By Hanshi Albert Mady
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
18th International Association of Educator For World Peace, 1st International Martial Arts Festival, October 29-31, 2008
Hello everyone, well 2008 was an eventful year for us, we had losses and we had gains, we finished off 2008 with some great competitive wins. This past summer I was contacted by Dr. Steve Rajan who was part of the organizing committee for this event, originally 40 Grand Masters from around the world and local Malaysians were chosen to teach and demonstrate their system and skill at the 1st IMAF in Malaysia. This all expense paid event was hosted by the government of Malaysia and was held at the Sunway Resort and spa.
The event did not start until Thursday October 29 to the 31st, but myself and two other US martial artists, Sifu Lance Fleming from Texas Grand Master Nimr Hassan from Philadelphia, we flew in on Oct 25th, but it was the 27th by the time I got there. My trip started from Windsor Ontario, I checked in early in the morning an hour before my one hour flight to Toronto, then I had and 8 hour layover in Toronto, where I could have caught an earlier flight but transferring to US air I had to get my luggage and clear US customs for a flight to New York. That was the easy part, finding my luggage was the hard part. I missed two other earlier flights that could have made my trip and connections much shorter, but instead I caught the last flight to NY. I had a 7 hour layover in NY and then caught my Korean Air flight to Seoul Korea, which was only a short 16 hours. I arrived in Seoul at 4am and I was tired, I had to clear customs and then found a hotel room in the airport. There is a 13 hr difference in time and I had a 12 hour layover in Korea so I tried to sleep, then got up early cleaned up and had breakfast which was good and interesting. The airport was huge and like a shopping mall, the price were great and since I forgot my camera I bought on in the duty free shop. After walking around if found the computer/lounging area and got on the internet, watched some TV, and finally caught my 6 1/2 hr flight to Kuala Lumpur. I got in at 11:30pm and ran into the US instructors in the airport, we were all waiting for the same ride to the hotel. The hotel was beautiful, 5 star, great food and very nice people. On the first day I just checked out the hotel and surrounding area. The hotel and conventions center was attached to the biggest mall I have ever been in, with a full size ice rink in the middle of it, if there were more Canadians there, there would have been a hockey fight, (I mean a game. LOL(. I did some site seeing on the second day, I traveled with some of the speakers from the Peace Congress, we went to the Batu Cave, which is a huge Hindu holy site in a mountain. The site had giant statues of Gods and Goddesses, one of the Monkey God. After climbing 278 very steep stairs and entering the mountain which was open at the top, we saw many religious shrines and Monks. When we first got there we were swarmed by the Monks they asked for money for the shrine, one tried to tell me how much I must give him, he was lucky I gave him anything. One of the gentlemen we were traveling with was Hindu Indian and explained the significance of each shrine, it was very interesting. As we entered further into the cave we saw monkeys all over the place. They would come right up and steal food right out of your hands and run up the inside of the mountain. On the way back the cab driver tried to charge us twice as much as the ride there, the Peace Congress guys called upon me to settle the dispute, I DID. LOL
I opened the festival with the first seminar, we had quite the crowd, with a mix of martial artists from several systems. The main system, Silat, which almost everybody studies including government officials, military, police and royalty, which was very interesting and entertaining. The local schools did a few seminars but mostly demonstrations, which were interesting and educational. I was scheduled to do one seminar, and ended up doing 3 more as well as their morning TV show. I developed quite the following. In Malaysia there is a great respect for high ranking martial artists. Whenever I entered a seminar or demonstration my presence was always announced. That was very a very nice feeling. I wanted to introduce Isshinryu Karate to everyone there, some had heard of it and some had not. I was luck enough to have Sifu Fleming volunteer to be UKE for a couple of my seminars, and for the rest were some of the Malaysian TKD practitioners. They volunteered! I unfortunately ripped my hamstring the day of the first seminar when I was working out, my legs were tight from cardio training the day before. So, unfortunately I had to modify what I was teaching but no one noticed the injury. I couldn't kick as well as I wanted to. I took a short kata, Naihanchi and showed them the importance and meaning of true kata by teaching them BUNKAI, they were impressed and did I say Hurting. I taught Knockdown fighting skills from Kyokushin kai, Shidokan and Isshinryu, and beat the heck out of their legs. I felt bad for my UKE'S, ok, no, not really. They wanted to learn. Then we did some MMA training, striking, take downs, throws and submissions. I had a good time, and the students came back for more each day. Some came back twice a day. Well I guess they liked what I had to offer and I may be back there in 2009. For the Europeans, I will be teaching in Berlin Germany for a week in the middle of may, if you are interested in coming out contact me for details.
Each night of the IMAF, there was a huge banquet, with about 800 people from the martial arts festival, the world peace congress and dignitaries from the Malaysian government. The banquets were amazing, great 10 course meals, speeches and entertainment representing the cultures of Malaysia. Traditional Chinese Dragon dance and drumming, traditional Indian dance and of course Malaysian entertainment. They also had some of the famous Malaysian entertainers and singers perform at the events.
On the final night we had a European style meal at the banquet, more entertainment, presentations and speeches by government officials. The Grand Masters, including my self, were awarded a certificate from the International Association of Educators for World Peace, it was a World Peace Diplomat Award. Some have asked what does this have to do with martial arts. The IAEWP wanted to affiliate their event in 2008 with the martial arts because they believe that governments especially powerful ones, should act like martial artists, we have the ability to hurt, destroy, or bully weaker opponents, but do not. They wish these governments would act as we do. The second award was called a Tong Kolak, which is the head dress worn in Malaysia, this one was presented to us in a glass case, the significance of this Tong Kolok is, it is made of the fabric and color worn only by the royal family, it is a very special award that was presented by the host of this event, the Malaysian Government and the heads of Silat, their national martial art. When I have video available I will post it, some pictures and video are on my Facebook. To read a bit more about what they thought of my teachings and Isshinryu Karate please read the article below that was posted by a dojo who participated in all my seminars. I think many of you can relate.
Hanshi, Albert Mady, Ku Dan
AOKA Board of Directors
Isshinryu Karate Canada