Friday, September 14, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/14/18

It's Friday!  Hooray!

Man, I can't believe it's almost time for fall. This year has gone by fast!

How was your week?

TRAINING

Had a new friend show up to the The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup, so we showed some of our basic stuff to get him going, then we worked on "stick capture" with block-check-counter.  Very fun day!

The National Football League started this week, and I got the pleasure of my beloved Kansas City Chiefs beating division rival LA Chargers on the road.  Great way to start the season!

In Karate (well, kobudo), I'm still working on the first bo form. Since the weather has been spectacular here in KC, it was really nice to spend the the early evening swinging the lumber.  My current studies are a perfect example of how different groups can see things different ways, and I'm working hard to understand and do things the "new" way.

I'm working on a project I'm not ready to share yet, but here's a still of me in my "Armory":




BLOGGERY

Another weird week where the fresh post published on Wednesday ended up being different than what I originally planned.


Not only can you make sure you don't miss a post by finding us on social media, but you'll find lots of cool martial arts content (especially on Facebook)! The Stick Chick Blog is on Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter!

OTHER MARTIAL ARTSY GOODNESS

The second most common phrase said to a kid's martial arts class is "Tie your belt!"



There are TONS of these parody memes of the Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick out there (the one with the Swedish Chef from the Muppets is genius) but here some from two of my favorite martial arts instructors.  First up, Master Ken:



And then Diemon Dave.



Finally, here's a nice video about the FMA's as a whole.  Sweet.



I'm always finding cool stuff that I share almost exclusively to The Stick Chick Blog on Facebook, so please do like and follow and share that bad boy with your friends. Thanks!

LAST THOUGHTS:

"Indian Summer" is kicking this weekend, but soon my favorite season - autumn - is going to kick in, months earlier than I've experienced it for the last 12 years.  I am still so happy to be home in Kansas City.

I actually have a thing I'm doing this weekend that I'll tell y'all about next week.

SO, practice makes perfect, so I expect everyone to be out there getting perfect!  Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

SHENANIGANS: Banning the Martial Arts

This is not the post I was intending to write.

You see, I started updating my "Enough with Sensei Scumbag's Shenanigans" post.  I used to have a list of martial arts instructors arrested/convicted of sexual abuse and other crimes of that nature in that post, and I realized I hadn't updated it in a while.  In fact, that list became so long, I decided to create a new post with a better list that I could update in an easier way.

Welcome to your near future, Sensei Scumbag.

That's the post I was going to publish today.

BUT.

In my research for that post, though, I ran across a web site that had a much more comprehensive list than I had assembled.  By my own independent research, this list is pretty correct, even if it's missing some, notably Ralph Hall.  It's a really good list.

At first, I was really excited, as I think such a list is an EXCELLENT idea, so that people searching for martial arts instruction online can make informed choices about who they - or their child - will train with.

I think we can all agree that being informed is one way to help combat the problem of sexual abuse in our community, right?  So, I thought to myself, awesome, I can just link to that list and I won't have to reinvent the wheel.

Then I started reading more of the site.

I won't be linking to that list or that site (not anywhere, including in this post). The post intended for today will stay unpublished for a while.

Here's why:

The author is one of those folks in certain Christian circles that believes that the martial arts is sinful and you can't train if you're a Christian, because the martial arts is against the Bible and they interpret things like dojo etiquette as non-Christian religious behavior.

The author contends that we need licensing and universal background checks to address abuse in the martial arts, to start, but as you read through other pages on the site, as well as his YouTube and Twitter channels, you can see his real agenda really quickly.

He wants the martial arts banned.

Used this before, I'll do it again, sorry not sorry.

If you Google it, you'll see lots of debate out there on whether or not good Christians can train in the martial arts, and they can or can't train.  There's plenty of Christians out there who would agree with the author of the site that I'm avoiding linking to.

I would point out that this does not appear to be the majority view. We have LOTS of organizations in our martial arts world that are Christian in nature.  Karate for Christthe International Fellowship of Christian Martial ArtistsThe Christian Martial Arts Council and The Christian Martial Arts Association are just a few.

If you think that the martial arts are an irreligious thing for you to participate in, I can respect your decision.  I think this is an erroneous interpretation of what is happening, I think they don't understand that the martial arts is not a monolith (my style comes from a Christian part of the Philippines after all), and I think they are misinterpreting giving respect to a teacher or a founder of a system.

If you feel like it's the right thing to do in your religious faith, by all means, don't train.

But BAN it because it's against your religion?  Not in my country, my friend. We don't do stuff that way.

