Ingo’s martial arts journey began in 2008, when he joined a student Aikido club in university for physical exercise. The varied nature of martial arts appealed to him, with the technical aspect of Aikido in particular interesting his knowledge-thirsty mind. The club he was in however was by its location necessarily limited in scope, and he never thought to look beyond, keeping up his training only as a form of commitment to movement.
Then in 2010, a girl he had a crush on (don’t laugh; we’ve all been there) told him about a Filipino martial art called Kali that she was training in. He went along to see – and then, completely apart from her personal attractions, he was hooked. Hooked for life, he said. The complexity and breadth of the art appealed to him in all its aspects.
For the next 6 years, he trained at the school. Absolutely without fail, for every single week of those 6 years, he attended classes twice weekly. Unfortunately, early on in his entry into the martial art world, the main instructor for the school got caught up in personal troubles, and more and more frequently, there would be no instructor at class. For almost 2 years, Ingo led most of the classes himself – with no stable curriculum on hand to consult, and with students of rather widely varying skill levels.
In January 2012, he tried climbing for the first time, and fell in love. With the same disciplined and unwavering consistency that is his hallmark, he began training first twice, then thrice weekly, again without fail. The comprehensive full-body strength and flexibility required in climbing toned his muscles and sculpted his body.
He met Yee Han at their first Peaceful Warrior Camp held in Bali in 2012. Although they had a rather dramatic first meeting, sparks didn’t fly (he found her attractive, but did find a lot of other women at the camp attractive too. Spontaneous plug: Check out the Peaceful Warrior Camps, they are full of attractive people!). In 2014 however, a sudden dream and a gathering under the full moon became the impetus that led to something much deeper between them…
At 18, Yee Han began sniffing around for a martial art she could train in – why, she couldn’t really tell you. It simply seemed like an interesting way to gain some practical knowledge in self defense, combining it with physical activity. She flirted briefly with Wing Chun for about 2 months, but left concluding that it was the relatively intimate body contact necessary for practice that repelled her.
In 2008, she developed a huge crush and consequently also developed some large self-esteem issues about her physical appearance. Remembering her experience from 3 years back, she began looking for a martial art again – only, she insisted, she wanted something weapons-based, something that would allow her to work at a long-range distance. Several schools later (including tryouts at Wing Chun, Muay Thai and Aikido schools), a Karate instructor informed her that while they did not teach weapons to beginners, she could perhaps try a Filipino martial arts school: Kali Majapahit. Powered by decreasing options, a narrower scope for hope, and despite her huge skepticism, she went for a trial anyway.
It goes without saying that after one hour she signed up for a month; and after one month she signed up for life.
In 2012, she met the sister of Kali Majapahit’s co-founder Lila Evrard: Beatrice Caisson. The two sisters went on to open Tahiti Dance Fitness, the pioneering Tahitian dance school in Singapore. They enthusiastically invited her to join in the classes; bound by loyalty and love, she politely winced her way through a few embarrassing classes, then found herself signing up for a big performance at the end of the year. By the time the performance was over, she was wholly in love with the art, the energy of the classes, and most of all with the women who danced and loved together.
For a few years Guro Fred Evrard had made multiple trips to Paris to court the founders of L’Art du Deplacement (ADD): original members of the Yamakasi, and stars of the movie of the same name by Luc Besson that popularised the movement worldwide. In 2013, drawn by star power, she began training in ADD as well. The sheer comprehensiveness of physical movement was both the biggest attraction and biggest physical challenge she had ever faced (for a city girl in whose life physical movement was a secondary option that seldom presented itself).
Throughout her entire journey in Kali Majapahit since 2008, she had slowly but steadily made changes to her diet – her thinking – her entire lifestyle. Founder Guro Fred Evrard expounded (or pounded) the responsibility of a martial artist to have awareness and deliberation in all aspects of life. Primary in this is respect for oneself, for others, for other living creatures, and for our planet.