Saturday, June 27, 2015

How To Get The Most Out of Sinawali



Just a quick post today, as I am attending a seminar by Datu +Dieter Knüttel today and tomorrow, and I plan to make the things I learn there the topic of at least one or two posts in the near future.

Today's seminar topic is all about how the DAV  teaches Sinawali.

It's actually one of the things I think I'm naturally good at, so I'm really excited.

In honor of that topic here's two posts I wrote about a year ago on this subject.  I wrote them in the aftermath of having a few people comment that they thought Sinawali were worthless.

I, of course, disagree.

How To Get The Most Out of Sinawali - Part 1

How To Get The Most Out of Sinawali - Part 2

Get your sinawali on, friends!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If Dis, Den Dat, or DAT!

We were discussing in class the other day the concept of thinking several moves ahead.  My teacher, +Mark Lynn, made some good points about this, and it got me thinking.

To be able to see the opportunities in front of us, and to lead our opponent to react the way we want them to react is the holy grail of our training, if you will.  To my mind, it's what a "black belt" really is - somebody who can do that much of the time.

Of course, fights are not scripted, and you can't accurately predict what is going to happen all the time. You can't actually plan out move by move what will happen in a violent situation. Actual people in real life are far too unpredictable.

But, with enough training, repetition, and experience, though, you can figure out a way to get your opponent to make a move that you want them to make (versus just reacting to whatever comes your way) based on the odds of likelihood of various responses.

Like this, but with real weapons and bruises.

Think of this like a simple logical "If, Then, Else" statement.

Let's take a scenario from Arnis. Picture two people, a stick in their right hands, facing each other, ready to fight.  I am "driving", that is, I'm the attacker.

IF: I throw a high backhand strike with my right hand to the opponent's right side and he blocks it. Now he gets to counter-attack.

THEN: The easiest and fastest counter attack with his weapon will be a forehand to my left side, most likely high.  Next is an overhand strike to my head, or if he's feeling crafty, a low poke to the belly.  It is much harder for the opponent to return a strike on the right side of my body (which for him would probably be a backhand strike).  It's possible, but it's slow.  So I should expect a forehand strike on my right side, off of which I can do a trap, a disarm, what have you... let's say for this scenario I plan to do a snaking disarm with my empty left hand, so I better be ready to pull that off fast.

ELSE: If the opponent does NOT respond with a forehand, this is my backup. It could be to react to that overhand strike or the belly poke, but also if for some reason he decides to loop around his head and deliver a high backhand to my right side.  In any case, my original plan to disarm his returning forehand strike is now disrupted and I have to do something else.

Of course, this is HIGHLY simplified, but you get the jist.  If I do (x), he will probably do (y), if not, then (z).

While I used the chess image above as a metaphor, I think the more accurate representation of what we're trying to do is the V.A.T.S. system from the "Fallout" video games.  For those of you who don't know, V.A.T.S. is a system wherein the midst of combat you can "freeze" everything and are allowed to choose a target on your opponent.

Image found here.
The likelihood of my getting that forehand after I strike with a backhand are high, while other strikes I mentioned are lower probability, and a low forehand possibly the least likely strike I'm going to get. 

We won't even consider the possibility of counter attack or counters on that THEN portion of this scenario...

Indeed.

It doesn't mean that the "unlikely" stuff doesn't happen - that's why you have an "ELSE" statement above in our logical scenario.  It does, it can, and it will.  Over time, you get better and better at dealing with those less likely reactions.

And that's why you study and train the rest of your life, because you'll never know it all.  The possibilities are endless as to what that "ELSE" reaction might be. This is why you keep on practicing, exploring those less likely reactions, because... well, not everybody takes the easiest shot when they probably should.  Not everyone's mind works the same way.  Not everyone reacts in ways that are predictable (especially untrained people).

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of Professor Remy Presas' videos, and how he'd act to get a reaction, and from that reaction he'd say that we could "do DIS or DIS or DIS" - different ways to cope with the same basic reaction.  If the uke he was playing with did not react as he intended, he'd say "That's ok, I can do DAT!", seamlessly and without hesitation.

