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!