Damn straight, it does!

What really burns my cookies here is that the author of the site I will not link to is actually doing something I think all of us will agree with, but I can't and I won't use his resource because literally every other thing he believes I completely and utterly disagree with.

ARGH!

Licensing? I wrote about the problem of that (and objective standards) here, and I think that this guy WANTS martial arts training to be way too expensive for most people so that's not a problem for him.

Background checks?  Great idea and lots of martial arts schools and organisations are implementing this. BUT I doubt it will have much effect.  When you look up these Sensei Scumbags, most of them had clean records before they were caught. I can think of one notable exception and there's more, but usually these are crime-free upstanding members of the community. That's what makes them so dangerous.

Here's the thing - there IS a grain of truth to the criticism he's offering.  He thinks that the very nature of training makes us ripe for cult-like behavior, authoritarian command-and-control leadership structures, and puts us in a position for the abuse of our trust.

I noted these very tendencies - and more - in the "Sensei Scumbag" post I linked to above.  I think that our training culture makes it very easy for Scumbags to prey on us, and I suggest some ways to make it harder.

BUT it does not automatically follow that therefore, the martial arts community as a whole is inherently dangerous and must be regulated or banned from existence.

It'd be like arguing that because a pastor uses his charisma, sales tactics, and authority over his church for personal gain, ALL churches are like that. Or arguing because of the nature of Christian church organization, it's too easy for predators to use the church as a way to easily access - and silence - sexual assault victims so we should therefore ban churches (and it's not just the Catholics, guys, read here).

I am NOT engaging in whataboutism here.  I think that any group that has any kind of leadership structure and/or money and power over people will struggle with these problems. This includes The Boy Scouts. USA Gynmastics, team sports of just about every sport you can name (here's ONE example).

If there's a group of people that includes potential victims, there are predators using that group for access to those victims.

Sensei Scumbag, Coach Scumbag, Teacher Scumbag, Pastor Scumbag, President Scumbag, Mentor Scumbag, Principal Scumbag, Father Scumbag, Boss Scumbag... they all exist.

Banning the martial arts, sports, churches, schools, workplaces, etc. won't stop him.

If you're a Christian, do you struggle with a conflict between faith and martial arts training? What would you suggest as a way to combat Sensei Scumbag?  Did I give too much attention to a crackpot in the internet? Let us know in the comments!





Friday, September 7, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/07/18


Another week gone by ALREADY? Wow!

Short week due to the holiday, but busy, busy.

How was yours?

TRAINING

Despite the potential rain, we had a really great training session at the The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We reviewed a lot of stuff and did some double stick disarming, which is ALWAYS fun material to work with.

We had a great birthday and holiday weekend and then Wednesday we went to Karate class and worked on Naihanchi Sandan.

I got a little work done (not as much as I'd like) on a new project I'll be sharing with you guys in the next few weeks or so.

Here's me working on a single-stick disarm. We were comparing the different types and how to "dirty up" your disarms.




BLOGGERY

This week's fresh post was so hard to get done, I ended up publishing it on Thursday vs. Wednesday!


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OTHER MARTIAL ARTSY GOODNESS

If you know the creator of this, let me know so I can credit them.  Of all the things I post on Facebook, THIS ONE was one of the most popular.



Y'all are a bunch of weirdos. I love you.

Met a new friend of this blog, Louis Lim, who writes about his martial arts journey at his blog, Stick Fighting Sport.  He wrote about how one of my posts here (this one) changed his thinking and the results of that change. Do bookmark Louis, as there's so few FMA bloggers out there who are active!  Read How Double Stick Training Improved My Dexterity And Body Coordination

And finally, I missed this when it came out, and it had me laughing so hard.  Diemon Dave is a genius, people.  A freakin' genius.




There's TONS on The Stick Chick Blog on Facebook, including a series of videos I've run across lately that feature stick arts of the world (Thai, Maori, Bangladeshi, Haitian...).  DO check those out, it's really fascinating.

LAST THOUGHTS:

We're supposed to get rain, rain, rain here in KC due to the remnants of TS Gordon making its way through.  As we've been in a pretty serious drought, that's good news as long as flooding doesn't get crazy!

And NFL season starts this week.  GO CHIEFS!

Get in lots of good training and have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Martial Arts is a Piece of (Layer) Cake!

In a martial arts discussion group I belong to, someone asked the question how do you teach complex, nuanced concepts to new people.

This got me to thinking, and when I get to thinking, stuff like this blog post happens.

