Saturday, May 30, 2015

Knives Suck

This video has been making the rounds lately, and I wanted to talk about it just a little bit.

Before you watch it, know that it's pretty awful and brutal.

Click here if you can't see the video.

This takes place in a convenience store in the Philippines.  At first, it's just a normal day at work.

At about 2:10 minutes into the video, the violence begins.

A few things leaped out at me when I watch this video.

1) The Defensive Game is a Losing Game

The defender never counter attacks - his attention is 100% on defense and controlling the weapon (or attempting to do so).  Funnily enough, this very topic was discussed by +Jari Peuhkurinen on his blog +Improvement in Action recently (go take a peek at it - good read).

We have been working what we call "turtle" drills in which one person is on the ground on their back with a weapon ( we do variants but this is the first one we've been doing lately) and an attacker stands above them with a weapon.  The drill is that the person on the ground has to get up as quickly as they can while protecting the head while the attacker attacks with any and all strikes he or she can muster.

The Turtle Drill

We discovered very quickly that playing a purely defensive game - in which your attention is purely to protecting the head and getting up - takes way longer and ultimately was defeated.

To "win" the Turtle Drill, you have to counter-attack.  What this does is that is creates the space and evens the playing field a bit against the attacker so you can get back to your feet.  When we did the counter-attack method of "surviving" this drill, our students get up within a second or three.  When we played pure defense, it took much, much longer - ten to twenty seconds.  That's a lot of time to spend on the ground when a person is hitting you with a stick.

So, in this video, the victim, as you'll see, plays a purely defensive game.  He tries to control the weapon hand and the attacker physically (there is a short bit of grappling here and there) but he never really counter-attacks.  I have to wonder if he'd counter-attacked with the same level of willingness to injure or kill as the bad guy... would he have "won" this fight?

We'll never know - here, the attacker is able to stand over the victim on the ground and is able to do the classic reverse grip stabbing to key areas - including the neck - and by then, it's far too late for the victim.

2) Defense Against a Knife is Incredibly Difficult

The victim here does try very hard to not allow the bad guy to stab him, but as you can see, it is incredibly difficult to protect yourself against someone determined to stab you with a knife.

Like most instances of self defense, an attacker can fail to get you dozens of times, and all you have to do is fail once or twice, and the attacker wins.  I think that is why if you train knife defense you really need to train realistic attacks like what we see in this video (and there's ample video of knife attacks on the web).

Controlling the weapon or weapon arm - something we train - is not as easy as it sounds against someone who is going to stab or kill you.  You will get cut - the trick is to get cut in non-critical places.

3) Knowing How to Grapple Is Useful - but Practice Against Weapons

Notice how this fight does indeed in some points turn out to be a grappling match, especially in the early part of the fight.  

I can't help but think that if the victim were trained, he may have been able to gain advantage over this attacker earlier in the conflict, before it got really bad.

BUT - I think it's important for grapplers to train against resisting people with weapons like knives, to figure out what works, and what does not work.  Not being a grappler I have no advice in that regard (it's a huge weakness of my own game, admittedly) but I bet if you roll you'd have a few thoughts on this, and I'd love to get your feedback.

4) Give Them The Money and Run

We do not see what started this conflict, but ultimately, the robber was bound and determined to get the money and did not care what it took to get it.  The victim is shown resisting the robbery the entire time.

When I worked in convenience stores, policy was to give the money and whatever else the robber wanted in merchandise and get to a safe place as quickly as possible.  I think this is wise.  Getting  more time to think and prepare for potential violence while the robber is getting his money - and the violence may not come at all - strikes me as a very good idea.

Your own money and possessions are not worth your life.  Your employer's certainly aren't! There are reasons they carry insurance for that sort of thing!

Convenience store workers are regularly considered one of the most dangerous professions - and here you see why that is.  I can't help but wonder if the victim had complied and given up the cash to start with that the stabbing may have been avoided altogether.

