Monday, March 30, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Miami Arnis Group - Countering Stick Disarms


Today's video features Tony Torre of the Miami Arnis Group.

It shows counters to common disarms, including the snake disarm.

I like this video because it shows how easy it is to counter a disarm (if you don't anticipate that counter, that is...)


Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Just Call Me The Mayor of Newbietown

I wrote about this a year ago (here) but man, I just have to say again how much I enjoy working with new students.

As I mentioned in "The Joy of Newbies", our school starts out with what we call "Zero Level", and that hasn't changed (although some of the content IS changing).  The idea is that it should take about a week to get a new student up to speed enough to participate in class with the other students.  It also gives the new student some time to evaluate what we do and are showing them and to make sure it's for them before they buy sticks or our class uniform.


When I pass them on to White Belt, they haven't necessarily mastered the material on zero level (our basic strikes, basic stances, basic blocking pattern, basic feeding pattern), but they understand it well enough to be relatively safe for the rest of the class to work with, both for the newbie and for the others in class.

Given that our art has "contact" pretty early in training, I'm glad that we have this zero level, to ease new students in, and for safety's sake.

Sometimes, coaching brand new students is left to lower level classmates, where "high rank" people and instructors don't bother and focus on the "higher level" stuff.  I think that's a serious mistake, because not only does the new student lose out on connecting with a higher-ranked person or instructor in the school (a must, I believe, for new students), but also because of what the teacher loses as a result.

I really like working in the zero level - I often volunteer for it - because of all I get out of it, as well as the pleasure of introducing somebody new to my art.   I love what I do, and getting new people acclimated to it is a very rewarding experience.

The Purple Knuckles Club.

Each student is unique and a gift to their instructors, because when you teach, you learn, and you learn something different with just about every new student you work with.  Something is always there to be discovered - new ways to communicate, learning how to connect with different style learners, and always, new reactions to what you are doing that you wouldn't have expected (especially if the new student has very little to no martial arts training).

I think the education in the unexpected is especially valuable as we tend to tell ourselves narratives about how untrained people will react to what we do, and that narrative is blown up every time you work with a new student.

Wait, what?  That's... huh!

Things that become obvious to us after we've trained for a while are not very obvious at all to new students, and we just plain forget this fact, until we are trying to get them to perform the simplest technique or stance.  For example, the admonition to not give my back or the back of my head to my opponent if I can possibly avoid it is an ingrained habit now, but a new student will step so that his or her back is easily given without even realizing it.  We expect a person to move or block or do something when we throw a punch at them, but it's not uncommon for the new student to just stand there and do nothing.  We'll ask a new student to punch the air, and the mechanic and target is completely unlike anything you've seen before.

As long as I do Arnis, I plan to be a volunteer to work with the newbies as much as I can, so they can be "onboarded" properly by someone who wants to do it, and for my own growth.

I'm the Mayor of Newbietown.

My monocle is on order.
Image found here.

How about you?  Do you enjoy working with new students?  Is it a priority of yours?  Have you learned anything really cool as a result?  I'd love to know!

Friday, March 27, 2015

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Are Rec Center Programs Less Legit?


Today's topic is about Recreation/Community center martial arts programs.

Some people think that these programs provide an excellent education value.  Usually, they have no contracts (outside of center membership) and the fees are quite reasonable.

Others think that Rec Center programs are of lesser quality - that because it is such a value, that the students there can't possibly be getting as good an education as one from an instructor in a stand-alone school (or even a garage or park dojo).

What do you think?


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Politics of Fighting

Martial artists are a weird bunch.

Come on - putting yourself in a position to allow people to hit you with things is kinda weird, isn't it?  Wearing stylized uniforms based on the dress of a culture that no longer dresses that way, and rank belts on any day other than Halloween or a costume party is weird.   Studying archaic fighting techniques using archaic weapons that you will never, ever use in your real life is weird.

That's fine - I'm good with weird.  I like weird.  I am weird, in more ways than just this one.

