Saturday, August 19, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/19/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  I covered martial arts classes at Hidden Sword while my teacher spent the day teaching  Arnis at a Karate camp.  The taekwondo kids got to play taekwondo obstacle course, and for the sparring and Arnis classes, we did weapons sparring.  Later I went to kobudo class, where we did review, and I was horrible.
Sunday:  Chores and stuff.  Downtime.
Monday:   Attended class at Hidden Sword. Worked on disarms, which is always fun.
Tuesday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.
Wednesday:   My day off.
Thursday:   Met the teacher at younger daughter's school, then off to Mid-Cities Arnis to teach. We worked on kicks.
Friday:  It's the weekend before our school starts, and attendance is light.  Friday is our optional night and we didn't have any students attend. That's okay, we had dinner with our friend Robert Harland - he's a aikido player and talked to us about college.

Being a feeder. My knife hand is down on purpose as part of the drill.


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayThe Road to Hell (or Jail)
TuesdayStyle Strategy, and Shenanigans
WednesdayIt Is All The Same
Thursday: The Gift of the Difficult Student
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Best Martial Arts Communities Online?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

Kobudo practice, usually.



If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Normal day of kobudo practice out the wazoo, and Arnis.  Hoping I can make some progress with sai as I am still terrible.  Just terrible.

On a brighter note, older daughter got accepted to her first college this week (one in her top five) and so it's been a nice week.  Kids starts school back up next week, and I hope everyone in North America enjoys the eclipse as much as they're able to (we will get about 75% coverage here).

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It Really Is All the Same

We have a popular maxim in my style, a quote from the founder of Modern Arnis, Remy Presas.

He said, "It is all the same."



The meaning of this is that what we do and learn in my style isn't actually terribly unique in the martial arts world.  Much of what we do can be seen in other seemingly unrelated styles like taekwondo, karate, and kung fu.

Given that Modern Arnis is often taught as an "add-on" style to other arts, it's very useful to build upon that idea when teaching new students.  We can relate certain things to what they already know, such as our low backhand strike - a #8 strike - is a down block in karate.  Or that the motion the hand makes for Abanico Corto ( resembles what my taekwondo friends call an "inside outside block".

Here's a video my friend +Brian Johns made about Abanico Corto, so you can see the motion:



It's a convenient shortcut to get people with martial arts training up and running in Modern Arnis quickly.

What we don't talk enough about, in my opinion, is that this is a two-way street. That Arnis study helps me understand and relate to what I'm learning in other styles quickly.

Take kobudo.

I'm in the home stretch for my black belt in my Kobudo group - we're just reviewing and perfecting material now - and I'll be honest with you, it's a difficult struggle sometimes.  I'm working hard with sai and it's not an easy weapon to learn, by a long shot.

I'm not the only one struggling in my class; I think all of us are having trouble.  In class the other day, our teacher said that we had to learn to "flow" with the weapon.

Flow.  It's a concept that's fundamental in Modern Arnis.  The idea that you relax, you move smoothly and with confidence, that power and speed come with good technique.  Being able to flow means you can react to whatever is presented to you, quickly.



To get better at sai - to get better in kobudo in general - I need to flow.  Just as I've learned to flow in Modern Arnis.  I need to practice more to achieve it, but I know what flow feels and looks like.  I learned it with a stick in my hand.

Thus, I asked myself what "flow" looks like in sai.  I relaxed, I slowed down, and I tried to move smoothly.

Sai got easier when I focused on the flow. Actually, all of my kobudo forms and practice are getting better thanks to applying what I know about flow to what I'm doing.

IT IS ALL THE SAME.



It just goes to show how much insight Remy Presas really had into the martial arts in general.  And it also shows how much we really are alike, even with seemingly very different martial arts styles.

Look for the connections and the similarities when you cross-train, and see what you discover.

It's all the same.

Did you discover some similarities when cross training from style to style?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/12/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Hearts for Honduras Martial Arts tournament.  I had one student competing from Mid-Cities Arnis, and we had several from Hidden Sword.  I was chosen to head judge - for the first time - the under-black weapons division competition, and I ended up as head judge for that ring all day (except for sparring, which I am not qualified to do).  I tried my best to be fair and nobody yelled at me, so hey, that was good. My MCA student took third place, and all of the Hidden Sword kids came home with medals!  A great day!
Sunday:  Chores and stuff.  Downtime.
Monday:   Attended class at Hidden Sword.  We worked on Espada y Daga, always fun.
Tuesday:   Migraines have returned - stayed home and went to bed early.
Wednesday:   Turned 49.  Had a non-migraine window, thank goodness, and we went to Brasilian steakhouse to celebrate!
Thursday:   Migraines most of the day but not too bad, so I taught at Mid-Cities Arnis.  We worked on stances in Family Class and I worked with our short-term women's self defense student in adult class.
Friday:  Migraines again hard, which meant infusion time.  Stayed home and slept it off.



BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayLessons from Block Check Counter
TuesdayAging and the Martial Arts
WednesdayThe Midpoint
Thursday: You're Never Too Old to Start the Martial Arts
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Too Young to Start the Martial Arts?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I actually do have my eye on a practice sword...



Friend of this blog +Joelle White wrote a SUPER FANTASTIC post you gotta read: 8 Reasons Why Mom Should Practice a Martial Art


If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

I'm covering classes at Hidden Sword all day while my teacher teaches Arnis at karate camp today.  So we'll be doing fitness games in the taekwondo class, weapons sparring in the sparring class, and in Arnis, I plan on hitting the bags (assuming nobody's in our room!).  Then later I go to my monthly Kobudo class over in Dallas - I've been practicing but I think I'm still stinking up the joint. :(

Migraines were tough this week, but emergency meds and then going in for an infusion was the right thing to do. Hopefully that'll stop it in its tracks.

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Midpoint

So it's my birthday.

I started this martial arts journey late in life - a few months before my 40th birthday.  It was one of the actions I took when I was coping with a really big mid-life crisis. At the time, I was at the end of a year-long process of quitting smoking, eating better, and trying to get healthier.  At that time, my stepfather underwent serious health issues that could have been alleviated, even at his relatively late age, if he'd decided to change his ways.

He made a different decision than I did, and we lost him in 2013.

Here I am, healthier in many ways than I was back then.  I'm experiencing all of the problems of aging - harder to lose weight, longer to recover from injury, and aches and pains constantly.  I definitely have health issues too, but overall, probably far less than I would have.

Some people believe that each decision we make creates a new "universe".  That is, there's a timeline out there where I didn't change my ways.  There's a chain-smoking, probably even fatter than I am right now, out of shape couch potato version of yours truly out there.

Not completely accurate - old me wouldn't be caught dead chugging Bud Light. Gross.

Yikes, as much as I struggle with health issues now, I'm super-glad I'm not that version of me.  That would suck.

I believe, thanks to martial arts, that however long I have left to me, they're going to be better years than they would have been.  This is not just due to the health side of things, even if that was my primary motivation to get started in all this.

It's also how martial arts study has affected my relationships.

I've written how my husband and I study together, and how awesome it is.  It's something our whole family does, and it's given us something we can all relate to and connect over.  My house is one of the few on earth where one of us comes home with a new martial arts thing and nobody challenges anybody over the cost of it or how necessary it is to own whatever that thing is.

Of course the martial arts thing is necessary to own. And it was a bargain too.

I've also made tons and tons of friends in the martial arts over time - teachers and training partners, and I've connected with people here on my blog, too, and that's been really neat.  I have friends all over the world I wouldn't have had otherwise, and that is really important to me.

I might have more time behind me than ahead of me in my life, but it's going to be quality time, thanks to the martial arts.

Not many middle-aged women spend their free time like this!

Why did you start training, and how has training positively affected your life?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 08/05/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Kobudo and Arnis.  Another "normal" day,. two weekends in a row. Yay!
Sunday:  Mr. Chick was training with Hock all weekend, so I was the homebody doing chores.  Got a lot done!
Monday:   Our household struggled all week with allergies (Texas is ground zero for it) so we stayed home, hopped up on Sudafed and Benadry.
Tuesday:   Stayed home with Younger Daughter while Mr. Chick covered classes.
Wednesday:   Everybody is still sick at my house, so one more day of rest.
Thursday:   Classes at Mid-Cities Arnis. Worked on stances with our new white belt, and in adult class, we have a short-term student studying our Women's Self Defense curriculum, so I worked with her..
Friday:  Stick sparring night at Mid-Cities Arnis and our last practice for a tournament coming up.

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayAttack of the Brain Fart
TuesdayThe Myth of Realism
WednesdayBalancing the (Martial Arts) Force
Thursday: I'm a LARPer (and I'm Okay)
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Martial Arts Experience on a Resume

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

This is true for all martial arts weapons.


Hey, training weapons are still weapons.  Wizard of Id 7/31/17


If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Today we have a tournament in Jacksboro, TX, about an hour away. My teacher's school, Hidden Sword, will have competitors, and I have a student from Mid-Cities Arnis competing.  Me, I'm going to judge this time around.  Wish us luck!

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Friday, August 4, 2017

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Martial Arts Experience on a Resume

IT'S FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Let's assume, for a moment, that you aren't applying for a martial arts oriented job, and that you have work experience or a profession that is not martial arts related.

