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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 05, 2007, 05:22:53 PM
John Stossel: 20/20 Sick In America

profits drive accountability. accountability improves service. Improving service increases customer satisfaction.
when a government apparatus is put in place without viable free market alternatives, there is no incentive to improve services and satisfy customers. Case in point: America's public schools:

2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: August 22, 2006, 11:09:57 AM

What responsibilities, as a muslim , does rogt feel in confronting such groups and denouncing their terrorist tactics?

Since I'm not Muslim, I couldn't say.

I apologize for my assumption
btw... i'm not offended by the term 'christian wacko'.? I'm sure I've used the term myself. It all depends on context doesn't it?

I don't know any white people who are offended by "honky" or "cracker", but that doesn't make "nigger" any less offensive to blacks.

on the contrary, i've heard black persons use that term amongst themselves unashamedly. But if a white person says it, that's completely different.

This reminds me of an initiative in Malaysia that was trying to outlaw Islamic expressions (alllah ahkbar, wassalam alaikum, etc...) to be forbiden to non-muslims: so non-muslims would be breaking the law if they used those expressions.? And this is a small example of what IMHO is a bonafide agenda in western countries on the part of muslim immigrants..... to strive for a separate law process (sharia) applicable only to muslims.

3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: August 19, 2006, 10:12:58 PM
I'm just saying that however appropriate of a description you consider the term [islamofacist] to be, it's seen as an insult to a lot of people. ?If that's of no concern to you, fine, but then maybe the title of this thread should be "Muslim punching bags wanted for inflammatory discussion" instead of "an invitation to dialogue with Muslims".

What term would rogt use?? I believe there will be resistance in the muslim world to any term coined by westerners.? I can see how muslims can feel subjugated to western terminology (western hegemony) so to promote two-way dialog, can rogt explain to us his terminology for groups taking a literal interpretation of the koran ( stoning, amputation, jihad in context of martydom)? ? and seeking violent confrontation with the western world. Can Islam be expressed successfully within a pluralistic democracy?

What responsibilities, as a muslim , does rogt feel in confronting such groups and denouncing their terrorist tactics?

btw... i'm not offended by the term 'christian wacko'.? I'm sure I've used the term myself. It all depends on context doesn't it?
4  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Saltys Training in thailand on: August 19, 2006, 12:07:56 PM
I would recommend ajarn Pedro Villalobos in Chiang Mai.? ?

He teaches Muay Boran (old school) , regular competitive Muay Thai, and Krabbi Krabong (8th degree gold sash).

Chiang Mai is a much more pleasant city than Bangkok, especially for a long-term stay (you can renew your visa easily by taking a 5hr bus ride to the Myanmar border).?

5  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tito Ortiz uses FMA on: August 18, 2006, 03:28:38 AM
Rodney King was also involved in the Straight Blast Gym if i'm not mistaken.
6  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Tradition and Culture Thread on: August 18, 2006, 01:34:39 AM
It is said that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Is taking up arms spiritual? Depends which side of that equation you are on. Does it make you a better person? Anything that engages us completely is a transformative experience, which is why the samurai took so readily to Zen, understanding the power of having "one mind." Most modern FMA is taught in a niche of "practicality" but anyone who undertakes a process of change experiences it inwardly as well. The old manongs would sometimes hold their hand over the head of a prospective student to see if they were too "hot-headed" to be trusted with deadly knowledge. They were concerned with the character of their students just as many of us are today.

 Thankyou for broaching the subject of ethics.

 Is measuring the character of the student still a necessity? 

 What ethical considerations are there for teaching (or as Bapak remarked, "selling")  techniques via DVDs?

 The samurai, I understand, practiced zen in the pursuit of dissipating fear and hesitation: In their minds, life and death were one. This world is only transitory and to die in service of their lord was the noblest thing. The kamikaze pilots of WWII carried on this tradition and it is also the tradition (martydom) of our current enemies in the Middle East.

 These mental/spiritual themes are seldom expressed or explored openly in the u.s.  ... are they a necessary component ... if nothing eslse, as a cultural footnote?   




7  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Tradition and Culture Thread on: August 17, 2006, 06:20:44 AM
i was going to ask Guro Crafty what traditions the Dog Brothers have started and he is already one step ahead of me. thanks.? Curiously, what the Dog Brothers have done in resurrecting the "Tribal Mentality" is a return to traditionalism in that you can't BUY your way into the Dog Brothers Tribe.?

