Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Art Within My Art (is not Arnis)

Over the weekend I traveled 8 hours to spend the weekend training in one of the earliest arts I was exposed to, Ryukyu Kempo, with my original teachers.

I hadn't done the math - it's been seven years since I moved away from there and trained in this stuff full-time.


Back then, we had to avoid dinosaurs coming in to the dojo every night. 

Seven years.

Of course, I've forgotten much - maybe most - of what I learned there.  When I was training with my teacher, he didn't use a formal curriculum (we were just playing, really) and there are things he is teaching now he didn't teach us then.

So of course, I am basically a rank newbie in that art again.  Which is as it should be.

So we reviewed a lot of material over a day and a half (and again, thanks to +James Bullard for coming by and helping us out).  During this training, and as I was thinking about what I'd learned on the way home, I found myself inserting it right back into what I do in Arnis.

Of course I did, because Presas Arnis is my base art.

I am unusual in this.  Most people have a foundation in most of the more popular non-obscure empty hand arts - the karates, the tae kwon dos, the kempos, kung fus, what have you - and then they learn Arnis later.  This is how Modern Arnis (and a lot of other FMA's) spread in America - as "the art within your art", the thing you learn as an add-on art to what you already know.

Image found here

But I haven't been studying Presas Arnis as an add-on art. I've studied it as my primary art, for almost six years now, three to five days a week at a minimum.

I end up with a stick or knife in my hand nearly every single day of my life.  For the past six years.

This means that now, my study in Ryukyu Kempo - and just about anything else I will ever study - is the add-on art.  It's the gap-filler, the extra "English" on what I do.

Ryukyu Kempo is, for me, my "art within my art".

I'm doing this backwards, way out of order from the way people normally learn this material.

Of course I am... as an (already) non-traditional martial artist (starting as late as I did, for one), I would end up learning things in a non-traditional, out-of-order way, wouldn't I?

Now I have some time to study and practice what I've learned in Ryukyu Kempo, and go back and demonstrate understanding and skill in the relatively near future (maybe, say, 6 months or so).  While I do that, you bet that I will also be working on incorporating what I learned into my everyday Arnis work, too.

Gotta make sure I'm really, really careful practicing some of this stuff solo, though...

I like the efficiency of that - and it helps me become a better Arnis player, especially in some of the Modern Arnis portions of what we do.  There is a long standing relationship between Modern Arnis, Ryukyu Kempo and Small Circle Jujitsu, so all I'm doing is re-incorporating those arts together like many of my brothers and sisters in Modern Arnis have and do, just in a very different order than most.

So tell me about your non-traditional ways you've learned things.  Or, if you like,  tell me about how you've added on other arts onto your "base art", and how you study those in concert with your core art.