This blog post made the rounds recently:

Why Martial Arts Is On My Résumé And Should Be On Yours

I want to know what you think about this idea. I've actually seen this brought up before, and here's some discussion about it HERE and HERE.  I think a case can be made either way.

So what do you think:

SHOULD MARTIAL ARTS EXPERIENCE BE ON A PROFESSIONAL RESUME/C.V.?




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Balancing the (Martial Arts) Force

I know this comes as breaking news to you regular readers of the blog, but I'm a huge nerd.

I know, right?

So, I was watching "Rogue One" and I got to thinking about this whole "bringing balance to the force" thing in the Star Wars mythos.  Dark side being "bad", light side being "good", and the idea that Anakin Skywalker was supposed to bring "balance" to the force.  I won't nerd out on you too much here (and you Star Wars supernerds out there would end up blowing me out of the water if I did), but I was just wondering...

What does that mean?  "Balance" to the Force?

Well, it's like values and philosophy in the martial arts.

It's a martial arts blog, y'all, you knew I was gonna go there.

Anyway, to my mind, everything we value in the martial arts needs to be balanced.

For example:

Too little courage, and you'll never learn anything new or grow.  Too much courage, and you'll put yourself into situations that are way beyond your abilities to cope with.

Too much humility, and you'll never trust your own skills.  Too little humility, and you'll trust your skills when they aren't good enough to serve you well.

Get what I mean?  More often than not, it's finding a balance between extremes. 

See, if this were a bell curve, you want to stick to the middle, versus being out at the ends.

Wait, is she still using Star Wars as a metaphor, or is she moving to math now?

I think we've all seen situations where someone takes an idea and pushes it to an extreme.  Sometimes the net result is positive, such as when someone becomes a top athlete (although anyone at that level will tell you that there are sacrifices that they make that the rest of us might not want to make).

And sometimes, it's negative. The videos that go around the martial arts online community every few months of the super-fast taekwondo guys from New York is a great example.  That group, while sort of funny to us on the outside, is relatively benign.  It's just an idea taken to an extreme, in a situation where it's not challenged.


Just a snippet. This is real and not sped up.

But sometimes, going to the extreme is downright dangerous.  Believing that their martial art gives them powers, or that their teacher is perfect, or that their school or style is unbeatable.  Believing that martial arts skill grants you authority over other parts of peoples' lives.  This is where we get into cults, into situations where abuse can happen, and where our judgement is impaired.

That's why balance in the martial arts is important.  Be confident, but not overly so.  Become the best at what you do, understanding that there is no such thing as "unbeatable". Trust your teachers, but don't be afraid to use a little healthy skepticism about what you're taught also.

Balance, people.

Tell us about a time you went to the extreme and what you learned, positive or negative.  What's your approach to being balanced?  Do you think that going to an extreme is a good thing?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/29/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Got in three hours of kobudo practice, and an hour of Arnis.  Man, that's more like it!
Sunday:  Chores, grocery shopping, and avoiding the Texas heat.
Monday:   Went to Arnis class at Hidden Sword.  We worked on our defensive responses and did a bit of sinawali boxing drills.
Tuesday:   Taught at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked on kicks with our white belts.
Wednesday:   My "day off" with younger daughter.  Too hot to cook, and I went to bed early (ahhh, middle age - when going to bed early is something you plan and look forward to!)
Thursday:   Classes at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked on self defense techniques with our orange belts.
Friday:  Stick sparring night at Mid-Cities Arnis and our second-to-last practice for a tournament coming up.
Not taken this week - from earlier this year, but still, me beating up a child. :)

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayCorrosion of Conformity
TuesdaySelf Defense: The Risk of Weapons
WednesdayWeapons and the Newbie
Thursday: To the Point: What Fencing Teaches This Arnisadora
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Martial Arts Videos on the Internet: Good or Bad Idea?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I'm not saying anything but... I'm juuuuusssst sayin'.




If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

It's stupid hot in Texas.  STUPID HOT.  Oy.

Today I get to do a lot of kobudo practice, and I'm covering Arnis classes at Hidden Sword, so I think we'll be doing some bag work today.  LOTS OF BAG WORK.



So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Weapons and the Newbie

Recently I was asked to give feedback on a video a nice young man posted on the internet.  It was him working out with a bokken.

I'm not trained in Japanese swordsmanship.  The closest I've come is studying jo. But I do know people who do train in it, and I've picked up a few fundamentals of Japanese sword, enough to know when I'm looking at someone trained in traditional Japanese swordsmanship and when I'm not.

It was quickly obvious that the young man has trained in Japanese swordsmanship even less than I have.

Y'know what?  Nothing wrong with trying to get started on your own, as long as you realize that what you're doing is not in any way authentic, and as long as you stick to a bokken where it's highly unlikely you're going to seriously hurt yourself or others.  Also, as long as you aren't representing yourself as anything other than you are... a newbie just starting out and trying to figure out the weapon without a teacher showing them the ropes.

