Friday, June 22, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 06/22/18

Happy Friday!

Here's what I did in the martial arts - training, reading, writing, etc. - this week.  It was a week of new beginnings in my martial arts life, and it was FANTASTIC.

How was your week?


On Saturday we held our first session of the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We've picked a really nice location in the shade and it's pretty comfortable, even when it is hot outside.  Right now it's just me & Mr. Chick, but hopefully this week we'll pick up a few visitors.

Sunday morning, I attended Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup.  There were three students besides myself there, and I got to working the basics of the Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo system. Very fun and thought-provoking, and I got me a nice little weapon burn on my left hand.  Note to self - bring the gear bag with paper tape next time!

Sunday was also Father's Day here in the US.  Mr. Chick's parents were in town and we had a family dinner.

Mondays and Wednesdays and some Saturdays, Mr. Chick and I will be training in Kuzushi Te with Tasshi Greg Lindquist.  This is Tasshi Lindquist's teaching of the style taught by Taika Oyata.  Back in the day, my original teacher in Ryukyu Kempo was indirectly descended from this system, so it's getting back to my ROOTS-roots in the martial arts, and I'm really stoked about it.  We're having a blast - we've been experimenting with some weapons there and we've started learning this organization's version of Naihanchi.

No new pics of me training this week, so hey, here's an old picture of me & Mr. Chick playing a "sumbrada", which is often known as the "6 count drill" or "3-8-12".  We were working on it at the KC-PAM on Saturday.


Back to the new "normal" posting schedule of me posting something fresh or reposting something on weekday mornings.  Yay!  (This post is Friday's post so it's not in the list).

Come find the Stick Chick Blog at Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Our Facebook page is THE destination to get a variety of martial arts content, not just posts from the blog.  Come give us a like!


I wish I looked this good.

Good read! Karate Kata and Cognition

Another good read: I Watched Over 100 Fights on YouTube. Here’s What I Learned. This post actually sparked some really good conversation in a Facebook group I belong to, so I've been thinking about this all week.

Lots of good stuff from Master Ken this week (his YouTube channel is HERE if you haven't subscribed), but this video proves that he actually does have some skills, people.


Over the weekend I plan to attend The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup (link above) on Saturday morning, so please do come by if you're in the area.  Sunday I'll be at the Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup (link above), getting my jo on.

Plus we're having friends over to the new house Saturday night, so I'm getting us to about 90% unpacked by then.

Have fun and train hard!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Landing On My Feet

I moved a couple of weeks ago, and except for one notable exception, I haven't trained much in three weeks.



I have no gruntles left.

Sure, it's a lot to take on in a short period of time, and yeah, I have excuses for not being in the dojo.  Moving long-distance without hiring help is a huge undertaking. Plus we had family in (both sides) because of Older Kidlet's high school graduation. Very few of you reading this are thinking, "Dang, Chickie, you lazy thing, you could be training even 20 minutes a day."

I didn't say "None of you" because I'm sure there's gotta be a couple thinking exactly that.  If it makes you feel vindicated, I sorta feel that way too.

To be honest, I just plain ran out of physical and mental gas.

This blog is subtitles "Musings of a Middle-Aged Modern Arnisadora" for a reason.  I am middle-aged.  The body just gives out when the mind is still willing.  And most of the time, the mind was fried, too.

Getting old, man.  Yikes.

Anyway, I'm making up for lost time now that about 75% of my stuff is put away and I can think about things other than "Where is the thing? I know I packed the thing. DID I FORGET THE THING??"

Muh thinnnggggg!

Not only am I working on training in Japanese Martial Arts (more on that another time), but I've joined this Meetup: Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and attended my first session and had so much fun.

Plus, we've started this Meetup hosted by yours truly:

So you can join Mr. Chick and me for a little good ol' fashioned stick banging on Saturday mornings in the park, before the heat of the day gets too uncomfortable.  Come  learn Presas Arnis with us, will ya?  It's FREE, even, so if you're in the area, get up outta bed and come play.

I know, I know.

So I titled today's post "Landing on my Feet" because, well, I think I've made some good progress in my martial arts life here, better than I'd hoped for at this point.  I may have a house full of boxes and kind of weird job prospects, but by gawd, at least my martial arts life is re-combobulated!

I've landed on my feet in the Heartland, and I'm off and running.

How do you adjust to a new place and training in the martial arts?  Let us know in the comments!

Friday, June 15, 2018

My Week(s) In Stick Chicktivity - 6/15/18

And we're back!

Since my last update, I have done a bit of martial arts stuff, believe it or not, even in the middle of a grueling move 550 miles north to my new (old) hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.



Were you kids good while I was gone?  Don't answer that - I know many of you personally and I know the answer already.


I mentioned the seminar with GM Shelley Millspaugh of Kapitiran Mandirigma and how excited I was for that seminar.  Getting to train with the "other side" of the Presas Arnis family is always a thrill.

I was NOT disappointed!

What was cool is that I didn't learn brand new material but I learned different approaches and points of view of things my teacher has already taught me.  I loved it, and if you get a chance to train with GM Shelley DO IT.  He's a great teacher!

