Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 05/27/17

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:  I got up early and drove down to Waco to learn a White Crane form (Paiho) and an Eku Form (Tsuken Sunakake Eku).  Fun day, good folks to train with, and it was worth the drive!
Sunday:  Taught our four-hour women's self defense course.
Monday:   Mr. Chick's injury continues, so I stayed home and did chores/went to the store.
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  We are working on review for our next rank text next week.  In adult classes, we worked on our Dos
Manos drills, and talked about practical self defense applications.
Wednesday:   An hour of Baston Anyo Lima for the Jo.  Thumbs are healing, so it wasn't too bad this time!
Thursday:   More review in Family class at Mid-Cities Arnis, and using Dos Manos striking techniques in our Adult class.
Friday:  Stick sparring and our tournament form classes.  Someone pulled a fire alarm about 45 minutes into stick sparring, so we ended that class working on forms on the lawn of the rec center.  We were back inside by 7, so we worked on our tournament forms.

That's the Eku form.  If you look closely, you can see me in the background, talking to the Seminar teacher, Shihan Dean Chapman.


Here's the original content I posted this week:
Monday:  Stretch

And here's what I re-shared this week:
Tuesday:   The Dilemma of the Modern Martial Artist
Wednesday: Living the (Martial Arts) Life
Thursday:   Scumbag Brain Strikes Again
Friday:  FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Best Martial Arts Communities Online?


Another "Enter the Dojo" video you say?  YES PLEASE.

And MORE new video from Datu +Dieter Knüttel? This is a great week!

Are you reading FMA Informative?  If you want to keep up on the doings in the Filipino Martial Arts world, you HAVE to!  It's free and you can check it out at the link: FMA Informative


This morning I help Mr. Chick with a private class, then I cover Taekwondo classes for my teacher, then I drive out to Bridgeport to help out at my teacher's Arnis Instructor's course.

And then tomorrow and Monday, I have... NOTHING PLANNED. I think I am going to spend two days in my jammies taking naps, given how crazy busy I've been for the past month or so, right?  Okay, okay, I'll practice my jo form, as well as sai, of course, but... you get the idea.

It's Memorial Day on Monday in the United States.  Let's remember those who served and gave their all for our nation.

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!

Monday, May 22, 2017


I recently attended a seminar where I learned two forms.  The main reason I attended was to learn a form (Tsuken Sunakake Eku) using the Okinawan weapon that looks like a boat oar - the Eku.

Before we learned that form, though, we were taught a White Crane empty-hand Kung Fu form he called Paiho.

Now, I didn't have to learn this form.  This was the first form taught in this seminar, and I could have come for the second half to learn the Eku form.  This seminar was about an hour and a half's drive from my house on a Saturday morning, mind you, and I would not have minded being able to sleep in a little bit.  I run hard most of the time, and a couple of extra hours of sleep time would have been nice.

Nope, I drug my carcass outta bed, drove down there for the early part of the seminar, and learned the form.

Well, I tried, anyway.  I can't say I've LEARNED-learned it, but I know the basic moves and can do them solo, if it's still pretty clumsy and ugly.  A real White Crane stylist would probably cringe if they saw me do this form.  I cringe at myself when I do this form. 

I have zero background in any of the Chinese martial arts, mind you (unless you want to count some tai chi in the park when I lived in Las Vegas, but that wasn't much and I don't really count it).  I also don't see myself being able to take up study of any of them in the near future (although it is on my bucket list).

Additionally, I'm not a huge fan of forms in general. I know some of us love doing them, but I'm ambivalent about them. I see the usefulness and the need, but man, I'd much rather be working on drills, if I get a vote.  It's just not my "thing" in the martial arts.

So why did I bother?

I am a big believer in trying new things in the martial arts when I get the chance.  Not because I want to do what everybody else does, or incorporate what other styles do into what I do, necessarily. 

I know some of us out there will do this.  They collect a bit of this, and a bit of that (via seminars and short-term attendance at various schools) and mush it all together into a hybrid style they call their own.

Yeah, no, that's not what I'm after. I have no interest in crating my own "style" and I'm not necessarily going to incorporate everything that I've I learned that isn't in my core style into what I do (and thinking I could, or should, based on a two hour form class is kind of silly anyway).

I worked hard on learning a form from a style I may never actually study or incorporate because I like to stretch my mind, and I like trying to understand a different point of view so I can look at what I do with a critical and more educated eye.  I believe in getting out of your comfort zone, too, as I think that's necessary in order to learn and grow.

It was hard work, trying to move as the form demands, and doing things the way they wanted me to do it, even in a single, relatively short form.  My brain was buzzing and I immediately started connecting what I was being taught to what I already know and do - what's different, what's similar, and why that might be.

I've added another little tool to my toolbox, and that's always a good thing!

If you get a chance to spend some time learning something that's way, way out of your style's system, I think you should do it from time to time.  Again, not to necessarily do what they do, but to examine what YOU do, and see it from a fresh angle.  It's really fun and totally worth your time.

