Saturday, December 9, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 12/09/17

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:  A little bit of kobudo practice with my new nunchaku, then Arnis class.
Sunday:  Taught ADE Women's Self Defense. Good thing I was busy because my Chiefs lost AGAIN. (sigh)
Monday:  My day off.
Tuesday:   Took younger daughter to tae kwon do class at Hidden Sword Martial Arts.
Wednesday:   Attended Arnis class at Hidden Sword.  On our "break" (over the holidays) we often have a project for the senior students to do.  We have one this year and my teacher and I worked on things related to this project.  This was also the 4 year anniversary of the Stick Chick Blog!  Yay!
Thursday:   Took younger daughter to Hidden Sword for tae kwon do class.
Friday:  Things are winding down at Mid-Cities Arnis for the holiday season as well, and we didn't have class.

There's no new pic of me this week, so here's one from Jacob's Cave, one of the show caverns we went to on our trip to Missouri a few weeks ago.  This is a stalagtite that fell while they were making the cave safe to show.  If you think I was considering how it might be weaponized... well... you'd be right.


Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayWhat is "Wrong" in the Martial Arts?
TuesdaySHENANIGANS! No, Martial Arts Does Not Pose "Serious Danger" for Kids
WednesdayFour Years and Counting
Thursday: Martial Arts and Injury: the Real Risks (and Why We Love It)
FridayQuestions from Quora: What Are Your Best Self-Affirming Moments in Martial Arts?


Master Ken is infecting the younger generation now...

Slay bells ring, are you listening...

If you can help out this friend of Matt Page, creator of "Master Ken" and "Enter the Dojo", please do...

Excerpts of the "Arrow" TV show, which features a lot of FMA in their fight choreography.  I will sometimes complain about it but at the same time, it's great that such obvious FMA stuff is on a tv show these days.

If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!


Today, I'm NOT doing martial arts much - in fact, I won't all weekend long!

Today our family will go to Trinity Forest Adventure and do rope courses and zip lining.  Long time readers of the blog might recall Mr. Chick and I spent a wedding anniversary celebration (At the End of the Rope) in 2015 and that I love - LOVE - courses like this.

Tomorrow, I'm decking the halls.  Not in the martial arts sense like above, but we're going through all of our holiday decorations and making the Stick Chick house festive for the Yule season.

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!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Questions from Quora: What Are Your Best Self-Affirming Moments in Martial Arts?

Quora is a leading internet site where questions get asked and answered by people from all over the world!  As you can imagine, lots of questions get asked about the martial arts.  "Questions from Quora" shares a question I find interesting, and my answer to the question.

Got a martial arts question you want me to answer?  Send me an "Ask to Answer" on Quora, and I just might!

Put your answer to this week's Question from Quora in the comments!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Four Years and Counting...

My very first post on this blog was on December 6, 2013 - four years ago today.

It wasn't a very notable post.  And indeed, most of the posts I here in those first few months were... well... questionable at best.  Some of them I'm proud of, others... well, not so much.

It's kind of like four years ago I slapped on a white belt and stepped into the martial arts blogging dojo. Today, I'm far from a black belt, but hey, I might be a decent... purple belt, maybe?

I'm no Dwight Schrute,though.

I started all this as a way to learn how to blog, and how to use social media. I'm a marketer by trade, but more in the analytics and direct marketing space, and I wanted to teach myself modern marketing tools, some of which you can read about in my blog post here.

I've had a regular contributor (Troy Seeling) and other periodic guest posters.  In 2018 content from another blog (the Martial Learner) written by Mr. Chick, will be making its debut here as that blog is "moving in" to the Stick Chick blog.

I re-run old content here on the blog often, so I get to look at how this blog and I, myself, as a martial artist, have changed.

Regarding the blog, well, the format of the blog is different than when I started.  I used to have a schedule of themed posts and now I (generally) don't.  I think I'm a better writer than when I started. I think the blog is a little old-school in terms of design but I think it's more readable that way, so I've stepped back from a plan to modernize it.

In the martial arts, besides rank changes (promoted to Dayang Dalawa, 2nd Degree Black, this year, as well as earning my AKATO Kobudo black belt), writing this blog has helped me connect with tons of martial artists all over the world.  I've learned how big and varied our martial arts community really is. I've seen some hilarious things, sometimes intentional (Thanks, Master Ken!) and sometimes not so much.

I've met and trained with people I "met" through this blog. Some of you have become regular online friends, and that might actually be the best part of this whole experience.

Get in here, you...

Putting yourself out there for criticism isn't easy. Note there's not a lot of video of me just yet because I do suck - less than I used to, but still...