Today i hope i can recapitulate my post in a more coherent way:

I believe that fighting is only one aspect of the martial arts.? In Asia, fighting phillosophy often goes hand in hand with etiquette, religion, and healing arts. ( In Indonesia, the Pendekar is often seen as a healer more than a fighter). Here is some mystic practices from Pekiti Tersia that i had previously never heard of

These modalities are not overlty expressed in the JKD Family so recently i've come to regard this martial art as Now that I've attained a skill level that i'm happy with, i'm looking for other aspects to explore ( healing, health, art, etc...) and this kind of information isn't overtly advertised within the JKD family ( & DBMA Tribe by association).?

A few years ago in Bangkok i saw a elderly chinese man doing some kind of Shaolin (?) routine: jumping into low crouching stances, then jumping up and kicking. I was impressed that this man at his age demonstrated more flexibility than I have ever had. It occured to me that there aren't many thai boxers of the same age with that kind? of flexibility and movement.? So in the end you could say; yeah... a thai boxer will beat any kung fu stylist. But on the other hand, those kung fu guys will bury the thai boxers. "The candle that burns brightest burns half as long." Just something to think about as we? continue to "Walk as a warrior for all our days."?



As Guro Crafty remarks in Kali Tudo:  MMA style fighting (dueling) has become "the paradigm". It's hard to spar eyejabs, groin strikes, etc... the 'dirty fighting' that's characteristic of Kali/Silat.  I really liked the self defense segment in the KT video and I hope this kind of "environmental/scenario" training can be incorporated to compliment the sparring/attributes development.

Punk Rocker Glenn Danzig has an instructor's ranking in JKD from Sifu Poteet.?

Not sure how much sparring he did but reality proved too much for him.?

8  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / The Tradition and Culture Thread on: August 13, 2006, 11:34:08 AM
? "Absorb what is useful, disregard that which is useless"
? "Smuggling concepts across the frontiers of style."

 In this thread I would like to address the impact of the above statements on traditionalism in the martial arts. In particular:
How do practicioners/teachers (i'm just a student) reconcile the statements above in regards to the culture they are 'borrowing' , 'adapting' , and 'smuggling' ( embarassed) from. ex. I find culture facinating and though i am a big fan of NHB/MMA style martial arts and i want to train in a proven and effective martial art, I find myself bored with NHB/MMA because it's very one-dimensional (just technique and sparring). On the other hand, i find myself recently drawn to traditional martial arts (pencak silat)? because they have a have a history, they come from exotic places, and have many different aspects (self defense, dance/performance/music, spirituality) i can explore. In addition i feel like an anthropologist in that i'm preserving valuable information that's in danger of going extinct. Now I'm living in Indonesia and studying silat here....It's a real adventure cool

? *Does anyone study the culture from where (insert martial art) comes from? or.... Is culture useless?

 * If you profit from the knowledge of a certain culture (financially as in operating a m.a. school)? do you feel you owe something to the country of origin and it's people (and your instructors)??

? *How much of the native culture (predominantly South East Asian i presume for this forum) do you include in your class? (terminology, salutations, jurus, music, art, spirituality, unique weapons, etc..). Do you consider these aspects important to your class?

 * For those who have had training in the country of origin,? do you teach/ train in the same way you were instructed? What do you do differently?

? * The goal of the JKD and Dog Brothers is growth and evolution. But what are we leaving behind? I mean, if a certain style of silat has 12 jurus and I decide only jurus 6-12 are useful so I discard the rest, what are the consequences? What if my teacher is the last representative of that particular style and i am his only student.. will jurus 1-5 will be gone forever? Just because i don't see application in those movements doesn't mean it isnt' there; it might be useful to someone else...... is there something you regret leaving out?

? These questions came up as i was discussing pencak silat with a very well travelled and well spoken silat teacher here in Indonesia. He's not very happy with the "commercialization" of p.s. in America:? ?he feels that we Americans are just "selling techniques" and in the worst cases using patents to "steal" a martial art (smuggle?) and keep it for ourselves.

 I apologize in advance for touching any nerves, I wish i could have organized my thoughts better before posting this thread. Look forward to replies,

9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: July 01, 2006, 11:31:35 AM
greetings all,
i've been monitoring this thread with interest and have finally decided to contribute.

This controversy, as i understand it, originated with the Dog Brothers and associates using the image of a person dressed in Arab dress for target practice.

