- What is Project Meraki?
- Introduction of Ben Boeglin
- You’re very involved in the teaching of martial arts and other practices that focus on self defence / safety. Was there a major personal event that contributed towards you wanting to teach others personal safety? If not, how and why did you get into it?
- I’ll be bringing on the founder of R.E.D later on in this season, briefly tell us, what is R.E.D? What's your involvement in the R.E.D academy?
- At your dojo in Singapore, you and a couple others teach Kali Majaphit, MOVE Academy and R.E.D, you mostly being involved and a director for the MOVE academy. What is the MOVE Academy? What do you teach to people in the program? Asides from parkour being practical in personal safety, what other benefits can you get from it?
- Should you have to be a pro athlete to care about your health or wellbeing? What does the average person benefit from staying active and healthy?
- What is Permaculture? What got you into Permaculture? Why do you think it's so important?
- You used take on a lot of managing roles in your jobs, did you get into management by working your way up to ranks initially, or did you study, or something different all together? Progressing through your career, did you aim to be in a position like now where you're really 'in charge' or did it just happen?
- Did you always want to be where you are now? As a kid/teen were you interested in the same things or did they enter your life as an adult? What steps did you have to take from getting out of school to getting to where you are now? In terms of study, picking up jobs, work ethic, lifestyle, etc.
- I’d have to say you’ve been one of my mentors throughout my early adult life, did you have any mentors of your own growing up? What impact have they had on you?
- What does an average day look like for you? Any morning routines, night routines? Daily eating and training habits? Daily mindfulness or reading/learning?
- What do your future plans look like? Expanding on where you already are or something totally different?
- What's next? (Next Episode Mentor Reveal)
Saphira: Good afternoon/good morning/good evening, my name is Saphira and this is Project Meraki. Meraki is the concept of people putting a little piece of themselves into their work, and this project is dedicated talking to friends and mentors I believe do this in their lives. With me today, in the dojo at Carpenter street here in Singapore is Ben Boeglin the director of Kali Majapahit, as well as R.E.D Asia.
Saphira: So Hi Ben, uh, very involved in the teaching of martial arts and other practices that focus on self defence and safety. Was there any major personal event that contributed towards you wanting to teach others personal safety, if not, how and why did you get into it?
Ben: Uhm, actually the way I started teaching that was more I was interested in the health aspect of things, the personal development. Like, how do you, how do you grow yourself? How do you basically increase your awareness and things like this, so this has got me into personal development and I just found that the best tool to do it was martial arts which then evolved into, so you have the art part, which is more of something that, you know, takes a decade, two decades, three decades. And then you have the personal safety, the self defence which is something that should be very simple, something that should be straight forward, that everyone can do. And that doesn’t take too long to learn.
Saphira: Right, right, I’ll be bringing on the founder of R.E.D later on in this season, but briefly tell us, what is R.E.D? And what is your involvement in the R.E.D academy?
Ben: Okay, so R.E.D is something that really came about following the Martial Arts that we’ve been teaching for now decades, and the law enforcement training that we’ve been giving. And so what we wanted to do is to really come up with a curriculum or program that, everyone, again, can do, whether it’s kids, adults. Something that we can conduct for the public, for companies, for organizations, for places of worship. And the goal beyond this was to have something that doesn’t just focus on self-defence which is something that you find a lot. But even more than that, to have all aspects of personal safety, so for us that means recognising a danger before it happens, uhm, obviously defending yourself if you’re in a situation where someone attacks you or you have a, what we call, an unexpected dangerous event that happens. And then the after which is what we normally, everyone teaches when you talk about self-defence, which is, running away. So we wanted to put all that together and that’s what R.E.D stands for, it’s ‘Recognise & Escape Danger’, so that people are equipped to deal with various unexpected dangerous situations.
Saphira: What’s your involvement like?
Ben: So, I’m basically the director for Asia, so the regional office based here in Singapore. But we’re giving seminars and trainings for corporates and public and hotels around the region, so, I’m leading that over here.
Saphira: Alright, okay, so at your dojo in Singapore, you and a couple others teach Kali Majapahit, MOVE Academy and R.E.D.