After that seminar, the move started in earnest.  We vacated our Texas house and moved into a hotel (Home2 by Hilton gets the Stick Chick stamp of approval - if they had a hot tub it would have been PERFECT)!  I got to sleep on a real mattress on a real bed for the first time in about seven weeks.

On Friday, June 1, we had a last workout at Hidden Sword Martial Arts.  It's hard to leave them, lemme tell ya. It was our martial arts home since late 2010, and it'll still be our martial arts home in Texas, forever.

Then we got to watch Older Daughter graduate from High School. It was a fantastic day and we're very proud of her.

Literally the day after graduation, we got in our moving truck as the sun rose, and moved north to Kansas City, Missouri.  The drive went quickly with no issues whatsoever, and before we knew it, we arrived at our new home.

We unpacked about 75% of our house (there's more things we need to get before we can finish) but we made pretty darn good progress overall.  Check out the post about my new Armory below to see how far I got with a space for storing most of my martial arts equipment.

On the martial arts training front, Mr. Chick had already started training in Panantuken on Friday nights and has been loving it, and I'll join him in this tonight.  We also met with a teacher that will allow us to start up training in Karate and Kobudo here, and we're very excited about it. I'll write more on this soon.


I've decided to move this weekly update post to Friday mornings, versus Saturdays.  We'll see how this goes.  IF I run across something on Quora or a question I want to ask you guys about, I'll run THAT on the weekend.

I actually got two new posts out during the move, which was sort of a miracle, really.

Goodbye, Texas

The New Armory

You'd be hard pressed to avoid me on social media. Find this blog on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter!


Seriously, follow me on Facebook because there was LOADS of cool stuff I saw while the blog was on hiatus.


Friend of the blog Cathy Chapaty has started a neat new blog, Dear Dojo, where she answers questions about the martial arts and offers advice to martial arts teachers, students and parents.  This was a really good question and a great answer:  What’s a good social media policy for my school?

Congrats to Joelle White for earning her 2nd Kyu! Read the story of her promotion test here (it's a good read, give it some of your time): Surprise!

And finally... ugh, and his toothpick bo is wrapped in rainbow tape...


TOMORROW marks the first meeting of The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup It's me & Mr. Chick in the park, getting some training in, and we're inviting all y'all to come play.  It's free and fun and bring water because while it's not as hot here in KC as it is in Texas, it's still hot enough.  That link there is on Meetup (yes, you guys CAN'T ESCAPE ME bwah hah hahaha!) or you can like Kindred Protective Arts on Facebook (that's our new martial arts venture here in KC) and I've set up the Meetups as a recurring event.

I've also joined Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and I'll be at their Meetup on Sunday morning, working on jo.

Oooo, jo.  Yes, please.

Have a great weekend, and I'll be back blogging on a regular basis next week. I know, you were holding your breath and all, but you can relax.  You'll get a happy little dose of the Stick Chick Blog in social media channels every Monday - Friday.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The New Armory

I've moved a lot in my life.

After I started training in the martial arts in 2008, I've moved four times (three of them very long distance). Outside of the various hassles that everybody has moving (protip - put the books in SMALL boxes), each of my moves has involved various levels of logistics and planning for my martial arts equipment. 

I didn't own much stuff when I started training in Mississippi and then I moved to Nevada, so it was no big deal.  But after we moved to Texas and started training in earnest with my teacher, we accumulated a lot more stuff.

I like to joke that I have a problem with owning so much martial arts stuff, and the problem is storage space. It can't possibly be owning too much martial arts stuff because that's unpossible.

As I've moved, more often than not, I end up having more martial arts stuff to move into increasingly smaller spaces with less places to store things. As a result, I have to get more creative with how and where I store my stuff each time I move.

It's also not just a matter of storage. It's also a matter of having space in the house to train, as the places I've been living have been stupid hot and often had very little space outside that's usable for training..  I often had zero shade in places where it was usual for it to get to triple digits in the summertime (and summertime lasts a loooonnnngg time, y'all.  In Texas I have worn shorts on Thanksgiving).

My first house in Texas was pretty big and I had plenty of space for a real home dojo. I wrote about it here: Pimp My Home Dojo.  It was a pretty sweet house for training!

Best home dojo EVER.

My second house in Texas had zero storage space so I didn't have a home dojo - my garage was too full for a training space. This area was mainly used to just store things until I could leave the house to train.

Martial arts stuff has become my 2nd biggest category of belongings, after books, and might be first if we count certificates, uniforms, and martial arts t-shirts. Packing them for the move was tricky. I ended up encasing my naginata like a lollipop at the blade side and driving it up in my car because I was terrified of that tip getting broken off, for example.

My new house in Missouri was built in 1959 and has zero storage space.  It is smaller than any house I've lived in since I started training, by a good 400 square feet.

BUT it has a few advantages most of my houses in other states didn't have.

First, I have a basement.  We've semi-finished it, and part of the plan included an area for my martial arts stuff.  Here's a snapshot of the space, even though it's not quite finished yet and you can't see EVERYTHING I have:

The New Armory. Not seen - my personal gear bag, wallhanger swords, some kicking shields,
a BOB, a Bully BOB, and a Wavemaster.

