Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Stick Chick Goes to Camp

Recently I attended the Modern Arnis Unity Camp, hosted by Bill Barker at Progressive Tactics School of Martial Arts.

Photo  Credit: Paul Della Mora

As it turns out, the camp was being held in the town my sister lives in - literally just a couple of miles away from her house.  As my oldest daughter turned 16 this year, my sister decided to sell us her old Prius for her to drive (and it was a surprise present for the Kidlet).

Since this Camp was perfectly timed for the birthday surprise (her birthday is in early July) we flew up, I attended Camp and she hung out with her aunt, and we drove the "new" car back to Texas.

The Camp featured some of the bigger names in Modern Arnis, including Datu +Tim Hartman, Datu +Dieter Kn├╝ttel,  +Prof. Dan Anderson, Master +Rich Parsons, and Sensei Jaye Spiro.   Guest instructors were Guro +Dr. Tye W. Botting and Guro Enoch Carlton (see a video of him teaching here).

A very high powered lineup, folks, and one that didn't disappoint.

I won't go into all of the material taught at the camp in detail here - it was all classical and individual takes on what we do in Modern Arnis (as well as showing some Balintawak, an FMA that has a lot of influence on Modern Arnis). Some of it was brand new to me (as I am actually a Presas Arnis player, not pure Modern Arnis) and some of it was well known to me and it was great to get a fresh take on things I thought I already knew.

This is the second true "camp" I've ever attended (the first was IMAF Camp in Houston last year) and the one the greatest distance from where I live.  I would have won the award for "longest distance" if Datu Dieter hadn't brought three of his guys from Germany! Speaking of which, if you get a chance to go meet the folks from the DAV - do it!  They're very skilled and really wonderful people!

What is interesting is the various takes that people have on the material given their own strengths, weaknesses, interests, and backgrounds.  It gives you a bigger, broader picture of Modern Arnis and what it can be (versus what anybody insists it must be).  At events like this, you gain a greater appreciation for what Modern Arnis is and how it truly is an art and system that conforms itself to the player, versus forcing the player to conform to the art.

It was two and a half days of learning and playing, and honestly, a lot of the value of these camps isn't only in the material taught, but the connections you make in the larger Modern Arnis family.  New relationships are formed, new friendships are made, and my martial arts world is now bigger and richer.

Speaking of the "family"...

I've mentioned before that I am a "second generation" student - I never actually met or trained with Remy Presas (nor his brother Ernesto Presas, so that makes me a a double 2nd generation person, I suppose).

Even though Mid-Cities Arnis is now affiliated directly with one Modern Arnis organization (the World Modern Arnis Alliance), it is my belief that it's important to train with all of the organizations and independents (like my teacher) out there who did train directly under Professor as much as I can within my relatively limited resources.

That means that I will do what I can to support all of us who are out there trying to promote the art.  I believe is important to do so if Modern Arnis is to pass on to my generation, and the generations after me.

I honestly wish that all of us felt that way, but that's not the world I live in.

Ah well.

It was nice to train with all of those wonderful teachers, and to meet new friends.  I will definitely be going back to southern Michigan as soon as possible (heck, I do have a place to stay... )

Here's some more pics of me at Camp - photo credit belongs to Paul Della Mora (thanks, Paul!).

The WMAA crew with the Camp Instructors
Playing with Volker from the DAV
Me and Professor Dan Anderson working on Stick Sparring concepts
See? I can do FORMS (this was working on Anyo Dalawa, empty hand form two)
I'm coming to get you, Brendan!!
I love, love LOVE meeting my sisters in Modern Arnis! Hi Deidra!
Oh look at me, all formal and pretty and junk!

Tell me about a time you traveled to attend a martial arts seminar or camp.  What's the biggest value from these events you seem to get?  Any funny stories?  Let me know in the comments!!