Welcome to this interview with Fred Evrard founder of Kali Majapahit. I have been following his journey for some time and have always found it to be inspiring.
It checks all the boxes that I look for Mental, Physical and Financial success, living a balanced, exciting life learning and growing every day.
I really hope you enjoy this interview, for me it really shows what we can achieve when we follow our passions 100% every single day.
Big thank you to Fred for taking time out of his day to answer my questions.
Before we start, have a look at the Kali Majapahit History video below to get some context.
DOT: Thanks for joining us on Dawn Of Truth.
You are the founder of Kali Majapahit, adventurer, teacher and by the looks of your website, eternal student.
I really want to ask about all your travels and how Kali Majapahit came to be, but first before we get to that, can you give us some background on how you became interested in Martial Arts as a youngster.
Fred Evrard: Hi, and thank you for inviting me to this interview. I was born in a martial arts family (mother and father in Judo and Western Boxing), so I started my training before I could even walk!
Before I was 17, I had already been involved in Judo, Boxing, Karate, Savate, Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu (Wushu and Sanda). At age 17, I started traveling for martial arts by going to China… I never stopped ever since, and eventually became very involved in Southeast Asian martial arts and went for a 4-year martial arts journey around-the-world with my wife and partner Lila.
DOT: I see you were a Red Beret in the Paratroopers. Can you share how this experience shaped your thinking in terms of Martial Arts?
Fred Evrard: I was a Red beret Paratrooper during my military service in the French Army, yes, and I had the opportunity to train few people there in hand combat and knife defense… It’s always interesting to meet, discuss and train “real-life” combatants.
DOT: Your first schools where opened in 1998 after which came the big 4 year trip around the world.
The idea of traveling and training is the dream of most of us Martial
Artists, who watched Kung Fu as a child.
So can you tell us more about what prompted you to go from the dream of doing it, to actually dong it? As 4 years is a long time to be away.
Fred Evrard: Sure. One of my friend and student in Tahiti (where I was living at the time) told me about those around-the-world plane tickets.
At the time, one could travel the world for 1 year for 3,000 euros, which was very cheap.
I told my wife about it (she was a lawyer at the time, but like me, a martial artist since she was 5, with a martial arts father), and we talked a bit about how great it would be to go on a journey like the ancient samurai’s… but to me, that was it… just talks and ideas… 3 days later, she comes home from work and tells me: “I quit my job today, we can go!”
It was February 2003. So after more than thirty years of martial arts training and teaching, my wife Lila and I decided to leave our home in Tahiti for a trip around the world, an initiation we could say, to deepen our knowledge in martial arts, traditional healing, philosophies and spirituality.
Our journey gave us the opportunity to meet mentors and masters of all sorts (instructors, monks, teachers, healers…), and to visit places we couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams. Trips to each individual country were very much focused on martial arts, personal development, spirituality as well as traditional medicines.
In reality, the journey lasted more than 4 years because we kept traveling for training and teaching after that, but the first 4 years were non-stop. No job, no money, no home… Just training and growing. We went (often several times) to Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Tibet, Vietnam, Thailand, France, Germany, Norway, USA, Lebanon, Canada, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and India.
DOT: Looking more closely at your 4 years away, can you tell us more about some of the challenges you faced while training so intensively and for so long.
Fred Evrard: The biggest question was our marriage… How were we going to deal with being with each other 23.5 hours a day for 1,500 days. The truth is, it was perfect, fluid, and problem-less… Lila and I have been together for 15 years, and our relationship since that trip is flawless.
We don’t argue, we don’t fight (I wouldn’t want to fight her when she is angry anyway… I saw her on the street 2 times in 15 years… It didn’t end well for the other guy). A trip around the world with your wife/husband will either kill your couple or make you stronger than you could ever imagine. For us, it was the second solution.
Money, time, work, none of this matter when you HAVE TO GO. It didn’t for us.
My advice: don’t make excuses, just do it. We were broke (we paid our plane tickets a year in advance so that was OK), we spend days without food, we slept on the floor sometimes, but mostly, we were welcomed like family everywhere we went. The martial arts brotherhood really does exist.
DOT: I know from experience that despite loving training, it still requires discipline to continue doing it rain or shine EVERY day.
Can you share how important Mental Training was during your travels and how you view it’s role in Martial Arts and in life.
Fred Evrard: Like everyone else, there are days we do not want to train… So we take a day or two off, no problem.
We just make sure it doesn’t last to long because after, we simply miss it. It’s in our blood, the 2 of us.
I am lucky to share my passion with my wonderful wife because when I feel down, she pushes me, and when she feels down, I push her. It’s teamwork.
DOT: Perhaps also a mention here of your military background; this must have helped develop the qualities of discipline, will power and endurance.
Fred Evrard: Probably… But I was like that since I was a kid. As far as I can remember, when I start something, I finish it.
I am a strong believer of the “Law of Attraction”. Whatever we focus on happens. Always. So at the end of the day, I never stop pushing.
DOT: You had many teachers and I am sure they all have fascinating stories. Can you share with us any stories that stand out? Perhaps something your teachers used to transmit a lesson.
Fred Evrard: I have met many masters and instructors that have really impressed me and deeply touched my life, especially my Kali instructors Jeff Espinous and Suro Mike Inay.
