Friday, August 17, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/17/18

Well, hello, Friday!

I had an awesome week! Hope yours was as good as mine!


My weekend ended up being very different than I'd planned, as I was surprised by my sister coming to visit from Detroit and my mom driving in from St. Louis.  More on that in a moment.

Saturday's session of The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup was so fun.  We finished off the policing techniques and then we did some of my favorite material, the Dos Manos blocking drill.  I'm ALWAYS up for Dos Manos as it's one of the most practical things we do.

So, since my family from out of town surprised me for my birthday - which was AWESOME - I didn't do any more training that weekend other than the Meetup.

Unless, of course, you count having a surprise party for me at Blade & Timber West Bottoms as "training" (I could make a case).  Friends surprised me there, too, and I spent the evening throwing axes.  You KNOW how fun I thought that was (if you don't, the answer is HELLA INCREDIBLY AWESOMELY FUN).

I did okay.  See?

One of several of my bullseyes of the night

When I cut a cake, I CUT A CAKE.
Monday and Wednesday we went to karate and I started learning my first bo form.  It's cool and while it's not super complicated, there are preferences that are NOT the same way I did bo at AKATO, so I'm working on overriding habits built up over three years there.


Blog posts I wrote and shared via social media this week:

Yep, you can find the blog on most social media platforms. I'm on Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter!


Never fails.

I am SO TORN about this video.  TORN.  On the one hand, it's nunchaku tricking. On the other hand, it's Master Ken.

And finally...

Image found HERE.

There's more to be found on the Facebook page, so if you join us there, you'll get to see all the cool stuff first!


Older Daughter heads off to Wichita State today to begin her Freshman year of college.

Younger Daughter started 3rd grade.  This video is from our school district and was all over our news this morning. It's pretty cool, but our school is NOT featured as it's not new or just completed renovations.

You guys be good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Big Secret About Choosing a Martial Art Style

"Which martial arts style is the best?"

"Which style is better - Style A or Style B?"

"Which style should I study for my age/height/weight/gender/fitness level?"

"Which style is best for kids?"

Every martial artist reading this has either been asked these questions personally, or they've run across it in martial arts online forums and discussion groups.  This might be THE most common question asked by people considering martial arts training for themselves or someone they love.

Every martial artist has their own opinions about how to answer this question.

It's Arnis, of course.

Once we eliminate the silly stuff like Yellow Bamboo and super secret ninjer societies skulking around in public parks and whatnot, the possible answers come from we'd all consider relatively "legit" styles.

Y'know, basically different versions of Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, Muay Thay, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido and Aikijitsu, weapons-based styles like Historical European Martial Arts and Arnis/Kali/Escrima and Japanese swordsmanship and fencing and such, Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi and Kung Fu, Kenpo or Kempo, and so on.

Many of us have some very strong opinions about style.  Whether it's traditional or modern, whether it's ground-heavy or not, whether it's combative or sport, weapons or no... some of us believe that there are absolutely "right" styles, and "wrong" styles, and will advise newbies accordingly.

But here's the thing.  Style isn't the most important consideration for beginners and newbies.  In fact, it doesn't really matter much at that stage of the game.

Yep, I'mma say it again, loud and clear:

What matters more than style, for a BEGINNER, is this:
  • Location and convenience of training schedule. If it's difficult to get there you'll end up quitting really quickly, so finding a time/place that is EASY for you to attend is the best choice.
  • The school/teacher's teaching method. Is it comfortable for you, do you enjoy how they teach, is it something that works for you? Do you like the "vibe" in the room?  There ARE different approaches, guys, and not all are regimented and hierarchical. 
  • What's available near you.  I do not recommend that newbies try distance learning for styles that just aren't available in their area (as someone who's move around a LOT I know this is a very real problem - I've struggled with it myself).  Sometimes you have to settle for something else when what you want to study isn't in your area.
  • The cost.  Can you afford this?  Cheap isn't always the best option (but sometimes there's some really good schools/teachers you can find teaching inexpensively or even free), but you can't ignore the expense as irrelevant.
  • Why are you training?  Is it for health, self defense, personal growth, personal challenge, etc.?  Be clear on this and choose the school that is delivering what you're seeking in the first place.  If you are not a competitive person, you might want to avoid that gym that has a bunch of trophies and plaques in the window, y'know?
NONE of this is dependent upon which style you end up studying.

