Those people who know him often have trouble deciding what to call him. He is accredited in Japanese, Chinese and Melayu martial art styles, respectively giving him the titles of sensei, sifu and cikgu. I used to call him sensei, but eventually settled on just cikgu.
Cikgu Zulkipli Ismail is a martial arts practitioner and teacher from Sarawak and has become quite known to readers of SENI BELADIRI magazine for his sharp pen, often seen levelling criticisms while discussing issues in the Malaysian martial arts scene.
He has also written various articles in the magazine dealing with such varied topics as spirituality in silat, progression in silat olahraga, tai chi and traditional exercise, reality-based teaching and much more.
I first got to know Cikgu Zul when he made dedicated trips to Kuala Lumpur to study Senaman Tua from guru Azlan Ghanie several years ago. With a strong base in Tai Chi, Cikgu Zul picked up the traditional Melayu form very quickly. We met again in several other Senaman Tua and Silat seminars.
The one thing that strikes me about Cikgu Zul is his contradictory amiableness. If you meet him in person, the first thing that comes to your mind is terror, because Cikgu Zul is a huge mass of muscle. For those familiar with Cikgu Zul's board posts on the SMC Forums will know of his fondness of the animated character, Shrek. THAT is the body size I'm talking about.
But, amazingly, Cikgu Zul is a soft-spoken (albeit with a booming voice) practitioner who values the arts he studies and guards them well. With background in boxing, aikido, tai chi, pukulan and silat, his thirst for knowledge carries him over hundreds of miles. He is not unique, but he is rare.
Now, with his independent (meaning, in his own publication) appearance in the cyber world, many more martial artists in Malaysia can drink from this valuable resource, once limited to only close friends and acquaintances.
Welcome, Cikgu Zul, and may the luminescence of your writing light all our paths!