Saturday, August 29, 2015

Today is MAPA 6!

Today is the sixth gathering of the Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance.  If you're anywhere in the area, come on by - click HERE for the event details.

When it all started, lots of people thought that it wouldn't be able to last very long.

The idea of a quarterly gathering of Filipino Martial Artists from different schools, teachers, and traditions, getting together to cross train and get to know each other seemed unworkable.  People would fight over lineage, or rank, or who's better than who... we'd be lucky to have more than a couple of gatherings before it fizzled out.

Yet, here we are, having our sixth gathering!

None of that has happened, and I'm glad to say, thanks to MAPA, I belong to a larger community of players than I suspected existed around me.

Myself and some friends at MAPA 5.

We've been able to forge a seminar where there is no rank, there's no arguments over which style is better than which - it's just four hours of people playing together, learning, having fun, and creating a larger community.

I will say, however, that the original vision has yet to be fully realized, because most of us come from what I'd call "related" lineages, most of which lead back to Professor Remy Presas in one way or another.  We were hoping - and still are hoping - to get a huge variety of FMA traditions and lineages participating.

You see, we really do want to get as many different FMA traditions as we possibly can, because we know and respect most of the other "families" in the Filipino Martial Arts and we'd love to learn more about them from people who practice them full time.

As for me personally I don't want to change teachers, organizations, or arts. I just want a bit of exposure in a fun and friendly setting to get to know other FMA's and their players better.  I think the different perspectives these folks bring to the table make me better at what I do.

We have lots of FMA people here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and there are some very close to me that just can't or won't come to a MAPA gathering.

Why is this?  I'm sure there's lots of reasons.

Maybe they've just happened to be busy the six times we've held an event.

Maybe they are afraid that other teachers will "poach" their students.

Maybe they think that their tradition and teacher is the only one worth following, and the rest of us are beneath them and not worthy of study at all.

Maybe the idea of having no rank in the room and being a student as well as a teacher at the event is too much for them to contemplate.

Maybe they're afraid that they will learn aren't as good or as special as they think they are.

Maybe they think they're holding on to some secretive tradition.

I can't say why for sure.  I do know one teacher, when asked to participate, completely missed the point of what we're trying to do, and offered a bounty for each student we could bring to him.

It's a shame, though, because I know that these folks have a lot of offer, and I think they'd have a heck of a lot of fun playing with the MAPA crew.

So I'll be in Mesquite today, banging sticks with old friends and new friends.  If you're around, you're always welcome to join us, no matter who your teacher is, no matter how experienced you are in the Filipino Martial Arts.

Just come and play!