Saphira: You mostly being involved as the director of Move Academy
Ben: That aswell, yeah
Saphira: What is Move Academy? What do you teach people in the program? Apart from parkour being practical in personal safety? What other benefits do you think you can get out of it?
Ben: Yeah, so in R.E.D you have some elements of Move, elements of running away right? So overcoming obstacles and things like this. Beyond that Move really is about the philosophy and the origins of what we call Art De Deplacément which means the art of movement. A lot of people know it as parkour, as free-running, and the reason why we kept the original name is because beyond what you see, the flips and the vaults and the climbing and the physical part of it, we really wanted to emphasise on the values that the founders started with and still represent today. Which is, well the list is quite long, but working together, the culture of effort, the culture of helping each other, the culture of contributing towards society. So I guess in a way Move is about also, again, growing yourself physically and mentally, and the tool that we use for Move is basically movement.
Saphira: So should you have to be a pro athlete to care about your health or wellbeing? What does the average person benefit from staying active and healthy?
Ben: It’s difficult to reply in a way, so, of course, yes, it’s important for everyone to be physically healthy, because you’re, not to make it sound too cheesy but if the body is not healthy it will be difficult to really be optimum with the mind, right? So it’s gonna be about developing that, and again, like different age groups for instance will benefit from it in different ways. So the kids, it’s gonna be very, very important because it has an impact on even how well they do at school. There’s something called the pyramid of learning where at the very, very base of that pyramid it’s all the physical abilities, what we call the developmental milestones of coordination, balance, and all this. And at the very tip of that pyramid is all the academics, all the brainy stuff basically. But if you don’t have a healthy body especially for kids but even so for the adults, it’s very difficult to achieve other goals, to deal with stress, to deal with emotions and to just go through a day as optimally as possible.
Saphira: And so do you think you should have to be a pro athlete to care about your health and wellbeing?
Ben: No, I think, actually being an athlete, the focus, and I’m not saying this is the case all the time, your focus is on performance, right? It’s like, as an athlete your goal is to perform at your highest potential with a specific goal, whether it’s a competition, or anything. That doesn’t always go with being healthy. And I’m not saying that’s the case all the time, there’s plenty of athletes who feed the body the right way and take care of the body in the right way in order to achieve that peak performance. But beyond that I think that everyone needs to take care of the body, whether you’re an athlete or not I think it’ important. And I think it’s important to have a holistic view of what it means, it’s not just being as strong as possible, but if I’m very strong but I’m not flexible then that’s gonna cause me problems. It’s not about overworking the body, or overbuilding the body, or really reaching for the performance but are you able to do this for one year? For 10 years? So I think looking at athletes is a good way to have a role model and be like ‘Wow, okay, this is what’s possible’. Now every person needs to adapt and go after what’s important to them, it might not be, you know, if you have a busy life with kids and work and a job and all that it might not be easy to reach that peak physical performance that an athlete will do, and that requires hours and hours of training every day, every week. But it’s more like, okay, why do you want to be fit? Why do you want to take care of your body? And from there you find the routine or activity that fits that.
Saphira: I’ve heard you’re involved in perma-culture, like, what way has it helped you and why is it so important to you at one point?
Ben: So perma-culture basically, so how would I put it… It’s a form of gardening in a way? Where you’re trying to re-create an ecosystem, basically you’re trying to imitate nature to grow food. So I took what they’d call the ‘perma-culture design’ certificate back in Australia, just, again, because it was going in the same vision of holistic living I guess? Where I wanted to explore, okay what can the mind do? What can the body do? And beyond that how can everything I do have a positive contribution around me? And I think just understanding the ecosystem and nature around us, especially for us living in Singapore where we’re in the city and we don’t necessarily get access to that much land. I wanted to have that understanding of where food comes from and what does it take? So it’s just a hobby of mine, I don’t get to apply it that much here, but, yeah, it’s something that I’m interested in.
Saphira: Okay so I’m looking at your job history a bit, you used to take on a lot of managing roles in your jobs. Did you get in to management by working up the ranks initially, or did you study, or something different all together? Progressing through your career did you aim to be in a position where you are like really in charge, or did it just happen?
