What is a Langkah?

Langkah (Indonesian) - noun: literally step, move, pace, action, measure, stride, leap, foot, footstep, gesture, tread, footpace

In Indonesian martial arts, Pencak Silat, it commonly refers to geometric patterns on the floor used to train footwork and develop an understanding of the role of the lower body in maintaining balance and a base from which to generate power.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Shifting Passions and Priorities

A few years ago, I quit my job as a freelance computer programmer to focus on writing. At the time, I assumed I would continue to teach and train martial arts and write on the side, as I had done programming.

That assumption was based on the fact that for over twenty years, I have identified myself, first and foremost, as a "martial artist." Teaching and training martial arts were my passion. Everything else came second.

Since then, though, a subtle shift has occurred. So subtle, in fact, that it took me years to identify it and, when I did, I initially denied it. I didn't want to admit it to myself.

I'm still just as passionate about teaching martial arts, but my passion for writing now rivals what I feel for teaching. Training martial arts now comes a distant second.

I realized this shift and admitted it to myself yesterday. Today, I'm sharing it with others.

I spent the morning training at a seminar with Professor Jak Othman in Harimau Berantai Silat. I enjoy the training and the material, but I kept having to pull my focus back to the training because, in my head, I was working on a short story I'm writing. I realized I was doing both my training and my writing by half-measures.

I had difficulty remaining present in the training, but I wasn't writing either. Many of the thoughts I had about the story faded from my mind without getting jotted down for later. I was neither really training nor writing.

As such, for the foreseeable future, my priorities will look like this:

  • 1a: teaching 
  • 1b: writing 
  • 2: training

What this means is that I will choose to write instead of attending martial arts events where I am not teaching.

About fifteen years ago, one of my instructors told me of a similar decision they had made. At the time, I couldn't imagine something rivaling my passion for training, much less my passion for teaching. Now, I find myself in the same situation they described.

To all my martial arts friends and family: I'm still here. I'm still available. Don't count me out. I will gladly come teach at an event or guest-teach a class. I will gladly sit and compare notes or answer questions in person and online. I will continue teaching students, but I will only attend events where I'm teaching.

The Wandering Guru

"Nobody's life is ever all balanced. It's a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day." —Elisabeth Hasselbeck

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