Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mutts and Purebreds in the Martial Arts

The martial arts are like dogs.

Hey!  HANG IN THERE, I promise it'll make sense in a minute.


This is the cutest blog post ever, promise.
The martial arts are like dogs, because just like dogs, they've evolved along with human beings as our situations and needs have changed over the years.  Once the arts were combative and practical, used for tribal conflict and wars.

Over time, arts evolved from war and combat into sport, and performance, and self defense, in a huge variety of strategies and skills, much like dogs evolved from their basic wolfish ancestors to the huge variety of breeds we have today.  With purebred dogs, we trace their genetic lineage as closely as many of us trace our martial arts lineage.

So, going with the metaphor, the version of the art that I study, Modern Arnis, isn't exactly... pure.


Not Pictured: A Metaphor for My Art

Of course, when you do Modern Arnis, what is "pure" is somewhat debatable, as the version of the art you practice seems to depend on when you (or your teacher) first studied with the Professor.  It's pretty well understood that the art the Professor taught in the Philippines is different than what he taught in the West,  which changed over time as he added in influences from Small Circle JuJitsu and Kyusho, and as he developed and emphasized his tapi-tapi.

My teacher, Mark Lynn, is ranked under the Professor as well as under his brother, Ernesto Presas. As a result, techniques from Kombatan are included in our curriculum.  If you add in the other influences of my teacher - Dan Inosanto, Hock Hockheim, Dan Anderson, Dieter Kn├╝ttel, and many others, plus he's training with a Pikiti Tirsia group currently - it's pretty obvious that what I study is a VERY hybridized version of the art.

When I'm asked what art I do, I still use the term "Modern Arnis", as 75% of the techniques and most of the strategy comes from there and would be recognized by others in my art.

In short, my Modern Arnis is a mutt.

Not only that, it's a MUTT's mutt.


Added bonus: the stick joke writes itself.

I don't think this hybridization process is unique to what we do at my school, or in my art.  Indeed, I think all of us are, in one way or another, practicing a "hybridized" art, with influences from many different sources.

Let's talk about weapons for a moment.  Most Korean TKD schools that I have seen teach weapons of some sort.  Usually looks like one of the two videos below:

This is a typical XMA bo form.

Before he lost the girl to a sparkly vampire.
Click here if you can't see the video.

This is a traditional kobudo bo form.

Sparkly vamps run from this guy.
Click here if you can't see the video.

Neither of these are Korean (XMA is American, kobudo is Okinawan). If you do this stuff (especially if you make it a requirement for belt testing) in a Korean martial art, you've hybridized your art.

I actually have zero problem with hybridization - naturally, given what I do - but I can understand why some folks have a real problem with it.  They say, "Whatever that is, that isn't [insert martial art name here] and they can't call it that."

Many of us want to maintain the "integrity" of their art, and see influences from anywhere else as watering it down. Some of us to keep it their art as consistent as they can with what they were taught, for historical accuracy and preservation.

I empathize with that attitude, I truly do.  But... I think "pure" arts, at least in the United States, are very, very rare.

If a person lives in a metropolis of any size, there's usually a lot of martial arts to choose from. It seems to be very unusual for a person to start in a martial art, stay in it, and only train in that art, never cross training with another at any point in their studies.

Sure, there's exceptions, but more often than not, once a person reaches a certain level in their art, they cross-train.  Maybe a striker studies grappling.  Maybe a kicker studies locks and throws.  Maybe a grappler adds in weapons training. Maybe someone explores a related, but different linage (say a different range, or a different strategy - on in my case, a different weapon).

It makes sense that you would not only incorporate those things into your personal style, but also into what you teach.  And that's how what we do become hybridized arts versus pure arts.

I think this is healthier for the martial arts in the long run, much like cross breeding is healthier for the overall dog population.  Pure bred dogs are highly susceptible to inherited genetic defects - my Pomeranian has had to have knee surgeries as a result of hers - and I think "pure" martial arts can suffer from the same problem (especially when the context in which they were developed change so much that the art is no longer useful).

So, what I do is a mutt martial art - and probably yours is, too.  We might not win best in show.   But we'll survive!

Is your art a mutt, or a purebred? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kiaaa-HA! The Saga of Diemon Dave

Meet Diemon Dave. He's been called the Kung Fu Hillbilly and the Redneck Ninja (or the Ninja Redneck, whichever).