But I strongly urge anyone who wants to learn how to use a Japanese sword to train with a qualified teacher of this weapon.  

Actually, that's my advice to anyone wanting to learn any weapon.  Seek a qualified teacher and train with them, in person.

All weapons are dangerous to varying degrees, but all of them have the potential to actually kill people.  Sure, sure, some of use weapon-like props for tricking and dancing, but even these can seriously injure someone under the right conditions.

Three training kama.  Two of them are flimsy toys; one is not.  All can be hurty.
The problem is that you see actors using weapons in television and movies and think to yourself, "Hey, that's not so hard."  What a lot of people don't realize is that these actors undergo intense training to handle their weapon-like PROPS and that all of their fights are highly choreographed to look cool on film and to look "not so hard".

Or you have relatively untrained people in fiction picking up a weapon and using it like an expert and think you can do it too.  Friends... that's fiction.  While any person certainly can be very deadly with any kind of weapon, the moment you go against someone trained... you're going to have a bad time.

You cannot learn how to use a weapon from fiction on television and in movies.  You just can't.

Movies and tv also give a very, very false impression of how bad it is to get hit or cut with weapons.  You cannot take as many hits as you see the hero or villain take and then run around with maybe a cut or bruise on the face.  I laugh when superheros that supposedly "don't kill" repeatedly hit bad guys with things like heavy chains, nightsticks, and other blunt weapons, as if a blunt weapon is incapable of serious injury or death.

With the advent of the internet, the problem is much bigger.  You have untrained people putting out their own videos on YouTube. You have untrained folks wielding all sorts of weapons - and not even training versions, but live blades - and hurting themselves. Take this winner right here:


I don't want anybody to end up like that guy.  So please, if you're untrained and are interested in weapons, seek a teacher.  I want to encourage you to train in weapons - I'm WITH you, dude, I LOVE weapons of all kinds!  Just do so safely and with someone who knows what they are doing.

And no, watching YouTube videos isn't "training with a teacher", okay?  Find someone in real life.

By the way, if you're curious how I knew the young man hasn't trained with a teacher, the key was in the grip, excessive twirling (especially with a single hand), and the balance was all off (elbows, sir, elbows).  Watch a lot of traditional Japanese swordsmen - not tricking or tournament sword, but the real deal - and you won't see any of that.

Did you play around with weapons before you found a good teacher?  Any horror stories? Let us know what you think in the comments!



Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/22/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Day 1 of a fantastic Balintawak seminar by Master Rich Parsons.  Long and really great day, and I learned a lot!
Sunday:  Day 2 of Balintawak.  The seminar got me thinking hard and I think I'm going to adopt a few ideas from what I learned.  Very useful and fun, and if you get a chance to train with Rich Parsons, you better do it!
Monday:   Fought off a migraine and went to bed early.  Grateful the emergency meds worked, but man, they make me dopey and sleepy!
Tuesday:   Taught at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Younger daughter has returned from almost two months in Virginia with her grandparents, so it was great to have her back in class. We worked on sinawali, for the most part, in the family class.  In adult class, shared some of what I learned at the Balintawak seminar.
Wednesday:   With younger daughter home, and older daughter attending Arnis class, we've returned to a schedule where we alternate attendance.  I will be going on Mondays, so I stayed home with younger daughter.
Thursday:   Classes at Mid-Cities Arnis.  With adults on vacation, we only had family class.  Worked with our newest white belt on sinawali and the entire class on stances.
Friday:  Stick sparring night at Mid-Cities Arnis.  I escaped without injury this time!



BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayHow Do We Teach What We Do?
TuesdayThe Vagaries of Self Promotion
Wednesday: Habits and Choices
Thursday: When Mat Time is Family Time
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: When to Cross Train?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

Since I did spend my weekend at a seminar... here's what I posted on my FB page.



How did martial artists live on the Internet before "Enter the Dojo" existed?



If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Holy moly, I don't have a seminar and I'm not traveling this weekend.  I get to take Younger Daughter to taekwondo, practice Kobudo, and go to Arnis at Hidden Sword. What used to be a "normal" day!  Wow!

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Habits and Choices

Recently I attended a seminar of a different (but related) Filipino martial arts system, Balintawak.

It was awesome, and it really got me thinking a lot about what I do and why I do what I do.

This is actually sort of my default mode, soooooo...

One thing I really liked about how they do things is where they position their empty hand when they have a single stick.  This is called the "live hand" and its job is to monitor, to trap, to grab, to pass... it does a lot of work.

When I saw how they hold their live hand ready for deployment, I really liked it, and it got me thinking that it's something I'd like to adopt.

The problem is that it means I have to work hard on breaking a habit I've developed over the last nine years of playing Arnis.