When did you step outside of your comfort zone and study something that's way outside of your normal style?  In your system or style, is this sort of thing encouraged, or discouraged?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 05/20/17

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:  I covered classes at Hidden Sword, so I managed the taekwondo class (with the help of senior brown belts). They have a second class that's usually a sparring class, so it was a WEAPONS sparring class!  Then during Arnis, Mr. Chick worked with some student while I worked with others on kobudo.  Busy day.
Sunday:  Mother's Day - and I got to spend it at a seminar! Thanks to GM Art Miraflor and +Prof. Dan Anderson for a fantastic day!
Monday:   With Mr. Chick out with an injury and as busy as we were over the weekend, did necessary chores as I knew I'd be super-busy all week!
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis. We worked on our kicks and elbows in family class, and in adult class, we worked some bag drills with sticks.
Wednesday:   Finalized Baston Anyo Lima with the Jo. I think it's pretty good, if I don't say so myself!
Thursday:   Reviewed Anyos and worked on Defensive Response #1 in family class.  Adult class was lightly attended so we ended early.
Friday:  Stick sparring and our tournament form classes.  Went well, and my kids are nearly ready!

Prof Dan Anderson, left, and me, right, working as his uke for the session. Very fun and an honor!


Here's the original content I posted this week:
Monday:  Of Blunt and Blade
Wednesday: Who Has Two Thumbs and is Injured Again?
Friday: FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Does Lineage Matter?

And here's what I re-shared this week:
Tuesday:   The Purple Knuckles Club
Thursday:   Injury: The Nature of the Beast


Datu +Dieter Knüttel posted this video, and it's awesome.

Friend of this blog, Renato Fonseca, reposted a blog of mine (with his own well-taken thoughts) on his blog, in Portuguese!  Check it out here: 5 Dicas (+1) para Novatos em Artes Marciais com mais de 40 anos

Fantastic video about the physics of fencing:


Today I'm driving to Waco (about an hour and a half or so) to a seminar on White Crane Kung Fu and the Okinawan Eku (that's the boat paddle looking weapon).  It's gonna be VERY FUN.  Tomorrow we teach Women's Self Defense.

So yep, it's another weekend with yours truly moving a mile a minute in ten different directions!

Hope your week was awesome!

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, May 19, 2017

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Does Lineage Matter?


One thing we in the martial arts talk a lot about is lineage.

That is, who our teachers were, who their teachers were, and the connections we have to influential or important martial artists and martial arts teachers.

This is a lot like how people will look into their own genealogy and try to trace their families back to someone famous or important, isn't it?

On the one hand, having a documented unbroken line of teachers to a "big name" in the martial arts implies that a person's studies are legitimate, trustworthy, and true.  It definitely has more cachet in our world that just studying from Joe Blow, who's a good fighter but doesn't have a lineage to speak of.  For example, your teacher being a direct student of Bruce Lee's is pretty impressive, isn't it?

On the other hand, though, it doesn't mean they can use what they've learned in any effective way.  It's sort of like claiming that a person's grandfather being a famous warrior makes the grandchild a famous warrior too, without having gone to war.  There are plenty of good teachers out there, teaching useful things in the martial arts, without having any kind of lineage to speak of.

I want to know what you think about this:


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Who Has Two Thumbs and Is Injured Again?

Well, I'm injured again.

I know, dude. I feel the same way.

Fortunately, it's not the "have to go to a doctor, get a lot of drugs and physical therapy, or gawd forbid surgery" kind of injury.  It's not as problematic as when I got my fingers jammed last year, or when I tore a calf muscle.

It's the "very minor, take an anti-inflammatory, and keep training because it's not like you're INJURED-injured" kind of injury.  You feel a little stupid if you complain about it because it's so minor.

You see, I've strained both thumbs. 

I had a minor strain in the right one a few weeks ago.  It was annoying but not too bad, until I went to kobudo class and hit a BOB with the bo.  After a few strikes, my grip in my right hand gave, and to not lose the weapon, I strained my LEFT thumb maintaining control of it.

I finished class (heck, even worked on sai, which is a little hard on the wrist and thumbs) and it didn't feel great that day, but the next morning, both thumbs were throbbing with pain.  I took it easy a few days, but I had to teach class, and I'm working on a jo form for a tournament coming up, and it's not like I can NOT stick spar in those classes, can I?

Of course not.

As a result, both thumbs keep getting re-strained and I spend periods of time with my hands wrapped in ice packs.

That's always a dilemma for us, isn't it?  How to deal with minor injuries like strains and bruises and whatnot.  The "smart" thing to do would be to stop doing anything that taxes my thumbs and let it heal.  I wouldn't swing a stick and I wouldn't practice with my kobudo weapons.

Heh, yeah.  That's gonna happen.

Sure, I've reduced my activity as much as I can.  I've worked drills and techniques that don't require me to manipulate weapons when it's feasible to do so.

But it's not like I'm not going to skip that four-hour Arnis seminar we hosted over the weekend.  Or that I won't practice - and I must with the weapon sometimes - for that tournament coming up in a few weeks.  Or that I'll skip that Eku seminar this coming weekend that only comes up once in a blue moon.  And I can't not practice sai - I'm not good at it, I don't like it much, but I must master it for my class.

It doesn't help that I'm middle aged, and it takes me longer to heal than it might have if I were younger.

That's the way it goes, when you do what we do.

So tell me how you cope with those little annoying injuries you pick up when you train. Do you train right through it, accepting it will take longer to heal?  Or do you take a break like smart people might?  Let me know in the comments!