Thursday, February 12, 2009

drama on the court

I've been attending rehearsals all week to prep for the kali demo we're doing during the Warriors game Thursday night for Filipino Heritage Night.

As Tuhan described us, we're not the typical martial arts demo with drills and tricks. Over the years we went from the drills to bringing a more theatrical element to the demonstrations. Part of this stemming from how we've used the kali in "non-martial arts" settings like poetry readings, modern dance shows, and theatrical presentations. It's less about the techniques we're actually doing, but the story of the lives of the people.

It's been a personal endeavor to not only bring a kali demo to a non-martial art audience such as in "When I was Jaspar John's Filipino Lover" for the Small Press Traffic Jubilee but to also use it to bring other arts into a martial arts venue, like when Eileen came to read during a women's martial arts camp.

Many martial artists I've talked to have often lamented how audiences just don't really care for the martial arts demo. Alot of that has to do with the saturation of martial arts fighting in just about every movie and show that has a fight scene. But also I think in a world where most weapons that are used one never has to ever see the person you're attacking or the one attacking you, hand-to-hand combat in close proximity is an anomaly, something found out of context. Where fighting scenes are often thrown into movies to keep the action going but not to progress the plot, we don't really understand what it means anymore.

Which is why I've enjoyed the direction we (and I mean in how Tuhan and the school has approached demos) have taken to bring a context back to the martial arts. To have the audience understand how it integrates, to give it a different life with story and character, to give them a chance to find the connection with themselves. That this has meaning not just to the people who practice but to the people in the audience.

I won't give too much of the plot away, but I get to be the villain. Muwahahahaha! Villains are fun! I've played the heroine a few times before which was fun too, but the villain always gets to play it up and I get a chance to just throw myself out there on the floor. I'm looking forward to the cathartic release. Kali has always provided me with what I needed at the moment.

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