It's incredibly important for martial artists interested in self defense to watch real-life video like this.  Many of us - maybe most of us these days - have not been in life-or-death situations like the video above.  We develop some cherished notions that just don't hold up against the reality of what violence is.

The general public has this weird idea that knives are not as bad as guns - the truth is that they are every bit as bad. Killing a person with a knife is up close and personal business.

Knives suck.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Big News

In case you missed the announcement on my Facebook and my Google Plus feeds...

I have some pretty big news.

My husband and I have been working for a while now to get a community center martial arts program teaching my art going at a local Recreation center +NRH Centre here in North Richland Hills.

Our negotiations have been successful, and now, we have scheduled three women's self defense courses over the summer (June, July and August).  Come September, we should be teaching a Presas Arnis class three times a week, and if there is demand, we hope to run a once-weekly ongoing "Women's Self Defense" program.

Introducing Mid-Cities Arnis at NRH Centre.

Getting a martial arts program off the ground is really exciting.  Sure, it's just a small community center program, but still, there's a lot we've been doing and much more to do going forward.

We'll still train with our teacher +Mark Lynn.  Our hope is that our regular schedule will be flexible around the training schedule there, but that is still to be finalized. We definitely consider ourselves students there still, and will be there as much as we possibly can be.

So yeah, that's what I've been dealing with in the middle of moving and the project I mentioned in "Riding the Tornado".  We've been working on curriculum, establishing branding, picking and setting up social media channels, setting up our web site, setting up all of our school and business operations, figuring out our marketing... and none of this is complete to my satisfaction yet.

But the enemy of the perfect is the good, and it's better to have stuff out there versus not out there, right?  RIGHT.

So here's our web site:

And our Google Plus page: Mid-Cities Arnis at NRH Centre

And yes, you can even find us on Twitter and on Instagram, too.  There is a YouTube channel but there's nothing there yet (and it'll be a while, so no hurry to subscribe over there if you look us up).

So what does this mean for the Stick Chick Blog?

Not much - I will continue to write about the martial arts from my perspective here on this, my personal blog.  Of course, my opinions expressed here are in no way representative of Mid-Cities Arnis as an organization.  It's still going to be just my own two cents as a middle-aged Modern Arnisadora.

Fear not, fans of silly meme jokes, dorky gifs and martial arts geekery - this blog will continue. Actually, I'm going to tweak it a bit, hopefully making it better for all ya'll who have been reading these musings for the past year and a half or so.

But if you'd be so kind to give Mid-Cities Arnis a follow in social media, I'd be awfully grateful.

Exciting times, friends!


If you've started up a martial arts program - I want to hear from you.  What pitfalls did you discover?  What should I watch out for?  What what harder than you thought it'd be (and easier, too)?  Especially if you have a community center or rec center program, please, clue me in!

Monday, May 25, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Filipino Boxing - 5 Counters Drill


Today, let's check out a nice little empty-hands Filipino Boxing drill.  The video is in Portuguese, but even if you don't speak it you can tell what's going on here.

It's a nice example of empty-hand FMA work.


Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

To Learn, Teach

I was first introduced to Modern Arnis in 2008 , and I've studied with my current instructor since 2010. If you're curious, yeah, I still consider myself a newbie.

I'm probably a bit of both.
I am very lucky.  Most of us who study my art don't have teachers with the experience my teacher has near them.  Usually, we have to travel to seminars and camps, acquire a little bit here, a little bit there, and then come home and practice.  Sure, we have videos and stuff to help us, but we all know that in-person training with someone who knows what they are doing has no substitute.

That usually means that we are teaching someone else what we just learned in order to retain it.

I started with my first teacher in Mississippi this way.  His teacher was hundreds of miles away, and my husband and I started with Arnis in the first place because he needed somebody to teach in order to learn himself.  At the time, he was the equivalent (in Modern Arnis) of say, a green belt in most other arts.

My teacher David Jones and I, fall, 2008.