If. Then. Else.

Professor's voice in my head: If Dis, den Dat.  Or DAT!

Take this video, where Professor is showing the basics of tapi-tapi.  Pay special attention to when Professor talks about counters. 

Click here if you can't see the video.

To paraphrase what Professor is saying here... if I do this, he can do that, but then I can do that - counter to the counter to the counter.

If. Then. Else.

A calculation you are making with every part of the exchange - the possibilities, options, and odds of success are reset by every response, every beat in the encounter.

Chess with bruises - if DIS, den DAT, or DAT!  Ad infinitum.

So tell me - does your art have this sort of thinking? I'd love to hear about it!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Tribute to Todd Woodland: The World's Best Uke

The martial arts world simply can't get enough of Master Ken.

Master Ken has brought to us the Hurticane, the Kill Face, the Thrust of Freedom kata, and of course, 100 Ways to Attack the Groin.

But I submit that as great as Master Ken is, he wouldn't have the following he does without his ever-faithful uke, Todd Woodland.


I think Todd's contributions to Master Ken's work is not appreciated as much as it should be.  After all, most of us understand the value of a good uke.  I submit that Todd is, in fact, the world's best uke.

Todd takes more punishment in a single video than most of us do in a month, and he just keeps showing up for more.  Even though he is still a mere blue belt after all these years, he takes punishment after punishment and keeps coming back for more.

It's Todd that makes Master Ken look even better than he really is.

Take this:



And this:



And this:



Todd takes more punishment than Steven Seagal's bathroom scale.

So here's to you, Todd Woodland - the unsung hero of Ameri-do-te.



UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 2016:

TODD HAS BEEN PROMOTED! 

Congratulations to new GREEN BELT Todd!



Friday, June 19, 2015

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Are Forms Obsolete?

It's FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Today's topic involves forms - kata, poomsae, anyos, hyung, juru, patterns... whatever you want to call it.

I'm talking about a set of pre-arranged movements memorized and performed by the martial arts students.

For some of us, forms are an integral part of what we do and study.  We can't imagine being in a martial art without some sort of form.

For others, forms are an archaic training methodology.  Instead, they prefer sparring and drills over choreographed movements.  They think forms have no relevance to modern martial arts training.

But I want to know what you think...


ARE FORMS OBSOLETE?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You're Never Too Old To Start The Martial Arts

So maybe you or somebody you know is interested in the martial arts, but think that you're too old to get started.

You want all the benefits that the martial arts has to offer - personal discipline, mental focus, physical fitness, camaraderie, the challenge to your own boundaries and fears, help with chronic insomnia, and more, but...

You think that the martial arts are for kids, or that you can only be good at it if you start as a kid.

These guys are a little long in the tooth, actually...

You see marketing for the martial arts full of young, incredibly fit adults doing amazing feats of physical prowess, and you think that you can't possibly do any of that.

You think you won't be welcome.

Well, friends, I'm here to tell you, that's not the way it is.

I know this because I, myself, started the martial arts late - a few months shy of 40 years old - and in my martial arts journey I've met many more who started even later than I did in the martial arts.

I did not take the martial arts when I was young. I was an athlete busy with other things until I sustained permanent knee damage, then I had other extracurricular activities that took up most of my time.   Other folks I've met who started late were a lot like me.

I had to be talked into trying the martial arts, as an alternative to working out in a gym (because that's boring to me), and after I finally acquiesced and actually stepped on a mat, I immediately regretted NOT starting it in my younger days.  I fell in love with it immediately.  And I've been doing it ever since (although I changed arts from what I started with), and now I'm an instructor myself, and I'll do it until I fall over on a mat someday.

I admit, keeling over and croaking on a mat is a mean thing to do to students.
Grown-ups are welcome - no, encouraged! - to try the martial arts.  We want you in class.  We understand if you're working around injuries (as I mentioned before - I have knee damage and bursitis to cope with myself).

