Bapak Waleed's travels brought him back to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a short period this winter. While there, Bapak conducted a series of workshops in the Indonesian arts of Traditional Silat. These classes have been well attended, with Bapak's students from throughout the region converging on the Body-Mind-Spirit Wellness Center to visit with Bapak and train.
There were opportunities to reconnect with old friends as well as meet new ones. Bapak Waleed presented some of his senior students with embroidered uniforms, made in the traditional style, brought back from West Sumatra. Once the classes began, Bapak Waleed instructed students in various aspects and essential levels of Traditional Silat, with an emphasis on practical self-defense as well as authentic cultural dance.
Bapak Waleed led the participants through multiple series of movements, all traditional in nature. He emphasized the importance of the root of all Silat systems - Silat Tuo and Silat Minangkabau. He continued further by stating and showing how the principles of fluidity, connection, and awareness, among others, are vital aspects of authentic, effective movements. Bapak Waleed demonstrated powerful and graceful movements from Silat Traditionale and worked with the students to polish theirs. Throughout the session he highlighted other aspects of the traditional movements, such as promoting healing, speeding rehabilitation, strengthening joints, improving sensitivity, working with energy flow, enhancing body dynamics, increasing coordination, gaining rhythm, and establishing balance. Part of the session included an introduction to the cultural dance steps as well as their application.
After the sessions concluded, Bapak Waleed shared insights and updates from West Sumatra. For example, he has been asked by local and community leaders to help them to incorporate Traditional Silat and its values and principles into the education system. Together they are developing specific curriculums to inform and benefit the youth in understanding their heritage and Pusaka and giving them a broader persepctive on the traditional and cultural aspects of their civilization and the Minangkabau people.
All those in attendance were grateful to Bapak Waleed for spending his time and sharing his knowledge. Many began asking when he might be returning to the area. He reminded them all of the adventures and powerful experiences that await them in these mystical islands of fire and encouraged them to take the opportunity to visit for themselves West Sumatra, the birthplace of Silat Traditionale and the origin of the Minangkabau.
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