I am of the firm opinion that ANY martial arts training, for a beginner, is not a waste of time.  It's hard for beginners to know what they really want out of the martial arts, so the bigger question is just TRAIN/NO TRAIN.

And I think you should train, even if it's at Joe Blow's Taekwondo and Pizza Party Palace to start.

Because here's the secret most people don't mention.

You can change styles once you learn more and get a better feel for what you really want.

I, myself, did that exact thing.

I started in a variant of Taekwondo and shortly after I began training I was introduced to Modern Arnis.  After a couple of moves cross-country, I settled down with my teacher in Presas Arnis and I did NOT pick up TKD again.  But not before I actually picked up a blue belt in two different variants of taekwondo.

Once I found Presas Arnis, I realized that I didn't want to do Taekwondo any more.  In fact, my primary interest in training ended up being in weapons in general, with Presas Arnis as my base.  I had NO IDEA when I first started that would be the case.

Not that I think taekwondo is bad! I certainly don't think that at all, as Older Daughter has a black belt in it, and I have many, many friends in that style, and heck, my teacher in Presas Arnis teaches it himself!

It just isn't for me, personally.

That time I spent in taekwondo was actually quite useful as I transitioned to full-time Presas Arnis. TKD still influences me to this day, eight years after I took my last formal class in the style.  It trained my mind, it gave me a foundation to understand other stuff I've studied since, and it showed me some principles that are absolutely applicable in Arnis.

So if you start off at Joe's, but then learn that hey, maybe you'd like to learn this aggressive hugging thing they're doing over at the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu place across town, that time at Joe's is still useful.  You trained your brain to start thinking like a martial artist at Joe's and that's a good thing.

If you're a beginner, don't let the dizzying array of martial arts styles in the world bog you down.  If you follow my advice above, you'll get started, and THAT'S more important by a mile.

We won't even get into different variants of the same base style.

Then later, you can make other choices in which style(s) you're interested in if you like, and you'll be coming from your own educated viewpoint, rather than depending on the opinions of a bunch of strangers or people who aren't you to guide you.

Don't sweat it.  Just get on a mat and start training, and don't let style choice hold you back.

Martial artists, what advice do you have regarding style for newbies?  Did you start in one style and transition to another?  Let us know what you think!

Friday, August 10, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/10/18

Friday, Friday, Friday!

Great week this week - how was YOUR week?


Saturday we had some big fun at The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We worked on policing techniques from Kombatan.

Later that day, we drove out to our friends from Kapatiran Mandirigma down in Spring Hill, KS.  They're from the Kombatan side of my martial arts family, and they showed us drills they do from their "Freestyle" drill.  We don't do things exactly the same, but it's close enough that Mr. Chick and I were able to keep up and not completely embarrass ourselves (or at least, our KM friends were nice enough not say so if we did!). Spring Hill is a haul for us but we'd like to make it down there every once in a while!

Sunday I went to the Kansas City Chiefs training camp.  If you martial arts guys are my tribe, Chiefs fans are my OTHER tribe. It was a blast!

Monday we went to karate class and I got in a whole lot of work with the nunchaku.  I was given fine-tuning to the form and while I certainly am a long way from perfecting it, I know it well enough now to work on all the little details.

Tuesday was election day here in my area, and I didn't get to vote because somehow the DMV screwed my registration up (Mr. Chick and Older Daughter were able to vote just fine)!  Arrgh!

Wednesday I would have trained, but it was my pre-birthday dinner from one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City - Stroud's. OM NOM NOM NOM.

Thursday I celebrated my 50th birthday by attending a Kansas City Chiefs preseason game.  We tailgated all afternoon and it was Older Daughter's first NFL game.  We had SO MUCH FUN!

Me with the statue of Lamar Hunt, founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and chief architect of the
 American Football League (he was also the guy who named the NFL championship game the Super Bowl).
He was also instrumental in the creation of Major League Soccer in the US.


Blog posts I wrote and shared via social media this week:

You can find and follow or like or whatever on MANY social media platforms! I'm on Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter


You empty hand people can take things a teeny bit too far...

Some great content from friends of this blog this week:

  • Brian Johns:

We were some busy bees this week, huh?

There's SO MUCH MORE on the Facebook page. If you're on Facebook, please do like and share it with your friends!


As far as I'm concerned, when you hit the 50th, you can celebrate for days on end.  So I plan to celebrate with ARNIS on Saturday morning at our meetup, some kobudo practice and probably a nap or five.

