The following is an excerpt of an interview with Mark V. Wiley, a respected researcher of Asian Martial Arts, especially Kali. The interview by Alan Orr concerned his experiences training in Asia and meeting amazing masters. In this excerpt, he details his encounter with Raja Aziz Laksamana Hoja Andak of Kegayungan Acheh Helang Putih. The full interview is available here.
"The third encounter concerns Silat Master Raja Aziz. It was during my third research/training trip to Malaysia that I met Raja Aziz, the Pendakar of the White Eagle Silat style. I had studied several silat systems and met many masters over the years, but as a budding anthropologist was increasingly more interested in the spiritual aspects of these arts. Few non-Muslims are allowed to witness such things, especially in Malaysia, but I was determined, even though thus far I was only given demonstrations of the physical art and lectured on its history, philosophy and spiritual aspects.
"It happened by accident that while I was talking with Azlan Ghanie, the publisher of "Seni Beladiri" magazine in Kuala Lumpur, that Raja Aziz came by to pay him a visit. After some introductions, I conducted an extended interview with him. This was followed by picture and video taking of his techniques with empty hand and kris. I then asked for a demonstration of White Eagle Silat’s inner power and spiritual aspects, and Raja Aziz agreed.
"With little fan-fare, he murmured some phrases in Malay, gathered his spirit and his body started shaking. He then crouched into a stance and extended his arms and when he looked up at me he let out a loud yell, like that of an eagle.
"As sure as I am alive, it appeared to me (and Ron Beaubian, my fellow researcher from Japan) as if he actually turned into an eagle before my eyes! His body seemed to grow wings and his face a beak and feathers and he looked as if he was about to soar above the clouds. He continued this for some time and then relaxed back into "human" form. I was shocked and dumbfounded.
"Everybody present laughed, including myself (though nervously). I asked him how he was able to capture the spirit of the eagle and transform himself into it before my very eyes. Raja Aziz said it was the result of a lifetime study and religious practice and belief. His art was that of the white eagle, and only the true pendekar can become one with the bird. I was finally convinced such levels existed outside of fantasy and the stories of zealous students.
"In short, I continue to travel the world in search of great masters, and while many are great technicians and some great fighters, not many can manifest the true levels of what I consider "mastery." Such experiences as the three mentioned here (among others) leave me with the knowledge that only through proper and dedicated training in connection with a clear conscience and centered mind, can such high levels of martial art be attained. Perhaps one day I will be fortunate to reach such levels."