In some quarters, this is stylish. Go Chiefs!
But when you look at it another way, we're just like every other sub culture that exists.  We have the same group dynamics, and the same political issues.

For example, in pop culture fandoms the political issue is often early fans vs. later fans, where early fans claim a sort of moral superiority to those who came later.  In sports fandoms - people who have been fans of the team for decades have a slightly superior status versus those who are relatively new fans.

Isn't this the same attitude of direct students of an art's founder, versus those who train later - that the later people can never be as good as those who trained directly with the founder?  People who have trained 30 years are always seen, somehow, as somewhat better than someone who's trained 10 years, even if that 10 years training person is a savant and physically and mentally gifted, aren't they?

You'll never, ever be as good as Pei Mei, but that's a general principle.
You have people who claim the old or early days of martial arts training were better or more pure, and that today people don't have the proper values or are watering down the training (especially if they teach children).  This is not unique to us; you hear the same complaints in everything from toy collecting to the maker communities - that in the early days, these hobbies were populated by heroes who only cared about the hobby and were giants in the field, sacrificing home and family in pursuit of their passions, versus the n00bs who aren't worthy to offer an opinion about anything at all (or god forbid, do the hobby so well that they are successful at it).

If you aren't putting cops in the come-along wearing a fabulous hat, you're weak.
Most martial artists are always jockeying for status in one way or another - rank vs. rank, style vs. style, teacher vs. teacher - and it ends up with little knots of people angry with other knots of people over perceived slights of respect and honor.  Friends, this stuff happens in societies like the Masons and Lions Club and Knights of Columbus and any other group larger than two people that's ever existed.

This stuff - politics - can ruin a training group utterly, and the pain of this is very real and honest and true.  Some folks try to dismiss these things as just "politics", but I don't think that's achievable.

I don't think we can avoid politics.

This "political" stuff that we often decry is just the nature of humankind.  We are generally somewhat competitive in some way or another, and it's a part of our social makeup as human beings that we have to jockey for social position.  It's built into us, as a species.  We do it in our families, in our friendships, in our workplaces, and our hobbies - it's one of the many reasons that we have survived and thrived as the dominant mammals on the face of this planet.

We martial artists are not immune, as much as we want to believe sometimes that we are above it all due to the code many of us follow.  In fact, I'd argue it's worse for us, as most of us follow a pretty conservative, hierarchical culture that rewards rising in status (rank) and frowns upon too much challenging and asking questions (low ranks have fewer social "rights" than high ones).

So you get political problems in the smallest training group, in every martial arts school, in every martial arts organization.  It's just a fact of life.

The trick, I think, is to be aware of this, so that we can avoid the conflicts that inevitably arise, resulting in schisms and hurt feelings and misunderstands that are detrimental to our arts.  We can't avoid the politics, but we can avoid them devolving into something destructive.

Here's my challenge to you - and for me, too.

The next time you perceive a slight to your rank, or your honor, or what have you, instead of getting angry and not saying something to that person and nursing it into something bigger, maybe it'd be more productive to 1) take a deep breath and calm down and 2) look at it from the other person's perspective.  Don't automatically assume the intent was to hurt or slight you.  We all make mistakes like this, all the time. And then, once you've calmed down - talk nicely to that person, and see if you both can't come to a better place of understanding.

I'll just sit here until the urge to punch you in the jugular goes away.
While we will always have this pressure, these politics - I think it'd be better for our arts if we tried very hard to not let these things spiral out of control.  Let's take our egos down a notch.  Let's give the other guy more slack and benefit of the doubt. Let's accept that we can be great while somebody else can be just as great too (and better in some things - it doesn't make you or your art lesser, really).

What do you think? I'm not looking for political horror stories - we all have those. Instead, tell me about a time where you were able to overcome politics and make a better group or training situation.  Tell me how you try to avoid these natural group conflicts, or what you think can be done to cope with them.

Monday, March 23, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: W. Hock Hochheim - Knife Dueling and Knife Sparring


Today's video is a little different.

I usually post instructional video, but today isn't really instructional.

