Monday, November 14, 2016

Forging Ties

Over the past couple of years, we've been running Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance gatherings.

The purpose of these gatherings is to collect together Filipino Martial Artists of all styles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in a four-hour training session at very low cost.  We have rotating instructors and we do not play any sort of "my style is better than your style" games - we go in open minded and ready to learn what we can, regardless of what tradition the teacher is coming from.

It's really fun, in and in 2017, we're going to a twice a year format.  So do like the MAPA Facebook page, and if you're in the area when we have a gathering going on, please, do come by, no matter your style or experience level in the Filipino Martial Arts in general.

MAPA sort of provided the template for something else we started here in Dallas-Fort Worth earlier this year.  Our three schools - Mid-Cities Arnis, Hidden Sword Martial Arts, and TNT Self Defense - started getting together on a monthly basis to train in the Modern Arnis (but to be honest, being that we and Hidden Sword are involved, we're covering a lot of material from Remy AND Ernesto Presas).

The original reason for this was to prepare the brown belts at Hidden Sword and TNT for testing for black belt next year some time (Mid-Citis Arnis is too new to have any potential brown belt candidates).  Our gatherings tend to be laid back affairs, with lots of discussion about concepts and ideas, and are generally held for no cost to any of the participants.

Me demonstrating our school's version of a form, or anyo, at one of these gatherings.

We talk about things traditionally understood in Modern Arnis and the innovations lots of people have made since Professor Remy Presas died, and experiencing the different "flavors" each of our schools.  We all have different lineages back to Professor we all have and what we bring to the art from cross training in other arts, and we all respect and honor that experience.

We are not even attempting to make the schools identical to one another, or to claim one way or the other is the "better" way to do Modern Arnis.  We recognize different ways to think about the art, and we support that diversity.  When we test our brown belts, the ones from TNT will be expected to perform the way Abel wants, and the students from Hidden Sword will be expected to perform the way Mark wants.

The great thing is that the board will know what each school is looking for, which makes it a better - and tougher - test for our brown belts.


We believe there is ample room for this diversity in our art, and we're all good with differing points of view.  After all, it's all in the spirit of "the art within your art" idea, and making the art our own.

In this spirit, our group has connected with another school down in Houston - Clear Lake Modern Arnis - and our original group is expanding to being a statewide... um... thing.    I hesitate to call it an "organization" because there is no real leadership or membership or anything like that.  We're calling it, for now, the Texas Modern Arnis Coalition.

Clear Lake is hosting our first statewide gathering down in Houston in January or early February.  There may be a small cost for the facility, but again, the idea is that it's a loose, friendly gathering to just geek out on Modern Arnis for four hours at low cost (compared to your typical seminar or camp - what we do is not exactly like that, but it's the closest comparison I have).  We've planned another statewide gathering for Dallas-Fort Worth later in the year (the idea is to rotate it around the state as much as we can).

I'm hoping that the Houston area grows enough with other people and group and schools in their area that they, too, do this monthly gathering thing just to share and learn, like we do in DFW.  I think such a thing can only be healthy for the development and spread of the style in Texas.

So why am I bothering to write about this here?

Because we are looking for more people who want to study Modern Arnis (or really, the Presas family arts) in this format throughout the state of Texas.

Belong to one of the various Modern Arnis organizations - and we mean ANY of them?  You're welcome in our Coalition.

Independent with no affiliation?  Come on in.

Played for years and just want to reconnect with the wider Modern Arnis community? You are in!

Kombatan person?  Please do come by!

Moved to Texas from anywhere in the world, with ties to other Modern Arnis lineages?  We definitely want to see you!

Want to just see what it's about with little to no risk?  We're the folks for you.

If you, or someone you know, is in any way interested in the Presas family Arnis systems and is in Texas - this group is for you.

The only thing we ask is that you recognize is no boss in this group, and that there is no one best way to doing Modern Arnis, so you have to have an open mind when people do things that aren't the way you or your teacher(s) do them.  It is not unusual to have disagreement on how (x) is done, and to discuss the pros and cons of each point of view, but leave it at "you do it your way, and I'll do mine" and we'll all be happy.

You can be ANYWHERE in Texas and be in this group -  calling people from Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Tyler, Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Abilene, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, Laredo, Beaumont... even if you live waaaayyy over in El Paso, heck, maybe you can make it to a free/cheap gathering once a year, right?  Maybe just interacting with us is the inspiration you need to get your own training group going wherever you are.

We are all well aware that Texas is BIG. Image found here.

I'm sort of the admin of the Facebook private group that helps organize things (and that's all, other than that, I'm just another person on the mat).  Contact me via this blog, or via any of the social media channels over on the sidebar, and I'll connect you up with the private group (sorry, we are using Facebook for organizing, it's easiest).

As an aside - if you're in Oklahoma, specifically along the I-35 corridor from Oklahoma City south, I also want to hear from you. As far as I know, I'm the only one in TMAC interested in this as a project - it would be so cool to develop a band of Modern Arnis palyers all the way up and down the I-35 corridor... Oklahoma City to Wichita to Kansas City to Des Moines to Minneapolis... and all points in between.  A WOMAN CAN DREAM!

I mean, why not OMAC?

I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of forging ties across Texas in the Modern Arnis community. I hope, if you're anywhere in (or near) Texas, you'll reach out and be a part of it.

How do you forge ties with other practitioners of YOUR style?  Let me know in the comments?