So imagine, for a moment, that you're making a multi-layered cake.  Kind of like this:

NOT a martial arts cake, as it will not put you in a painful armbar or punch you in the face.

To put the entire cake together like the one above, you have to start with a base layer, add a little icing, add another layer, add more icing, and so on, until you have the entire cake.

Thus it is in the martial arts.

Think of each cake layer as a technique.

Think of each icing layer as practice on that technique.

Then once you have all of the layers assembled, one on top of the other, well, there's your cake, which is the concept behind all those techniques.

So, let's take a concept in my style, alternating hands.

I first learned it in a sinawali pattern, Double Sinawali.  You guys probably know it as "Heaven" or "Heaven and Earth". It's this, as taught and demonstrated by Brian Johns at Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts:


If you do FMA of any kind, you probably know this pattern.

I did NOT learn it as "This is a demonstration of the alternating hands concept, where you chain together moves where you can do quick strikes in succession.".  I learned it as "Do this drill this way", just as Brian shows above.  And I practiced and practiced and practiced.

Next, I learned Block Check Counter, a pretty fundamental drill in what we do.

Here's Bruce Chiu of Arnis International demonstrating that drill:


Do you see the relationships between Double Sinawali and Block Check Counter already?  That's right - it's the alternating hands.  I didn't KNOW that at the time, mind you.  My attention was on the drill as it was taught to me, not the principle behind it.

So I learned it, and I practiced and practiced and practiced.

Over time, I learned a lot more drills and techniques that used the same idea - alternating hands, often in patterns of three.

You know some of them, too, if you play Arnis.  Do you play hubad-lubad?  Guess what - alternating hands.  Do you do Brush-Grab-Strike aka trapping hands? There it is again.

Sometimes each variant was taught with slightly different timing than what you see in the videos above (such as the first two strikes being quick, and the third a little longer behind the first two), but it was still alternating hands.

Over time - years, mind you - it dawned on me.

I was not learning a bunch of techniques.  I was learning a CONCEPT.

Looking back now, it's obvious, but I can assure you, it was NOT obvious to me at the time.

Heck, I only made the connection between Block Check Counter and trapping hands being the same thing after I saw the founder of Modern Arnis, Remy Presas, teach it in a old seminar video. But watching him teach the material, I finally got it, and all the pieces fell in place.

That is 100% a true story.

Hey, I'm not always the brightest bulb on the tree, soooooo...

Muh brain hurts.

Since I cross train in other arts, I also now see it pop up all over the place. The alternating hands concept is NOT unique to what we do. I bet, if you think about it, you'll find alternating hands in what YOU do, too.

One hint: I used the term "alternating hands" but it might be something OTHER than hands.

What concepts do YOU have in your style that you learned layer by layer, only to find out it was an idea or concept way bigger than what you thought it was?  Did you spot that concept in other martial arts activities, like drills, forms, even other styles?  Let us know in the comments!


Friday, August 31, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/31/18


Wait, it's the end of AUGUST already? Wow!

Even though I spent a couple of days fighting off a nasty illness of some sort, my week overall was pretty cool.

How was yours?

TRAINING

We spent a really nice Saturday morning at the The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup working on reviewing policing techniques, x-pattern sinawali, and we wrapped it up with our defensive responses.  Good day of training!

Monday I woke up with some sort of illness and I spent Monday AND Tuesday fighting it off.  No fun, kids.

But I got better by Wednesday, so FINALLY I could re-join karate class and get a lot of bo work in, which is always fun.

Thursday, thanks to a friend, we were able to attend the final preseason game of the Kansas City Chiefs.  It was a fantastic night and we won!  Yay!  It doesn't count, but still, yay!  It was Younger Daughter's first trip to Arrowhead and she had a blast!

X-Pattern Sinawali variant.

BLOGGERY

Weird week.  Two fresh posts but no #tbt on Thursday (I was swamped that day, y'all).


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OTHER MARTIAL ARTSY GOODNESS

I can't resist a good Chuck Norris joke.


I've been getting into stick arts of the world lately, and it's fascinating how often they're found in a mixture of dance, ritual, religious significance, and stick fighting.   Here's a cool one from Trinidad (Kalinda/Calinda).  I'd love to know the rules for this...


Well, this is... a thing. What do you guys think about it?




If you haven't liked The Stick Chick Blog on Facebook you are SO missing out!  So if you do Facebook, get on over there!

LAST THOUGHTS:

It's a holiday weekend here in the US, and it's also Younger Daughter's birthday. So there will be lots of training and baking and whatnot going on in the Chickie household.

Be good, train hard, and have fun!