Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thoughts from MAPA 3: The Student is the Teacher is the Student

Yesterday was our third MAPA seminar with the +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance here in Dallas-Fort Worth.  I seem to notice something different each time - the value of cross training at MAPA 1,  and the fact that all of us are family at MAPA 2.

Like the others, the format of a MAPA seminar is that several (this time four) instructors offer about an hour's instruction each on a few techniques in various Filipino martial arts.  This time we had +John Bain (Pambuan Arnis),  +David Beck (Arnis de Leon), Darren Dailey (IMAF Modern Arnis) and Andrea Tabei (Arnis de Leon and Krav Maga).

Guro John Bain (red shirt) setting up Guro Mike Pana

Topics included power striking, arco twirling with power, reinforcement of triangle stepping, using palis to parry incoming strikes, "bursting",  the 1-2-5-12 counter-for-counter drill, and some really neat stuff about easy ways to get people off balance at the ankle and knee.

At this seminar, there were actually nine instructors out of the crowd of 30, only four of which were presenting material for the seminar.

That's right - we had more instructors as students than we had instructors teaching!

If you didn't know who they were, you would have no idea that those instructors WERE in fact the highly skilled teachers they are.

For example, my hubby was paired up with this nice man for a drill.

As they started, my husband thought he was catching on pretty well, and said, "Obviously you've done this before."

The man is Dr. Michael Hume, who among his many accomplishments as a martial artist is Lakan  Apat (4th Degree Black Belt) in Modern Arnis.  So yeah, you might say he's done this before.

So you see, the format of MAPA is one in which instructors were there just to learn like the rest of us, and if you didn't know who they were by sight, or name, you wouldn't have any idea that they are highly ranked or experienced.

Another story:  As everyone was cued up to pay, Darren Dailey lined up to pay as well.

Darren was TEACHING.  But he wanted to pay because he wants to support the mission of what MAPA is all about, and that's sharing and learning without any regard to organization or branch or brand of FMA.

But that's the attitude that the people who go to MAPA have.   That's why it's so fun, and why I think it will continue. 

Missing - fancy belts and gi tops festooned with patches.

At a MAPA seminar, you won't see anybody wearing any belts showing rank.  Everybody is there to share and learn, no matter how experienced they are.  There is always something new and interesting at a MAPA seminar. Everybody is open minded, and takes what they want from the experience and incorporates it back into what they do.

That's why this works.  I would love to see the MAPA concept in other cities - an Arnis Players Alliance gathering in every metro where we have players of all sorts of lineages and experience, getting together to just learn and share what they have learned.

We end up training in small groups all over the place, with little community outside of a small group of people.  MAPA is changing that in Dallas-Fort Worth.

One more thing - I got to learn a new sinawali variant from +Abel Mann Martinez. Here's a quick .gif of me sucking at it.  Watch me screw it up royally at the end there.

I'm looking forward to MAPA 4 in the first quarter of 2015.  My only disappointment is that they have not adopted my suggestion to subtitle each one.  MAPA 2 should have been "MAPA 2: Stick Boogaloo" and MAPA 3 should have been "MAPA 3: The Stickening".

Maybe they'll adopt it for the next one:  MAPA 4: THE STICK STRIKES BACK!

You can find information on MAPA gatherings at +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance  on Google Plus or on Facebook