This is a not a trivial problem. Sure, it can be done - and I plan to - but it won't be easy and it will take me some time to override my current habit.  Right now, I don't have to think much about my live hand.  To develop the new position, I have to give it more attention than usual.

This is what we do in the martial arts (and really, in any other skill we develop).  We create habits so that we don't have to think about them.  They become what we call "muscle memory" because we've done them so much.

For example, most of you reading this do some sort of a front stance in your style.  If I were to tell you to get up and drop into your front stance right now, you wouldn't have to think about all the things that go into your style's front stance. You don't have to think about foot placement or which way your hips should be pointing or where your hands go or how your knees should be positioned.

You just do it, because you've done it so often you don't have to actively, consciously think about it at all.

Habits are helpful and necessary, but sometimes, they force us into certain positions that limit our options.  Take that front stance.

We use a "front" stance (sorta) in kobudo.  But it's not the squared up version most of my taekwondo and karate friends use.  It's what I call a bladed stance (I'm sure it has a Japanese name but heck if I know what it is - tell me if you know it, thanks!).

This stance is like a front stance but with the feet nearly lined up and the hips turned at a 45 degree angle.  We use it for a lot of reasons, but primarily it makes the body a smaller target and it helps longer weapons clear the hips.

See the hips and back foot position? That's not a "front stance". Buy the video here.

It's tough for my friends in my kobudo class, because their habit is the classic empty hand front stance (hips and shoulders squared to the front), which is not helpful for them in kobudo.  They have to learn to choose which version of the front stance to use.

This is not a huge difference, in the scheme of things.  I think that's why it's so difficult to make the change.  It's similar to the struggles people have when they already have skill in one art and then study a different one - the best practice of the new art is similar, but often just different enough, that it's harder to conform to the new standard than it is for untrained newbies.

The new live hand position is only a matter of a few inches and a slight change in hand position. It's similar, but different.  And yes, it's not easy, even when I'm thinking really hard about it!

So why am I adopting this new position with my live hand?

It's not like my old position is bad or wrong or dangerous or uncommon.  I'm not even studying Balintawak or trying to learn to fight they way they do - I'm happy being a Presas Arnis player and I like what I do already.  So what's the point of this (kinda difficult) change?

I'm going to change because the new position gives me more options to choose what to do next. I won't be trapped into specific responses because my live hand can't get there to do what I want to do next.

Of course, the new habit involves some risks I didn't have before, and I have to be aware of those problems. But I think the expansion of responses is worth the risk.

Time to make my live hand... more alive.

Tell us about a time you had to override an old habit to create a new one. Any tips for helping the process move along? Were you ever unable to create a new habit?  Let us know in the comments!




Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/15/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Kobudo day.  I hurt my left hand stick sparring Friday night, so I was working with only one hand in Sai.  I actually think I made some progress!
Sunday:  Older Daughter birthday celebrations.  Saw "Spider-man: Homecoming".  Liked it.
Monday:   Arnis class at Hidden Sword. We worked on our "defensive responses" from various angles and some policing techniques.
Tuesday:   Taught at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked with our new student on her white belt material. Worked in Adult class on block check counter drills.
Wednesday:   Was sick much of the day, but dragged myself to a marathon of the new "Planet of the Apes" movies (Rise, Dawn, and War).  I dunno how Andy Serkis doesn't have an Oscar.
Thursday:   Classes at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked on forms, mostly.
Friday:  Stick sparring night at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Played a bunch of different scenarios and had a lot of fun.  Our new student is going to be a heck of a stick sparrer! Worked on forms with our kids who are going to a tournament in August and I'm very pleased with their progress.

My smashed fingers. The tape is basically to keep me from trying to use them.  I kept forgetting. And paying the price.


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayStyle Wars
TuesdayStopping the Good Man
Wednesday: No post - I was sick, darn it!
Thursday: THAT GUY: Seminar Edition
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Are Short-Term Self Defense Courses Useless?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

Posted this on the Facebook page.  I'm easily amused, y'all.


Yeah, it's an ad, but you gotta admit, any ads the "Enter the Dojo" people make is a good ad.




If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Today is day 1 of a SUPER AWESOME Balintawak seminar we're helping throw here in DFW.  Our instructor is Master Rich Parsons and it's gonna ROCK.  If you're in the area, come on over!  Event details are HERE!




