Monday, September 14, 2009

Silat Explanation

Now and then, somebody stirs up the silat-war mud down on the bottom at the ole swimming hole and I feel the need to speak to the cloudy water that results. I should know better by now.

Recently, I've done a few posts (this one, especially, apparently) that have been taken the wrong way and thereby pissed people off. I've been asked -- well, actually not "asked," but told -- I better offer an apology. I thought about it; and here, my explanation:

When I spoke of certain students of a certain guru who were somewhat disparaging about my teacher's abilities, I perhaps didn't make it clear that they weren't saying anything negative about him personally. What those old discussions went to concerned the training, and how much of our art my teacher had access to. (I normally don't name names, to protect both the innocent -- and the guilty -- but I'm gonna make an exception here in a minute; let me finish my set-up first.)

The whole question of lineage and who learned what from whom, when and how, is complicated, and there's no reason to go into it in depth -- it's a snorer for anybody not up on what we do, and I'll spare you. The gist of it is that some of the senior students of another teacher, whose name I'm not going to mention, and that teacher himself, allowed as how they knew way more than we did.

I disagreed, and we had a bone of contention. We argued about it, didn't get it resolved, then eventually let it alone and went about our respective businesses. And that was that.

Time passed. Months ... years ...

Some of these folks subsequently emailed or spoke to me, to allow as how they no longer believed what they'd offered earlier. They had come to realize, like Rick in Casablanca when he tried to explain about the waters, that they had been misinformed.

I must admit I felt a certain sense of vindication when I heard this, but bygones and all like that, so I smiled and went merrily along.

(I even came to think some of these folks had come to be my friends. Apparently I was also misinformed ...)

Now, my recent postings have stirred that old stuff up. Yeah, yeah, I should have let it lie, left it alone, shoulda-woulda-coulda, but ... I didn't. (I am, I have been told regarding this, a mouthy keyboard martial artist; a silat simpleton who doesn't move well; and one who isn't serious about my art. And, really -- who could argue with that? Well, save for the "serious" part, which I did dispute, but hey, I'm a simpleton, whaddya expect?)

I've also been taken to task for things I never said.

Did. Not. Say. Them.

My blog postings are public, and anybody who wants to read 'em versus what somebody said I said, have at it. I don't see a lot of ambiguity myself, though I confess to some snideness here and there. But I will be rolled in corn meal and deep-fat fried crispy golden brown before I apologize for something I didn't do.

Still, there are a handful of people who might know enough about all this, and who might read my posts and jump to unwarranted conclusions. So, to avoid tarring somebody with a brush they don't deserve, hereunder my caveat:

The people named below never said anything to me that was personally insulting about my teacher, Maha Guru Stevan Plinck:

Guru Robert Vanatta.

Gurus Guy Bowring, Alan Nicol, Jerry Phillips Jason Heffler, Scott Geiger, and students Brian Hunt and Cory Hughes.

Guru Mike Roberto.

Gurus Mike Choate, Ron Miller, Chris Geilan and Jerry McCleary.

These men all have the highest respect for Guru Plinck, as a teacher, silat player, and a man, and I did not say, nor mean to imply, anything else.


Dan Moran said...

:-) Doesn't it just seem some days like carrying a gun all the time would be simpler?

Steve Perry said...

Hasn't helped, the gun ...

As a writer, i've always found it fascinating what people bring to a story when they read it. I will sometimes listen to people talk about what's in a book and seriously wonder if they are from my home planet.

Where'd you see that? It's not in there.

I had a buddy once, name was "Scates." I stuck him in a story, a fond tuckerization. Had a professor I knew who read the story to critique it go on at length about the symbolism of using Socrates in the tale. Because obviously, "Scates" was a not-very-well disguised use of "Socrates ..."


Oh, yeah, and that that veiled reference to Troilus and Cressida, that was clever, too.


LIke John Lennon is supposed to have said, "Well, it rhymed with 'Queen,' didn't it ... ?"

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Since you mentioned the singe greatest movie ever made, there is another refe3rence I want to throw in:

Rick eventually puts Ilsa and Victor on a plane out of Casablanca, letting them get on with their lives as he gets on with his. With Claude Rains, but that's not the point...

Almost every argument in martial arts arises from someone (or a group of someones) not wiling to just put shit on the plane and get on with their lives.

This stuff that most of the arguments in Pencak Silat (or any other martial art, come to think of it) is completely UNPROVABLE. No evidence, whatsoever. Can. Not. Be. Done.

Mas Judt? Prove it.

Pak Sera? Evidence, or shut the fuck up.

Lineage holder? In the same-assed category as Spiderman and the Tooth Fairy: NOT FRIGGIN' REAL.

Most people who use words like "Keyboard Warrior" have no education higher than 4th grade and have never left their garage in Monrovia, CA. Or wherever they live. Maybe they should have spent the last 20 years training instead of pointing their plastic fingers at everyone else. Novel idea, I know.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Meant to say "Single greatest movie" and "Reference" in that last post, but I didn't proof read my work. Shameful, I know. Never type faster than you can see.

taintmonger said...

I believe now, more than ever, that Man is a direct descendant of animals. But here's what I think happened: He discovered politics. And with that, Man was forced to tuck his tail between his legs so often, it became a superfluous thing that turned black and fell off.

Todd Erven said...

I know most of the unmentioned names and I know a few of the names you listed in this post. Most of the people you listed have pretty good reputations and I never assumed that you were talking about them in your previous "inflammatory" posts.

Someone(s) out there sounds a little defensive to me.

"I am, I have been told regarding this, a mouthy keyboard martial artist; a silat simpleton who doesn't move well; and one who isn't serious about my art..."

It also sounds like someone out there is a pompous prick. Sarong on a little too tight?

Steve Perry said...

I can understand that there was a legitimate concern there -- when you offer up bad examples and don't name names, there are folks who might jump to the wrong conclusions. I wasn't thinking about the guy who was unhappy; nor, I suspect did he really think I was, but he was disturbed by the idea that somebody might make the wrong connection. Proximity and all -- we are few in numbers in our art and we do bump into each other relatively often.

Not really my fault if somebody reads something that isn't there; on the other hand, if it makes somebody happy for me to say, Hey, I wasn't talking about *these* guys, I can point that out.

I can certainly understand being irritated enough to get a bit intemperate in one's language, though when you go there, you lose a certain amount of moral high ground. Somebody calling you names may cost him your attention to his argument, too.

Still, I'm willing to let it go if they are. If not, I still have a few barrels of ink in the back room.

Dan Moran said...

>Where'd you see that? It's not in there.<

Sorry, a little bit of a oblique statement, I guess. Just a joke, and maybe not funny. I merely meant to imply that if you ran around armed to the teeth, you wouldn't have to study silat and then you wouldn't be having arguments like this.

Not sure it was funny before the explanation, and almost certainly not now. Apologies, no offense intended.

Steve Perry said...

Dan ---

My fault -- I wasn't talking about you, but referring to the antecedent post I did.

I should have made that clear. My fuzzy, sorry.

Ag Freak said...

You by any chance a fan of the band Morphine?

Steve Perry said...

Can't say I was a fan of Morphine -- they came and went after my musical tastes were mostly formed.

An age thing, I think. Old hippies who liked the Beatles and the Stones and all that peace and love stuff tended to think punk and minimalist rock was nihilistic or sketchy.