Friday, July 13, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/13/18

It's Friday the 13th!  But it's your lucky day, because here's my roundup of my martial arts stuff for the week!

Fantastic training week this week, y'all.  Hope yours was just as awesome.


Hey, we finally have someone we don't know in The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup!  It was awesome meeting a new friend and training with him.  I sure hope that's a sign of great things to come for the group...

Sunday I made it to the  Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and got in some productive jo work.  After class, I worked with the group for about 45 minutes - I taught them single sinawali. Another FMA player has joined the group and we've made friends, and I hope to see him more soon.  Maybe we are sowing the seeds of a MAPA for the KC area?  That'd be awesome if we can make that happen.

At our karate class on Monday, we continued working on Naihanchi Shodan, and Naihanchi Nidan. If you know me, you know forms aren't my forte, but I'm making progress, I think.  On Wednesday, we started working with weapons for the first time. And guess which one I'm working on.

Go on, guess.

Give up?

AWWWW YISSSSSS!  Yes, I am a SUPER HAPPY CAMPER right now, lemme tell ya.

Mr. Chick started bo, so at our home practice on Thursday he started teaching me that, too.



Here's all the jibber-jabber I shared from the blog this week:

Looking for the Stick Chick Blog on social media? I totally got you covered on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Come to the Facebook page in particular, as there's ALL SORTS of funny, challenging, and thought-provoking martial arts content there.


I didn't have a brother, but I do have a cousin who is a wrestler, and yep, he practiced on his sister, and my sister, and me....

Two posts this week on the important topic of sexual harassment and abuse in the martial arts. Cathy Chapaty writes When your sensei talks to you about sex, run, and Aesopian BJJ/FRC wrote Confronting the Problem of Sexual Harassment and Coercion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Both are really good and I highly recommend you read them and share them.

This video is making the rounds in martial arts circles and it's hilarious:

And finally...


Tomorrow we host our Presas Arnis Meetup, then we're spending the day at a day-long seminar by our Karate teacher.  Very excited for this, as we'll get to meet a lot more folks in our organization. And we'll get to train lots of weapons.

Be good and train well!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Not Wrong, Just Different

I was working with a few new training friends, showing them some basics from Presas Arnis.

Also in attendance - much to my relief because he was a huge help - is another person who's very well versed in the FMA's, just in a different lineage.  "Lineage" in the Filipino Martial Arts is convoluted, complicated, and not as direct as it is in the Japanese, Korean, or Chinese martial arts, but for the sake of this post, we'll use that terminology.  I am from one lineage, and he's from a different one.

To our friends, though, he and I do the exact same thing.

He was helping me get the group going, and he coached them to do slightly different footwork than what we teach initially. I hadn't seen that way before (but upon reflection it totally makes sense and I think it's a good idea) but in the moment, I was afraid of confusing the newbies and I was uncomfortable with just rolling with what he was saying.

It wasn't that his way is wrong.  It's just different.

I regret now that in the moment, that I didn't adapt to his method, as it is actually a pretty good idea. I was still clinging to the way I was taught and the way I've been taught to teach it.

But we all do that, don't we?  When presented with an innovation or a different point of view on something we believe we know well in the martial arts that doesn't come directly from our teacher(s), we resist the change by instinct.

Generally speaking, the martial arts world is pretty conservative. We prefer to do things as our teacher taught them, and changing things is a big deal.

Partly out of loyalty to that teacher, partly because some of the cultures our styles come from are pretty conservative and change-resistant, and partly because it's uncomfortable to change something you've been spending years working on a specific way.

And sometimes it's political.  That is, my teacher/lineage is the real deal, and those other guys are posers or liars or misunderstanding the technique or whatever. Because if you do it different, you must be wrong, right?

I first heard the phrase "not wrong, different" from Datu Dieter Kn├╝ttel at a seminar of his I was attending.  He was showing a specific method of doing something but he noted that others do it a different way and talked about why his organization chooses to do it the way Datu was showing it.