But he learned, and so did I.

We moved to Texas, and found +Mark Lynn,  a teacher we could study with full-time, and for a few years, all we did was absorb everything we could.  When he promoted us to Assistant Instructors, the nature of how we learned things changed dramatically.

Having to show somebody else something you have learned requires you to really think about what you are doing, and why.  Sometimes, you find gaps in your own understanding that you didn't realize were there. Sometimes you find out you learned something the wrong way, but didn't realize it because it's not always obvious until you have to explain it to somebody else.  Sometimes a student asks a question that never occurred to you, and you have to think about it.

Me explaining why getting hit in the knuckles SUCKS.

The process of teaching others is just so valuable and so illuminating for your own progress.  I think there must be a point where you have to teach, because you can't learn what you need to learn any other way.

You may not aspire to be a teacher - many of us do not - but I believe you have to do some teaching, even if it's just one-on-one with a friend, in order to really understand what you're doing.  Different people react different ways, and there are so very many creative and interesting minds in the martial arts that you learn something from most of them.

I will always be a student - there will always be people who know more than I, are far more experienced than I, and definitely far more skilled than I.  But, I believe that my own ability accelerated (from "holy crap that's bad" to "meh") once I started teaching others, and if I want to be the martial artist I can be, I need to continue teaching.

Because that's how I'm going to continue learning.

What have you discovered as a martial arts teacher?  How has it made you a better martial artist?  I'd love to know!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Stick is a Stick is a Stick

You’ll find a lot of “commonality” in different branches of the martial arts - different traditions, styles, and weapons.  Sometimes this is a result of a direct relationship - such as the relationship between Chinese, Okinawan and Japanese martial arts - and sometimes it’s a complete coincidence without direct communication.

This is to be expected - after all, there are only so many ways to move, and as far as weapons go, many cultures settled upon the same basic style/shapes of weapons used in battle and for personal protection, depending on the availability of materials.

The same basic problems were solved in similar ways.

My teacher , +Mark Lynn at Hidden Sword is very fond of showing how you can use the Okinawan weapons - the bo, the sai, the kama, and the tonfa - using Filipino training methodology and techniques.  After all, when you look at these weapons (except the bo) - functionally, they are all very similar, and similar to the two swords, espada y daga, or double-sticks used in the FMA’s.

So, in the tonfa class I mentioned, he started off showing not how to do a form, but how to actually use the weapon, and he did it using several common double-stick techniques we teach in our Arnis program.

When you look at the tonfa, you usually see people hold it by the handle, like so:

Image from here.

Because we usually see this, most of us would “lock in” the idea that the tonfa can only be used this way, and that’s the way it’s been, traditionally.  That’s the way it’s always been  - it has to be done this way!

Well, as you can see, if you lock in your mind to this idea, you’ll miss the opportunity to do this:

Mark disarms Kevin with tonfa using a standard two-stick disarm from FMA's

Now, this is a little unconventional, maybe... until you check out some traditional forms and techniques.  Thanks to +Martial Arts with Colman for sharing these with me:

Click here if you can't see the video

Click here if you can't see the video.

In both of these videos, sure enough, you see the tonfa being gripped by the end versus the handle, just as you see Mark using them in the photo above. This shows can hold a tonfa by its handle or by it's tip - and I bet, by extension, the other end (near the handle) and even in the middle in a pinch!

You can “learn” how to use the tonfa just by using the Filipino Martial Arts training, if you have it, and not even learn a single kata.  It's not that far removed from how the weapon is really used in its original context.

I’m not claiming you can learn all there is to know about tonfa... but pick it up and use it?  You certainly can, very quickly.

Because a stick is a stick is a stick.  Two handed weapons like tonfa and sai are are not that big of a stretch for someone who’s trained in double-stick FMA’s to pick up relatively quickly.  I imagine the same is for the long weapons - different traditions and strategies of staff - and for edged weapons, too.

