I’m sorry to be so blunt about it, GM. But death is inevitable and I’m wondering if you’ve ever thought of how your group will be after you passed on.
Death is a taboo subject for many Filipinos but it’s constantly on my mind these days because over the past few months there have been too many deaths in our family: first, my cousin Mauro, 65, then my Uncle Rod, 82 and then my cousin Dante, 76.
And then the other day, an FMA master posted a very insightful Facebook commentary about a controversy in their group: Their grandmaster died and now several people claim that they are the rightful heir. He said, “I can’t begin to tell you how many of my martial brethren stress over heir related issues.”
Death is a reality. It’s going to happen whether we accept it or not.
So… what now?
I dare say to all of us: prepare to die.
Those who are prepared to die are most prepared to live. -Anonymous-
Please allow me to share my two cents’ worth:
Prepare your spirit. Think about your beliefs about death and do what you have to do.
Prepare your finances. It’s sad when Grandmasters who have dedicated their lives to FMA die in poverty. I hope I heard wrong but is it true that during the last days of his life, GM Antonio Illustrisimo wandered like a pauper in Luneta and Quiapo? And then when he died, he was buried in an unmarked tomb? Is that just a cruel rumor? I hope so. Because if it’s true, then it’s really depressing. Please, what can we do to prepare in this aspect?
Prepare your group: First, write down who you are and what you do. A hundred years from now, you and your work will still be accurately remembered if there’s a written record. (This is why, among others, I really appreciate FMA Informative and authors like GM Mark Wiley for the wealth of knowledge they are preserving for all of us.)
Second, I think it’s best for the grooming of successor(s) to start while a GM is still active because it takes time to mentor. You need energy to make sure that your core values, style, and vision are caught. It’s not cloning but just making sure that what you have worked hard for will not die with you. I’m sure this can be difficult but I think it’s better to stress about it now while you are still around to control egos.
In the end, I join the Psalmist in saying,
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
What are your thoughts on this? Please share them in the comment section below because now’s a good time as any to talk about death.
I sincerely wish you all well. Pugay!
P.S. Thank you for taking time to read The Deadly Dance 🙂