My husband is enrolled in the Pacific Archipelago Combative course from W. Hock Hockheim.  This video is not from that course, but from a related course, and what I like about it is that it's showing knife sparring freestyle, and how dangerous a knife really, really is.


Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How Do We Teach What We Do?

I wrote on this blog about my Green Belt Test, and how one effect of it was a major revision of curriculum and how much material was required.  My teacher rewrote it at the time, but we were not participants in that process, and he didn't distribute that version to us in written form, as he was still figuring it out.

I think I've said before we were his "guinea pigs" as far as curriculum structure goes, right?
Although he wouldn't teach us this sort of thing - off balance, left side wide open... image found here.
Just as we were promoted us to Brown Belt, our teacher decided to do another major revision, this time with our direct participation.  We also, for the first time, wrote it up with the intent that it should be distributed to students directly.  You know, with pictures, lineage, history of the art, and glossary.

It's fancy.

We even punch with our pinkies out, due to being fancy.
(no, no we don't, not really, that'd be awful and stupid - image found here)
We created a Junior Arnis curriculum that was somewhat derivative of the adult curriculum (mainly in that it removed the knife work and added in stick sparring) for our new Junior program not too long after that, and that's what we've been living with for the past three years or so.

Going through the process of building a curriculum - somewhat from scratch - the last time we did it was really illuminating.  Our school teaches a blend of Kombatan and Modern Arnis, and the Kombatan elements are heaviest in the lower levels.  Blending the two is not too difficult, and we're certainly not the only school that does that.  But thinking out the progression and how all the skills and techniques fit together... that's hard.

My teacher has recently revised our Junior Arnis program curriculum after the experience we've had with it (and discussions with people he trusts), and now he is looking at revising the adult curriculum to "match". 

The new "JMA" curriculum has a lot less content. and he's added in a few things that are good that we dropped during the last revision by necessity, as we didn't want to end up with a huge amount of content, like it was when we tested for Green.

You can build a curriculum several ways, I think...

One is the "narrow, deep channel" approach: less content known incredibly well.  This will result in a Black Belt that might not know a ton of things, but what she knows, she can do with incredible skill, due to repetition and a deeper understanding of what she's been taught.

Another is the "wide, shallow pond" approach:  lots of content but less deep understanding.  This will result in a Black Belt who knows a lot of stuff, but he may not be able to execute all of it with high skill, due to less time spent on repetition and deep study.

And sometimes we take a metaphor too far.

And then, you'd end up somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, which is where I bet most of us aim to be.

We'll see how the new revised Hidden Sword curriculum comes out - I think it will be a narrower, deeper channel than it is now.  The process is really educational in any case.

I'd like to hear about your curriculum challenges, either in design and execution, and the things you've learned either in the creation or in the "trial" period.  Do you use someone else's curriculum to the letter (due to belonging to a martial arts federation of some sort) or do you have your own?  Do you tweak things, and how often!

Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

19th Annual Houston IMAF Modern Arnis Camp

I recently attended my very first martial arts camp, the International Modern Arnis Federation camp, held down in Houston.

Original image found here.
I rode down with my friends from the Dallas Modern Arnis Club (and that was a wise choice, as I was so tired at the end of the weekend, I'm not sure I could have driven home safely in the pouring down rain).

Hosting the camp was Master Earl Tullis (center, above), and teaching was Master Earl and two Masters of Tapi-Tapi, Master Chuck Gauss and Master Ken Smith.  I have really enjoyed the videos both men have put out over the years, so it was really cool to be able to train directly under their tutelage at the camp.

The MAPA crew - from DFW and College Station - with the camp instructors.
Image by Mark Lynn.

My teacher, Mark Lynn, also attended, and I knew a few folks from DMAC and +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance  events, but most of the people there were new to me (or I'd only met online). It was awesome getting to meet so many fellow Arnis players at one time, from people who trained directly with Professor for years and years, to relative newbies like myself (hey, I've only been doing this seven years - total newbie here.).