Have you applied the training you have in one weapon to another from a different tradition?  What were you able to discover about the weapon?  Did you learn something new about the old weapon you converted from?  I’m especially interested in the long weapons and how they translate - please let me know!

Monday, May 18, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Kombatan Arnis - GM Ernesto Presas Jr. Empty Hand


The quality of this video is not the best, but what's being shown is really awesome.

This is GM Ernesto Presas Jr. demonstrating some of the combative empty hand work from Kombatan - and yes we do a lot of this sort of thing in our study, too.

I love the way GM Ernesto moves - for a big guy, the guy sure does bring it.



Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Riding the Tornado

I wrote a few weeks ago about the disruption I'd experienced in training, due to having to move (Distruptions and Recombobulations).  We're now (mostly) past that, and back into my normal training schedule - I'm generally "Recombobulated".

As an aside, we've finally gotten over the severe drought here in North Texas - we've has as much rain thus far this year that we had ALL year last year.  And the forecast is nothing but rain, rain, rain (which makes outdoor training impossible nearly - and my allergies are so disappointed). We've had several tornado outbreaks in the region over the last couple of weeks.

Just another Spring day in Texas.
Image found here.

Now that the move is mostly done, we've started up a new martial arts project that I'm not quite ready to share here (yet) that is taking up a lot of my attention, plus Kidlet's new fencing schedule is more intense, and well, I'm back to the "Seminar Seminar Seminar" mode I was in earlier this year (I have one at the end of May and one at the end of June - that I know about right now).  Not to mention working at my job, making meals, finishing the house (I have to buy a new table and I haven't been able to get out to do it), doing stuff with both children that is non-martial arts related, all the end-of-the-school-year stuff, and I'm really needing to replace clothes that are too big for me to wear because of weight loss and oh, there's that guy I'm married to that I'd like to talk to from time to time...

So it's busy here.

And yet, when they arise, you just gotta take advantage of more opportunities to train.

Take today.  Today I have Arnis for a couple of hours in the morning, then usually I use a break while Kidlet does tae kwon do to write and do other things for this blog, then I take an hour of Kobudo.  My Saturday usually ends when I get home about 3:30 in the afternoon.

Jackieee..... oh Jackiieeeee.... 
Image found here.

Today we have +Troy Seeling (check out his guest posts using the "Troy-Kwon-Do" label) and his dad coming to train with my teacher in Tonfa in preparation for their 2nd Dan TKD test.  (By the way - Troy took a break from this blog after getting married in December, but we might be seeing him again soon).

Now, I'm going to study tonfa later on in our Kobudo program formally - right now, I'm taking bo, practicing bo, thinking about bo, and well, not even considering the other weapons yet.

After a long day and week, all I really want to do is come home and take a nap after Kobudo today.  Or maybe try to find that kitchen table... or do that shopping I've been putting off... or work on that new project I mentioned...

So of course I'm staying after and will join Troy and his dad in the tonfa class, however long it lasts.

I mean, wouldn't you?

This training basically fell in my lap, and I get to do it with friends, too - what's not to like?  So what if I'm tired?  The training is right there - not doing it seems wasteful and frivolous.
Jackieee..... oh Jackiieeeee.... 
So I'm just going to stay on top of this whirlwind and keep on riding it.  Because it's the right thing to do.

How do you balance all YOU have to do in your martial arts (and non-martial arts) life?  I'd love to know how you do it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

To the Point: What Watching Fencing Teaches This Arnisadora

As I mentioned in my post Scaling the Martial Arts Cliff, my daughter has taken up the study of fencing. Saber, in particular.

Kidlet scores a point (in the black pants)
I want to state up front that my knowledge of fencing is rudimentary at best. It's a sport I've always admired, and I've watched it from time to time in the Olympics, but that's about as far as it goes before Kidlet strapped on protective gear and starting getting stabby with it a few months ago.