From the now-defunct DiemonDave.com, as you can see.

Dave first showed up on "The Jerry Springer Show" (shocker):


Now as you can see here, Dave has some pretty sweet skills.  After this successful appearance, he decided to start training the rest of us.

Unfortunately, Dave's brother's girlfriend decided to be his "ninjetty" (despite Dave already having a girlfriend), so he came back to Jerry Springer to break the news to his brother and promote his new ninja school.



  Shortly afterwards, his web site was created and this gem of a video was released.


To reiterate, you got your:
  • Judy chop
  • Karate chop
  • Ninjy chop
That's a pretty complete offensive arsenal right there.

Eventually, as usually happens, a challenger appears.




Somebody apparently is not exactly clear on the concept.  I'm looking at you, Sensei Luis.  At least, unlike so many others, Diemon Dave is willing to actually step in the ring and face a challenger.

There hasn't been anything else from Diemon Dave since 2009 or so, so we've never seen any follow-up training tapes. I was hoping to see him demonstrate the different kinds of kicks, as he refers to a "kung fu kick" in the training video.

I would love to know if this is just a regular guy who ran with this silly character, or if the guy is an actual actor somewhere.  In any case, it's one of the most memorable funny martial arts characters ever.

If you want to go to Diemon Dave's web site, here's the link: http://www.diemondave.com/ (update as of July 20, 2014 - looks like the site is gone now.  Too bad!)

I sure would love to see him return someday.  Until then, just remember:

DON'T GO NINJIN' NOBODY THAT DON'T NEED NINJIN'!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pimp My Home Dojo!



We have a double-sized garage at our house.  Instead of parking our cars in it, we've organized it into a training space for the martial arts.  We prefer the garage as it's shady and we can have all of our equipment and punching/kicking stand handy.

Our current teacher came up under his first master in a home-based dojo much like what I have at my house.  Indeed, that teacher still teaches there on occasion!  It's possible, if you're reading this, that you have trained in a garage dojo, or maybe your teacher did.

Many of us end up with a small group training in back yards and garages, especially if one studies a less popular art, or if one lives in a more rural area.

So, here's my garage "dojo" - right now it's just space for our family, but we have had friends over training many times.  We have one wall lined with mostly non-martial arts oriented stuff, and the other wall is mostly martial arts.  Here's the "deadly" side of the garage:

Youngest daughter not included.
We try to keep a wide open area for training, and line the walls weapons, art, a few stools, and paper/whiteboards for notes.

Not the usual kind of naked person you'd see on somebody's wall.
That anatomical poster is marked up with key pressure points.

Yep.  Stick ninjas.
This is our random stick repository.  The ninjas are toys we picked up that we think will be fun to use when we start working with my youngest daughter (in about six months) and with kids we may teach in the future.  The idea will be to "avoid the ninja".  We also use the green "pool noodles" on some of our thinner sticks when we are actually hitting each other.

Welcome to our dojo. "STICK" around!  Get it, get it?!?
We take a lot of notes on how we understand what we're studying.

That's what the white boards are for.  We then transfer our notes to the big white paper you see at the left, and pin them on our walls.  You can see prior notes to the lower right of the anatomical poster in the here:
Chuck Norris facts poster optional.
Of course, we have to hit stuff.  Can't hang a bag here (it's a rental) so we have a Century XXL punching/kicking bag.
One use for that entertainment center you can't get rid of.
We can - and do - move it around as needed.

Yes, that's a cow horn drinking cup.  I did mention I'm in Texas, right?
When we left Mississippi on our way to Nevada, the owner of our school gave us these wall hangers as a going away gift.  It's a nice decoration for our home dojo.  Yes, I'm aware that they are upside down in this picture. Fixed now.

In case you're interested, here's the other side of the garage.
"Machete' and Jackie Chan.  Cooler than a flag, sorry.
In the corner you can see our mats for falls - those big blue ones.  We use them sparingly, as they are old, but it's better than concrete or grass.

One modification I would definitely make if I weren't renting is that I'd repaint the floor and put space markings and footwork diagrams (triangle, asterisk).

Right now, the space is not air conditioned, so that's the next issue I'm trying to solve, as it gets incredibly hot here in Texas.  If anybody has any ideas for a portable cooling option that DOESN'T cost an arm and a leg and that you've actually done - I promise my Google Fu is strong and I have found some but not sure how well they work just yet - please let me know!. I have fans but man, it doesn't help much in that space! I may end up breaking down and buying a portable a/c unit someday.

