By Bryan Sloyer
The art itself came at a time where I struggled with individuality, self confidence, and a need to have discipline in my life. Balintawak offered answers to my needs, delivering opportunities of growth that I could not find elsewhere. By God’s good timing, Balintawak was the journey to manhood I was destined to take.
Amidst the obvious, Grandmaster introduced to me the skills of teaching, wherein I eventually became inspired to pursue level of instructor once I had passed Completion of the Art. His everyday walk in life embodies his own motto: be a good example. Leadership then, became a significant skill that I wished to be more versed in. I simply observed Grandmaster’s ways at first, and gradually his words made sense too. Though the stick would sting at times, it became more apparent that the true guidance came from his left hand. And though raised by more violent methods, he found the medium between the thunderous fist and the gentle touch. With these he would orchestrate deadly precision, teaching us this duality without having to utter a word knowing we would discover it on our own. From the first time we touched hands I realized that the high standards he held were expected to be reciprocated. I make sure to meet this call to action with zealous intent. When he was teaching he’d adopt a stricter and more definitive demeanor, but aside from his teaching persona he is quite jovial and loves to laugh. Often he’d prank me, or mischievously play with my hands, or tell me his favorite joke for the hundredth time. I learned equal amounts of wisdom and insight on the days we’d sit as he told stories, and sometimes that was the training.
I began to connect the philosophies of the art to my experiences in life, and saw parallels to how the decisions I would make within the art would also affect my state of being. And so I observe Grandmaster and how he manages his schools worldwide, exhibiting a wisdom I strive to put into practice. Where I see the absence of simple virtues such as ethical conduct, moral character, and righteous servitude, I see within me a duty to keep that chivalry alive by embodying the examples, not just speaking them.
"Bryan, promise that you will come back for your teacher...Jeff deserves that."
Photo source: RVABALINTAWAK