So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/08/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Drove up to Lawton, OK (about 2-1/2 hours from my house) to train with friends at Shotokan Karate of Lawton.  I taught them our stick form one, Baston Anyo Isa (and showed applications out of it) and then then worked with me on empty hand sparring. Fun day!
Sunday: I slept a lot!
Monday:   I worked the day before Independence Day, and classes were canceled that night (our Rec Center was closed).
Tuesday:   Independence Day!  Happy birthday, America!
Wednesday:   Attended class at Hidden Sword.  Older Daughter has joined Arnis class, at least for the summer, and I can't be happier about it.  Yay!
Thursday:   Classes at Mid-Cities Arnis.  I worked with our new kid student in family class on basics, and in adult class, we worked on pelit-pelit drills.
Friday:  Stick sparring night at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Introduced our new student to the idea and she was smiling big by the time class was over.  Another extra Friday class practicing forms for competition and my students are coming along nicely.  In sparring earlier, though, I smashed my left pinkie and ring finger pretty good (against the butt end of an Actionflex stick, which is the big downside of using them) and I spent my evening after class in an ice pack to bring down the swelling.  My fingers are pretty badly bruised.

Older Daughter, Mr. Chick, and I at Arnis class Wednesday. 

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayFour Profound Life Lessons (Learned in the Martial Arts)
TuesdayFreedom Fighting or Treason: How Shifting Perspectives Matter (especially in the Martial Arts).
WednesdayTHAT GUY: Whatever Guy
Thursday: The Entropy Game
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Are the Olympics Good for Martial Arts?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

This was the comic I posted on my Facebook page this week (oh, have I mentioned it?  You can find it on Facebook at The Stick Chick Blog Facebook Page).  I post stuff there that you won't see elsewhere, and I try to make it a page that's more than just stuff from the blog.  If you're on Facebook, please like and share it.  Anyway, here's the comic, which was originally published HERE:



Yes, yes, it's not a new thing, but I've always enjoyed these riffs on martial arts life   I want to know what you'd add to the list:  You Might Be a Martial Artist If

We actually got picked this week for the now-relatively-famous "Deaf guy wants private lessons for a short period for a family of five, so please charge my credit card" scam, so I'm kinda feeling like a real-deal martial arts teacher now.  By the way, the guy said he got our contact info from Dojo.Info.  More on this scam at +Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts  blog: Martial Arts Email Scam

We have Master Rich Parsons coming down to Texas next week to teach Balintawak, and I can't be more excited!  You can learn more at our Facebook event HERE.

And finally, I had to update my running "Enough with Sensei Scumbag's Shenanigans!" post, which some pretty bad news coming out of a suburb of my adopted home town (Kansas City, MO).  I really, really hate these guys, and I don't mean it any sort of , "Man, I hate Mondays!" kind of way. I mean it literally and without any qualification.  I hate these people who do this.  I hate that they can get away with it for any period of time in our community.  And I hate that we can't seem to do more about it.

If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Today I have Arnis in the morning, and hey, it's kobudo day and I'm going over to Dallas in the afternoon. I'm going to go up to Hidden Sword early and practice where I have some room, but with my smashed left hand, I think I'm going to be using just my right hand for much of the day (that'll be... fun... when I'm working bo).  I'm going to be gone all day long, again.

Today is also Older Daughter's 17th birthday.  She has to work, so we'll be celebrating tomorrow.  I can't believe she's entering her senior year in High School.  It wasn't that long ago that she was this bright eyed smiling little blonde girl saying the f-word on the playground in pure, unbridled joy, as in, "Mom, this is so f-ing fun!".

My kid, y'all.

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

THAT GUY: Whatever Guy

You're in class, and you're asked to pair up to practice a new technique.

You ask your partner if she wants to go first and she shrugs. "I don't care."

Okay.  So you ask your partner to go first.  She does the technique, correctly but with no energy and no mental engagement at all.  It's your turn, and while she does her side correctly (she's not an Exceptionally Bad Uke), she doesn't seem to be paying attention to what you're doing.  You ask, "Did that seem right to you?"

She says, "I don't know."

You reply, "Well, what about this way?"

She shrugs again.  "Maybe."

You ask, "Did it seem to matter when I did this thing here?"

Another shrug.



Oh joy! You're paired up with THAT GUY: WHATEVER GUY.

Whatever Guy seems to be very bored, not engaged in class at all, and is 100% unhelpful when you're trying to learn whatever you're being taught.

Whatever Guy hangs around the fringes of the class and never asks a question.  His martial arts skills are usually good enough the few times they do things with energy and engagement. Usually, though, he moves a bored and disinterested way so he looks sloppier than he might otherwise.

Whatever Guy offers no opinion, no feedback and generally doesn't seem to care whether or not anybody - including himself - is learning correctly.

Whatever Guy will rarely or help you figure out a technique. She doesn't seem to care whether or not she - or anybody - learns what's being taught correctly.

Whatever Guy might as well be a BOB for all the help she gives you.

