Monday, June 20, 2011


Because I have opted to walk away from the battlefield of silat nyah-nyah, life being too short, I don't look for, nor particularly care what my old sparring partners who are still at it have to say. They have their views, I have mine, we will just have agree to disagree, and have a nice life.

Still ...

Recently, I heard another story and I had to shake my head. I'm not gonna name names, and if you are somebody who wants to get all het up about stuff because you think I'm talking about you, be my guest. Almost certainly you will be wrong, and steaming your own ears for nothing.

Here are the broad strokes: A well-known and well-respected silat teacher offering a seminar away from his home base thought he'd be well-mannered and drop by another teacher's place for a friendly visit. Same general art, different branch, no apparent ill-will between the two. 

So he gave them a call. 

Turned out he had the wrong number, so he sent an email. Hey, I'm gonna be in the neighborhood, how would it be if I stopped by?

Understand that this teacher has the chops, and something he could share, and was willing to do so, teacher-to-teacher.

To which he got a response that was, in essence, Sorry, but you aren't up to our standards, we have aligned ourselves with another faction, and so, uh, don't darken our doorway.

Fair enough. If you want to tell it like it is, that's your right, but ... what a waste.

You have no doubt heard the old saying about cutting off your nose to spite your face. I have certainly remarked a time or two on the unfortunate instance wherein somebody moving along at a good clip suddenly feels an insane urge to pull out a gun and shoot himself in the foot. 

Here is such an instance.  Here is a world-class teacher, holding out a hand, offering somebody something they don't have, and who would, if they had the chance, be thrilled to get it once they saw it. And over here is somebody who turns away because of a foolish political stance.

Back in the day, before the first Star Wars movie came out, George Lucas shopped the book tie-in around to various publishers. Nobody wanted it. They didn't think it was worth anything. Finally, a small start-up line made an offer, and Star Wars made them rich.

This wasn't in the same category, of course, but it does make me, as a martial artist, shake my head in wonder at the outright stupidity that permeates dojo politics.

Dude, you could have been a contender, and you shut the door on the guy who could show it to you.