There's my home dojo.  Now I challenge YOU.

Share with me your home dojo, or if you train in one, tell us your stories of what it's like.  Use the hashtag #homedojo if you share it on Google Plus, Twitter, or Facebook.

I'd love to see it, because it'll give me some great ideas to make my home dojo better!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Real Life Fights: The "Shovel Girl" Fight - Lessons Learned

There's been a video making the rounds lately showing two girls - both of whom are apparently 14 years old - getting into a fight over a boy, and then the fight ends when one of the girls gets a shovel and hits the other girl on the back of the head.

You've seen these two just about everywhere.
You can watch the video here:  Girl Gets Hit With Shovel FULL VIDEO.  Both girls have been identified, but I will not name them here.  If you really want to know, there is a link at the end of this post that reports what happens in the aftermath of this fight that can give you more details.

I've used this fight in class with some of  our "junior" students - mostly young teenagers - to discuss several important points.

Point 1:  This is not a self defense situation.  It's mutual combat, about status. 

In the longer version of the video, these kids actually stop and pet chickens on their way to their appointed fight.  Initially, while the girls are both angry, they are not in "heat of the moment" angry - this is an agreed-upon fight situation.

Once it's fighting time, both girls square up in classic "boxing" stances.  Obviously, neither girl is trained, but both have agreed to the fight and re-engage each other multiple times.

Both parties stay engaged in the mutual combat because of fear of losing face and bragging rights.  This fight is really about status more than anything else.  Neither girl is really fighting "to win" physically, but socially.

Point 2: There aren't any rules in a real fight

Both girls try to claim that kicking and punches to the head are cheap shots.  As the girl in the gray pants notes, "It's a fight!".

As much as people want to believe there are rules - there aren't.  The goal is to win.  If a person is losing, it is very possible that the fight will get escalated further than the participants intended (which happens here).

Expect to get sucker punched if possible, expect to go to the ground, expect to get your hair pulled and eyes poked, expect crotch shots... every "cheap" shot is likely to be used.

Point 3: Girls tend to grab on and pull hair

This happens early in this fight, and if you watch real life fight videos featuring women, you see it happen repeatedly (I don't know why this is - I'd be interested in your theories). being prepared to defend against hair grabs is very necessary if you have young female students, as it is very possible that a fight situation they may find themselves in could involve a female aggressor.

Both girls grab on to each others' hair
Not that I think a man wouldn't do it, but women tend to do it far more often.  Given the assumption is often that it's a male attacker vs. our female students, I think this is a huge gap for many of us in teaching students of both genders.

Point 4: When they say they are going to escalate the fight, believe them

The girl in the black pants, who is losing the fight, threatens to get a weapon (a BB gun).  The girl in the gray pants encourages her to do so (believing she won't).

Black pants girl heads for the house to prove she is not bluffing.

Black Pants Arms Herself
Note that she's not even hiding that she's going for the weapon here, and everyone there recognizes it for what it is.  She's escalating the fight, because she can't handle the loss of face.

Black pants has turned this from mutual combat into a very, very dangerous situation.  Gray pants goaded her to do it.

Point 5: Environmental weapons - or weapons of opportunity - are always a danger

Black pants girl said she was going for a BB gun, but instead, grabbed a shovel that was just propped against her house.  She did not plan this - it was just there, and she used it as a weapon of opportunity.

Seriously - deadly weapon.
Items in your environment can either be used against you - as you see here - or can be used to help you.

Point 6:  Take the opportunity to stop fighting

There were numerous opportunities for either party to stop fighting..  The fight pauses, they stop and restart engagement multiple times. Either party could have stopped before it got serious.  Of course, status and face wouldn't let them - and don't ignore that as a factor, as that can be a very powerful thing.

Finally, gray pants girl is getting the best of black pants girl.  Black pants girl has had enough and tells gray pants girl to leave.

video


Gray pants girl refuses.  Shortly thereafter, black pants girl escalates the fight by introducing a weapon.

Gray pants - who has won the fight socially - should have taken that opportunity and left.  Instead, she stays engaged (making up a silly reason to do so), and that's the biggest mistake she makes.  Additionally, once she's been told to leave - that trespass.