Actually, I think if you turn your hip more...
When you run across Whatever Guy at a seminar, the portion of the session you're paired with her is your least favorite part of your day, and the one where you'll feel like you made the least progress and learned the least.  You'd rather work with The Philosopher or The Fanboy or Ranky McGee because at least they seem to want to be there and care about what's going on.

Your best hope is to wander away and hope you can pair up with someone else. You're not sure if this bothers Whatever Guy at all.  At this point, you're not sure you care either.

When you're leading class or instructing, you're never quite sure if Whatever Guy understands what you're teaching, because he just sort of stands there and says nothing most of the time.  You have to work very hard just to get a definitive yes or no out of Whatever Guy.  You'll spend a lot of effort trying to engage Whatever Guy and you'll fail.

Have you run across WHATEVER GUY?  What was your experience with him or her?  Any tips on how to cope with him?




Saturday, July 1, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/01/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Trained all day - really, I mean ALL day, all waking hours for the most part - at the GGM Ernesto Presas Memorial Camp in Colorado.  Long but AMAZING day of training.
Sunday:  I spent the morning at the camp, training until my brain wouldn't work any more, then I flew home to Fort Worth that night.
Monday:   Took the day off work to recover from camp - and I really should have taken two. Lack of sleep and information overload can really take it out of a middle-aged modern arnisadora like yours truly.  As tired as I was, ran a few errands and covered classes at Hidden Sword, teaching some of what I'd learned at Camp.
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked on kicks in Family class and double stick work - sinawali, redonda and reverse redonda - in adult class.
Wednesday:   Attended class at Hidden Sword. My teacher showed more stuff from the camp and it was some of my favorite material we'd learned, so YAY!
Thursday:   Classes at Mid-Cities Arnis.  In Family Class I taught the orange and white belts hubad-lubad.
Friday:  Stick sparring night at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Played with some concepts I learned at camp before free sparring.  We're going to go to another tournament in August, so those who want to go stayed after sparring class and we worked on them learning Baston Anyo Apat (Stick Form Four).  It's a tough one but they got through the whole thing.  Next week we'll perfect it.

Datu Tim and I working sinawali


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayMartial Arts Growth is Not Linear
TuesdayAttention Martial Artists
WednesdayThe Only Woman On The Mat
Thursday: Roll for Attributes
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Unionization in Combat Sports

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

If you're on Facebook and have liked my blog page there, you saw this on Sunday.  If you are on Facebook, and HAVEN'T liked The Stick Chick Blog page, please do (and share it with your martial arts-y friends). I'd be ever so grateful if you did.


If you haven't already, you really need to subscribe to Datu +Dieter Knüttel on YouTube. He's been putting out some fantastic and really helpful videos lately, so GET ON IT.  Here's the latest one:


In case you hadn't heard, Krav Maga is still bullshit:


And here's a really good and thought provoking article about being a female "upper belt" or instructor.  The writer is a BJJ player but I think it applies to all of us (and I'd love to get YOUR feedback on it):  Please Don't Make Me Pull Rank

If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Today I'm making the 2-1/2 hour drive to Lawton, OK to help out some folks training in my teacher's Arnis Instructor program practice what they've learned thus far. They've also promised to teach me a thing or two or five, and all y'all know how I love that sort of thing.  If you're in the area, check out Shotokan Karate of Lawton.

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Only Woman On the Mat

I can't speak for all styles and organizations, but generally speaking, adult women are a minority in the martial arts.

The percentage of women varies, from place to place and group to group.  But it's totally normal, in my personal training experience, for me to be one of a handful of women in the room... or even the only one.

I'm not talking about kid classes.  In kid programs, it's not unusual for young women to be the majority of the class, sometimes.  I'm talking about adult women.

It would be interesting, as a study, to see the retention rate of kids in martial arts continuing to train into adulthood and if it's different for boys and girls.

I bet it is a different retention rate, and I bet it's higher for boys.

I'm not sure why this is, to be honest.  Do I think there's some sexism in our ranks?  Sometimes, yes - sometimes it's subtle and accidental, and sometimes it's blatant and intentional.

Naaaaaaahhh.
I don't think that's the main problem, though. In fact, the vast majority of the time, I think that there's an effort to try to attract and retain women in training in most quarters. Yep, there's exceptions where the dudebros rule a training group, but I think that's a rare exception, not a rule.  More often, the conversation and the intent among the guys I know is to get more women on the mat and training, and I appreciate that effort.

Until those efforts succeed, though, I'll still expect to be in the extreme minority in any given training group.

I notice that I'm not usually one of the people that is sought out as a partner to pair up with when the people around me don't know me well (like in a seminar).  That usually changes a little bit after they get to know me better and see that I'm not delicate or afraid of pain or that I've been training long enough that they don't have to carry me as a partner.

