Monday, September 26, 2016

THAT GUY: The Dilettante

So you have this new guy who shows up to train with your group.

He's got some experience- a little bit of this martial art, a little bit of that martial art - and now he's trying yours.

He spends much of his time working on your basics, but he's always questioning everything he's shown and noting how they do things differently in another martial art.  After anywhere from three months to a year or so, he's gone, off to try another martial art style.

You've met THAT GUY: The Dilettante

The Dilettante is the guy who never quite settles into any martial art long enough to master much beyond the basics (anywhere from three months to two years at most).  He believes, after low-to-mid level training in a martial art that he knows everything there is to know of that art.

He is often one of the people who will mis-quote Bruce Lee as a justification for what he's doing.

I don't think this means what you think it means.  Image found here.  

There's no rule that says that a person has to study the martial arts for anything other than his own personal amusement.  There's nothing wrong with that.  We all train with different motivations, after all.

Some of us don't have the patience or the desire to spend years mastering a martial art. That's why so many people quit when they reach intermediate level (that green/blue/purple belt range).

That's where it becomes very hard work and it's not for everybody.

It becomes problematic when, after years of skimming through the basics of a bunch of martial art styles, the Dilettante decides that he knows better than you do, after years of study in your style, how to train what you study.

I have had a Dilettante correct me on something some footwork in Arnis that didn't apply to what we were doing or to the strategy we have in what I study.  When I pointed out that what he was saying didn't apply in the context (what he was thinking was appropriate for a longer, heavier bladed weapon, not a short light one)... he grumbled a bit and granted that maybe I might have a point.

Gee, thanks.

Some Dilettantes keep to themselves, but much of the time, you will find him making commentary to other low-level students about how such-and-such does it this way or how he thinks that this other style has the better idea.  Sometimes it's enough to disrupt class, then you have to spend a lot of time countering what he's saying. Or he might be the guy at the seminar who spends most of the time not practicing what is being shown, but comparing it to other stuff he's seen.

Or even worse, he decides he knows enough after riffling through the martial arts to start his own martial art style.

But most Dilettantes don't do that (thank goodness).  Instead, they skim over the martial arts like a stone skipping over a lake, never understanding much beyond very basic information.

That's just how some people see the world,  Some folks get bored quickly and don't have the commitment or the patience to work through to deeper understanding of what we do.  Some people don't have what it takes to stick with it when it gets difficult.

That's our buddy the Dilettante.

It's a shame, because the Dilettante has an interest in the martial arts, obviously, and if he could settle down into a style, he might be good.  Unfortunately, most of them never do settle - and they'll always have a low-level skill and understanding.

Ah well.  Some people just have to be guy at the all-you-can-eat buffet that just has to take a bite of everything offered.

Have you met THAT GUY: The Dilettante?  Tell us your stories!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/24/16

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?


Saturday:  Went to Clear Lake Modern Arnis in Houston to attend a wonderful seminar with Master Romeo Bollares.  SUPER FUN and a 10 hours round-trip drive.  Yay.  I saw a whole lot of Texas, and it was just a relatively small slice of it!
Sunday:  Practiced kobudo. Watched my Chiefs get their butts handed to them.
Monday:  My night off!
Tuesday:  Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.
Wednesday:  Attended class at Hidden Sword.  Marital Arts.  Showed them some of the stuff I picked up in Houston and my teacher riffed off of that the rest of class.
Thursday:  Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Getting the kiddos ready to test at the end of the month.
Friday: Younger daughter had to stay home, so I stayed home with her.  Mr. Chick taught at Mid-Cities Arnis.

Playing "ninjas", a movement drill, with the kiddos.


I posted this post of original content this week:
Monday:  Change Partners
Wednesday:  3 Reasons the Filipino Martial Arts ROCK (for Women)

I re-shared these posts:
Tuesday:   In Defense of Performance Martial Arts
Thursday:  More on Strike Mechanics
Friday: FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Gi/Uniforms or No Gi

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

I am moving my blog content on Facebook from my personal profile to a page for the Stick Chick Blog.  If you're on Facebook and want to get notified of new posts (and see all sorts of other martial arts content), please like my page and share it with your friends:  The Stick Chick Blog on Facebook


This might be the best season of "Enter the Dojo" yet.  Every episode is a winner.

