A Blast from the Past
Just returned from a week away in Bali. it's the first time I've been back there in 25 years. I took the opportunity to catch up with a few old friends - my Bakti negara Silat coach, Bagus Alit Dira as well as two old training partners, Dewa Patra and Mardi - both fierce competitors - back in the day!g
For those who have read my Rogue Black Belt series - you may well recognize the names. Mardi and myself both came home with gold from the first World full-contact Silat Championships in Jakarta, whilst Patra managed to win the bronze. They were great times for all of us - turning points in each of our lives really.
We got together a few days ago and for all of us it was just as if it were yesterday. My heait has changed colour, and Dewa has lost much of his - but the same old jokes were replayed and stories recounted of some of the adventures we shared. it was a great experience for all of us.
I also visited the new Bakti Negara training Center in Batu Mekaum. The whole area was fully kitted out with mats - a big change from the 'old days'. When I asked where they had bought the mats - I was told that they had each been HAND-CARVED from rubber sheet. I could hardly believe my eyes. These people are truly amazing craftsmen. See the attached pics. Hand-carved!!
Meeting up with Bagus Alit Dira, my original coach, was an emotional experience for me. Again, for the both of us it seemed like 25 days has past, and not 25 years. he is an amazing individual and has headed up quite an organization. They have just over 250,000 training members in Bali at the moment - that's a swag of students!
A few weeks ago, Dewa Patra organized 10,000 of them to come to Kuta beach for a litter clean-up campaign. In half a day they cleaned up a six mile stretch of Bali's coastline - as they ran the course, armed with trash bags. Pretty cool.
Anyways - home now - and really looking forward to getting back into my usual routine. Starting tomorrow morning with the Geelong Cats - then a few private students and finally finishing off with classes at my school in the evening.
So far - it's been a great start tp 2009!
let's make it the best year yet!