Arab style dress is becoming more and more popular here in Indonesia, I believe it's because some people assume that because Islam comes from that part of the world, that they must become like Arabs culturally to feel like complete moslems.


Islamophobia: Who is to blame for bad image?
Mohammad Yazid, Jakarta

To create the impression of being a Muslim, an older man driving a Toyota Kijang puts his prayer rug on the dashboard and hangs a string of prayer beads inside the windshield. The long-bearded man already wears a cap and Arab-style shirt, but he seems to lack the feeling of being a "true" Muslim. So he puts the words "Muslim car" on the rear window.

The question arises: Is this a Muslim car? Of course, the answer is no, because Indonesia's favorite Toyota Kijang is a product of Japan, which obviously is not a Muslim country. His behavior provokes comment. Some say, "He's trying to be a good Muslim but he looks strange." Others maintain, "He's free to do what he wants as long as he doesn't bother anyone."

Actually, the man does not mean to create an odd impression, but he is confusing Arabic culture with Islamic teachings. Thus the long beard and Arabic shirt, which create a strange and misleading image for some in the Muslim community. He is trapped in symbolic language and cannot distinguish between making himself Arabic and developing his own Islamic qualities rooted in Indonesian culture. He thinks he follows the Prophet's words, while some opponents of Prophet Muhammad, such as Abu Lahab, also had a long beard.

Various opinions regarding Islam in Indonesia have emerged in line with the diverse views of Islamic groups. The Islamic image is certainly inseparable from influential Muslim figures such as Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who has been branded a radical, Habib Rizieq with his Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Abdurrahman Wahid with his Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) base, and Amien Rais with Muhammadiyah. The other models are reflected in such parties as the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the United Development Party (PPP).

Even many long-standing Muslims become confused by this complex array of choices, let alone those who have just become acquainted with Islam. There are also groups that actively spread their beliefs but often spark conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims as they mix group interests with personal stakes.

The different standpoints of these groups are legitimate. They become a problem when the groups bind themselves rigidly to their beliefs. This attitude eventually makes them exclusive and intolerant. They become closed to other truths that can be found in other parts of the world or in non-Muslim communities. This narrowness contradicts the abundant universal values of Islam.

They ensnare themselves in self-justification by choosing Koran verses that support their point of view. In high spirits they claim to be defenders of Islam while they are actually destroying the image of Islam. The rest of the Muslim world, let alone non-Muslims, are angered by their anarchistic acts, such as suicide attacks under some misinterpreted notion of jihad or holy war.

"We are enjoying a communal victory, but we experience a doctrinal failure," the late Muslim intellectual Nurcholis Madjid is quoted by Sukidi in the book Teologi Inklusif Cak Nur (Nurcholis's Inclusive Theology). According to him, we succeed and win in communal terms but we lose in doctrinal terms. Some of religion's great ideals are not turned into reality.

Several world incidents linked with Islam have occurred, such as the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, the 2004 blast in Kuningan, South Jakarta, and several church bombings at Christmastime, all claiming numerous lives. Naturally the cumulative effect of these occurrences is to create a bad image of Muslims among non-Muslims.

Muslims will find it wiser to respond to this negative impression by looking within themselves. Islam's peace-loving stance should come to the fore, rather than the urge to defend these attacks with long explanations.

An honest attitude will offset all these misunderstandings. There is no need to be ashamed of acknowledging that amid the waves of globalization, Muslims have fallen far behind in promoting the modern ethical values long practiced by non-Muslims. These values include democracy and the ethos of diligence and discipline, all of which improve human existence.

The time has come for the Muslim community in Indonesia to reflect on the fact that as the majority of the population they actually have no role to play in politics. On the contrary, they have become "easy prey" for a number of political parties in every general election.
The bad image of Muslims is understandable, but it can be avoided if they show tolerance on the basis of strong fraternity. Non-Muslims should be aware that they are not the only victims of terror; Muslims themselves are its victims too. All elements need to acknowledge Indonesia's pluralist society and declare "war" on terror and anarchy.

Non-Muslims would also be wise to avoid being trapped by the kind of unreasonable fear associated with ghosts and haunted places. If they fail to face this challenge, the words of Nur Hidayat Wahid, Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly, will prove true: that Islam-phobia is now emerging, under the exact meaning of the word "phobia" in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: "inexplicable and illogical fear".