But the person that completely changed my life is a French gentleman, Japanese-sword instructor (Katory Shinto Ryu), author and spiritual teacher called Michel Coquet.
DOT: After 4 years you finished your traveling and founded Kali Majapahit. What was the thought process here? Was it something that you always planned on creating or did it happen more organically as a process of your traveling.
Fred Evrard: Actually, the system was born before the trip, in 1998 in Tahiti, but the name KM came later and for sure, the journey around the world had a huge impact on our teaching.
I had the chance to meet 3 categories of mentors… Martial arts masters of course, but also programs and systems developers to help me create the Kali Majapahit teaching system and curriculum, and professional school owners who taught me how to open and run a successful martial arts school.
The rest was just a LOT of work. Literally thousands of hours between training and developing the system.
DOT: Lets talk a little about the curriculum. How have you managed to transmit so much information from so many different arts to the students while maintaining quality control?
Fred Evrard: Like I explained before, I met the right people to make sure the system was solid, duplicable (if not, it is not a system, it’s a program), and I surrounded myself with a team of people smarter that me 😉
My first team (at KM headquarters in Singapore) is made of extraordinary people, and I am very proud of our KM instructors there, and all around the world.
Of course, we do not have hundreds of groups and schools around the world, because it is difficult to become a KM instructor.
You have to be good in KM of course, but also have to be a great leader, have great teaching skills, charisma, and know about personal development, health, nutrition, and much more… We have what we call ITA (Instructor Training Academy) Master classes, where future KM instructors learn the art, the methodology, the teaching skills, the personal development aspect along with the health and lifestyle aspect.
We have one ITA Masterclass coming up in October in Asia (Singapore) and in Europe (France).
The KM curriculum is always changing, evolving, growing. It is a work in progress, always. The only difference now, is Lila and I are not the only one writing the story… All KM instructors around the world do.
DOT: It is clear from your website that Kali Majapahit is a lot more than just Martial Arts or fighting.
Can you explain more what the art means to you and what it means to be a student of Kali Majapahit.
Fred Evrard: To be very brief, I feel very strongly about the 3 following points:
1. If you are a good guy in the dojo but an asshole outside, your martial art training doesn’t work.
2. If after years of training you can’t defend yourself and your loved ones, your martial art training doesn’t work.
3. Why do you want to learn to defend yourself against a knife that may never come, if you commit “suicide” everyday with your food, or with alcohol or if you smoke?
DOT: In addition to the Martial Arts I see you are also active in
Parkour as well as releasing your own books on self-development.
How important are these other expressions in your life? I know for me having a balance of activities outside of Martial Arts has been important in order to seek new challenges and experiences.
Fred Evrard: Same here. Once again, one of my students opened my eyes one day (our students are often our masters). He came to me one day and say: Do you know Parkour/ADD? It’s a French sport of obstacle running. Never heard of it I said…
I check it out, loved it, and at 39 years old, started Parkour. Like everything I do, I went 100%. I traveled to Paris, met with the founders of the art (the Yamakasi), trained like a maniac until I became an instructor and opened a Parkour/ADD class in my KM academy in Singapore.
Based on Kali Majapahit, Parkour, and few other things, I developed R.E.D. (Recognized and Escape Danger), which is now growing all over the world. We just signed a contract with the French Ministry of Defense and more great news are coming up.
DOT: I always find it fascinating to learn about successful peoples morning routine, as it is such a valuable part of the day. Can you share what the average morning routine is for you in terms of getting up, morning practice, goal setting etc.
Fred Evrard: I don’t know if I am successful but yes, I can share.
I wake up naturally (never use an alarm clock except when I have a plane to catch) between 5:30 and 6:30am (but no pressure to myself, if I wake up at 7am, so be it), I immediately drink 1L of water (at room temperature) with ½ lemon. Then I start my day with meditation, Tai Chi and stretching.
Then I check my emails, and go for physical conditioning (mostly body-weight training). After what I work with my business partner until 12pm mostly on R.E.D. and KM programs, with new ideas and projects.
Then my first meal of the day is a green smoothie (made of baby spinach, others veggies and fruits).
After than, it is what I call my “fun time” (teaching or training martial arts, reading, motorcycle, movies, quality time with my wife…). I spend a LOT of time reading!
I have another green smoothie at 3pm and “regular” dinner around 5pm. Evening, I check my emails again, and my day is over.
This is of course a bit different when I travel, but this is the foundation of my life…
DOT: Finally is there anything you would like to add that you feel is
Fred Evrard: Not much. My life is about learning, growing and teaching. Without teaching classes, and giving talks and conferences, I don’t feel alive.
We have to find what makes us feel alive and do it, whatever it takes. No excuses. We humans spend too much time “making a living” and we forget to simply LIVE.
DOT: Please let everyone know where they can learn more about what you do and where they can start training in the art of Kali Majapahit.
Fred Evrard: To start Kali Majapahit, 2 links:
DOT: Many thanks for your time.
Fred Evrard: Thank you
Further Information On Kali Majapahit
If you would like to get in touch with Fred or learn more about Kali Majapahit then here are some more places to check.
It is abased upon using these disciplines such as Martial Arts to live a better life and actually make a difference in the world.
All beginning with the crucial ingredient of awareness. Get it here on Amazon.