Point 7: Improvised weapons are as dangerous as "real" weapons

Gray pants girl is incredibly lucky that she was hit with the flat, rather than the edge of the shovel.



If it the gray pants girl has been hit with the edge, it is very likely that black pants girl would be on trial for murder.  As it was, gray pants girl had to seek medical treatment, apparently for a concussion.  As you can see, this is a devastating hit with a deadly weapon.

Point 8:  Every fight is a serious situation and may get you charged with a crime

Lots of people have been making fun of this situation, and this video, on the internet.  I think this trivializes the seriousness of the situation.

Both girls are incredibly lucky they've only been charged with disorderly conduct.  Black pants girl in particular could have been charged with something a lot more serious - honestly, I'm surprised she hasn't been.  Gray pants girl also could have been charged with trespassing, I suppose.

In closing, when videos like this go viral, it's likely that your teenage students will have seen them, and you should take the opportunity to use them as a teaching tool.

Did I miss any important points?  Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Aging and the Martial Arts

Willie Nelson was granted his 5th Dan in Gong Kwon Yu Sul on Monday, 4/28, 2014, right around his 81st birthday.   Nelson has actually practiced the martial arts seriously since he was a young man, starting with Kung Fu, then to Tae Kwon Do, and now in Gong Kwon Yu Sul.

Ralph Barrera/AP/Time.com
His elevation - and arguments I got into with people who insist that he can't possibly be good enough for fifth Dan due his age - coincided with my viewing of "The Bladed Hand" for the first (but not the last) time.

I marveled at how many of our oldest masters in the FMA's play with speed, power, and intent when I watched "The Bladed Hand".

Many of the featured teachers in "The Bladed Hand" were well over 65 years old, some as old as in their 80's and 90's, and yet, they were so smooth and so good at their art.  For example, here's some footage of Rodel "Smokingsticks" Dagooc training (outtake from the movie):


There is more than one reason he's called "Smokingsticks". I don't know how old Master Dagooc is, but as you can see, he's not a young man.  Would you want to cross him?  I certainly would not!

You see, I think that for a martial art to continue to be relevant and useful, it needs to be more than just a way for young, physically fit people to duke it out.  It has to grow with you, as you age, and as your skills change.

Note:  I did not say skills diminish, I said skills change.  I think that some things can improve with age - for example spatial awareness, target acquisition, spotting openings and gaps in defenses.  "Vision" and what I'd call "battle wisdom" (that is, a better understanding of when to engage in violence or avoid it) can improve with age, when other skills like strength, flexibility and range in motion may naturally decline over the years.

If you started the martial arts at a very young age, there is also the benefit of decades of repetition and refinement of core skills.  I missed out on that, having started so late in life, and while I work pretty hard at my art, I believe that means I will never be as good as people who've done it for two to three decades by the time they reach the age I have now.

In the wake of the news of Master Nelson's elevation to 5th dan, some folks asserted that if one cannot have the physical fitness of a young person, you can't earn rank.  To paraphrase: "You have to be able to break a board with your foot to get fifth dan! No way can he do that at his age!  It must be just some celebrity nonsense elevation for PR!"

Master Nelson has been training since he was a young man - that gives him about sixty years training.

Sixty.  YEARS.

I think he's learned a thing or two.



That guy complaining about Master Nelson's promotion has never actually seen him do martial arts... sigh.  I haven't seen him either, but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.  I won't write off Nelson's ability based on his age (or his celebrity status - heck, Ed O'Neill is a legitimate BJJ black belt!)

Long story short, their justification for having to be as fit as a 20 year old in top physical condition is that you have to be that strong and skilled on the battle field (the martial in "martial arts"). I agree, that's true - this is why active duty, fighting soldiers in most cultures are young males, and their leaders tend to be older males who survived.

But most of us training in the martial arts aren't training for battle.

You're training for self defense, or for skill in a fighting sport, or for performance purposes... or whatever. But except for a very small subsection of the martial arts, you're not battle training (especially if your art is unarmed - nobody goes into battle with no weapons, ever).

Now, does this mean that physical fitness is unimportant?  Of course not!  But what "physically fit" means in your 20's is a different beast than in your 60's and beyond., especially when you take injury and chronic physical ailments into consideration.

So, be careful when you look at older martial artists and think they're far past their prime and thus, unable to deliver the goods.

