Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thoughts from MAPA 2: We Are Family

We held our second +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance (MAPA) seminar on 8/2/14, and like the first, it was a blast (maybe even better).

This time we had four teachers - +Mark Lynn+Abel Mann Martinez +David Beck and +John Bain.  Abel and David showed some pretty standard techniques with some cool variants in Modern Arnis, Mark showed policing techniques from Kombatan, and John showed knife disarms from Pambuan Arnis.

The mix of attendees was different than MAPA 1, and that made it just as fun as the first.  I got to meet some new amazing people of all sorts of levels of experience (from newbie to way, way more experienced than I am), and make new connections in the FMA community here in Dallas-Fort Worth.

While I enjoyed the content (and picked up a few new things I hadn't considered before, especially in the use of the punyo), what struck me most was the entire group of players attending the seminar.

A fine looking and utterly deadly bunch of people.

What is missing in this photo?  Look again, I'll wait.

Did you spot it?

Nobody in this picture is wearing a belt or any other indicator of rank.

When I said the group consisted of newbies all the way to the highly experienced, looking at that photo, can you spot which are which? 

As we switched from partner to partner, outside of the people I knew personally, I had no idea what background in the Filipino Martial Arts, if any, my partner had when we first paired up.  Indeed, given the techniques we were doing, it's possible that there were some I trained with that had lots of martial arts skill but very little in the FMA's, but picked it up fairly easily.

No worries over rank or who's which level. No politics of style or teacher or lineage.  Just a bunch of players coming together to cross sticks and play.  A family, one that we have chosen, one that comes together through the love of our art.

As we drove home, it struck me how rare that can be in the martial arts, and what a really fun experience the MAPA seminars have been thus far.

You see, the point of MAPA is not to rank people, or to elevate any particular person or Filipino Martial Art. The point is to gather together all of the small knots and teachers of every FMA we can find, and bring them together to teach, to learn, to train, to support, and to network with other FMA players in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (and beyond).  To gather together the community so that we can afford to bring in the "big names" for single-teacher seminars.

Thus far, the MAPA seminars are doing exactly that.  It bodes well for the future.

One more item - this time, I acquired some awesome bruises (I bruise easily, it's true).  Here you go:

The measurement of a fun seminar.
I'll keep you posted on MAPA 3 (tentatively entitled "The Stickening").  It's supposed to be in November, in the Plano, TX area.  If you, or someone you know, wants to cross sticks and are around that time of year, let me know!

I'd love to hear your stories about YOUR martial arts family - post 'em in the comments below!