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.