Yes, that tends to be the default assumptions about me.  But hey, I'm a short, middle-aged, sorta dumpy female.  Part of that is the sexism I mentioned above, but there's also the other parts of how I just described myself - short and middle aged and dumpy. I don't really look like someone who trains hard or is used to getting thrown around and locked up or isn't afraid of getting hurt.

I look like a bad seminar partner, and I have to work a little harder to prove that nope, training with me is not going to be a waste of your training time.  I have to prove that like any guy in the room, I'm just as into training and just as nerdy about what we do.

I can complain about this and let it ruin my training experience, or I can prove 'em wrong.

Bring it, bro.

Some women find this intimidating.  Me, I'm very outgoing, I've always been a leader, and I'm not intimidated by a room full of strangers.  I'm very grateful that this is my default setting, because it makes it easier for me to just wade in and train with a room full of guys.

I am also aware that my being a good training partner makes it easier for other women who might not be an outgoing leader-type.  My efforts pay off not only for myself, but for women who follow me.

So if you're a woman reading this... don't let being the only woman in the room bother you.  Just get in there and do your thing to the best of your ability.  Don't be afraid of screwing up, or looking stupid - that's something all of us have to deal with, not just women.  Yes, we might have to work a little harder to prove worthy, but I look at it as extra incentive to just train harder and better and to be the best martial artist I can be.  Part of being a martial artist is conquering our fears as well as training our bodies,

If you're a man reading this... be aware of that intimidation factor for your female friends.  Seek out that only woman in the room at a seminar as a partner.  Don't assume that a woman will be a poor training partner (because there are so few of us, you're more likely to have a poor MALE training partner, just going by pure odds, and I can tell you this is definitely my personal experience).  Don't assume that women training are afraid of pain or getting injured any more than you are.

We can make our training spaces more friendly for our female minority.

Tell me your stories of being the only woman in martial arts training situations.  Have you sought out women to train with?  Let me know in the comments!



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ATTENTION MARTIAL ARTISTS: I Need Your Help!

Attention martial artists:

I need your help!

I'd like to create a post for the blog entitled "Travel Tips for the Martial Artist".

So I'm looking for YOUR contributions to that post. If I use your tip, I will give you credit (by your username on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or name you use to comment on The Stick Chick Blog) in the blog post.

I'm looking for tips and tricks when traveling long-distance for martial arts training. Packing tips, what to bring with you, how to secure weapon(s), uniform care tips, health care stuff that you should always pack, etc. If it's something unique to your style, please do tell me what style or system you're referring to in your post.

So tell us, what are your BEST travel tips for your fellow martial artists? Please comment below!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 06/24/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Due to scheduling conflicts, classes at Hidden Sword ended up being canceled!  So Mr. Chick and I went and saw "Wonder Woman".  LOVED IT.
Sunday:  Family chores, and I got some sai practice in, which is very good, because I need it, because I suck at it.
Monday:   Class at Hidden Sword. More Kombatan material as my teacher and I were prepping for our camp trip.
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Worked on our defensive responses.
Wednesday:   Class at Hidden Sword.  More Kombatan-y goodness!  Earlier in the day I had a new migraine symptom - a vertginous migraine, which is a really intense vertigo session where I was pretty sure I was having a stroke AND I was going to fall down and hit my head.  So I had to go to the neurologist to get it checked out.  It's just another kind of migraine, yay me, I'm getting to collect them all, like Pokemon, but FAR LESS FUN.
Thursday:   Because I did NOT take emergency meds the day before, the classic headache type migraine struck and I ended up having to stay home to sleep it off.  That was fun, but I did wake up after without the headache, which is good, because I had to finish packing for the trip.
Friday:  Got up at 3:30 am for my flight to Denver.  Flew to Denver, met up with my teacher and +Datu Hartman, ate, chatted, then we connected with the other camp goers, had dinner, and then trained for five hours (5-10 pm). Met some amazing people and my brain is buzzing, and not because of migraines this time, but because of some really neat ideas being presented.

Yes, I am the only female in this picture.  Spotting me is kinda like finding Waldo.

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayFamily Ties
Tuesday3 Reasons Filipino Martial Arts ROCK (for Women)
WednesdayCriminals Gonna Crime
Thursday: The Value of Slow
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Who Would Win This Fight?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

TWO videos from Master Ken at "Enter the Dojo" this week?  YES PLEASE.




I've started trying to find classic martial arts cartoons and posting them on my Facebook Page (please do like and share that page, PLEASE, I'M BEGGING YOU).  Here's the one I posted this week:



If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!


FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

I'm posting this from enemy territory (hey, I'm a Kansas City Chiefs fan y'know) in Denver, Colorado.  I have two more days before me of fantastic training at this camp.  Lots of people are here, and it's wonderful to meet and learn from some amazing martial artists.  This "side" of my martial arts "family "ROCKS!

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!