Don't be afraid of trying a school, and if it isn't for you - trying another.  We have something for everyone and your first try at an art or a school might not be the best fit for you (that was true in my case, even though I thoroughly enjoyed my first art it was too hard on my legs and hips).

This isn't going to happen to you.  Promise.

We have competitive martial arts, we have non-competitive martial arts. We have traditional martial arts with old-school uniforms, and we have modern martial arts that don't bother with that stuff.  We have martial arts with tons of etiquette and rules, and we have others that are laid back and easy-going. We have martial arts that are very physically demanding, and we have others that are less so. We have martial arts that are heavy on philosophy. We have martial arts that are practical and down to earth. We have martial arts that are from a variety of traditions - Japan, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Europe, and so many more.

There is a place for you in the martial arts, no matter how old you are.  Give it a try!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Crunch Time

We're in the middle of building Mid-Cities Arnis.

Originally, we were going to offer self-defense classes in the summer, with our full schedule starting in September.

But early this month, we were asked if we could start earlier - in July.  

Of course we said we could.

So now, instead of three months (at the time of the call) of prep time, we got five weeks (now three weeks).

So we've been rushing around, getting t-shirts made, trying to cobble together marketing materials, getting our school uniform instructor shirts purchased and embroidered, getting bank accounts set up, getting registered with the county, getting sale tax permits, getting sticks ordered, getting our lobby sign made, getting accounting set up, prepping our email newsletter templates, making social media images, making ads, scheduling social media...

It's a lot to do.

I didn't even mention finishing our curriculum (it's in draft mode) and Student Handbook!

So we're in crunch time, because July 2 will be here before we know it.   So if my posts for the next few weeks seem less nerdy than normal - well, my brain is on all of that... stuff.

Here's a few pics we took the other day for marketing purposes.  None of these will be used.

Well, probably.
In "Miss Jackie" mode

Anyo Isa (Form 1): "That's the Bad Guy - I just cut right through his arm"

Martial Arts is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

We'd scheduled our first self-defense seminar today - wish us luck!

I could really use your help, my friends - I want to know what details you overlooked when you opened your own martial arts program.  What am I missing?  What do I need to know?

Let me know!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Monster Post of Martial Arts Marketing Tips and Tools

REVISED OCTOBER 2016:

After a lot of thought, I've decided to pare down this post to just a few items and general marketing principles, and begin offering instruction on the cheap and free marketing tools available to martial arts instructors (and other small businesses) in a seminar format or via Skype.  If you are interested in such training, reach out to me at JackieBradbury23 at gmail dot com.

When it comes to promoting ourselves - our art and our schools - well, many of us just hate it.

Dude! You haven't posted on your Facebook page in three years!

We believe, on some level, that advertising well is "selling out".  We associate doing a good job letting people know about who we are, what we do, and how they can come join us with being a "McDojo".  I see why that would be; all things considered, the "McDojo's" and chain schools do a great job in marketing. That's how they thrive while Joe's Authentic Dojo struggles to make the rent, even when Joe is offering a much higher quality training.

I think for some of us, it feels too much like putting yourself out there to be glorified, and that's against our martial arts philosophy and style.

I also think there's a lot of intimidation out there about doing marketing/advertising/promotions properly, so many of us avoid it altogether or do as little as we can get away with.

I'm in your shoes - I totally understand why you might feel that way, because I struggle with the same problem.  The marketing stuff as we get Mid-Cities Arnis up and running is possibly the hardest part of getting it off the ground.  I'm feeling that pain as I type.

Hand's up, who hates marketing?

But as a marketer by profession, I'm here to tell you... it ain't THAT hard.

If you bother to teach martial arts, one of your main jobs is one passing your art on to future generations of students. If you are not doing what you can to attract students to your school... you're not doing that job.  You will have few to no students if they don't know you exist or what you offer.

To do the right thing and keep your art alive - you're going to have to market your services.

