Leadership in a performative way.

A Good Leader is A Good Fol­lower…” These are the words that I value most dur­ing my train­ing in the Police Acad­emy. And in my train­ing with the Tabim­ina Sys­tem I’ve come to encounter this prin­ci­ple in a per­for­ma­tive way.

In the Tabim­ina Sys­tem, one must undergo the Heal­ing Stage. It is a must for all prac­ti­tion­ers it is where we begin to open new dis­cov­er­ies of our selves under stress. As what Sir Bob would say “Who are you under Stress?”. Next is the Sharp­en­ing stage, it is the refine­ment of skills that are being tested beyond our com­fort zone and the ques­tion Sir Bob would ask you is  “Are you com­pose under stress?”. Then as the prac­ti­tioner improves he/she will begin to train to feed. Con­tinue read­ing

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The Race that does not Exist

“Imi­tate me as I Imi­tate Anciong.” These are the words that Sir Bob said to me in one of the train­ings I attended. I started train­ing Tabim­ina Bal­intawak since sum­mer of 2006, from then on things became dif­fer­ent. From the out­look in life, aware­ness of the sur­round­ing, enhanced senses, sharp­ened reflexes, and many more. It is a con­tin­u­ous and end­less learning.…There is always some­thing new… Con­tinue read­ing

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So What Makes a Martial Art Work? The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Part 2 of 2)

“An error does not become truth by rea­son of mul­ti­plied prop­a­ga­tion, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.”
Mohan­das K. Gandhi
Polit­i­cal activist and spir­i­tual leader

In part one of this essay, we had estab­lished that each encounter is sit­u­a­tional and that one of the biggest chal­lenges to proper exe­cu­tion of any move in the mar­tial arts is to pull it off accu­rately in real time. Attrib­utes like tim­ing, speed, bal­ance, range, strength, body move­ment and angles of attack are uni­ver­sal and are used to achieve dif­fer­ent effects in dif­fer­ent arts. The key is tak­ing these attrib­utes and har­ness­ing them via an effec­tive sys­tem to train a stu­dent to develop pro­duc­tive and pos­i­tive skills. The aim of every sys­tem should be to enable stu­dents to develop appro­pri­ate responses and learn to exe­cute moves in real time. Eas­ier said than done. Con­tinue read­ing

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So What Makes a Martial Art Work? Taking a Long Hard Look into the Nature of Martial Arts (Part 1 of 2)

“All truths are easy to under­stand once they are dis­cov­ered; the point is to dis­cover them.”
Galileo Galilei
Ital­ian astronomer, physi­cist, math­e­mati­cian and philoso­pher

There is a great deal of debate within the mar­tial arts com­mu­nity over which sys­tem or sys­tems are “most effec­tive”, “the dead­liest” or “the best” and also which fighter is the “most effec­tive”, “the dead­liest” or “the best”. Per­haps there is no clear cut answer because it seems to be a chicken-and-egg sit­u­a­tion. A good fighter can be good because of his nat­ural tal­ent and take a sys­tem and make it work. Alter­na­tively, a good sys­tem can bring out the best in an indi­vid­ual and thus make him a good fighter. Of course, these are not the only sce­nar­ios — it could be a com­bi­na­tion of other fac­tors and not every art is based in the same con­text so it is not fair to say “Fighter A from Sys­tem X is def­i­nitely bet­ter than Fighter B from Sys­tem Y.” Ulti­mately, this blog does not seek to argue whether the fighter or the sys­tem is more impor­tant (partly because I have no clue how to answer it). Instead, this blog will focus on one part of the equa­tion — the sys­tem and how it can make a stu­dent a bet­ter mar­tial artist. Con­tinue read­ing

