HONOUR YOUR TEACHERS POST 3: FRED & LILA EVRARD
I barely met a person in my life that have inspired me more than Fred and Lila Evrard, in so many ways. I am not a pioneer, I have always needed idols to look up to, to show me what is possible, to show me what fascinates me. And that’s hard work because I have been told since the day I can remember that everything I dream of is not possible. Being in a band, being a martial artist, traveling, women, art, being a Ninja Turtle, whatever it was I was good in, whatever I was aiming for … they have always been telling me „no, it’s not possible. DO something different.
To me that’s the main reason why almost every teenager walks around with a sad face, because they are being pushed through that process of „basically everything you want to do in life has to be replaced with „a career now.“ That unpreventable time when your life shall be sacrificed for the machine to keep running. And if you are not happy with that, even better, good for the economy. But you better smile, otherwise we find somebody else for the job haha.
Wel, thanks to my „fuck you, I will show you attitude“, I never listened. Ok, maybe I haven’t become a rockstar hahah but I have been playing in a band for 15 years and it has been fulfilling in a way that few people might understand. Few people I have met conserved something important to me: enthusiasm. Passion. Excitement. Screw the word happiness. Go for euphoria and fascination, be on fire! What would really blow you out of your shoes?
And here I come back to Fred Evrard. When you watch people doing what they are supposed to do, it is very easy to recognize it. Apart from a couple of (Eckhart) Tolle books I am actually not so much into spirituality, but there is some certain energy shining when you witness someone express his very self. Like a musician on stage, an actor or a cook … or a martial artist and a free soul, ready to crush every boundary on his way or die trying.
Since I have been traveling and living abroad I have met some people like that, but Fred and Lila were one of the first. These days you can find Digital Nomads, Entrepreneurs, Tim Ferrises and travelers everywhere that have unchained their selves from the 9-5 life. Nothing against 9-5 if this is what you want to do, but for some people it might not be what they want and society will make it very very difficult for you to do something different.
Almost 10 years ago Fred has already been „out of the matrix“ for years like „no big deal“, he went to Tahiti to teach martial arts and traveled the world for many years knocking on doors of martial arts schools and teachers around the planet. In exchange for cleaning or whatsoever they received their training. Stories like that were exactly what I needed those days. People to prove me that it’s possible to travel in the long run without having „a real job“, complete health insurance haha and tons of money. To quit your job and do what ever the fuck it is you wanna do.
It was the time when I started looking up martial arts videos on the internet and usually I wasn’t so impressed till I found Fred and Lila's Kali Majapahit videos. Very easy: I was like, oh shit, that’s awesome! I wanna do this. Kali and Silat, barefoot under palm trees? Hell Yeah! I was planning my first trip to Asia anyway and I decided to end my travels through Indonesia and Malaysia in Singapore to train at KM headquarters for two weeks. Changed my life.
Wait, there was actually one guy yeeeeears ago that has been doing things in his life regarding being a free spirit and a martial artist that have absolutely fascinated me and planted a little seed. His name was Jeff Espinous. It wasn’t surprising to me and very much surprising at the same time when I figured out that Fred has been Jeff’s assistant for many years. Jeff took him all over the place to spread his system Kali Sikaran but that’s another story.
So I went all the way to Singapore to end up training again under a student of Jeff Espinous. Something seems to be attracting me here haha as basically many of my teachers in the 90’s were students of Jeff. For me he is a bit like the „bad ass guy“ in martial arts haha. He wouldn’t finish a sentence without „fuck, fucking, motherfucker“ haha and he didn’t give a shit about standing in line and being on time like Karate style and all those things, and we had beers and pizza after training and that was — in combination with his breathtaking skills — refreshing and new to me.
In Filipino Martial Arts and even in Wing Chun most people don’t give a damn about many things we would relate to martial arts. If you go to the Philippines or to Hong Kong, the masters might show up late with a six pack, walking in chain-smoking hahah. Kinda cool no! Well not to Fred and Lila.
They combined the „dirty“ Filipino ways with the aesthetics and discipline of other martial arts. So In their school you better call Fred „Guro“ and you better be on time and follow the rules. Not because of ego but because they truly believe that applying that attitude and values from the dojo to life, the world would become a better place.
But not enough. Kali Majapahit stands for health, for personal growth, nutrition, mindset etc. etc. I mean wow! Fred is like the reincarnation of Bruce Lee or something hahaha. His skills and knowledge about everything related to martial arts, the body, the mind, the soul … is overwhelming.
I went through heavy transition at that point in my life. I understood some things and I didn’t like what I discovered about the world and I took two steps away from what I was used and told to do. Especially animal issues put me into some kind of depression. (Have you ever watched Earthlings or a Garyy Yourofsky's speech?) and I simply loved the way Fred, Lila, Ben, Vincent and Guillome (did I spell this one right haha) would come up with talking about „behavior“ as a martial artist, aiming for peace, as a consumer and human.
This is exactly my idea of self-defence. Why training 3 hours a day in knife fighting, something that might never or barely happen in your life and then succumb to every sin and bad habit in your daily life. Defending yourself has to include defending your beloved ones and surroundings. Could you imagine something more terrible and pathetic than having a martial arts class in a world that is totally disrupted, talking about self-defence and finish the class with meditating between plastic garbage, breathing polluted air in and out, with all the animals dead around you and all the forests cut? Well I can’t, and I have a lot of fantasy.
Fred and Lila wouldn’t only take your breath away with FMA, JKD, Silat and Kickboxing and with their knowledge about history and religion and meditation and how to run a school and how to travel the world etc. They would also ask you to sit down for a moment and talk about how ridiculous it is to practice martial arts and be a total threat to your surrounding and the environment apart from your class. And how we could improve in all aspects of life.
They teach awareness, being aware of your behavior, your thoughts, your words, your posture, your surrounding, your breath, your belief systems regarding work, love, relationships, health … and I am very careful when it comes to teachers and speeches and fame and ego. What is the intention behind that speech and what is the goal of this guy? Fred and Lila also don’t like sometimes what they see when they look at the world or what people have made out of it and they want to make it better. Point. And their way to do so is the way of the (peaceful) warrior. Yes, they are also good in selling, marketing, running a big school, generating cash flow etc. So what? Just another thing you can learn from them on their way to become the best versions of their selves.
Fred made me representative for Kali Majapahit in Germany and we had a great time training in my little homemade dojo for may years and he also helped me to connect with the Kali Sikaran (KSE) world again and we had so much fun traveling several times a year to Paris to see Fred and Lila on their seminars and meet cool people and made new friends.
I am happy to call those amazing individuals my teachers and friends, even when I took a step away from KALI MAJAPAHIT on my path to do my own crazy little thing haha Fred backed me up and encouraged me to go my way and I still reach out for him when I have important questions in martial arts and life and he is alays happy to help me out. Thank you so much!
P.S: I partied a bit yesterday and I had a tiny little coffee this morning but I promise I gonna have my green smoothie right ahead! haha. Big hugs