For the most part, my experience with most of you has been really positive and fun, and I'm grateful for that.

So thank you, dear reader.  Thanks for reading, for liking and plussing and hearting and sharing on social media.  Thanks for commenting sometimes (PLEASE DO comment, whether or not you agree with me.  I want to hear from you).

Lots of big changes are coming for me, personally, in 2018, and I hope you'll stick around while that happens.

Please do like this blog's page on Facebook - found here - and share that with your friends there.  I post content that doesn't make the blog there often.   I have a great audience on Google Plus, so shout-out to my friends there.  I'm also on Tumblr, and on Twitter, and I even collect all of the posts I make here on a board on Pinterest.

I always appreciate your feedback, and if you have any, ping me via the social media channel of your choice, or heck, you can leave a comment here on the blog.

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, December 4, 2017

What is "Wrong" in the Martial Arts?

There's a few videos floating around the internet of a specific martial arts organization out there that makes the rounds of the online martial arts world every now and then.

It's videos from the World Martial Arts Association in New York (I will call them WMAA-NY as I belong to a WMAA myself - the World Modern Arnis Alliance, which is also, funnily enough, headquartered in NY- and I don't want there to be confusion here). They do a version of Tae Kwon Do called Chung Do Kwan.  Here's one of their videos I saved down long ago, if you haven't seen what they do:

Most folks don't think about what they're seeing here other than to comment about how "wrong' it is, and to point and laugh. I admit, that's my initial reaction too.

But I have been wondering WHY this group does kata this way.  There HAS to be a reason.  People don't do stuff for no reason. These are presumably intelligent people who possess the internet and television and have seen the most organizations that do the forms they do DON'T do it that way.

I know there's a reason; I just couldn't think of one that made any sense.  Until this week, when a friend told me that he has spoken to folks from this group,  

Here's why they do this: they do kata this fast because real fights happen at a fast speed.  So they're trying to make their forms "realistic" to fighting.

While I don't agree with the execution of what they're doing (especially since I've seen their "sparring" videos), that does explain why, and now it makes more sense. 

It's common to look at martial artists doing things a certain way and declare them as "wrong".  Wrong, in the martial arts, really does depend on your point of view and your strategic choices.  When we say "wrong", we mean it's wrong based on the strategic choices we, ourselves, have made and we disagree with the choice other people have made.

Take chambering.  Lots of eastern martial arts styles chamber punches either at the hip or along the rib cage.  Like so:

To the guy on the left, the guy on the right is "doing it wrong". But is he?

Well, maybe, if he's doing the same style in the same lineage.  But if he isn't, it's just a different strategic choice being made, not doing it "wrong".

And if we were to ask combat fighters, like boxers or the folks in Muay Thai, they'd all say that's no place to put that hand at all.  It's really "wrong" to them, coming from their point of view.

In Arnis, the hand that I'm not currently using to use a one-handed weapon with is called "the live hand". We typically keep it in the general region of the center of our chest, ready to deploy to grab, or to hit, or to manipulate the weapon. It's where we "chamber" it, if you will.

Like so:

See where my left hand is?
I've been studying nunchaku videos a lot lately and I've noticed that some groups are chambering the empty hand where they might chamber a punch in their forms (like one of the two dudes above)  There are plenty of Okinawan nunchaku videos that do chamber like I do, but plenty who chamber at the hip/ribs.

To me, this is "wrong".

BUT... is it really "wrong"?

On the one hand, it just might be a habit carried over from their empty hand training. On the other hand, that might be a deliberate choice to chamber that way, but I just don't know the rationale.

To put it another way, it might be "wrong", or it might be a choice that I don't understand or I just plain disagree with, based on my training and the strategic choices I make based on my training and what my teachers advise me to do, based on their superior experience.

Getting back to our friends at the WMAA-NY above, it seems to me like they took a reasonable idea about training, and then went extreme with it.  This happens when an idea takes hold and nobody questions the execution and don't pressure test it.

This is not an uncommon occurrence in the martial arts world, by the way.  Weapons forms are the perfect example. They've evolved from forms that teach you to fight with whatever weapon you're working with, to performance and dancing with a prop with little to no practical value. Because it's very difficult to test weapons, you end up with bo spinners and katana tossers and rainbow-taped kama dancing.  I've defended this sort of thing even though it's 100% NOT something I agree with (here), mainly because I do recognize that it IS a talent related to the martial arts, even if it's not fighting per se.

Exhibit A.