In today's world, it's easier - and cheaper - than ever to get the word out.  Social media is basically free, web sites can be had very cheaply (and blogging is super easy), and there are free or very cheap tools you can use to help you do it. The options for paid advertising are many and often quite reasonable.

There's no good excuse not to do marketing - not to have a basic web site and Facebook Page at a minimum, but really, you can do more than you might suspect, especially on the internet. Word of mouth is something that has to be built - it does not happen on its own.  The "Field of Dreams" method of marketing (build it and they will come) is a lie and if you don't "do marketing", don't complain that your potential students end up at the McDojo down the street because they did make the effort to recruit students.

You can do this.  You must.

As a marketing professional, and as someone who wants to see the martial arts grow and prosper, I'd like to offer a little advice. There's a lot to say on this topic, and I'm only skimming the surface of it all, so if you want to learn more, reach out to me directly.

Note: I highly recommend that you read Small Dojo Big Profits and check out the work of Mike Massie and all he has to offer.  His advice is spot-on. We are members of MABIZU, even though I do marketing as a day job.  It is worth it to us.  Mike has some good advice for you on his blog HERE and HERE and if you read nothing else of his, read THIS.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Your potential student base is not every living person you can get in a gi. Think about who your student is - is it kids (and their parents)?  Teenage boys interested in combat sports? Adults looking to get fit? Women looking for self defense training? Seniors looking for exercise? Talk to them about what is important to them.

Don't mix messages in a single ad or post. You can have more than one message for your school as a whole (both kids and their parents AND women's self defense for example), but generally, your advertising message needs to speak to just ONE of those audiences in a single go.

Probably not the best combination of audiences.  Just saying.

Negative advertising - talking bad about your competition - can backfire very easily. Stay focused on what you have to offer, not what the other guys do or say.

Be where your audience tends to be.  That is, if you are targeting young males, do not use Pinterest as a channel. If you are targeting parents, Facebook is a good place to put your efforts (it skews ages 35+).

Don't be me, me, me.  In social media in particular, you can't be 100% all about yourself and your services.  Find and share good relevant content from other people - martial arts magazines, forums, groups, pages, and schools (hey, who doesn't love "Enter the Dojo", am I right?).

COPY (WRITING) TIPS

Use ALL CAPS only for headlines or to call special emphasis to a word or two if you cannot use bold or italics or color to make that word stand out.  Do not use it for long blocks of text. It's very difficult to read overall and online, comes off as yelling and rude. Nobody likes to be yelled at.  Use mixed case for almost all blocks of text.

I shouldn't have to say this, but I've seen it far more than I'd like, so here goes: be very careful with rough language in your advertising.  One curse word can turn off a lot of potential students. Which ones to avoid?  If you wouldn't say it in front of a kid, your mom, or your religious leader - don't write it in your advertising.

Say what you want to say as simply as you can - don't use more words than you need to.  Use short, easy to understand words and avoid martial arts specific jargon that isn't well understood outside your school in your advertising.

Don't go crazy with the fonts.  Use a basic Sans-Serif font (like Arial, Helvetica, Franklin Gothic) for headlines, and a Serif font (like Georgia, Times New Roman, New Century Schoolbook, or Garamond) for body text.  Use the funky fonts rarely - usually just to call out a specific word or phrase (like "SALE!" or "SPECIAL!") or in a logo design.  It's now seen as a bit demeaning to use the fonts that seem to be "Asian" in character, so be very careful if you ever use those.

NO.  BAD.  JUST... no.

Don't worry too much about online pundits who say you shouldn't ever use Comic Sans or Papyrus or other specific fonts, as they're just being a bit snobby, in my opinion.  In limited application, it's fine.  The important thing is readability - is this thing very easy to read? How about on a phone versus a web page or a printed page?  What about someone who is near or far sighted?  In bright light as well as in a poorly-lit area?  The simpler, the easier it is to read.

Dark text on light backgrounds is easier to read than light text on dark backgrounds, but in any case, the more contrast, the better.