Ben: Yeah, basically what I’ve always believed in, so I did a MBA in business and marketing but for me, it was always, in a way in sounds grand, but always working my way up. Basically, just most of the companies I’ve worked in, whether they were big or small, it was always in a smaller office. So I had an opportunity to have a vision of everything that was happening, even if it was a bigger, like IBM, or bigger companies, it was always in a branch, or in a small section. I think that’s what I enjoyed, was really understanding everything that was happening, I was very unhappy when I was working in a company where my role was a very small part of something very big, I wanted to be invlolved in the various aspects. What I realised pretty quick was that I enjoyed that and I think that’s what brought me towards entrepreneurship was being able to really be involved in my own projects and to bring people with me on board. But I really believe in, again, if you’ve studied and then you get posted right away at the very top I think you have a missing understanding of what it takes to get things done. So, so far all the jobs that I’ve had I’ve either created myself, if it’s my own company. Or for people I’ve worked with, basically I’ve convinced them to get me to a position where I could really contribute.
Saphira: So did you always want to be where you are right now? Like, as a kid or teenager were you interested in the same things or did they enter your life as an adult? Like what steps did you have to take from getting out of school to getting to where you are right now? In terms of study, picking up jobs, work ethic, lifestyle?
Ben: I think risk-taking was the key. Yeah, there are a few ways of doing things and I believed in, actually, when I finished my studies I had the choice to either continue further, to take maybe the ‘safe path’, I don’t know, or to take a opportunity to move overseas, which is move to Singapore, and basically work my way through something that could have become bigger. So it was gonna be a tough mission, I was actually supposed to be in the Philippines to develop for an F&B (Food and Beverage) company. But I think from the beginning, even like a long time ago when I did an internship in, like, a concert hall, and I really enjoyed being backstage and seeing everything that’s happening, and being involved in the whole thing, and the rush, like, you have to make everything happen within a very short amount of time and you’re working with a lot of people but at the same time you’re very independent with what you’re doing. So I think that’s the first things that I really liked, and at first I thought that it was specific to that industry, but then I realised, no, what I like is, again, the feeling of working with other people but at the same time, you’re in charge of your own thing and you can bring it forward, basically.
Saphira: I have to say that you’ve been one of my mentors throughout my early adult life. Did you have any mentors of your own, you know, when you were growing up, what impact have they had on you? If you had one. Otherwise, what did you do to know ‘Okay, this is the right thing that I’m doing’.
Ben: You know, I do believe in, that you’ll find a lot of leaders out there, or business gurus and all that who talk about ‘your circle of 5’, or that close circle around you, and I really, really do believe that makes a big difference. If you surround yourself with people who are successful in the way that’s successful to you. So it doesn’t mean, you know, if you want to be super rich, then these are the people you want to surround yourself with, if you wanna be someone who impacts the world in a very positive way and has a positive impact around you, then be around people who are like that. So I do believe it’s very, very important, I had people that either I worked with or I worked for or worked for me even, who influenced me a lot. And what I’ve learned to do is, if you surround yourself with people who are like-minded and who are exactly like you, it’s good, because it’s inspirational and you continue and all grow in the same path. But I think it’s also very beneficial to have people who are strong in areas that you’re not. If you’re very creative and you’re not very structured but you work with someone who’s very structured, it forces you to get better in that area. So I really do believe in having someone, or people around you who will contribute towards your goals, basically.
Saphira: Do you think it’s imperative that you should surround yourself or is there a way you can work without surrounding these people?
Ben: You can, you can and I’m a very big believer of getting things done yourself and achieving things yourself, but I really do believe that, one, there is obvious benefits in having other people as part of the journey. Because you’re contributing as well to have other people grow from that. I do believe it’s a very good push, no matter what you will have people around you. Unless you live in a cave and you’re alone then you’re gonna be alone but, what I mean, people who will inspire you, it could be your family, it could be your friends, it could be official mentors, people who really take you under your wings, but, again, you will always have people. And I think it’s most difficult if you believe in something and you’re really passionate about something and you’re really executing, like you’re really hard at work doing something, and you have people around you who keep telling you ‘nah, okay, this doesn’t work’ and ‘why do you waste your time with this?’. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take into account, ‘okay why are they saying that?’, and if it’s just because it’s not the path that they took then it’s not gonna be energy that’s gonna be helpful for you. So, yeah. And we always have people around us, and that’s the circle, you always have those 5 people who are closest to you. And it’s just matter of looking at that and deciding, ‘is it beneficial for me or should I just distance myself from them for a little bit so I keep pushing in that direction’.