It's very possible that Willie Nelson can kick your ass.

P.S.: To learn more about Grand Master Dagooc and Smoking Sticks, check out his web site here:
 http://www.arnismartialarts.com/


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shenanigans! Yi Chuan Kung Fu

The martial arts are awesome.  People can do amazing things, things of skill and strength and flexibility and beauty and awe, all without the need to have magic powers.  Really, it's incredible how skilled some people are.

So why do people run around claiming magical powers nonsense?  It's simply not required.

Here's yet another one: Yi Chuan Kung Fu.


My reaction:


Another:


Uh huh.  Yeah.

Want to learn more?  Read the exploits of one potential student here.

There's a lot of advice out there about good and bad martial arts, but man, if an art you are considering spends time doing this nonsense - RUN!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Weapon Is An Extension Of The Hand - Except It Totally Isn't

Today I want to talk about weapons and the misconceptions I see and hear from martial artists whose primary training is empty handed.

It is very common, among martial artists, to say:

"The weapon is an extension of the hand."

My experience says that this is true, when you look at it from a certain perspective.  You already know many things from studying an empty hand art are applicable with a weapon, with adjustments for targets and ranges and whatnot.

However, once you get into the details, it becomes stunningly clear that weapons arts and empty hand arts are as dissimilar as they are similar.

What's the empty hand version of
nunchucks to the nads?
Things change in important ways as you move from weapon to weapon, too.  A long blunt weapon is a different beast from a short bladed weapon, and a long blade is different than a short blade, and weapons held both hands (think two sticks, or kama, sai, tonfa...) is a very different thing than a single hand (nunchaku, single stick, one-handed blade or knife) and is very different than a single weapon that requires both hands (long swords, bo, jo...), and so on. Each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Defending against, and the use of, each of these weapons requires modification of your technique.  Sometimes it's minor, but sometimes it's major.

This is abundantly clear when you watch primarily empty hand martial artists - and they have a lot of skill in the empty hand - fumble around with and utterly misunderstand how a weapon is used.

At a recent tournament, a high ranked black belt told our yellow belt Arnis student - who did a blade form (a competition form we created based off several anyos created by Professor Remy Presas) - that he needed "more power" in his form.

Our student performed his form with a bolo, not a stick.  The interpretation of much of the form is that you are slashing opponents, so you move smoothly through strike to strike, demonstrating blade awareness throughout.  Therefore, the movement is smooth and flowing, as you allow the very sharp blade to separate matter (versus blunt weapons, which require power because they inflict damage by crushing things). It does not require a lot of power to make a blade work - you're not chopping wood.

 This primarily empty-hand art high-ranked black belt was not correct in this advice.

I think some of this comes from the lack of actual pressure testing of the use of weapons.  For some of us, it's a safety issue, especially if you own low quality weapons that can't take a beating, like the junk they sell for XMA exhibitions performance.  That stuff simply can't be used properly.

One of these things is not like the others.
Hint: it doesn't completely suck.
A side effect of no pressure testing is that you can't verify what you are doing/seeing in kata, which is how lots of empty-hand people I know learn weapons.  So you do things in the air, never critically examining how it might actually work, and make some critical errors as a result.

The empty hand  NOT being a simple extension of the hand is abundantly clear when you are defending against a weapon.

I was training with a friend and we were doing simple knife defenses (very, very basic). The attack was a classic hammer grip, coming in an arc that would closely resemble a standard hook punch. He would block the incoming strike with a flat, open hand (as he had trained).

This is fine with an empty hand attack - even if it fails, the risk of damage is dramatically reduced by the block slowing down the attack.

However, with a blade, it's a very good idea to control the weapon by cupping, passing,or grabbing the wrist of the weapon hand.  If  you do not, there is literally nothing to stop me from continuing my attack through and cutting vital points - if you do not grab or pass the weapon, it is very, very easy to change the angle and deliver a critical cut.

He didn't believe me when I told him this, so we did it several times- I would attack at a faster speed, he'd open hand block, and then completely fail in stopping the weapon from cutting him in a vital area.  Of course it was even worse in reverse grip, as it was very easy to cut the inside of the wrist, a strike that could be fatal within a minute or two.