My teacher has always been good about sending the same message.  You can do it differently, and here's why he chooses to do it this way. However, the succinct way Datu Dieter put it "Not wrong, just different" has always stuck with me since I heard him say it.

Not wrong, just different.  There's more than one valid way to solve a problem, and each has upsides and downsides.  Which one you go with depends on which way you think that the upsides greatly outweigh the downsides.

It's helped me develop an open mind, which is very helpful as I do cross train a lot, not only with different FMA styles, but completely different unrelated martial arts styles as well.  I think I do a good job of "emptying the cup" as hard as I can when I'm in someone else's domain and trying to learn how they want me to do it.

As you can see, though, by the story I told at the beginning of this post, as open minded and as flexible as I am, I still feel uncomfortable when things are different.  That's especially true when I am working with people who are closer to what I do and my teacher teaches.

I'm still skeptical of what the other guy is doing, trying to justify what I'm doing and why we do it OUR way.  I still have to be bludgeoned over the head to see a good idea and recognize it as such in the moment.

I have to keep saying to myself, "Not wrong, just different" and understand what the reason is behind the difference, and see if it makes sense to me. I have to respect the difference, even if it isn't something I'd do myself. 

I might find something that helps me (and my students) learn something I think is important, in a better way.

Do you agree or disagree with the idea that you can be different but not wrong? How do you "empty your cup"? How do you roll with it when presented with a different way? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, July 6, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/06/18

Hey, everybody, it's FRIDAY!

Busy, busy this week. How did yours go?


Saturday Mr. Chick and I trained Presas Arnis in at Happy Rock Park (we're hosting The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup, in case you or someone you know is in the area and wants to train).  I'm working on a project and we used this time to do some curriculum development.

Sunday I joined the Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and worked on jo a lot more.  It's very fun, and they're a great group of folks to train with. Jo is such an awesome weapon, y'all.

Monday, Mr. Chick and I attended Karate class.  We have been working on Naihanchi Shodan, and we learned the basic structure of Naihanchi Nidan.

Wednesday was Independence Day here in the USA, so there was no Karate class.  We hung out with friends and watched folks blow things up real good.  Very fun day.

Thursday night we went over to Leavenworth and met Arnis "relatives" (they play Luzviminda Arnis) at Sagasu Family Martial Arts.  We learned some of their stuff, and hung out and connected for a while.  While it's a little far for us to train there regularly, we definitely plan to connect with them as much as we can.

Here's a shot of me doing a drill we learned from Luzviminda Arnis at a Texas Modern Arnis Coalition gathering in Bryan, Texas, at Montoyas Shorin Kempo Karate Jitsu last year.  We actually worked on this stuff Thursday night, too!


The ramblings from the past and the fresh blog content for this week:

If you follow or like or whatever us on social media, you won't miss a thing! We're on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter The Stick Chick Blog on Facebook is the busiest channel, so please, if you're over there, give us a like and share it with your martial arts friends. It's far more than just "here's my blog" - I try to make that a fully operational martial arts humor and information page, so it's worth your time.


Can't judge a book by it's cover...

How did I miss this skit back in the day?  The Hollywood School of Self Defense is hilarious!

FMA legend Ron Saturno has lost his home and everything he owns in the fires out west. If you can contribute to this Gofundme to help him get back on his feet, please do: Fire Recovery for Guro Ron Saturno

Yes you CAN find time to train.  They did it in traffic!

LOTS more good stuff on my social media channels - especially Facebook (have I mentioned I have a Facebook page before? I have?  Huh, it doesn't seem like I have...)


My martial arts life is starting to gel in a good way, and I'm pretty pleased with that.  Meeting "family" last night was so awesome, and there's more "relatives" I plan to connect with here in KC.

This weekend it will be some Arnis and some Jo, as has become my wont.  Train hard and have fun, kids!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Not Quite Normal

July 4, 2018, marks the end of my first month in Kansas City.

