is "Real"? What is "Authentic"?

From ComTech - a nice article on reality and training.

What is "Real"? What is "Authentic"?

How can one classify human motion? How can one honestly measure human creativity? What are the limits of mans higher powers? These are the questions asked of those truth seekers who tread upon the thousand mile path of the modern (neoteric) warrior. Other men cannot answer these questions. The answers must be found within yourself. Other men can lead you to the "threshold of knowledge", but only you alone can cross that threshold and enter that domain as a fully awakened being.

I ask you, can one martial culture claim actual ownership of specific human motions over another culture whom they say "stole it" from them? Isn't it possible that other people have also discovered the same or similar truths in their quest for species survival over the millennia? And besides, how stupid and shallow (arrogant even) to lay claim to human motion!

Why can't a skill or an action simply be what it is? And what it really comes down to is just "human motion", plain and simple. Approaching the martial arts from that high ground perspective changes everything for the better! 

Here at Comtech we study human motion more so than cultural styles. Leaving off the myriad of foreign names, confusing terms and vague translations allows one to honestly concentrate upon their true task of understanding their own potentials and abilities. Not to say it is wrong to learn the cultural aspects of any art, it is a personal choice on how you wish to use your time and thought energy.

Comtech is about swift, sure skill and so we tend to concentrate upon the reality of human motion.  We can teach our method fast by using terms that people understand and remember. It's easy then for pupils to learn advanced fighting skills because of this simple change and others like it which we have implemented throughout the curriculum.

I understand that names for styles and names for techniques must exist. But those names, terms and references must be relevent to that specific culture that you are operating in (at the moment) or what ensues isn't "instructional" at all.  What comes then is confusion.

Getting past barriers and learning that the recognition of motion is far more important than some have considered it to be is the first step to defeating cross-cultural confusion. Taking that mental step is crucial to those on the road to actual mastery and truth. Limitations and barriers can be self imposed. We must know how to look inward and counsel ourselves through accurate introspection. They can also come from those about us. People often adopt the thinking of those around them. When they do this they adopt their friend's limitations as well and most do not even realize it. Suddenly their limitations are YOUR limitations too, even when they shouldn't be!

On another topic of what is "real" and what is "authentic" - I am telling it true here, SKILL and ability, those things are authentic. They cannot be denied. They must become your most sincere goal! Whatever rewards (belts, ranks, atta boys) that come around afterwards may lead you to then consider yourself a lucky man. Skill first and the rest of the rank and belt circus later. Adult martial arts operate differently than other methods you see. Step up, step up!

By having a piece of paper or an old photograph or a worn rank belt means you have a souvenir from another time, nothing more. A fun little something it is for sure this certification game. But most people have the idea turned about backwards. They think the goal is to get pieces of paper and that such recognition then transforms into some type of ability. Huh? Other people strive to get a photo with a famous person. Then some how they hope it will turn them into a "somebody" too. Again I must ask, Huh? Collecting belts (rank) is also an obnoxious and pointless habit. Even old Funakoshi said that you should be humble and NOT display your rank or powers. But some people think that having a "belt rank" is the ultimate martial pursuit (duh I'm gonna git me a black belt). Be proud but be humble as well.

Back in the eighties I was speaking with the Great Kenpo Master Ed Parker. He was telling me about the "touch of authority". He pointed out that he had it (and he did). When he touched you it was immediately evident who was the boss. He did not hurt you and he did not abuse, you just knew by the touch. He encouraged us to develop this "touch" ourselves. It took me another 15 years before it came about. But I followed his orders.

In the system of Mustika Kwitang one of my past teachers Guro Besar Ingram taught us to "let our guns do our talking" for us. What he meant was to let skill speak for itself. He avoided the rank certificate pitfalls and much of the related headaches by getting everyone to simply focus on the real goal of building skill and knowledge. This form of "real" is closer to what is true than the other forms of "real" that are being pushed on to the unsuspecting public.

Eventually it comes down to each individual to either make or break their training goals. Teachers can only do so much. The rest is up YOU! Nothing makes the point about being real and authentic like actually being able to back up your words with implicit action. Leave no doubt in anyone's mind that once you decide to move, that in some cases there really is "no turning back". Fighting for sport, fighting for the glory, fighting for your life, there is nothing about fighting that is "nice", understand this truth at the core of your being. So train hard my friend, decide on your path, your goals and then for the next thirty years or so  just do it. No matter what happens in your life don't stop. A slow, steady, day by day march toward your own, personal self actualization. It's in your hands now.

Seek Truth / Stay Sharp! / Uncle JAK (James Keating) 11 / 2013


I trained with Mr. Keating last summer for two days. Helped bring me to a better understanding of my arts and myself. And with no certificate or photo :-)
just a simple (?) path to follow and train.