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The Pitfall of Anticipation

In Bal­intawak, a stu­dent is placed in harm’s way from day 1.  Since Bal­intawak is defense ori­ented mar­tial arts, the stu­dent is taught how to defend and counter appro­pri­ately and effi­ciently.  The stu­dent is then exposed to the 12 basic strikes and learns 12 basic defense and counter.  The 12 basic strikes will then be given in ran­dom to develop the student’s reac­tion and eschew­ing antic­i­pa­tion.  The stu­dents are then sub­jected to sce­nar­ios of attacks, equiv­a­lent to a sim­u­la­tion of a real fight and are taught to defend and counter appro­pri­ately, thus mak­ing a counter to counter play.  We call this motor-skills instal­la­tion in Tabim­ina Bal­intawak.  The instal­la­tion takes place in our ner­vous sys­tem, not nec­es­sar­ily in our brain. To elab­o­rate fur­ther, imag­ine your­self unknow­ingly touch­ing some­thing that is hot like a pot, or an oven, or your car being in the sun in the mid­dle of the day.  The reac­tion time pulling your skin away from some­thing that’s hot is so fast; your brain is late in ana­lyz­ing that it is in fact hot.  That’s because a human being per­ceives the stim­uli based upon our senses, before rea­son­ing.  In this instance, our sen­sory recep­tors per­ceived pain, before our brain can ana­lyze what type or rea­son of pain it is; i.e. hot.  But if you antic­i­pate touch­ing an object, but you don’t even know if it’s really hot, and yet you thought that it is hot, your reac­tion time is slower because it causes hes­i­ta­tion, and mainly because the brain was involved.  You assumed some­thing that is not. Con­tinue read­ing

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Simplicity is the key to Perfection

In the pur­suit of life there are many dis­trac­tions that pulls every inch of your atten­tion and focus. There are fancy thing, crav­ing things, things that dri­ves your desire beyond mea­sure, and there are sim­ple things.

In my train­ing with Sir Bob, i was caught with the prin­ci­ple of SIMPLICITY OF MOVEMENTS. These are direct and pre­cise move­ments that has less effort, less energy, less space and less time but more focused, short and prac­ti­cal.  No more fancy and dec­o­ra­tive move­ments. There is LIFECon­tinue read­ing

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The Trek of a Student

There are not many endeav­ours in life that require one to open their mind in a pro­found way and intro­spec­tively blurt out, “Hey!  There is more to IT than I thought!”  Whether “it” is a life-changing acci­dent, seri­ous mar­tial arts train­ing, or sim­ply a hobby we bide our time with, for those for­tu­nate enough to have expe­ri­enced Tabim­ina Bal­intawak first-hand, these eureka moments are an every day occurence!  It is a jour­ney of humil­ity, of self-discovery, of the devel­op­ment of seri­ous mar­tial skill, unre­lent­less learning/growth and eye-opening epiphanies…Which all starts on day 1, and in my expe­ri­ence, never stops! Con­tinue read­ing

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The Game of Survival

I will never for­get Octo­ber 2009. Most peo­ple say you find things when you are not look­ing for them and this is what hap­pened when I met Sir Bob Tabim­ina and his won­der­ful fam­ily. Hav­ing trained in var­i­ous styles of mar­tial arts as a young boy I was imme­di­ately inter­ested in what Sir Bob was explain­ing to me. Though there was one thing that he said that intrigued me even more, “ You must expe­ri­ence it!” So, I did and things have never been the same for me. Con­tinue read­ing

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Music & Mastery in Tabimina Balintawak

When approach­ing any field of study or inter­est, the usage of analo­gies and metaphors can be a pow­er­ful method to speed up learn­ing and develop new insights. By sim­ply being able to say “X is like Y”, when X an Y come from two fields that at first glance appear to be uncon­nected, your mind stretches, bends, in try­ing to under­stand why, thus forc­ing you to think of both fields in a new way.

The Mar­tial Arts are prone to metaphors. We all remem­ber Bruce Lee’s “Be like water…” quote, but Bruce Lee was part of a long tra­di­tion. Tech­nique names such as “the mon­key grabs the fruit”, “Grab­bing the swal­lows tail”, or even the use of “The 5 Ele­ments” to describe mind­sets and exe­cu­tions of drills – these are all exam­ples of long stand­ing tra­di­tions in Chi­nese and Japan­ese mar­tial arts. Con­tinue read­ing

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