We are very excited to share with our readers a wonderful article that recently appeared in the Singaporean newspaper Berita Harian. This newspaper is the premiere Malay language publication in Singapore, and one of the country's most respected. The original article was published on 5 June 2009.
Original author: Linilidia Abdul Hamid
HIS love towards Silat began more than 28 years ago. Around 19 years ago, This love of Silat has lead him to enter a path of spirituality and belief in Islam, the Prophet and Tasawuf.
"Silat Tuo or Seni Silat Haqq" has also brought Muh. Khalid Ibn Waleed, "Leonardo J Stoute," around the world, establishing classes, workshops, lectures and performances at Michigan University, EMU University, Yale University and Harvard University in the USA. Also in their communities reaching out to the students and their local communities as well to enjoy and participate in this highly cultural and traditional "Seni" Arts of Indonesia and S. E. Asia.
Mr. Stoute, often recognized as Bapak Waleed or addressed as "Professor," is frequently invited to give talks about the art of Silat between the many universities and their communities.
Furthermore, he has been invited to Yale University to host a speech about attitudes, perceptions, understandings which can be associated with mastering the art of Silat.
Before being introduced to Silat, Bapak Waleed was an expert in Taekwondo and Kung-fu, the martial arts. He also possessed an academic background of the arts and sciences, of self-defense and Martial Arts... world wide and USA.
He achieved the black belt in Taekwondo and red sash in Kung-fu, experienced high levels of achievement in both the martial arts.
Bapak Waleed said he fell in love with art of Silat after being introduced to it by a gentleman teacher from Sumatera.
Bapak Waleed said the teacher only wished to be addressed as Pak Yuseff or Jo. Their meeting was not expected and it opened his eyes to the beauty and deepness of the art of "Seni Silat" Tuo.
"I learned Silat for almost 10 years from Mr Siregar. During that period, I traveled much... between Jakarta, Sumatera and US. Then Mr Siregar released me to seek a spiritual teacher. To seek further on my own... the path... a mentor with my eyes and hands open from my heart" he said.
According to Bapak Waleed, since then he became familiar with Islam and Sufism... his heart was opened to the light of spirituality and "Tariqat Naqshbandia" and so he accepted embraced Islam for himself on 11 Jan 1991.
"After believing in Islam and entering this path and spiritual way, I realized I understood better and appreciated more the real meaning behind the ancient art of Silat" and the ancient culture and traditions... he added.
His coming into Tariqat (spirituality) encouraged him to share the knowledge of Silat and the beauty of South East Asian cultures to his students worldwide... This further led him to look for the spiritual connections in those cultures and traditions that are associated with Silat. He has brought traditional teachings of Seni Silat and Silek Minang culture overseas to many countries, such as Cyprus, Istanbul, Turkey, South Africa, Egypt, Japan and some countries in Europe, England, France, Germany and USA.
Nevertheless, he who was born in Panama, Latin America native and familiar with South America Latin, is regularly invited back to Indonesia to Lecture, teach and perform in ceremonies and events such as festivales and Seni Silat cultural and traditional events of activities periodically... (see website).
His great efforts in expanding and introducing the "Pusako" Seni, art of Silat Tuo and Minangkabau of West Sumatra "to students worldwide has lead to receiving many awards, honors and acknowledgements... "Kunci Bandar"(The Key to the City), from the Datuk Bandar Padang, West Sumatera in 2004.
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