One thing that struck me immediately was the large proportion of female attendees of this camp.  Up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area - and in my old training group in Mississippi - it's usually just me and maybe one or two other women at the most.  As you can see in the group photo above, there were 11 women there!  I ended up training with most of the women throughout the course of the camp, and I really had a great time playing with a whole bunch of other Stick Chicks!

Just three of the Stick Chicks
I won't go into detail of all the content covered - that's for some of those geeky technical posts I'll make in the future - but overall, it covered block check counter, the slap-off drill, all sorts of drills leading to tapi-tapi play, knife defense, some locks, some disarms, the "dummy lock",and some sinawali play.  It doesn't sound like a lot, but I promise you, when you are working the progressions... well, it's much like drinking from a fire hose, and your brain tires well before your body does.  I'm grateful we took good notes!

Line Sinawali.  Image from here.
Given that my teacher teaches some of this material a little differently - for example, we don't really do the "tapi" block in our school - I got to acquire some new skills, play with different footwork, and get a different perspective on material I am relatively familiar with.  I also got to play with some brand new - to me - drills that I will be including in my own training.

If you don't know what I mean by tapi-tapi, it's really just "counter to the counter" - any time you deliver a technique, and then the partner counters it, that's just tapi-tapi. You can practice tapi-tapi as isolated combative-style drills or in flow drills.

Master Ken might enjoy this a little too much.  Image by Mark Lynn.
This camp was focused on the basics, and as they stated, Professor said, "The basics are the advanced, and the advanced are the basics."  Practicing and playing the basics is something I'm a huge believer in, so it was great to have that attitude reinforced at this camp.

One great thing about going to a camp or a seminar like this is getting to play with people you don't know well.  I got to play with people who have backgrounds in everything from Karate or TKD to BJJ to Kung Fu. All of them have something cool to teach me.  I especially love playing with Kung Fu guys, as I really like the way they move (balance and how they control energy), and that motivates me even more to try to get back into studying tai chi in the near future, as I want to move as well as they do someday.
Master Chuck says it's hurtin' time. Image by Mark Lynn.
Master Earl and his wife Barbara did a great job in organizing and running the camp - to my knowledge, there were no issues.  The Tullis' put out a great barbecue dinner Saturday night that was very appreciated by all.  Additionally, the group raised $720.00 for the family of Jesse San Miquel, one of Master Earl's black belts who had recently passed away.

It's Texas.  It had to be BBQ.  Image found here.

I'll definitely attend another IMAF camp - the next one in Texas is in Dallas in April.  I'm about 80% sure I'll be the one attending it (if not, it'll be my husband).  After that, there is the Michigan camp in June.

This image was made for my friend +Brian Johns.  There is a similar image of him and Master Chuck that I think is really awesome, so we recreated it.

We're still going over our notes, and I'll share some of the geeky details another time.   If you get a chance, you really should attend a camp, and IMAF camp was really fun and worth the time and expense to do.

And it only took a week or so for the bruises to mostly heal up, too.  Mostly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Submissions needed - MOTION MONDAY and FACE-OFF FRIDAY

I hope you've been enjoying the MOTION MONDAY and FACE-OFF FRIDAY posts here on the Stick Chick Blog.

On MOTION MONDAY, I feature a video from a variety of sources - mostly from the Filipino Martial Arts, but not always.

On FACE-OFF FRIDAY, we discuss issues that tend to be of some debate in the martial arts world, from frivolous questions to very serious ones, indeed.

I'm looking for YOUR HELP!

If Bobby asks, you know you can't refuse.
First off, I'd love it if you'd submit your favorite martial arts videos for inclusion into MOTION MONDAY.   Please choose videos that are long on action, and short on talk.  Its a huge martial arts world out there, and I'd love to share the videos that you love here on the blog - yes, even if it is you in the video!