However, as a parent, you pick up a few things when you sit on the sidelines and pay attention, much as we all do when we watch our kids play sports or do the martial arts. You get to learn the basic rules, the equipment, and a term or two here or there. I admit, it took me a while to understand that when they said "Repost!" they weren't talking about sharing an old blog post, they were saying "Riposte", which means a quick return thrust.

Yes, I felt a little dumb until I figured that one out.

My new sidelines headgear.

What I am finding interesting, though, is what the mere observation of fencing is teaching me about Arnis.  I don't have to risk a good stabbing in order to learn stuff.

Let's take footwork.  As we all know - or should know - footwork is the foundation of everything we do in the martial arts (and in sports in general).  Good footwork can overcome a lot of deficiencies elsewhere, and bad footwork can make the rest of your game weak.

Saber footwork is not all that different than what we do in Arnis, really. I like the narrow bladed stances and how they push off the back foot when advancing.  I really like how they manage weight distribution in order to advance and retreat, changing range very quickly.  This same sort of skill set is very handy in an art like mine, even if we tend to go at angles versus in a linear direction.

Friendly Arnis stick sparring.
Look at my footwork - similar to what I see fencers do.

In fact, I was describing just this sort of footwork with a student who was having ranging issues in Arnis.  I coached him to use similar footwork but at an angle, like we do in our art.  I think he found it useful!

One other tidbit I've noticed is that just as we see in Arnis, new fencers have the exact same body language where they are "afraid" of the weapon.  They shrink back and stiffen up (especially the upper body) when the weapon approaches.  Experienced fencers - and Arnis players - are relaxed, and do not shrink from the weapon in fear.

One more thing - my art is a "corto" to "medio" (close range to medium range) art, mainly designed as self defense in tight places, much like the related art of Balintawak. 

Click here if you can't see the video.

Well, Coach +Kate Sierra informs me that the linear nature of fencing is due to being designed to fight with longer weapons in narrow corridors.  If you account for the differences in the length of weapons - bam, both my art and hers are designed for tight spaces and personal combat, versus open spaces and general warfare!

But it goes to show that as different as sabre fencing and Arnis seem to be - they're really not all that different at all!  The fundamentals are very similar enough so that while I am no fencer, I can watch it and learn some cool things by seeing what they do and applying to what I already know.

To use another metaphor, I don't speak their language (yet), but I speak one that's close enough that we share many of  the same words.

You should really check out other martial arts, even if you don't train them.  You might be surprised by what you can learn and improve in your own art.

Have you had this same experience?  What martial art or martial art sport has taught you things about your own martial art?  I'd love to know!

Monday, May 11, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Bruce Chiu Reverse Sinawali and Applications


Today's video features an excerpt of a training video by Bruce Chiu of Arnis International.

Reverse sinawali has a special meaning for me.  You see, early in my training, I tore my calf muscle and was basically out of active training for about six weeks.  During that time I'd attend Arnis class, sitting on the sideline, poring over the Yellow and Pink books (books by Remy Presas about Modern Arnis), learning stuff on my own.

That's how I learned Reverse Sinawali.  For a time, I was the only person in my training group that really knew it because of the injury!


Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Thoughts from MAPA 5: Trailblazing

+Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance has its fifth (and first year anniversary) gathering recently.

MAPA started with the idea of gathering together people interested in the Filipino Martial Arts from a variety of traditions and styles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to train and network.  We leave rank and politics at the door and we have rotating instructors at each event.

An Espada y Daga drill where I'm gonna get stabbed or hit.
As you can see by the pictures, this gathering was held outside.  Luckily, we had a relatively cool day, with a nice breeze going.  Unfortunately it was awful on my allergies, and I'm grateful that the next few will be indoors!

This gathering was different, as we had six instructors for six hours instead of four.  Three instructors - +Abel Mann Martinez+Mark Lynn and +John Bain were instructors at our original MAPA 1 event.  Three instructors - Jason Gutierrez, Michael Hume and Master Earl Tullis - were new instructors to MAPA.   Dr. Hume and his students come up from College Station (a three hour drives) to attend MAPA, and Master Earl came up from Houston, approximately five hours on the road!

