Friday, August 26, 2016

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: When Do You "Fire" a Student?

IT'S FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Today I'm interested in your experience and opinion about when it's acceptable for a martial arts school or instructor to ask a student to leave the school.

I'm sure none of us want to be in this situation but it definitely happens from time to time.

There could be many reasons why this may happen:

  • A student refuses to follow established school rules for safety
  • A student is harassing or bullying other students
  • A student consistently interrupts class so much that it's difficult for all of the students to learn
  • A parent of a student is disruptive to the school's operations

I've never been faced with this situation, but I'm sure many of you have.  So I want to know what you think:

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO "FIRE" A STUDENT FROM A MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gold Medals (In Olympic Shenanigans)

Well, the 2016 Olympics are now over.

Martial sports - fencing, shooting, wrestling, tae kwon do, boxing, judo, archery, javelin - had lots of interesting things happen and lots of drama and fantastic stories.

Yes, more Kayla Harrison. 

One story, though, I found particularly interesting.  Not because of the incident itself, but the reaction to it in some quarters of our martial arts world.

I'm talking about the robbery of Belgian Judo Bronze Medalist Dirk Van Tichelt on Copacabana Beach.

Now, if Mr. Van Tichelt had been, say, a swimmer, nobody would have batted an eye.  The universal reaction would have been "How terrible!  Criminals suck!  Glad that guy is ok!"

Well, mostly.

Some of us, though, took this incident as an opportunity.

First off, I saw far too many people saying, "See?  Olympic Judo sucks and is useless!"


No, being one of the best judo players on the Earth did not make a huge difference when Mr. Van Tichelt was partying with friends and was confronted by someone who wished his to take things that didn't belong to him that night on the beach.

It doesn't mean anything about Judo.

Additionally, it feels an awful lot like blaming Mr. Van Tichelt for the incident when people say this sort of thing.

The man survived a very dangerous situation and came out of it alive and with no more than a black eye.  That's how you "win" in self defense, people.

It is always risky when faced with this situation, and your goal is to survive it to tell the tale.  Not stand over a robber's body like a superhero.  I don't care what art you do, how skilled you are, how much time you have in training.

Second, I also saw that a certain mostly online ninja dojo used this incident as advertising for their services.

I find capitalizing on things like this incredibly distasteful anyway (as usually when it's done, it's ham-fisted and insensitive), but in this particular instance, it's hilarious.

This same group has people posting videos of themselves skulking around in all-black ninja outfits in broad daylight in suburban parks. Yes, a guy in a ninja outfit sneaking around trees and bridges while there's people picnicking and playing frisbee and walking dogs on a nice sunny summer day.

Their claim is that ONLINE NINJA TRAINING is better for self defense than OLYMPIC JUDO.



And that's all I have to say about that.

In any case, I am happy that Mr. Van Tichelt is okay, and that he's going home with a Bronze Medal in a badass martial sport.

Any claims that Judo is useless in self defense is shenanigans, in my opinion.

As always, let us know what YOU think in the comments!



Monday, August 22, 2016

Nunchaku - the Big Surprise

I had my first training session with nunchaku recently.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that this is the weapon in my kobudo class I was least looking forward to.

First off - there is a lot of nonsense and shenanigans out there with this weapon.  Not only are nunchaku often featured in "martial arts fail" videos, but even "good" nunchaku is mostly just dances with weapons.  You never actually see them HIT ANYTHING - and y'all know how much I love weapon arts that dance around in the air, right?



Just...

Dammit.

Secondly, I actually respect nunchaku as a dangerous weapon to face (and to wield).  Remember, it was against nunchaku that I jammed my fingers (read about how fun that was here).

So I was a little nervous starting my first class in nunchaku.  I didn't want to do it poorly, and I was definitely aware of the risk of knocking myself right out, as our nunchaku are white oak bound with cord - so they will hurt when I hit myself.

 A lot.

Class started, and they lectured us on the correct name for the weapon.  It's "nunchaku", not "numchucks",   Now, hear this being said in a Texas accent.

Nummm-chucks. Kinda fun to say, isn't it? BUT DON'T.  They are noon-chah-koo.  Got it?

At the start of class, our teacher said, "At this point, it's a better strategy, if you have nunchaku and your opponent does not, to hand THEM the weapon, as it's more likely that they'll hurt themselves than hurt you."  I believe him.

We started with some basic exercises to get used to the weapon.  One major point is that we hold the weapon at the END of the handle, not "choked up" next to the cord (or chain).  Now that I have learned this, I see it in 97% of every nunchaku video I see on the internet; this "choking up" to make the weapon go faster in the air.

Next, we were shown that we strike through ("lobtik" in the terminology we use in Arnis) the target, vs. hitting and stopping. That's how you get rebound and how you end up hitting yourself in the head.

The neat thing is that these exercises, once we got used to catching the moving handle in our hands, were literally identical to classical strikes found in Arnis.

I'm talking about specifically arco, banda y banda, and ocho-ocho.

HEY! I know this stuff already!  It's... ARNIS!

WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS RIGHT?!??!
Then we learned our first striking pattern.  It is similar to our tonfa pattern, and I picked it up pretty quickly.  By the end of class, I was having fun and I wasn't worried or nervous at all.

Now I have to practice hard because we are learning our first nunchaku form, Nunchaku Ichi, next class.

I admit, I'm much more upbeat and positive than I was about nunchaku before this first class.  I may even actually... like nunchaku a little bit.

A... tad.

Just so's you get an idea of what we're learning really looks like, this is the closest thing I can find online.  Enjoy.



