Once again the African centered Martial Art community has experienced the passing of a pioneer and innovator in the cause of self-mastery. Ahati Kilindi Iyi was a visionary and prophetic teacher of African Warrior systems. He traveled across the United States, and journeyed to the African Continent in his quest to study and teach African Martial Sciences.
Ahati was a phenomenal Martial Artist who moved with the grace and speed of a gazelle, and the power of a python. He was highly proficient in the use of edged and stick weapons which he wielded with pin-point accuracy. His knowledge of African culture and history was astounding. In his lectures he spoke with the insight and authority of a Griot, sharing with his audience visions of warrior culture assumed by the uninitiated to be the sole domain of Asian cultures.
I first met Ahati in the late 80s when he journeyed to New Jersey to meet and converse with me. He was a large man with a deep vibrant voice and a penetrating gaze. Having only spoken to him by telephone, I was immediately able to identify him as he stood in front of Pennsylvania Train Station in Newark New Jersey upon the occasion of many visits to the area. He observed me closely as we introduced ourselves, and I knew that he was measuring my energy and ability in the field of African Warrior Culture. I knew that he had traveled to the Continent, and would very likely be suspect of anyone claiming knowledge and ability in the culture. In fact the subject arose during one of our conversations when I mentioned to him that I had never traveled to the Motherland. He responded by saying ” Dan Inosanto has never been to the Philippines and he has vast knowledge of those systems”. Ahati never lauded his experiences or abilities through aggressive rhetoric, but demonstrated his great ability through highly advanced skills and commanding intelligence.
Words cannot express my dismay when informed by my son of the passing of yet another of my Comrades and Brothers who served with me in the Golden Age of Martial Culture. My concern is about the legacies left by such dedicated pioneers and artists. Who will carry them forward when we are all gone? The purpose of this work transcends kicking and punching. It is about the philosophy, principles and practices that enhance the human being in this time of great spiritual, mental and physical challenge!
Ahati Kiindi Iyi dedicated his life to this work, may his efforts, and the efforts of his family and students be not in vain.
Peace and blessings to all,
Shaha Mfundishi Maasi