You can also see very skilled empty hand martial artists make the mistake of blocking an incoming bo strike with an x-block to the weapon (yes, I have seen this done on a black belt test) or repeatedly grabbing the sharp edge of training blades, or trying to deliver high kicks when holding a long weapon, or as we've all seen, they start twirling katanas around as if they are Conan the Barbarian.

This single scene is responsible for more bullshit than any other.
What you learn studying an empty hand art is good, and true, and useful.  Much of it absolutely applies to weapons.  But you can't just pick up a weapon and start using it with your empty hand techniques - you will make critical mistakes in understanding that would get you hurt or killed versus someone trained in a weapon.

I'd love to know what you think - feel free to tell me how full of it I am in the comments.  Also, if you like what I write, can you do me a huge favor and share it on your social media channels?  I'd really appreciate it, thanks!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

KIAAAA-HA! New Discoveries and Old Favorites

What we do is serious business, and shouldn't be made fun of at all.

Zing!
First up, a new discovery I hope you'll enjoy as much as I've been enjoying it.  I give you: DOOR NINJA.


Another new one: DARTH VADER TAKES MMA



Not new  - but very entertaining.  Given how much I write about bad martial arts, this video should definitely be here on my blog.


I can't get enough of "Kid Snippets" - watch this video, then go to their YouTube channel and watch the rest - it's a great use of an afternoon.


Here's MasterTakedown's Self Defense:


Shinjido:



This one is... well, I don't know what to tell you.  It's weird.  But it makes me laugh.


Finally, here's a film I would pay good money to see, should it come to a theater near me:


I'm always looking for martial arts humor of all kinds, so if you see something martial arts related that amuses you, please do share it with me!

Bruce liked this sort of thing, too.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thoughts from MAPA: The True Value of Cross Training

The first Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance seminar was on Saturday 5/3/14, and we had a great time.

Me, avoiding the stabbings and slashings.
About 25 people attended (excluding the teachers and my hubby and myself), all ranges of experience, and the youngest of us were a couple of 10 year olds from our Junior Arnis program. Segments were taught by Abel Martinez, Mark Lynn, and  John Bain (John stepped in as a last minute replacement for David Beck, who had a conflict and couldn't attend).

I won't talk about all the cool material covered here, because while I did learn many things, what resonated with me after the seminar isn't related to techniques covered at all.

There were lots of people I hadn't met before at the seminar, and I made a point of trying to work with them. It was really interesting to see how different people would move and interpret what was being taught. I'd say I knew about 70% of the material being shown, so I could pay a little more attention to what other folks were doing.

Some people stuck to playing with the people they already knew, but others branched out to work with strangers.

To me, that's the real value of seminars (and other cross training opportunities like this) - branching out and meeting and playing with new people.

I just met you, - want to hit hit me in the head with that stick?
Unless yours is a very unusual group, generally, we end up training with the same small group of people repeatedly.  Over time, we know each other very well, and can anticipate how people will respond.

When you train with strangers or with people with a different mindset, you get new ideas, new points of view, and a different way of looking at things.  It can help you see the strengths and weaknesses in your own art.

So, this is why I think after a certain point in your training, you must cross train with people who don't practice the art you do, the way you do it.  Be open to different viewpoints and perspectives.

This is how you can hone your craft.  This is how you grow.

This is how you become a better martial artist.

So look for these opportunities - seminars are awesome for it - and make a point to seek out and train with strangers!
Wait, is that how that's done?  Huh!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

When is a post not a "real" post? When it's this post!

I'm at MAPA today, so my "real" post for the weekend will be tomorrow, after I get time to reflect on what we did and what we learned.

The four or you or so who've read this blog for a while might not have noticed, but I try to reserve weekend posts for topics that are more personal to me, my training, what I'm observing as I learn and teach, hopefully to provoke some interesting conversation about this crazy, nutty hobby many of you reading this blog post share with me that we call "the martial arts".

I don't have anything on tap, as I'm expecting to leave the seminar with my mind buzzing a mile a minute and right now I'm more concerned about helping my teacher and the other Guros pull off a successful event.

So, here's some videos from the people teaching at the MAPA seminar today.

First up, Abel Mann Martinez.


Next, David Beck.


And finally, my teacher, Mark Lynn:



Mark's "uke" wearing a green belt in that video is my husband, by the way.

So, I"ll have more deep thoughts tomorrow - for today, I'm acquiring bruises and knowledge, yo!