IMAGES AND VIDEO

Images associated to your Facebook post, your Twitter post, or your blog post will almost always have better views and engagement than posts that are all text.

If you put it out there, expect for it to be seen - and it may be commented upon (especially video), and not always in a positive way. Be careful about what you publish publicly and be prepared for negative feedback.  Don't get into internet fights with people who are critical.  Ignore them, and you have the right to delete any of their comments from your own channels.

Pictures taken on your phone are fine for online but will look really bad and out of focus for printing on paper products.  You need a high resolution image for printing (and your phone is not high resolution).  Talk to your local printer about suggestions for the resolution you need for poster or handout printing.

Video on your phone can be very good, but if you are making a promo video or a commercial, you should get a decent video camera vs. your phone.  You can even rent one vs. buying one (Google "Rent Video Camera").

Images you do not create yourself are not free for you to use in your advertising - the owner may go after you for using them and they have every right to do so.  You must purchase stock photos OR use resources that allow you to use images for free by license.  Note - meme images are rarely problematic legally (although it's possible to get in trouble with these, so it's always a risk), and if you use an image from someone else, make sure you attribute it back to the person you got it from.  NOTE: This includes background images (such as wallpaper)!

It's best to have releases for images from the people in photos you create.  You might consider asking students to sign a standard photo release for the purpose of school advertising as part of your onboarding process.

Consider your audience when choosing images.  If you are marketing a kids program, it's probably not a good idea to have an image of two adult guys beating each other bloody. But if you're a boxing gym - happy kids in gis make no sense.

TOOLS AND RESOURCES

I use a number of cheap and free resources for this blog and our martial arts school - everything from social media management, to image acquisition/editing/creation, automation tools, video editing, and other free tools that I find useful.  I like cheap, and I definitely like free - I promise you that writing this blog is not contributing to the monthly payments on the Stick Chick Yacht!

Mr. Chick and I hit the high seas.  NO, NOT REALLY. 

The key is balancing your time/efforts vs. paying someone else to do it for you. If you're on a shoestring, DIY is better than nothing (and sometimes the only option).  But sometimes it's more time and cost effective to hire a professional. Again, Mike Massie has good advice on this HERE for you to consider).

I can teach you about these tools if you contact me at JackieBradbury23 at gmail dot com (in person, or via Skype) in about two hours worth of time.  Or you can spend time researching it yourself.  Just know that they're out there and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get off the ground and are usually aren't terribly difficult to learn how to use.

(Note - every image in this post was created using free tools!)

So I hope this helps, and please feel free to reach out to me to find out how I can help YOU with social media and other free tools.



Saturday, June 6, 2015

KIAAA-HA! KUNG FURY

It's no secret that I enjoy awful martial arts movies (I also love really bad 80's "sword and sorcery" and "apocalypse" films, mostly knock-offs of "Conan the Barbarian" and "Mad Max").



After all, I have an appreciation for Miami Connection.

So you know I was drawn to Kung Fury like a ninja is drawn to throwing stars.

At the bottom of this post is the film in its entirety (note - NSFW for language).  Here, I attempt to write in words the basics of what happens in this film.

I shouldn't have to say it, but this post is chock full of spoilers for the movie.

Be assured that nothing I can write comes even close to the totally radical - nay, totally bitchin' - events in the movie itself.  Nothing I write will spoil your enjoyment of the film one little bit.  The English language is not adequate to describe how awesome this movie is.

The first thing you should know is that this film, in High Definition, looks like a transfer from an ancient technology called videotape.  And yes, for those of you old enough to remember, you get "tracking" and other errors that we used to enjoy oh, so much.

I miss that as much as I miss the connecting sound my old 2400 baud modem made when connecting to FidoNet boards.

This film is scarily accurate as to what Miami was reportedly like at the time.  "Miami Vice" was a comedy compared to the reality of it.  Or so I've heard.

(Miami...what are the odds? If the hottest band in Orlando shows up - or motorcycle ninjas...)

So yes, this film accurately depicts the Video Game Transformer incident of 1985.  If you think it's bad in the film, well, let's just say that you don't want to see what happens when a Centipede game gets pissed.