Master Earl and Dr. Hume are both IMAF (+Masters of Tapi Tapi) guys and Jason is an instructor under Hock Hochheim.  My husband is currently studying for Pacific Archipelago Combatives certification under Hock and trains with Jason.

So, it was a varied and high-powered instructor set at MAPA 5.  The material covered was really fun and useful, as always, and getting to network and talk with new participants and old is always a highlight of each MAPA event.

As usual, every instructor, when not teaching, was also a participant.

Master Earl (right) trains with +David Beck during Jason's session
So why have I called this post "Trailblazing"?

When MAPA got started, there was a lot of doubt about the concept and whether or not it would work.

The martial arts world is political.  The Modern Arnis world is political.  Jockeying between different branches of the arts is always going to be present and some of us have a lot invested in the ranks we've earned.

It's hard to leave it all outside and just open your mind and play.

And yet - we've done it five times now, and will be doing it a sixth time in August.

It can be done.  We've proven it.  

Jason and Darren Dailey reconnect after several years
You can do it too.  You don't have to follow our format, but there's no reason you can't build a loosely organized group just like MAPA in your neck of the woods, in whichever martial arts you want to gather, to train without regards to rank or protocol or politics.

Gather to network and make friends.  Gather to learn things you might not learn otherwise.  Gather to grow in ways you may not expect.

I know of one such gathering - happening today in Washington DC as a matter of fact organized by my friend +Dr. Tye W. Botting  - but I'd love to see more of this happening in the martial arts in general, and especially the Filipino Martial Arts, as we are a small minority compared to the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese martial arts traditions.

The key to success, I think, is the exclusion of politics, of "my art is better than your art", and rank at Gatherings.  Keeping a relatively egalitarian culture of open mindedness, exploration, and respect makes it work.

We've blazed that trail.  You can join us on it.

Karen (R) tries unsuccessfully to distract a young Arnisador.
(Or actually is instructing him about placing his foot on the lead leg foot, whichever)

Dr. Hume (L) is not a nice man sometimes.
David Beck (white pants) defends against my "baseball bat" attack.
Working with the spear/staff

Darren Dailey works with two of our Junior Arnisadors
Adam Floyd (yellow shirt) also works with our younguns.

Good ol' Punyo Hook.

Master Earl unbalances Darren Dailey.
Jason and Kevin work on the baseball bat defense.
Defense against the overhand attack

+Abel Mann Martinez instructs (white shirt in background)

Getting stabby with it.

Dr. Hume instructing with Pam as uke.

+Abel Mann Martinez  (white shirt) instructing.

People of all ranks and experience listening intently to what is being shared.

Instructors and participants of MAPA 5.
Three tough Stick Chicks.  Me on the left.
Ok, we couldn't keep those serious faces very long!

Friday, May 8, 2015

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Handling Rank When Changing Schools - Black Belt Edition


Let's consider another scenario involving how rank is handled when an experienced martial artist changes schools.  Martial artists do change schools so this is something that most of us as students, parents, and martial arts teachers have to handle.

Here's the specific scenario to consider:

A person who studied Karate has earned 1st Degree Black Belt in their former school in another city.  Now they are entering a new Karate school with a different lineage, but is close enough that they do the same forms, have similar terms, etc.

However, each school has a few major differences in what is required to be a black belt, like breaking being required (or not), physical fitness tests (or not), bunkai of forms (or not), and weapons proficiency in the Bo (or not)...

In summary, this Black Belt does not look like your school's Black Belt.

I'm interested, in this specific situation...

How should this person's rank be handled in their new school?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Purple Knuckles Club

If you practice the Filipino Martial Arts for any length of time, you know that you are going to get hit on the hands.

Just a little bit.
 Image found here.

This happens for reasons having to do with mistakes on your part, or mistakes made by other people.

