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Against the wind

Updated: Dec 16, 2023


Against the wind part 1: A journey of discovery
Against the wind part 1: A journey of discovery

Armadong Kali is a martial arts system with simple guidelines:


  1. Attack before defence

  2. No idle hand, no idle feet

  3. Thought provoking process


Each of the guidelines has important practical consequences on the performance of the system and each one will be covered in their own article. The article you are currently reading focuses on the thought provoking process.


Thought Provoking Process in Filipino Martial Arts


First time I got practically exposed to teaching by thought provoking process was when I started to explore Filipino Martial Arts. At that time I already had a background of 15 years martial arts training, mostly in Karate, Kickboxing, Ving Tsun and Western Boxing.


My reason to start training in Filipino Martial Arts was because I wanted to learn a pragmatic way of defending against knives or sticks. I did not expect, that I would get exposed to a new way of thinking, which would change the way I perceived the world.


Responsible for that change was what my FMA mentor called teaching by thought provoking process: His method differs from other teaching methods in that he does not give the students forms or movement sequences as ready-made solutions. Instead, the system should be taught by letting students experience practical situations in a safe and controlled environment. In this process, the teacher's purpose is to help their students penetrate the task, find initial answers, further refine their questions and encourage them to remain active in the search for better answers.


When using the thought provoking process as teaching method, a person actually discovers and validates the system by their own personal experience and logic. In this process the teachers purpose is to help the students to continue refining their questions and to inspire them to stay active in searching for better answers.


The opposite of teaching by thought provoking process is teaching by forms (kata, poomse, drills,…). Teaching by giving the students prefabricated solutions (solo forms or two person sets) is pretty common in Martial Arts all over the world. In fact while writing this article I can only come up with Western Boxing and Western Wrestling as examples of well known Martial systems, that are not using those kind of forms.


So it seems forms are the predominant teaching method in most well known martial arts schools. And there are reasons for that: One reason is, that teaching forms is easy. No matter how small or big the training group, even in case of being disinterested: if instructors have a set pattern, form or drill, they will always be able to teach. Another reason for forms being used frequently is, that learning a form provides students a strong sense of accomplishment: "I memorised it" – "Yes, I got it". Learning and repeating forms is convenient and sometimes weirdly satisfying. In joke I refer to that as the Nike effect: "just do it" (no need to think).


TPP keeps the system alive and valid


If the system is taught by thought provoking process, then each generation of students not only reconstructs the system, they actually verify its truthfulness. As a result the teaching process keeps the system alive and valid. Teaching through thought-provoking impulses causes students to discover for themselves. This gives the student the pride and confidence of having accomplished constructing their own system.


The use of thought-provoking teaching is a very effective tool, but it also has some disadvantages.


One of these disadvantages is that the results depend heavily on the quality of the mentor-mentee relationship. Each lesson requires a high level of commitment and honesty, especially from the teacher and also from the student. Teaching through thought-provoking impulses only works well in small groups if it is possible to respond to the individual. In fact, this is the main reason why I only teach Armadong Kali in small groups.


Thought Provoking Process a journey of self-discovery


Training through thought provoking is actually a learning process: it is a journey of self-discovery. It requires bravery, confidence and determination.


It is about realizing: You are a unique and valuable original. You have to take care of yourself. You have the ability to do so!


Sometimes it seems like there are no easy answers: maybe it is because we are asking the wrong questions?


Sometimes there is frustration: our training, based on our own experience, intelligence and logic, enables us to transform our frustration and our anger into constructive action.


Training through thought provocation is about finding the courage for everyday life.


Who do you want to be now?


How do you want to be in the future?


Armadong Kali and teaching through discovery will empower you to find your answers.


Tuhon Uli Weidle

Nov 7, 2018


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thomasmuelleros72
thomasmuelleros72
Mar 03, 2019

I wonder what color the elephant has if the sun would shine from the other side.

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