The 80's were a weird time.

So, let's get to the movie.

A video game transformer runs amok, the regular police force gets their butts handed to them. They need backup - they need KUNG FURY!

Just another Tuesday night in 1985 Miami.
Now, by this point in the film - just under two minutes in - we have already seen a ridiculous amount of violence.  Eventually Kung Fury defeats the Video Game Transformer with the requisite huge background explosion.

Sweet.

We then get Kung Fury's origin story.  Long story short, he's a cop whose partner is murdered by a "mysterious kung-fu master" in a back alley.  At the moment Kung Fury tries to kill said master, he is struck by lightning and bitten by a cobra.  Simultaneously.

Yes.  You read that correctly.

Anyway, this makes him the chosen one - the only man who can learn a new form of Kung Fu.  He becomes a crazy kung-fu mutant.

The Death of the Mysterious Kung-Fu Master. No, I will not explain it more than that.

Kung Fury causes $50 million in damages and gets a new partner - Triceracop (yes, it's a Triceratops in a police uniform).  Kung Fury quits the force because like all 80's action movie hero cops, he works alone.

Then our friend Hitler -as in Adolf Hitler - shows up.  Of course he does.

Hitler shoots up the police station - killing Kung Fury's boss and a lot of cops - by firing his pistol (with a seemingly endless supply of bullets) into one of those giant Motorola cell phones and the bullets come out of the phone on the other end.

That is not a feature that was well documented in that handset, so now you know.

Guns don't kill people, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X kills people.
Image found here.
Kung Fury needs the help of Hackerman (who wears the best 80's type mullet I've seen since, well, the 80's) to trace Hitler's call.  Once Kung Fury discovers it's Hitler, we get the background story of Hitler's Kung Fu prowess (he called himself Kung Führer) and his attempt to master Kung Fury himself, but failed, and disappeared.

Until now.

Kung Fury decides to go back in time to Nazi Germany to kill Hitler. Hackerman - in an awesome sequence that is giving me flashbacks to the era where wine coolers were cool - "hacks" him back in time.

Oh, he's sure.

Unfortunately, Hackerman hacks too much time.  Kung Fury ends up in the Viking age - you can tell by the laser-raptor - and meets Barbarianna, who kills said laser-raptor with a machine gun.  He travels with Katana - another Viking - on the back of a dinosaur. 

Go with it.

When Katana hears of Kung Fury's flight, she summons giant Thor - whose pecs are epic - who sends Kung Fury to Nazi Germany, but not before Kung Fury leaves a cell phone behind (and his number) for Barbianna to call him sometime.

In Nazi Germany, we come upon a scene of two Nazi soldiers discussing the merits of each others' mustaches.

Neither is impressed.
Kung Fury smashes them with a tank.  Quoth Kung Fury: "Tank You."

Next follows a sequence where Kung Fury attacks a Nazi Rally where Hitler is talking about how awesome he is at Kung Fu.  Again, words fail me - you have to watch it to appreciate it.

Oh, just a taste.
In the end, Hitler shoots Kung Fury, and it looks like our Hero is toast.  But then Thor shows up, bringing a dinosaur, Triceracop, Hackerman, Barbarianna, and Katana with him.  They kill the Nazi horde (again, too epic for words), but Hitler has a giant golden robot Eagle to take on the dinosaur.

Yes, a giant golden robot EAGLE.

In the mean time, Kung Fury ends up in an animated sequence that is so very 80's I think I want some New Coke and a Jello Pudding Pop.

He meets Cobra, his spirit animal, in Heaven.  Kung Fury is dead, but he needs to go back to earth, so he arrests Cobra for obstruction of justice and attacks him with a classic flying kick, and this sends Kung Fury back to Earth and back to life.

Kung Fury returns just as the dinosaur/robot eagle battle is ending. Kung Fury and Hitler square off.