The JC Nichols Memorial Fountain in Kansas City.  

The worst of the move is over, and while I have a few loose ends here and there, the house is put together into a livable state.  The armory is put together and I've figured out how to train at the new house, which is a distinct improvement over the old house.

Actually, even though it is substantially smaller, I like my new house WAY more than the house I just moved out of, overall.

I've started training with a new teacher in a branch of Okinawan Karate full-time and I'm training with another in a Japanese Jo system part-time.   Both of these are fun and interesting and informative and a fresh point of view.

When it comes to Arnis, though, right now, it's just me and Mr. Chick going to the park on Saturday mornings, working on what we want to work on in Presas Arnis.  I've started a Meetup (The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup) to attract people who might want to try out my style, but while we've had a few bites, no takers yet.  My Jo instructor says this is normal for Meetup here in KC and that it will take time to get a few serious people to join us.

I have other plans in the works but I just can't execute them just yet.  If you're a long time reader of the blog, you know how much I just love having a plan but having to wait until I can actually do something about it.

My motto for 2018.
I've done what I can do but things are still... off.

Part of this is the adjustment to not training with my teacher of 8 years in Presas Arnis.  You get used to the routine, the point of view, and the relationship when you train with someone for the better part of a decade on a weekly basis.

He's still my teacher, guys, but I'll only see him at most a couple of times a year, and that's just...weird.

And I think that part of this is learning the martial arts culture and scene in a new city. The thing is, the city itself, I know well (and it hasn't changed much in 13 years, really).  But I was not a martial artist when I lived here before.  So it's not a matter of resuming my old life here. It's creating a new one in the ashes of the old one, y'know?

It's discombobulating.

Still, I'm training and that's good. The feeling that I should be running on all cylinders in such a short period of time is unreasonable, I know.

But still....

Any advice for me?  Do you hate waiting as much as I do?  Let me know in the comments!


Speaking of America, Happy Independence Day, United States of America!  If you've never read it, I suggest you take a moment and and read this:  Declaration of Independence Transcription at the National Archives

Friday, June 29, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 6/29/18

To quote a great modern poet, "It's Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down on Friday".

Another week of training and other martial arts goodness is in the books!

How was your week?


Saturday morning Mr. Chick and I were at the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We worked on a drill from Force Necessary and then related back to other drills we've learned.

My god, we're such martial arts GEEKS.

Sunday morning I "woke up" with a doozy of a migraine headache, so I ended up staying home and sleeping it off instead of going to the Jo meetup as planned.  Stoopid migraines.

Monday and Wednesday we worked on Naihanchi Shodan at our Karate class.  I've got the base framework of the moves down, now I have to spend a lot more time perfecting it. As I'm not super-great at forms, I expect I'll be working on this a looonnggg time.  Having fun with it, though - nice challenging work for my brain.

Again, no new pics of me training this week, so here's an old one from kobudo of me and my friend Tomas working on bo.


It sure is nice to be back in a routine again...

You can find the week's posts (and other martial arts goodness) at the Stick Chick Blog on social media: Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Facebook in particular is hoppin' with martial arts stuff, so please, if you're on that channel, like the page and share it with your martial arts friends, please. Thanks!


Happens about half the time, actually. And of course, my answer is yes, yes I can.

Neat video featuring the founder of Kombatan, Ernesto Presas:

Y'know the old saying, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight"?  Well, this dude brought a weed whacker to a machete fight.  Didn't turn out good for him: Man brings weed wacker to a machete fight in Buffalo

For years, I've expressed the opinion that the utility of the flying side kick in a fight was dubious at best.  And now I stand corrected: Video shows bystander taking out violent homeless man with impressive flying kick


My home is mostly together now and I'm pretty happy with the results.  Even figured out where the best place is to practice (although it's not as hot here as it was in Fort Worth, it's WAY more humid, and gosh, I'd forgotten how... special... that is.)

Gonna be a long summer, y'all.

Get to work, people! See you on social media and here on the blog next week!