The WMAA-NY guys are an outlier, sure.  But it's not like they don't know what they are doing and they don't have a good reason for doing what they do.  We can disagree with it, and we can argue that the execution isn't helping them with their primary concern (being able to adjust to the speed of a ral fight), but it doesn't make them delusional, as many of us have claimed they are.

I think they're "wrong", but I understand now why they might not see it that way.

Was there a time when you thought something in the martial arts was "wrong", but then later understood the strategic choice being made and changed your mind (or at least, granted it was a valid point of view)?  If you cross-train, do you sometimes struggle with conflicting strategic choices?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 12/02/17

This time I'm going to round up TWO WEEKS worth of stuff.

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 11/18:  Spent the morning getting in last minute practice for kobudo (and brain farted on everything as I was a bundle of nerves) as I helped cover tae kwon do and Arnis classes at Hidden Sword.  As is my wont, when I cover Arnis on a Saturday, we hit the bags (and everybody has fun with it).  Later that day, I tested for Black Belt in the AKATO Kobudo program.  Read the details below (Kobudo: Black Belt Edition).
Sunday 11/19:  First day of my week-long vacation to Missouri.  We drove to Noel, MO and toured Bluff Dweller Cave, which was amazingly beautiful and our tour guide was awesome. Spent the night in Springfield.  I missed the Chiefs game while I was in the cave and I'm not sorry about it!
Monday 11/20:  Drove through Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks region - which is GORGEOUS - and went to the Bridal Cave and Jacob's Cave. Missouri's natural beauty shines in these caves and in this region. Made it to Kansas City, MO that evening.
Tuesday 11/21:   Spent the day showing my kids my collegiate Alma Mater, Park University (and drove past old homes and haunts), saw Thor: Ragnarok (loved it), and spent the evening with some of my closest and longest-term friends that I have on this earth.  Really fun day.
Wednesday 11/22:  Had lunch with a bunch of friends from college, then drove out to Topeka to spend time with relatives.
Thursday 11/23:   Thanksgiving in the US.  A great friend from college hosted us for the dinner, then we drove down to the Plaza to attend the Plaza Lights ceremony, which is a huge holiday tradition in Kansas City.
Friday 11/24:  More touring of old haunts in Kansas City, then spent the evening with close friends.
Saturday 11/25: Drove back to Texas, with a detour through Wichita, KS, to take a peek at a university Older Daughter is considering.
Sunday 11/26: Chores, laundry, rest.  It was a long week and a half and this was the first day I wasn't running hard.  There was a Chiefs game as well, but we won't discuss that.
Monday 11/27: My day off!
Tuesday 11/28: Took Younger Daughter to tae kwon do at Hidden Sword.
Wednesday 11/29: Attended Arnis class at Hidden Sword.
Thursday 11/30: Took Younger Daughter to tae kwon do at Hidden Sword.
Friday 12/1: Mid-Cities Arnis had to cancel classes due to holiday events at our rec center.  So I started to watch "Punisher" on Netflix.  Enjoying it thus far, and hey, it's way better than "Iron Fist", which admittedly isn't that difficult of an achievement.  Oh, and these bad boys arrived:

The cord is a little short (have to get that adjusted) but they work great.  I'll be writing more about them in the near future.


Not a lot of bloggery happened while I was out of town. But here's everything I posted in the last two weeks:

Tuesday 11/21: Kobudo: Shodan Edition
Monday 11/27: The Flake Factor
Tuesday 11/28: Why I'm Against Online Dojos
Wednesday 11/29: Into the Great Wide Open
Thursday 11/30: THAT GUY: The Exceptionally Bad Uke
Friday 12/1: Questions from Quora: Which Martial Art To Learn in a Fight to the Death?


Let me start off this round-up of other goings on in the martial arts world with a post I don't want to have to share, as I'm sad to report that there has been another convicted sex offender found teaching the martial arts, including kids, and he really shouldn't be.  Friend of this blog Don Roley broke this news yesterday and please do read and share in our community so we can make sure that Vernon Van Zile is not using our hobby to recruit more victims:  Vernon Van Zile - Sex Offender

Let me just make a "YEAH THAT!" shout-out to +Joelle White's blog post this week: Gender and Age

True love and Arnis.  I met the groom in this video and this is awesome.

Y'all know I *love* this stuff.

"Nobody walks around with a stick in their hand".

Been here, done this.

If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!


Today is a super-normal Saturday.  Kobudo in the morning (what, did you think I wouldn't keep at it?  I have NEW NUNCHAKU to play with, hellloooo) and then Arnis. Tomorrow we teach the last women's self defense seminar for rhe year at Mid-Cities Arnis.

Goodness, I don't know what to do with myself on a "normal" weekend these days!

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!