Hitler welcomes Kung Fury and his friends to Germany and notes how alike he and Kung Fury are - they both like red, they both like "doing moves", and they both like killing people.  They're like brothers, they could finish each other's...

"Balls", says Kung Fury, and epic punches Hitler there, which causes Hitler to fly dozens of feet in the air. When he lands, the robot eagle goes to protect Hitler, but Thor crushes Hitler and the robot eagle into nothing with his giant hammer.

Kung Fury tells Triceracop he misjudged him- he's the "best damn partner he's ever had". 

They hug.

When asked what they do now, Kung Fury says he has to head back to the office - this is gonna require a lot of paperwork.

Cue group laugh.

Back in 1985 Miami - two days earlier - the Video Game Transformer is rampaging.  Kung Fury tells the Hoff9000 (yes, that would be THE David Hasselhoff9000) to open the doors of the car (remember that first epic sequence at the beginning of this post)?  Witty banter ensues.

But in the middle of the battle, the robot eagle and Hitler show up!

Kung Fury is finishing off the Video Game Transformer, but as he does, he notices a swastika on the cabinet.  He's seen that symbol somewhere before.

Overhead, the robot eagle and Hitler fly off into the night...

Cue credits.

"Kung Fury" in its entirety here:



Click here if you can't see the video.

And YES, there's a music video. David Hasselhoff made one.  It's here:

Click here if you can't see the video.


My words do not do this film justice.  Take a half-hour and watch it. You won't regret it.



Friday, June 5, 2015

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Point Sparring



IT'S FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Today's topic is point sparring.

Some folks believe that point sparring teaches students how to recognize attacks, how to move, and how to fight.

Other folks believe that the constraints of point sparring - places that it's illegal to strike and wearing pads - teaches bad habits that will hurt when you face a really violent situation.

But I want to know what you think.

IS POINT SPARRING USELESS?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

2015 Plans and Goals UPDATE - June 2015

I've gotten into the habit here on the blog of posting some yearly goals for myself, and then tracking how well I achieve those goals.  I wrote these goals for myself for this year in December. Today, I wanted to review where I stand at the beginning of June 2015, and revise them a bit based on my experience thus far.



Let's see how I'm doing.

1) Increase Seminar Attendance

I set a goal of six minimum seminars for the year.

Through the end of May I attended MAPA 4, MAPA 5, IMAF Houston Camp, IMAF Rowlett/Dallas Camp, one PAC seminar, and one A-KATO seminar.

That's six. Through the end of May.

Top-Bottom: MAPA 4, IMAF Houston,
MAPA 5, IMAF Rowlett
I have planned thus far (for sure): Two-Day seminar with Datu Dieter Knüttel at the end of June, IMAF Camp College Station in July, MAPA 6 in August, MAPA 7 and Balintawak Camp with Datu Tim Hartman in November (Oh, look, I have September and October free - for now).  I have on my radar several other seminars and camps (one particular one in August I'd love to try to make) but I'm not sure if I can get time off to attend those (as they are all out of town).  If I don't go to anything else other than what I've specifically mentioned I'm pretty sure I'll go to here, I will have completed 11 seminars in 2015.

BOOOSH.  Goal destroyed.

2) Back to Basics

I think my seminar attendance has helped me fine-tune the basics of my game, especially in the Modern Arnis part of what I do.  I'm certainly not where I want to be but I'm on the path. Good fundamentals always trumps having lots of knowledge about stuff (but doing it poorly).  Ranging, stepping properly, and using the empty hand well are on my mind.

3) Meet my weight loss goal

My goal is to lose four dress sizes.  I have lost almost three as of this writing (from US size 18 to a tight US size 12).  I suspect I'll hit this goal this year.

4) Continue at the Gym

With everything going on (see this and this), something had to give. I was doing fine until we ended up having to move at the end of April.  Our schedule changed due to my older daughter starting fencing - which I am thrilled that she's doing - and now we have more new stuff on the horizon that is going to make it difficult to manage.  Not to mention that we are close to younger daughter starting up training on a regular basis - we're trying her in a class this week.