Second, my house has trees. LOTS OF BIG TREES, with lots of shade, all over my lot.  Plus, the driveway, which is pretty long, is shaded all day long.  It's not in the best shape right now, but when it gets replaced, it's going to be a wonderful training space.  Ditto my back yard when I get a patio put in back there.

Third, I moved to a place where summer ends before Halloween and rarely starts before Easter, so it's a lot more comfortable, even if it's more humid than Nevada or Texas were by a mile (it's not quite Mississippi level humid, though...).  Training outside in the shade in the summer won't be a torture session, even in the worst of high summer in July and August.

I don't have a great home dojo like I did in my first Texas house, but I do have a pretty sweet New Armory.  I'm still unpacking so there's a lot more work to be done in this area, but I am pleased with how it's come out so far!

Tell me about how you store your martial arts stuff at home - how have you managed moving, storing, and displaying it all?  Do you have a dedicated space? What's your home dojo like? How do you train at home?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Goodbye, Texas

In just a few days, I will no longer be a resident of the great state of Texas.  I'll be moving to my home state, Missouri, with the intention to live there for the rest of my life.

Ahh, Missouri, where summer is not 8 months long.

The reasons we chose to leave the Lone Star State boil down to basically a desire to go home. Texas offers just about anything you'd ever want, and the people here (at least in Dallas-Fort Worth) are generally really nice folks and a pleasure to live around.

But it's just not... home.

But that doesn't mean it's easy to leave Texas.  Mainly because my martial arts life here has been really, really great for me and my family.

First, I'm so grateful that fate or whatever allowed us to connect to my teacher Mark Lynn.  Mark is a fantastic teacher, someone who is always open minded and learning everywhere he can, and he passes that down to us. He is an underappreciated resource in North Texas, and we will miss training with him on a nearly-daily-basis big time.  If you're in the area, do make plans to train with him (Hidden Sword Martial Arts).

Mr. Chick and I in the very early days of training under Mark Lynn, about 2011 or so.

That paragraph seems inadequate given all Mark has taught and given us, but I just don't think the words exist in English that would capture how lucky we feel and how grateful we are.

I'm also grateful for all of the amazing people I've met and trained with here in North Texas.  A chance meeting brought us together to create the Metroplex Arnis Player's Alliance Through that I met dozens of awesome martial artists I get to train with on a semi-regular basis.  I won't list them all as I'm afraid of missing someone important, but if we've trained together at MAPA or other seminars here in North Texas - thank you.

The folks at MAPA 1.

I've also gotten to know people regionally, especially a lot of really awesome people down in Houston and up in Oklahoma.  We've started a Facebook page of Presas family arts players to keep in contact with folks (Tornado Alley Arnis Group) so if you live in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas or Missouri and want to train in the Presas family styles, do join us!

In Houston, we've grown especially close to our friends at Clear Lake Modern Arnis. Ed Kwan and Ashley Sullivan, thank you so much for everything.  And Skip Todd, please keep making training weapons, because they are BEAUTIFUL!

A special shout-out to Keith Freeman (Freeman Martial Arts), who taught Mr. Chick Goju-shorei cane but is also training in my teacher's Arnis Instructor's program.  Keith is a really wonderful martial artist and if you're in the Keller, TX area, do check out his school.

Another special shout-out to our friends at TNT Self Defense - Abel Martinez, Karen Clarke, Steve Swinney and Peter Bell.  We've trained a LOT together and they are very influential on the martial artist I've become. Thank you.

Of course I have to mention AKATO, where I earned my kobudo 1st degree black belt.  They were so nice and accepting and tolerant of the weird student of Mark's who kept hanging around.  I am especially grateful to Judy Barnett, the woman who makes that organization function on a daily basis.  Thank you, m'am.

My studies in Texas have allowed me to train with internationally recognized martial arts instructors.  This is in no way a complete list, but I've been instructed by Datu Tim Hartman, Datu Dieter Kn├╝ttel, Master of Tapi-Tapi Chuck Gauss, Master of Tapi-Tapi Ken Smith, "Super" Dan Anderson, GM Shelley Millspaugh, Master Tye Botting... not to mention the camps I've attended in other states that exposed me to many leaders of the FMA's in the United States and the world.

I didn't train much directly under them, but Hock Hochheim and GM Art Miraflor have both been instrumental to my family's martial arts life.  Hock will always be a very important influence on us. Art's such a fantastic martial artist and all-around decent human being.  Thank you.

Finally, I have to do a special thank-you to my martial arts brother, Tomas Mendoza. He is the "other" adult Arnis black belt at Hidden Sword, and it's been my privilege to with him as we've both learned and grown.

The Hidden Sword Arnis black belts.
 L to R: Junior Black Belt Dylan Serralta, me, Mark Lynn, Kevin Bradbury and Tomas Mendoza.
One of my favorite pictures of all of us.

This post is woefully incomplete, but I have more packing to do, so I'd better get to it.

Oh, one more thing... thank YOU, readers of the Stick Chick Blog.  I started this blog in Texas, after all!

I'll see y'all in Missouri.