The writer is a staff member on The Jakarta Post's Opinion Desk. He can be reached at

Arabs are apparently idolized by Non-Arab moslems not for their individual or collective accomplishments, but simply for their heredity. Recently, the Vice President of Indonesia was questioned about promoting widowed and divorced women to potential tourists from the middle east (for the purpose of 'legal prostitution' through the use of temporary marriage contracts which are halal). He remarked that any resulting children would be beneficial:
"The children resulting from these relationships will have good genes. There will be more television actors and actresses from these pretty boys and girls"


Examining state identity, Islam and social justice

Juwono Sudarsono, Jakarta

In recent weeks some Islamist groups had alarmed minority and non-Islamic communities with their fervent call for adherence to a stricter Islamic code of social, economic and political conduct by pushing for an all-encompassing official ban on "amoral and lewd" behavior, giving rise to fears among non-Muslims communities that they may be subjected to legal norms contravening their respective personal and public code of conduct.

Several regional governments have issued edicts applying sharia for public behavior. The Home Ministry is reviewing some of these edicts, which may directly contravene basic provisions of the Indonesian Constitution of 1945.

The Declaration on Indonesian-ness which was read in front of President Yudhoyono and Cabinet ministers on the June 1, 2006, drew reactions from a member of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), who derided the petitioners of 'Indonesian-ness' as being "overly fearful of Islam" and of propounding "outright secular-nationalism."

The fact of the matter is that on June 1, 1945, Sukarno affirmed that Indonesia's state identity would not be overly secular (as in India), nor would it be strictly theocratic (as in Saudi Arabia). Sukarno appealed to Islamic participants in the Preparatory Committee to Prepare Indonesian Independence in mid-1945 to accept the fact that the Indonesian state was to be established based on "an agreement on fundamentals" embraced by all ethnic, racial, provincial as well as religious groups across the former Netherlands East Indies.

They had after all fought together for the independence of the Indonesian Republic. Sukarno also emphasized that there will always be an enduring "mythical quality of unity" in the consciousness of all Indonesians and that diversity was an important feature of "being Indonesian". Nationalist, Islamist and all other beliefs and faiths would be united through a "sublime union of all Indonesian culture and tradition".

Being an Indonesian Muslim, therefore, necessitates a tolerant expression of one's sense of being an Indonesian citizen, with all its rich nuances arising from family, ethnic, provincial and racial heritage including the "enrichment of Islam through understanding the beliefs and precepts of other faiths."

Among Muslims in Indonesia, therefore, there would remain diverse interpretations of precepts, applications and rituals of Islam among the Javanese in Central and East Java, just as there would be variations among the Sundanese, Minangkabau/Padang, Makassar and Bugis -- as indeed among the proud Acehnese.

Likewise with Indonesian Protestantism (Batak Church, Baptist, Methodist) and the significant though less pronounced variations of Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as Confucianism. Eclecticism and syncretism were the underpinnings of healthy pluralism and mutual tolerance.

It is worth remembering that Indonesia, although the country with largest number of Muslims is not an Islamic state, a distinction clearly made when Indonesia was accepted as a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference. (Indonesians take note of the fact that the OIC was never set up as an organization in which each member state had implanted the Islamic faith as its sole basis of state identity, hence the nomenclature of "conference").

In the event, the recent debates resurfaced on the question of emphasis. Non-Muslims and minority groups' adherence to the "plurality and tolerant values" is seen as affirming the need to remind Islamist groups of the basis of Indonesian identity. Islamist groups, on the other hand, perceive increased "market globalization, secularization and loss of moral values" as corrosive encroachments on their notion of the central message of their faith, which is social justice and to which Islam "provides outreach, comfort and solace to the poor and the desperate".

My own feeling is that the rehashing of philosophical and values debates urgently need to be followed by things more concrete and tangible. Interfaith dialogs, including matters relating to "Islam-West relations", have had considerable play in many forums across the Middle East, North America, Europe and Asia.

How about following up these forums with "projects on interfaith employment" funded jointly by Islamic and Western multilateral aid agencies and donor governments. After all, when all is said and done, what young people -- especially poor Muslims across the developing world -- really need are jobs, jobs, jobs. Jobs will regain their sense of identity and reawaken their dignity.

Social justice and employment will reduce their sense of marginalization and humiliation. Social justice and employment will enhance their sense of individual self-worth. More justice and jobs among Indonesia's youth would ease the strains imposed on the security services who otherwise may have to crack down using the full force of the law against those who are too desperate and too despondent to care or to be aware of the rule of law and human rights.

The writer is the defense minister of Indonesia. The above article reflects his personal views.
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