Or sometimes, it's just the way it goes.

Luckily, rattan is the kind of material that is highly unlikely to break something (it's one of the reasons we train with it) and usually, injuries are bruises and rarely, small cuts.

I've noticed these days that most of the injuries I get are working with people new to the art, or working with people I don't know well (due to adjusting range because I'm one of the smaller people in the room - so they end up hitting ME versus hitting my stick), or it just being the nature of the drill (especially with disarms).

You can get injured anywhere on the hands, of course but here's a tip for the most common injury I get - first and second knuckle strikes (aka "Purple Knuckles").

First knuckle injuries are relatively rare for me.  I've almost always gotten them in a blocking drill where I'm feeding someone and they block my hand rather than my stick.  I've had it happen with just one knuckle getting hit, to up to all four fingers getting hit.

Second knuckle injuries are the most common ones I get, especially on the index and middle fingers. This happens for the same reasons as first knuckle injuries, but I also get them in any kind of speed drill where targeting is important.  It's REALLY easy to get a second knuckle injury when your partner is doing sinawali or other flow drill, and is aiming too high (above the head) and you're aiming properly (the head) - they hit you on the index knuckle. 

First and second knuckle injuries are painful and very common but easy to cope with.

Both of these knuckle injuries can swell up and turn blue or purple (hence "the Purple Knuckles Club").  I've had one of these injuries take several days to heal, even with icing - before I knew how to treat it.

But you can stop a purple knuckle in a really simple way.

Have a friend grip the injured knuckle in their thumb and forefinger, with their thumb on top of the knuckle, and apply pressure (aka "crush the knuckle").


By applying pressure to the knuckle, your friend is basically stopping the bleeding inside of the knuckle that will cause the stiffening and swelling that will hurt for several days, and turn the knuckle blue or purple (with blood).  Have your friend apply pressure applied for three to five minutes.

You will notice that your knuckle will bruise up a little but not a lot, and there should be little to no swelling - and you can get right back to training again.

You might end up with a bruise on the finger, but it won't be too stiff or painful the next day and it shouldn't stop any training.

You can also apply ice to help with swelling later, but I have found that the crushing the knuckle method works best than ice by itself.

So, if you find yourself joining "The Purple Knuckles Club" - that's how you cope with it.  Hope that helps!

Do you have any tips to coping with hand injuries?  I'd love to know!

Monday, May 4, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: Balintawak - Are you ready to accept the PAIN?


Here's a really fun video today, featuring drills from Balintawak.

I enjoy the speed and efficiency here, and it demonstrates well how it works in medium to close range with the stick (and of course the knife/sword as a result).

Fast and fun stuff. Enjoy!

Click here if you can't see the video.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Today is MAPA 5!

I'm spending most of my day today at +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance's fifth seminar, MAPA 5.  I will, as always, summarize my experience within a few days.

This is the one-year anniversary of MAPA, and we're quite proud of how well we've been able to keep this seminar series going and grounded in its original purpose.  Today instead of four instructors, we have six (and are going six hours instead of four).

MAPA exists as a way for people interested in the Filipino Martial Arts in the Dallas-Fort Worth (and nearby) area to gather and train with people they may or may not know in a variety of FMA traditions.  There are no ranks, no awards, and teachers and students study alike in a very egalitarian way.  It's a way to network and to grow as martial artists.

It's really fun.

Here's my summaries of the previous MAPA seminars:

MAPA 1: Thoughts from MAPA: The True Value of Cross Training

Group Photo - MAPA 1

MAPA 2: Thoughts from MAPA 2: We Are Family

Group Photo - MAPA 2

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

Group Photo - MAPA 3

MAPA 4: Thoughts from MAPA 4: An Empty Hand

Group Photo - MAPA 4

If you're interested in getting a MAPA-like group going in your area, let me know.  I'd be happy to share how MAPA works and how we are able to keep it friendly, fun, and apolitical.