The bitter and the sweet. The seven coffins come to an end


I was in dread as Nigel Sutton took us round to the garden area where there is a punch bag and a metal training dummy. I envisaged a grueling set of fights or standing in the sun all day long.

“Cut the grass”. Nigel told us and he walked away. Vin, Lian and I exchanged looks and quickly set about the grass with scissors from the kitchen. After an easy grass cutting Nigel informed us that our last test lay outside the training center.

This also made me scared. Could we be going to fight? It was the morning now and being out of the Zhong ding training center for the first time in days was quiet refreshing. We walked towards the café and instantly I knew what we were going to do ‘’we are going to drink aren’t we?’’ I said possibly quiet hysterical. Nigel didn’t say anything. Instead of fighting we went to the bar and Nigel ordered us each a pint of strong black sugarless coffee and a big can of 12% beer.
Before we drank Nigel explained the coffee represents the bitterness and hardship of training and the beer represented the sweetness of reward from hard work. So we had to drink the coffee first before the beer. With these two powerful drugs inside me I felt sick with the caffeine but soothed by the beer.
After this we went back to the Zhong Ding training center and Nigel told us that the 7 coffins was over and that we had a few days rest until our ordeal with Guru Zainal Abidin and his students which would then be followed by on all night Khatami grading. The ordeal was not specified but it would involve Thai boxing and Silat fighting as well. Guru Zainal teaches Silat Tua and Krabi Krabong as well as white tiger Thai boxing. We have never met Guru Zainal before but from what Nigel says he is a very serious martial artist. His students also like fighting a lot. In training and on the street.

The next couple of days Vin and I rested as Nigel and Lian had gone back to the condo. We had to prepare something’s for the Khatami grading. Nigel Sutton gave us a list of things for the ceremony. We needed:
A holy book. Vin and I went to a nearbye town and bought two Qurans.

One knife. I bought a machete.

5, 4 inch nails which I thought was strange, Vin and I went to a hardware shop and got the nails.

7 limes and honey, we got them from the supermarket.

Shoes, a sarong, T shirt and hat. We got them all from a cloths shop nearby.

7 different kinds of flower petals. We were quiet resourceful on this one and went out onto the road side and picked some flower and then went to a town to buy a few more kinds. We took all the petals off and stored them in the fridge.

Lastly we had to give 7:50 ringet in coin form. Nigel Sutton informed us that he had to give 750 ringet when he did his Khatami so I was glad our amount was much less.

We didn’t know why we needed all these things and it was a little like being in a computer game trying to get everything. I was very relieved when we had done so and I could relax a little although the Khatami and ordeal was playing on my mind.

The anticipation was brutal, I had diarrhea for 3 days before and on the day Guru Zainal arrived for the ordeal I could barely eat.

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Meeting Antonio Graceffo in Kuala Lumpur


A few days after our demonstration in Kuala Lumpur and Vin, Lian and myself are now staying with Guru Azlan in his house. We train with him daily as he conducts his many classes around Kuala Lumpur. One lesson took place in a squash court in an airport. Guru Azlan told us to teach the class and even though all the students there had been practicing Seniman tua Silat for longer than us we still taught.

All this exposure to teaching has made me more confident in a classroom. I am not as nervous as when I first started teaching. Another class was held in Guru Azlan’s office/ Galanggang (training hall). Most of his dedicated students were there and we practiced for hours. Even though it was the evening it was still humid and hot. We went over locks and stick striking drills. We were introduced to some of the more advanced forms of Guru Azlan’s Silat and we practiced with the kris knife.

Guru Azlan told me to apply any lock to him and I put him in a decent head lock and he managed in quiet a relaxed manner to get free. I was impressed. I was not so impressed when he tried to show us how to make your arms longer. He pulled his shoulders back and lined his arms out in front so they were the same length. Then he moved one shoulder forward and so it looked like one of his arms was longer than the other.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4utnjmTY0b8&feature=player_embedded click on this link to see the video

The training was more intense to what we have been used to with Guru Azlan and after a few hours of training I was beyond parched. You must remember that Guru Azlan doesn’t allow drinking in his class. So after the class Vin and I frantically walked the streets of Kuala Lumpur looking for water. It was surprisingly hard to find. Most of the street vendors where selling food and only soft drink which would have done little to hydrate us. Thankfully we found a shop which sold big bottles of water. We got one each and I think we pretty much drained the 2 liters in one go.