I'd also love it if you'd give me suggestions for FACE-OFF FRIDAY topics.  Here's what we've done thus far:
  • How Young is Too Young for Black Belt?
  • What is a McDojo?
  • Earning Rank Online
  • Weapons vs. Empty Hands
  • Alive Training Necessary?
  • Only Fighting Ability Matters?
  • Are Values Necessary?
  • Should Belt Ranks Exist?
  • GI/Uniforms vs. No Gi
  • Shoes or No Shoes?
  • Instructors Dating Students
  • Teaching For Profit Bad or OK?
  • Traditional Weapons vs. Demo "XMA"-Style Weapons
  • Cross training vs single-system training
  • Do all fights go to the ground?
  • In a fight, who would win: Master Ken or John Kreese?
  • Was Bruce Lee Really All That?
  • Independent or Organization?
  • Should Kids be Taught Weapons?
  • Are you morally obligated to teach self defense law?
  • Contracts or No Contracts?
  • Are Rec Center programs less legit?
  • Handling Rank when Changing Schools
  • COMING SOON: Visitors Making Corrections
Try to keep your topic applicable to more than just your own martial art - make it more generally applicable to the wider martial arts community.

All submissions used on this blog will get the proper credit for source, so please include what social media links, web site, blog, etc., and how you want your name and/or school listed on the post.

So put your thinkin' caps on for FACE-OFF FRIDAY, and please do send me your favorite marital arts videos for MOTION MONDAY.   You can send it to me via email to or tell me about it in the comments below, if you like.

Please include links to videos, thanks - telling me to "Google Joe Blow at Obscure Fu" isn't good enough for me to be sure I found the video you have in mind.

Thanks, everybody!

Monday, March 16, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Professor Remy Presas "Dip the Tip" Disarms and Locks


Today we go back to the main man in my martial art, Professor Remy Presas.

This is an excerpt of a longer video, but what I like about it is that it shows some of my favorite disarms, traps and locks off of the "dip the tip" motion with a single cane.


Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pondering Green Belt

We recently promoted four of our students at Hidden Sword Martial Arts to their next ranks - from Yellow to Green, and from Green to Blue belt.

Our shiny new Blue and Green belts. Image by Mark Lynn.

Green belt, in particular, holds a special place in my heart, because it is the first belt color I ever wore in Arnis.

Not that it's my first rank; it's just that in the group I trained with prior to studying at Hidden Sword, we were given rank, but not belts.  I was about that rank in my old group before I started at Hidden Sword.

Our first belt test was over a ton of material.  My husband and I have been our school's curriculum "guinea pigs" of a sort, and the curriculum we follow now is radically different than what our teacher was using back when we first tested, due to the experience gained by my teacher training us.

Our Green Belt Test.  It was loooooooong.
Additionally, the lower levels of our program are heavily drawn from Kombatan, an art we had not studied, and has a ton more double-stick material than Modern Arnis typically does, so we had a huge amount of material to learn and execute.

That test consisted of my husband and I, plus a third student, who went away to college not too long ago, and we miss terribly, by the way, as she's a gifted martial artist.

Our green belt test took three hours.  Three. Hours.

I forget everything that we tested on, but it included the 12 Angles of Modern Arnis (various ways), the Fourteen Angles of Kombatan (double stick), all four Combative Responses of Kombatan (double stick and empty hand), many, many different kinds of sinawali (single, advanced, x-pattern, heaven, standard, earth - maybe even the Pyramid of those three - and a few others), disarms (vs. forehand and backhand various ways with double sticks, single stick, and empty hand), might have been a few locks and take-downs, and I think we did the Dos Manos striking drills, and Baston Anyo Isa, and Empty Hand Anyo Isa, and maybe we did Dalawa too...

I smile more now, I think...
Most of that content today is divided up among four to five belt levels!

After our test, I recall feeling very depressed about how it went.  Mainly because I knew the material but I didn't and couldn't execute it as well as I wanted to execute it. If I recall correctly, we'd been studying by this point for about five-six months, and honestly, we had to absorb all of that material - most of it new or performed differently than we were used to - plus get in enough practice to do it really well.

We just didn't get enough reps in to do it well.

We were happy to be ranked, but we felt that we'd let our teacher down by not doing it as well as we really should have (at least, so it seemed to us).