Saphira: Mhmm, so I can focus on myself for a bit. Okay, so, like, what does and average day look like? Any morning routines, any night routines, daily things, training habits, daily mindfulness, or like, reading and learning.
Ben: It’s difficult for me, I’m sure some people maybe it’s true, but for me, I’m not very good at having a routine. But basically I like to start early, I do like to start at maybe seven, or seven thirty, cause if I wake up any later then I’ll feel that I’ve missed part of the day. Like everyone got started and I’m late in the, not in the race, but in everything that’s happening, so I like to start early. If I have any routine then that’ll be the first thing that I do, whether it’s training, or whatever it is, the earliest is better because then you know that nothing’s going to disrupt that. So I get the habit of of trying to have a routine of whatever it is as early as I can. If I try to have a routine in the afternoon by then a lot of things pop up and a lot of things happen and so then I don’t manage to get it done. In terms of mindfulness what I try to do, is again, when your managing something, if you’re dealing with different projects at the same time one thing that happens very easily is that you get distracted you spend five minutes on something, you don’t finish it, then you have thirty tabs open on your web browser and you go to something it else and ‘Oh there’s a message on Facebook’ and there’s another message on Whatsapp and ‘Oh, I’m supposed to do this’. And you basically end up spending a lot of time going back and forth between different things. And one thing I’m working on right now is basically just having focus. So for fifteen minutes it’s gonna be, well at least fifteen minutes, for me it’s a struggle and for quite a few people it would be the same, just focusing on one task. Like there’s no messages, there’s no calling, there’s no whatever, unless it’s related to achieving that task that I have for fifteen minutes, and not doing anything else. And I think that that’s an illness that we have now, everything that’s happening so fast on social media, so that we jump from one thing to another, when I think it’s important to, not necessarily slow things down, but, to focus a little bit better, have our attention span stretched a little bit longer. Otherwise, yeah, and I usually go to bed by about 1 o’ clock, 1am.
Saphira: Alright so, I’d say quite an early sleep for most of us at this age too huh?
Ben: Yeah basically I try to sleep for six to seven hours, that’s the routine I need to keep otherwise I don’t function properly during the day.
Saphira: Okay, so what do you do your future plans look like? Expanding on where you’re already at right now or something totally different?
Ben: Well, strengthening what I have, so it’s always… I’m not gonna say it’s specific to Sinappore, but in Singapore when you run something you constantly have to kind renew yourself. Even through the core of what you teach or what you do is the same and the values and whatever you believe in will stay the same, because there are so many things happening, so much ways for people to get their attention everywhere it’s important to always renew yourself and refresh yourself in whatever you do. So, that takes quite a bit of a chunk of my time to focus on the existing and have enough time for simply, well, the people I work with, the instructors, or the students, or having quality time in what already is existing. So that takes quite a bit of my time, and at the same time I always need to be in the ‘What’s happening in one or two years?’, basically having projects in mind. Because if you focus on being in the business you lose that vision of, that micro-vision of everything that’s happening. So it’s, I’m trying to have a balance between what I’m executing what I’m doing well, and at the same time, ‘Okay, what’s next?’, and what are the new projects? And for the new projects it’s, yeah, branching out, the same thing that we do, but different locations.
Saphira: Actually, yeah, that’s all I’ve got for you, thank you so much Ben!
Saphira: ♫If you would like to connect with Ben♫ you can search up ‘Kali Majapahit’ or ‘R.E.D Asia’ and drop him an email there to find out more on what it’s all about. Up next we have Ling from Sparks where we’ll be talking about the secrets of learning and how it has helped her to become a better person, stay tuned.
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