The next day Guru Azlan took us to a huge mall where he said he was meeting a man called Antonio Graceffo who wanted to shoot a video of one of his classes. We met Antonion in a small restaurant beside one of the malls many supermarkets. We sat and chatted for a while. Antonio comes from America but has spent many years in Asian studying martial arts.

After a sit down Guru Azlan took us to the malls gym where the lesson would take place. Here is the video which Antonio Graceffo took of the lesson. Occasionally you can see Vin and myself in the back ground practicing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtKdqKAlkQk  Click on this link to see video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qRZwAnX7ZU&feature=relmfu click on this link to see the video

So after a few days of training with Guru Azlan and pushing the boundaries of dehydration Vin, Lian and myself took the overnight bus back to Penang island to continue our training at the Zhong Ding center.

Our Khatami grading is coming very soon. Next week we will start the 7 coffins training. Nigel Sutton has had a novel idea that instead of doing the 7 coffins over 7 days we will condense them in to 4 days. This will mean almost none stop training with only a few hours left for napping and eating.

Nigel has also told us that before the Khatami that Guru Zainal Abidin one of Nigel Suttons Silat teacher will be visiting the Zhong Ding training center with a large group of his students to fight us. Vin is also doing a grading for Krabi krabong so he will have to do sword fighting. I will have some Thai boxing fights and Silat fights as well. It’s all quiet vague now but on my next post I will be able to tell you more. Next week the 7 coffins begin.

PART12 My new love of weapons


 

Today we did some sparring and sword fighting. Putting on the fencing masks and using tonfa and bamboo swords to fight.

Tonfa, we use this as a forearm shield when we spar sometimes

the type of sword we use for sparring. made from segments of bamboo. Pictures from Wikapedia

 I fought Vin at first. Immediately he hit my finger, at the time it was not painful but even now a week later it bloody hurts. He basically beat me. He kept on coming in after I attacked and closed me down. He was very good. With lian it was a bit different. Because I am taller I had a better reach and I kept my distance and stayed out of his range and got him a fair amount with some good leg shoots and head shots. He didn’t move in much so it was easier than with Vin who would not play my game.

 Lian gave me a really good strike to the knee which left an impressive red and white mark. I find this sword fighting so fun. I want to do more of it and if and when I ever set up a club I hope to do a lot of it. Nigel says it’s not that important to do often but it’s fun and that’s enough for me.

One of Nigel Suttons teachers says that sparring altogether is a bad idea. That when you spar you are playing a game and that your not actualy trying to kill your opponent. So that if and when your life is really in danger you will not be able to react properly. This is said by a man who lives in a dangerous country where machete fights and murder are common. From what I understand this man has also been in many real fights himself. So maybe in that situation sparring isnt as important.

 On another note I am very pleased with my training at the moment. Before I came to Malaysia I wasn’t at all interested in weapons. My experience had been minimal and all I had learnt was Taiji sword and staff forms and also some nunchuck and sai forms from doing Okinawan Te. But I feel that the weapons training in Chen Taiji is incompleat compared with what I am doing now.

Now that Nigel Sutton has introduced me to a more compleat weapon arts like Krabi krabong, Eskrima and Silat I feel that a love for weapons has been awakened. I am very attached to my boken (wooden sword) and I try my best to carry it everywhere around the Zhong Ding training centre. As Nigel told us to.

Boken, hard wooden sword.

 

My waking dreams and sleep walking has now reached a most active point. Only last night I opened my eyes and knew there was an enemy behind the door trying to get in. I ducked under my mosquito net while wrapping my thin bed sheet around my left arm to make a shield, I then grabbed the machety which was propped up by my bed and stood in front of my door waiting for an attack to come. I kept waiting until the illusion faded and I realised it was only a waking dream. I was standing in the Krabi krabong stance with my left forearm in front to protect and my right hand holding the machete was above my head ready to generate a powerful strike.

 

Does anyone reading this sleep walk? I would be interested to hear some stories. Do you think sleep walking is a negative thing?