I definitely think this is a move in the right direction: West Point now making boxing mandatory for female cadets


Long weekend.  We have our monthly Modern Arnis training session (four hours) today, then we teach ADE Women's Self Defense tomorrow.  Whew!

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!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Reasons Filipino Martial Arts ROCK (for Women)

I go to a lot of seminars and I train with a lot of people, not just in Dallas-Fort Worth but all over Texas and the United States. It is not unusual for me to be the only woman in the room when I'm training.  Even at seminars, there may be only one or two other women in a crowd full of guys.

Exhibit A.

This is not terribly uncommon in the martial arts world - for women to be the minority on the mat.  It's something you have to be used to when you're a woman who likes to practice violence as a hobby.

I tell you what, though... man, I sure wish we could get more women into the Filipino Martial Arts, because it's just so made for us, y'know?

Here's some reasons why:

Weapons Are the Great Equalizer

In reality, in a self defense situation, 99% of us would be prefer to be armed than unarmed.  A weapon of any kind is that great of an advantage versus unarmed.

It's especially true for women in self-defense situations vs. a male.

I'm hearing some of you already, "Who walks around armed with a stick?"  (and maybe a snicker or two).

Don't make me come over there.

The stick is a stand-in for other stuff.  It can be an umbrella, a walking cane, a backpack or purse, a pen, a knife, a machete, a tire iron... any tool, really.  Our training methodology lends itself very well to improvised weapons, and most of us walk around with something that can be used in a pinch!

Strength is not the Primary Factor

Being strong is, of course, always an advantage in fighting or in self defense situations.  The FMA's are no different.

But being strong is not in itself the primary factor in being good at the FMA's.  Timing, speed, and accuracy (targeting) are.  Strength is helpful, of course, but timing, speed and accuracy are things that women can develop just as well as men can.

Thus, in the FMA's, the playing field is a little more level for the women in the room.

Being Short is Less of a Problem

We'll all agree that, all things being equal, that being tall and having a long reach is definitely an advantage when it comes to violent situations. No argument there.

In the FMA's, though, we learn to work with what we are given (and force the opponent to give us what we want).  This means that we learn what targets are good no matter who we are facing and what we are presented with.

I'm 5'2" (about 158 cm) tall.  I'm usually one of the shortest adults in the room when I train.  Thus, instead of going for head shots on tall people, I have learned to take the arm (hand, wrist, elbow, under the bicep), the torso (too many great targets to list here), the neck/under the chin, the inner thigh, and the legs as targets versus tall people.

I get on the inside of the person's reach, then...

It's pretty awesome.

I hope that more women check out the FMA's as a martial art to study, because as you can see, I think it's well-suited to the average female martial artist.

What do you like about the FMA's for women?  Or what other arts are great for women - and why? I'd like to hear what YOU think!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Change Partners!

I go to a lot of seminars and special training sessions.  This year, it's been an almost monthly event for me.

I love going to them - obviously - for a lot of reasons.  I love learning new stuff - or fresh takes on old stuff - from the experts.  I love the connection you end up making with other martial artists with the same interests you have.  I love being able to train with people I don't know well. 

That last point is important. When you stay in your own school and with the same training partners over time, you know what their strengths and weaknesses are, you understand how they will react. They know the same thing about you.

It becomes a little predictable.

When you train with strangers (or people you don't train with every day) you don't have this level of predictability.  That makes you pay closer attention to what you're doing, what your partner is doing, and not take anything for granted.

This is a good mindset to have - it keeps you on your toes.

The temptation, at seminars, is to stick to the people you know, or, once you find someone you're comfortable working with, staying with them throughout the entire seminar.  This is a mistake - not only are you not meeting new people (again, one of the funnest part of the experience) but you don't get as much out of the seminar content as you should or could if you switch partners.

Yes, I used the word "funnest" deliberately.  I REGRET NOTHING.