Tell us about a time you were nervous about something new in the martial arts and how it turned out.  Or tell us your nunchaku stories - let us know in the comments!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/20/16

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Morning Arnis, then nunchaku!  I will be writing about that this week.  Long story short, I liked it!  I really liked it!
Sunday:  Celebrated my birthday (it was earlier in the week but I was busy!).  Saw "Star Trek: Beyond". We really enjoyed it.  Best of the three "new" Star Trek films by far.  Started feeling... off... Sunday night.
Monday:  Day 1 of the Migraine Attack from HELL.  Woke up feeling sick-ish, tried to write, headache came on - and by "headache" I mean HOLY CRAP SOMEBODY IS STABBING MUH BRAINS!!! plus nausea and dizziness.  I went to bed.  Not that it helped much.
Tuesday:  Day 2 of Migraine Attack from HELL.  Went to the hospital as I just couldn't take it any more.  They gave me a migraine "cocktail" of meds and I got to sleep for the first time in over a day.  That was nice.
Wednesday:  Day 3 of Migraine Attack from HELL.   At home, resting, nauseated, but no headache, so that was good.  Improvement.  Not enough to, y'know, live my life.
Thursday:  Day 4 of Migraine Attack from HELL.  Went to doc for anti-nausea meds because I was still staggering around the house and feeling pukey.
Friday:  Day 5 of Migraine Attack from HELL! I had recovered enough to drive and go to work. I wasn't terribly productive but I was present.  Still a bit dizzy and having trouble concentrating but I made it through the day.  Came home and went right to bed.

Y'know those photos where a pretty woman in perfect makeup is sorta holding her head and frowning and they say that's a migraine?


Muh migraine is so ouchy!

NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE.

It's more like this(where your head is the remote), but with extra helpings of weakness, aches, dizziness and nausea (LOTS of nausea).  The hammering never stops.



I couldn't think, I couldn't write, I couldn't drive, I couldn't walk. I couldn't eat. I didn't eat for a long time.  It was difficult to drink liquids.  There was no sleeping - you'd pass out for a short time but it wasn't SLEEP sleep.  Lights on or off, it didn't change anything at all.  Noise didn't matter.  There is no way to lay where you get relief - there is no relief. It was just nonstop excruciating pain - I described it to the doctor as wearing a pain helmet I couldn't take off.

So, I had a fun week.  I'm seeing a neurologist on Monday and we'll see how it goes.

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

I posted this post of original content this week:

Nuthin'. I posted not a single damn thing - no reblogs, no fresh content, nothing.  It was the first time that's happened since I began the blog.  I actually tried to write Monday morning when the attack came on full bore and I will be finishing that post and posting it this week.  But I did nothing but suffer all week long.

Yeah, I'm still pissed off about the whole thing.

(If you have a good idea for a Face-Off Friday topic, let me know!)


OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I saw, for the most part, the inside of my eyelids.  It looked like this:





Restful, ain't it?

If I missed a neat video or article or other martial arts related thing of note, let me know in the comments!  I'm still looking for guest bloggers - if you want to try your hand at writing an article for the Stick Chick Blog, hit me up, thanks!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

I had planned to help out at a charity tournament today.  Instead I am taking it easy and resting because I need to recover from this migraine. I actually mentally feel somewhat normal - which is a huge relief, as I've been fuzzy headed and kind of confused during this whole episode.  But I'm completely wiped out.  I am hoping that tomorrow I'll feel well enough to practice nunchaku (and the rest of my kobudo stuff) and finish preparations for what I'm going to teach at MAPA 10 next Saturday.

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/13/16

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Morning Arnis at Mid-Cities Arnis, then afternoon Kobudo.  This was our last "free" session before we start learning nunchaku, so we've been playing with the bo using concepts from sumbrada (also sometimes known as the 6 count drill or 3-8-12/3-8-5-5-12 to some folks).
Sunday:  Our monthly "Arnis BB" gathering with Mid-Cities Arnis, Hidden Sword, and TNT Self Defense.  We spent much of the day working on concepts around driving and the flow, working tapi-tapi.  We also worked a little bit on Baston Anyo Lima and empty hand Anyo Tatlo.
Monday:  My day off.  I finally got enough rest to feel like I wasn't completely wiped out mentally!  Yay!
Tuesday:  Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.
Wednesday:  Rare night where Mr Chick and I attended a weeknight Arnis class together at Hidden Sword!
Thursday:  Everybody's on vacation - and school starts in a little over a week - so we had no students for class.  A rare night home.
Friday:  Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. Worked on sinawali boxing concepts and stick sparring!



BLOGGY GOODNESS:

I posted this post of original content this week:
Monday:  GUEST POST: Black Belt Isn't Everything
Wednesday:  The Stick Chick Goes to Camp
Friday: FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Are the Olympics Good for the Martial Arts?

I re-shared these posts:
Tuesday:   Brutal Self-Honesty: A Two Sided Coin
Thursday:  Let's Talk Sticks

(If you have a good idea for a Face-Off Friday topic, let me know!)


OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

It's the Olympics!  In the martial arts/sports world, we've seen shooting, fencing, and judo.  Boxing has just started up, and we have wrestling and tae kwon do to come.  I wish they had a martial arts/sports only feed out there, y'know?

I'm still over the moon over this one.  Kayla Harrison Successfully Defends Gold Medal


Olympics time always has lots of great stories of amazing athletes from around the world.  Kayla Harrison's is one of the more compelling ones I've ever heard.  I look forward to seeing what she does next.

If I missed a neat video or article or other martial arts related thing of note, let me know in the comments!  I'm still looking for guest bloggers - if you want to try your hand at writing an article for the Stick Chick Blog, hit me up, thanks!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

This afternoon is the AKATO Kobudo class over in Dallas.  We're starting nunchaku. I will probably look like this:

Found at AC Spahn's Web site here.

Lawd help me.

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!