Be good, people!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Big Five-Oh

I turn fifty years old tomorrow, on Thursday.

That's right, I've inhabited this earth for half a century, fifty turns around the sun.

I started training about ten years ago just before I turned 40, because I was in the middle of a mid-life crisis, and if I didn't do something quick, aging was gonna suck, and suck hard.

Of course, I don't know what the consequences might have been if I hadn't started the martial arts. It's possible I'd have found some other way to try to keep my body moving and my mind busy and engaged, I guess.

But surely it wouldn't be as so darn fun as being a martial artist is.

It's hard to list all of the ways the martial arts has made my life better over the last ten years.  It's not just the personal benefits of mental, emotional, and physical health - although those are certainly important and not to be underestimated.

It's enriched my family, and as a whole, given us something to bond over other than just the normal family stuff.  It's given me close friends that I value so very much. It's given me a sense of belonging and purpose, of being part of a big tribe of weirdos that I fit in with.

Hey, training in the martial arts spurred me to write this blog, and via this blog, I've met a lot of really super-awesome people from all over the world, both online and in real life.

Back in my youth, the age of 50 was such a far-away and arcane thing, something that I didn't believe in my heart would happen to me.

Y'know, kind of like the black belt rank is to orange belts.

Of course now 50 doesn't seem that old.  In fact, in some ways, I still feel like I'm a newbie at life itself.

Just like I felt after I promoted to 1st Black a few years ago.

I'm always learning new stuff, not just in the martial arts but in other stuff I'm interested in doing, personally and professionally.  I don't see myself as being near "retirement age" because I don't intend to retire, really.  I'd rather be doing stuff that keeps me engaged and busy and keeps me connected with other people in my community.

In the martial arts, I still have a LONG way to go to get good in Arnis, much less other styles I study. And I still have to carve out the time to add a ground game into my skillset, which is a major goal I plan to address... eventually.

So, to close out this post, I'm posting this video (link in the comment on the image below) on my personal profile tomorrow, but you guys get to enjoy it a day early.  Tomorrow I plan to eat favorite foods and go to a Kansas City Chiefs pre-season football game, so you know it's gonna be a great day for the Chick.

Watch the skit HERE.

I hope YOUR 50th is as great as mine!

Friday, August 3, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/03/18

Friday already?  Wow!

I got in a little bit of good martial arts work this week. How about you?


Saturday we played some with the staff and walking cane as well as sticks at the The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We played sumbrada - aka the "6 count drill" or "3-8-12" with the bo and cane, which is always really fun.

Sunday I stayed home and did chores I needed to do that had been backing up before Older Daughter and I hit the road for a short road trip.

Monday and Tuesday I saw a WHOLE LOT of Kansas as I took Older Daughter to orientation at Wichita State University.  WSU is a pretty fantastic campus, I have to say.  The dorm she'll live in is nicer than anywhere I've personally lived.  She made some new friends, and we got our ducks in a row for her to move down there for the school year in just a few weeks.  You may not realize this but WSU has an... interesting... mascot.  Google WuShock.

Wednesday I got to karate class and we worked on Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, and I started learning Naihanchi Sandan. We were also introduced to the suburito (a heavy wooden training sword) and worked with it a while (and my arms are sore... again...).  This is what the suburito we were working with looks like (there's lots of different kinds):

Image found HERE, where you can buy one of these bad boys.

Thus begins my very, very early introduction to Japanese sword.


Blog posts I wrote and shared via social media this week:

Monday: Nuttin'. I was somewhere in Kansas at the time.
Tuesday: 3 Tips For Parents to Choose a Martial Art
Wednesday: THAT GUY: The Dandy

You can find the Stick Chick Blog on most social media platforms! I'm on Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter


The truth. This is the real consequence of training, y'all. AND aging.  Harrumph.

Yet more cool stuff from Coleman Fink again this week.  He is IN this video. Wow!

When I grow up, I wanna be Ninja Nan.

Finally, where was this advice 18 years ago, huh?

I got lots more martial artsy stuff over on the Facebook page. If you're on Facebook, please do like and share it with your friends!


"Normal" weekend planned, with The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup. Mr. Chick and I also plan to visit Kombatan friends down in Spring Hill, KS on Saturday, so yay!

Sunday... I'm going to Chiefs Training Camp.  YAY! 

Have a fun weekend, everyone!