Excuses, excuses.  I know.

The going to the gym goal is epic fail as of right now.


Jaaaaaaacccckkkiiieee, where arrrreee yoooouuuu?

5) Start Kobudo

Done.  I'm in class every month.  I will have to miss the June session due to the first ADE Self Defense Course we're putting on for our own program, but that'll be the only class I will miss. Luckily, I can make it up with my teacher in my home school and if I get desperate for more instruction, I'll reach out to friends in the organization and get some extra training.

I didn't number it, but I mentioned a goal of 65,000 views for this blog in 2015.  Through the end of May, I am actually trending about 3,000 short, going by daily views.  That's okay - I have plenty of time to make that up, and I'm fiddling with some things here that I hope will help me reach this goal.  I'm not very far, so I'm going to say that it's still achievable.

REVISED GOALS AND A NEW ONE:

1) Seminars - no change. Since I've already destroyed this goal, I won't change my plans any; I'll just take the epic win.

2) Basics - no change.  I still think it's incredibly important to my improvement.  With the MCA schedule not conflicting in any way with our tranining/assistant instructing at Hidden Sword Martial Arts, I will get to continue to work on this a bunch.

3) Weight Loss - no change. I'm still rockin' it and feeling great about it.  Losing 30 lbs will do that for you, but I still have another dress size and a half or so to go.

4) Gym - get back in there!  I will set a revised goal of one hour of weight training at least once a week. I know it's not optimal for true strength training but it's better than nothing at all.  There may be an opportunity to have this happen at NRH Centre vs. the gym next to my house, so I can get in a workout before or after MCA Class, maybe (and that's how I'll end up exceeding the goal if this works out).

5) Kobudo - no change.  I believe we will be testing in the fall for our first grading.  After that, I think we're going to start the study of tonfa. I'm psyched for that, as I really like them.  Unless they ask me to not come back due to stinking up the joint, I should be meeting this goal easily enough and I'll take it for another epic win.

6) NEW GOAL - Mid-Cities Arnis Enrollment.  I'd like for our martial arts program to have a minimum of 10 enrolled students by the end of 2015 in our regular Presas Arnis class.



65K views for 2015 - no change.  I'm still going to try to make that goal and I think I'll be able to meet it. I'll do that by writing and providing stuff that those of you reading this want to read and engage with, and I'm going to do my best to keep doing that to the best of my ability.  I'm working on having more guest posters, trying to find a better way to include more humor in this blog (which is always my intent), and trying to bring more of a sense of fun here that I think I've been missing lately.

I love what I do, and I feel the need to write about it, because it's so darn fun.  I want my blog to be fun for you, too.

Blogging about my journey here has provided me with so many benefits, including meeting some amazing and smart and wonderful martial artists inside and outside of my art.  So thank you - thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting on what I write here.  My world is bigger and brighter as a result.

If you have an itch to guest post here, please do reach out to me! It can be a riff on something I've written - maybe even telling me I'm totally wrong on something - or your own thoughts. Either way, if you're considering trying to blog, reach out to me, and let's chat!

So, how are you doing in 2015?  Did you set any goals? How's your progress?  It's not too late to set some for the rest of the year, y'know, if you didn't.

But just don't call them "Resolutions".

Monday, June 1, 2015

MOTION MONDAY: 30 Jahre DAV - Modern Arnis Demo GM Datu Dieter Knüttel

IT'S MOTION MONDAY!

Today's video features an amazing demo video by Datu Dieter Knüttel.

Datu Dieter is the Chief Instructor of the German Arnis Federation (aka Deutschen Arnis Verband - DAV).  This organization recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary.

Here is a really fun demo from that 30 year anniversary celebration.

Datu Dieter will be instructing in the USA this month, including at our school (+Mark Lynn at Hidden Sword Martial Arts) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the end of June (info here) and in Washington DC (hosted by our friend +Dr. Tye W. Botting on the following weekend - contact him for more details).

Enjoy!


Click here if you can't see the video.