My Journey With Sensei Kuppusamy
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011
Sensei Kuppusamy transcended his mortal body recently to hover as a loving, watchful presence to guide, inspire, encourage and protect us as we transit the ups and downs of life. Sensei Kuppusamy’s contributions; Sensei mastered karate, qiqong, kobudo, silambam, taichi and aikido and taught thousands of students around the world; introduced serious training of karate in India in the mid-seventies. However, much more than that he created incomes, careers, lifestyles and personalities of countless people. He ensured that students became strong and independent to face the vicissitudes of life. How Sensei moulded me, Sensei never pontificated! He was quiet and softest of the soft spoken. Never given to showing off his knowledge, strength or mastery. Every movement of his was a treat to watch; graceful and yet devastating! His karate was beautiful beyond compare and explosive in impact.
No matter what technique he employed, the result was complete destruction of the opponent. With students he was gentle and loving; but in the dojo he was unforgiving in his expectation of excellence. He taught me to control anger because anger destroys technique and renders training inoperable. He taught me that mastery needs practice, hundreds of hours of training and blood, sweat and tears. While training with him he taught me to jettison anger, stay in the present and fight with courage.
Lessons For Life Learnt From Sensei
• Forbearance: When he suffered unimaginable pain from his near fatal motorbike accident in 1986 Sensei bore it with total fortitude and forbearance. Never did he complain or make a fuss. Intense pain was a constant throughout his life and yet he never lost his positive outlook. The accident shattered his ability to use his most powerful and highly developed weapons, namely his kicks. Instead of being overcome by self-pity he quietly transferred his skills to hand techniques, aikido and taichi.
• Forgiving: Sensei was cheated, disrespected and let down by a lot of his own students; many of them were opportunists who learnt all they could from him and then thought they could do better by dumping him; several set up their own schools of karate; very few paid respects to him and even fewer paid appropriate fees to him. Some of them borrowed money from him and never repaid. While he was deeply hurt by all of them Sensei forgave every one of them and was able to look kindly on the transgressions. Many of these students are yet to receive retribution for the gravest sin of hurting and humiliating and cheating the guru; they will surely reap what they have sown.
• Positivity: Despite the pain and setbacks of every kind Sensei was always thinking of solutions and positive action. He ventured into many new fields and tried everything. One thing Sensei never tried and avoided scrupulously was being bitter. This is indeed the hallmark of an evolved being! When someone who cheated him did very well (financially) Sensei was gracious and quick to acknowledge success.
• Continuous Learning: Sensei never let the rigidity of the style interfere with the expansion of his skill and knowledge. He learnt the characteristics of several other styles of karate and was indeed the master of masters in karate. Still, he continued to learn other martial arts and thoughtdeeply about every move, every technique and how he could teach it more effectively. He was able to assimilate the good aspects from every other style of karate and other martial arts which he would then blend into his own interpretative style. This approach imbued him with a wisdom that transcended the dojo and transformed him into a highly evolved being.
• Perfect Guru: Sensei was the walking, talking, teaching incarnation of the Perfect Guru. His sole concern was the welfare of his student. If anyone was injured in the course of training he would immediately attend to him and bring to bear his formidable knowledge of martial arts medicine to bear on the injury. He would share complete knowledge with his students unlike the many psuedo-Senseis who withhold crucial bits of knowledge for fear of being overtaken by students. Sensei had no fear and was therefore totally secure in imparting knowledge. He was humble, caring, sensitive and strong. He was hard and yet kind and selfless. He gave his all so that the student could prosper. Looking back at Sensei’s life and indeed my own close personal relationship with him, it is now clear to me that he was not just a martial arts master of masters; he was indeed a veritable spiritual guru. It was my great good fortune that I was able to learn from him and to be with him through his journey. My devotion to his teachings will I’m sure fortify me as I continue on the journey.