Of course, that was way, way too much to do in one test - that was a huge lesson learned.  Today, we don't ask our students to do that, and rank tests, depending on the belt level can take an hour for the white/yellow to 1-1/2 to 2 for Green/Blue (we'll find out for Purple, Brown, and above, as we haven't had any students under this curriculum get there yet).  Thus, our students get more reps and practice perfecting what they are learning.

Since my Green belt test, though, that belt rank has held a special place for me.  It is my second favorite rank period in my training, the one I made the most progress, perhaps (my favorite is Dayang Isa - Black Belt - the rank I hold today).

See?  More smiley.
Green Belt is where I got to perfect all that material I'd tested on.  We had some other adult students join us around that time, and I felt, for the first time, like an "upper belt", the senior students of our teacher.I became much, much better in my basics, so the intermediate material came easier than it had before.  As more Modern Arnis came into my studies again, I understood it better than ever.

Green belt represented a huge step forward for me.

Our youngest students were the Yellow belts promoted to Green, and I took them aside after the testing to tell them some of what I am telling you now, and that I want them to really knuckle down and work hard at this belt level.  It gets a lot harder at Green in our curriculum, and I want these two young men to know that this is when we step it up, and to make the most of it.

I want their Green belt level to be as meaningful for them as mine was for me.

And as hitty.
I'd like to know about ranks that may have had a special significance for you!  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 13, 2015

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Contracts or No Contracts?


Membership contracts are a hot topic of debate in the martial arts community.

Some argue that contracts help martial arts schools create a consistent cash flow, provide incentive to students that might not come to class otherwise (because they are going to pay whether or not they show up), and provide to both student and school a clear list of what is, and what is not, taught and provided at the school.

Others believe contracts act as traps - that the school isn't good enough to encourage students to continue, so they force them via contracts.  It is not uncommon for there to be outrageous cancellation fees associated to contracts as well, and many folks see contracts as the hallmark of being a "McDojo".

But what do you think?


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Wish List - Body Armor

Have you heard about this?

Learn more here.
This is a new intelligent body armor that calculates the damage a body would take when struck with a weapon. 

If you're like me, when you first read about this, you were like this:

 MMmmmm.... Arrrrrmmmoorrrrr....
It's a really cool innovation, and I hope it becomes something regular joes like me can play with some day.

But really, I'm not so sure I need that smart armor as much as I need a different kind of smart armor.  That armor is awesome, but honestly, it is going to boil down to measuring blunt force,  I can't imagine it will do well with the subtlety of an edged weapon - after all, we're not chopping wood, people - and there are so many things we do that aren't just blunt force.

We need a smart armor that is going to dissipate enough force to not hurt me, but to measure that I would have been hurt for things like locks, or a subtle edge of a blade against a critical spot.

I was thinking about this over the weekend as we were training in locks with the stick, My partner was wrapping the stick around my hand or wrist (sometimes the one, sometimes the other) and then getting me trapped into a lock.

This is the result of that training:

I bruise easy, but I promise you, friends, that HURT.  A lot.  And it hurt for several days afterwards, too.  Not just the bruising - getting locked past the initial point of it being put into to place over and over takes its toll.

So what I really need is a lightweight armor that provides just a hair of protection (not too much that I can't feel what's going on at all, like the armor above).  This armor would dissipate some of the force across the armor and measures the force being applied.  It would also signal when the point where a lock is set but before the point where it gets really painful or causes some damage.

This should be a full-body armor, so it should also signal, with throws and takedowns, the point where you can stop because your partner has passed the point of no return.  This would be great in cases where you are training with no mats - hey, I'm old, I can't take repeated takedowns on concrete or tile or unpadded carpet.

I'd also like the armor to measure when you hit nerve points on the body.  Theoretically, you could have your armor with those points marked for practice, maybe...?

I don't want something that's so bulky and strong that I can't feel anything through it - that's the big down side of that smart armor above. Think of it like a slightly padded second skin.

I'm sure one of you out there reading this is way, way smarter than me, and can figure out how to make this happen.


