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Sina Tirsia Wali

Filipino Indonesian Self-Defense Tactics, other wise known as FIST, was established in 2003 and had…See More
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Big toes ,fuzzy back - By Guro Mike Cardenas

As an eskrimador and student of Tenio’s DeCuerdas under Grand Master Art Gonzalez I found our methods of training at times to be unorthodox when compared to your standard run of the mill dojo’s, whenever I spoke of the training I was doing with friends and family they always gave me this puzzled look, from their laymen perception martial arts training was filled with kata’s and kia’s. I however was too green to know any difference, I started my lessons with no reservations or expectations, I just wanted to learn how to fight. I never once questioned the reasons we did things since I always came out better because of it. As I progressed through my DeCuerdas studies and accepted new lessons and challenges willingly, nothing could prepare for a lesson in the healing arts and the discomfort I would endure while learning some of it. You see, GM Art has always proclaimed that as we advance in our studies and in the fighting arts was must also seek out knowledge in the healing arts, in his words “as DeCuerdas boys it’s good to know how to hurt, but it’s equally important to know how to heal”. So it is no surprise that we eventually started getting some quick lessons in “Hilot” and more formal lessons in the healing arts of “Seifukujitsu” a Japanese healing art which was passed down from Henry Okazaki and then to Sig Kufferath and we picked up through GM Tenio’s and our affiliation with American Judo and Jujitsu Federation (AJJF) and the Kilohana Martial Arts Association.

As we began to get some training in the healing arts I had never realized who I would be practicing on, for some odd reason I naively thought that test subjects would March into class and be ready to get massaged, and that these test subjects would be attractive women. In all cases it was our male classmates and or other male martial art practitioners, in my case my test subject always ended up being Master Jorge, a large man who has a keen sense of what I find uncomfortable and disturbing and then makes every attempt to exploit my weakness and or the situation. He would quickly remove his shirt; lay on my massage table and then say “come on baby, get busy” then chuckle as he knew I was squeamish of having to rub my hands on his fuzzy back. I would do my best to make this situation purely academic and try and concentrate on the lesson and not try and get interrupted by the voice coming from below the table, head down in the head rest whispering sweet nothings to me as our visiting instructor continued to teach through the lesson. As I was very uncomfortable, I tried to do my best and learn the lesson but struggled to be fully engaged to the lesson due to my discomfort, Master Jorge’s experience was much different than my own, he enjoyed every minute of it and celebrated in my discomfort. In one particularly lesson in which we focused on the foot I drew the line and couldn’t tolerate it, he unsheathed his large foot from his sock then proceeded to place it at my knees and then gave me a wink all while grinning from ear to ear. I looked down as I saw his large toes starring up at me as if they too were taunting me. I ended up having to cover his foot with a t-shirt and try and learn the lesson with a shirt covering his foot as if I was massaging a sock puppet, unfortunately I don’t remember anything from that lesson since my mind was elsewhere.

This past weekend I was thinking about Master Jorge and all the good times we shared, he has always been a loyal friend and one who would go to the gates of hell for any of his friends if asked. For some reason my thoughts took me to our time together learning some healing arts. This got me to thinking, how often do we let a little discomfort get in the way of our progress or let fear derail our overall path towards progression and or gaining new knowledge? Have any of you ever had that fuzzy back/big toe moment? If so, do you recognize it and have the fortitude to overcome it? For some martial artists it can be the fear of learning throws or being thrown, or combative sparring. Outside of the Dojo it can be the fear of taking that last math transferable needed to transfer to a four year university. I have since learned to look fear in the face and accept the challenges that come my way if I know it is value added, I know believe I am in a place mentally were I wouldn’t have a problem massaging that big foot of his or massage his fuzzy back so long as I was absorbing knowledge, however I would probably take a few shots of my favorite hard liquor before doing so. May you all have the strength to get past that fuzzy back and big toe moment!

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