You see, of the best things about going to seminars is that you end up training with people of all different skill levels.  You play with newbies, you play with intermediate players, you play with peers, and you play with people who are above your level.  There's something to be learned from each.


The fun part of training with newbies is twofold.

First off, if you are getting what's being taught and they are not, you feel like you're some sort of genius when you help a newbie work on it.

And I'm very, very humble about it too.

The second great thing about working with newbies is that you get to be a part of the process of their becoming a part of this nerdy little community of ours.  Look at it this way: They're a newbie to this acquiring bruises for fun thing, and they don't know you.  You know that they are nervous about hurting you or themselves, or looking dumb, or not getting it, or wasting your time.  You work with them, help them, make them feel comfortable, help them're totally cool to them and they now think you're awesome, and they get the impression that all of us are like that (and most of us are).

You help them become part of our tribe.  That's important, and honestly, makes me feel pretty good about myself.

The big down side, of course, is for that section, you'll spend more of  your time helping the newbie instead of getting in more reps of the technique yourself.


These are the folks who are not new to training, so they have some experience, but are a lower level of skill than you are.  This group is fun to play with, because you still look like you're a genius, like you do with a newbie, but you'll actually get more reps in than you do with a newbie.


These are the people who are the same level as you are.  When you play with peers you get to work out and solve problems of what you're trying to learn together. 

Basically, you and your partner can nerd out together on an equal level. And all y'all know how much I love nerding out.

Gawd, yes.


Finally, at seminar you'll work with people who are way more experienced or skilled than you are.    That makes you the "intermediate player" to them.  The advantage to you here is that the other person ends up helping you learn what you're trying to master relatively quickly, and that you might pick up a little something extra from them in the process (such as stance correction, or a little tip or trick to make the technique work better).

So there's things you will get from each of the kinds of people you'll meet at a seminar.

This is why sticking to your friends, or your own school, or finding one person to work with throughout the seminar is a bad idea.  If you pick a newbie or an intermediate player, you'll spend the whole seminar teaching someone else.  If you choose a peer, you won't ever see the advanced stuff the people who know more than you will share if you train with them.  If you choose and advanced person, you'll never get to nerd out or help another person along.

At your next seminar, see if you can spot the four kinds of people, and make sure to work with each one.

Change partners, and get more out of your seminar experience.

Tell us about your seminar experiences and working with the types of people I listed above.  Did I miss anybody?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/17/16

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?


Saturday:  Started training at our "Okinawan Karate Club" and then trained in nunchaku at Kobudo.  Nunchaku is a lot easier than I was anticipating - and thus far, has been the easiest of the kobudo weapons for me to pick up.
Sunday: Kevin attended +Hock Hochheim's Knife Course so I stayed home and did chores.
Monday:  My night off!
Tuesday:  Had to stay home from Mid-Cities Arnis with Younger Daughter.  It is a good thing we have two of us teaching so I can do that on occasion.
Wednesday:  Attended class at Hidden Sword Marital Arts.  Worked on sinawali and two stick vs. 1 stick drills.
Thursday:  Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked on self defense with the kiddos and Dos Manos in Force Necessary.
Friday:Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Review and stick sparring goodness!

Working our "swim out" self defense technique


I posted this post of original content this week:
Monday:  Martial Arts Study (Just for the Fun of It)
Wednesday:  A Black Belt is a Black Belt is a Black Belt

I re-shared these posts:
Tuesday:   How to Get More Women In Your Martial Arts School
Thursday:  We're All Full of It: The Pervasiveness of Shenanigans Among Serious Martial Artists
Friday: FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Only Fighting Ability Matters?

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


I haven't been mentioning kubudo practice in my daily round-up, but nunchaku practice is going well.  Thus far, it's been the easiest weapon in our kobudo program for me to pick up.  I don't know if I should be relieved, or a little worried about it!

Marc MacYoung put out another great blog on an important topic - check it out.  Tribes, Super-tribes and Uber-tribes

Todd got promoted this week!


Today we're driving to Houston to attend a seminar by Master Romeo Bollares at Clear Lake Modern Arnis. Very excited to meet more of the folks at Clear Lake and to create connections there!

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!