Monday, March 9, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: NE Small Circle Jujitsu: Small Circle Jujitsu Inside Sweep


Today, check out this really interesting inside sweep from Small Circle Jujitsu, as demonstrated by Sensei Ed Melaugh, New England Small Circle Jujitsu in Woburn, MA.

Small Circle Jujitsu is a huge contributor to my art, and it's a goal of mine to study it more in-depth in the future.


Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

KIAAA-HA! Houston, we have a problem...

Well, as long as we consider that my being there is a "problem".

I'm at the IMAF Houston Camp, acquiring many beautiful bruises and working with tons of awesome people.  I'm sure my notebook is chock full by the time you read this - good thing I brought more than one.

I'll be writing up a post-camp post (maybe more than one), once mentally and physically recover.

So here's something funny for you to look at. Enjoy.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

THAT GUY: Overly Macho Guy

So, I'm learning locks, and I'm working with a pretty highly ranked partner.  He's also in excellent shape, is very strong and powerful, and generally speaking, should be a great partner.

He locks me up, it hurts - maybe a little more than it should because he went a shade too far, but that happens - I tap, it's my turn.

I lock him up and he doesn't respond.  I try harder, thinking maybe my techinque is wrong or he needs me to go deeper (different people have different tolerance for pain after all) and he doens't respond.

I ask for help from the instructor (also a large and highly ranked guy), who comes over, does the lock, and my partner moves... a little, might even tap once.  He asks me to do the lock to my partner, who again, doesn't respond at all.  The instructor is perplexed.

I put the same lock on instructor, who taps immediately.

AHA!  I was probably doing the lock right!

My partner was an Overly Macho Guy.

Yes, this guy.

You see, Overly Macho Guy will not show any weakness, pain, or give any ground when training.  He claims he does it to be "realistic".

I know you grapplers know exactly who I'm talking about. Overly Macho Guy will let you dislocate a joint or break something rather than tap out.

Overly Macho Guy, when sparring, will go as hard as he can, and show no mercy in his or her attack (his defense is pretty weak, though, as he's all attack more often than not).

Overly Macho Guy will avoid pairing with women or people much smaller than him whenever possible.  Being seen at any point allowing such people to be successful in learning the technique on him means that he is weak and worthless.

Overly Macho Guy will resist any technique before you get a chance to even figure it out how it works.  Then claim that the technique doesn't work, because you couldn't figure out how to apply it correctly the first time against full resistance.  Anything less is not being "alive" enough.

Overly Macho Guy will unrealistically resist (as some techniques require a distraction of some sort) in order to prevent you from successfully doing a technique.  Yes, he will pretend that a punch to the throat or an eye rake (which will at least give you a flinch response) didn't work at all, ever.

Overly Macho Guy will be angry when he loses in point sparring - vocally or visibly so.  Because it's impossible for him to lose.


Overy Macho Guy is the one trying to be the alpha male in the group, to the detriment of his training partners and himself - you can't learn if you're always perfect and unbeatable to begin with, can you?

Overly Macho Guy doesn't understand that training requires safety, and a little give and take, and not always going full power and speed, so that you can understand what you are being told.

Now, Overly Macho Guy can be female - in my experience I've met one - but usually they're dudes.

So tell me about YOUR run-ins with Overly Macho Guy.  Are YOU an Overly Macho Guy?  I'd love to hear your stories!

To see all of the THAT GUY posts, click HERE.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

KIAAA-HA! Trainer Chuck


Meet Trainer Chuck.

I don't know where he's located, so I'll just keep trying my local park between 11 am and 12:30 pm Saturdays, in the hopes that I can catch him doing his sick judo moves.

I could use a little inspiration - how about you?

Click here if you can't see the video.

Monday, March 2, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Modern Arnis im Deutschen Arnis Verband (DAV) - deutsch


Today's video features Datu Dieter Knüttel of Deutschen Arnis Verband (DAV).

My school is hosting Datu Dieter June 27 & 28 2015, and some of what you see here will be covered.

I chose the German language version of this video, to show you that it's still easy to see and follow what's going on, even if you don't know the words themselves.


Click here if you can't see the video.