Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 10/14/17

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 class. A normal, relatively sedate Saturday for a change!  I've been getting in a lot of kobudo practice and that's been very helpful.
Sunday:  Chores, kobudo practice, and another Chiefs victory (undefeated and feels GREAT!)
Monday:  Took the day off.  Kids had the day off so I actually stayed home and hung out with them.
Tuesday:   Took younger daughter to class at Hidden Sword, and practiced kobudo. 
Wednesday:   Arnis class at Hidden Sword.  Worked on some applications out of some of our anyos (forms), and did some disarms we haven't done in a while.
Thursday:   Took younger daughter to class at Hidden Sword. Kobudo practice.
Friday:   Friday night stick fighting at Mid-Cities Arnis, plus I got in a lot of kobudo practice.

I'm gonna get ya, kid!

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayThe Myth of Wasted (Martial Arts) Time
TuesdayIf Dis, Den Dat, or DAT!
WednesdayThe Martial Arts Student Bill of Rights
Thursday: The Joy of Newbies
FridayQuestions from Quora: Unfit Girl Has Concerns About Starting Martial Arts Training

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I would be thrilled if my kid got ninja throwing stars for good grades.


That WOULD be a problem.

If you haven't subscribed to Datu +Dieter Kn├╝ttel's YouTube channel, you should.




Nice article about some older ladies studying Tae Kwon Do.  A common question asked on Quora and in other places is "Am I too old to start training in martial arts?".  This is usually asked by people in their 20's.  Heh.  Golden Girls: Lawson, Hodges prove martial arts has no age limit

And here's this week's video from the world's best martial arts channel, "Enter the Dojo":





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:

Mr. Chick is out of town at a seminar this weekend. So not only am I managing children, I'm also practicing kobudo and arnis in the morning, then this afternoon I go to my last formal kobudo class before next month's black belt test.

Yup, I'm getting nervous about that now.

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, October 13, 2017

Questions from Quora: Unfit Girl Has Concerns About Starting Martial Arts Training



Quora is a leading internet site where questions get asked and answered by people from all over the world!  As you can imagine, lots of questions get asked about the martial arts.  "Questions from Quora" shares a question I find interesting, and my answer to the question.

Got a martial arts question you want me to answer?  Send me an "Ask to Answer" on Quora, and I just might!

What's YOUR answer to today's Quora Question?  Let me know in the comments below!



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Martial Arts Student Bill of Rights

Beginning training in the martial arts, especially as an adult, is pretty difficult.

There's a lot of misconceptions out there about what it entails.  Some of that is due to how martial arts training is portrayed in popular media, but it's also due to poor communication from the martial arts community as a whole.

This post is my attempt to clarify to potential and new martial arts students what I think they have a reasonable right to expect in their training.

DISCLOSURE OF ALL FEES

This includes tuition, "mat fees", equipment fees, costs associated to required equipment (cost of gis, martial arts weapons, etc.), testing fees, belt fees, and the estimated costs of tournaments if they are a required part of training.  This disclosure should happen prior to the beginning of training, and if there is a contract involved, fees should detailed in the contract that is signed.



Speaking of a contract, if there is one, then the fees and process for ending the contract before the term is up need to be clearly defined before the contracts is signed.

DISCLOSURE OF REQUIREMENTS FOR RANK ADVANCEMENT

A student has a reasonable right to know what is expected of her in order to earn rank.  This does not include any kind of guarantee, such as "You'll earn such-and-such rank in 6 months". It just means that it's reasonable to expect to have an outline of what a student needs to learn in order to gain rank, including if participation in tournaments is required.

REASONABLE PRECAUTIONS FOR STUDENT SAFETY

Students have a right to train in an environment where precautions for student safety are taken into consideration. 

This is a highly variable term so it's hard to say exactly what this looks like for each style.  But, this includes:
  • Using equipment in good repair
  • Making sure the training area is clean and free of debris or other items that could cause injury
  • Using safety equipment when it's available (such as training weapons)
  • Having in place training rules for student safety (such as not allowing horseplay or not allowing people to swing around weapons when they are not actively training with them)
  • Not allowing students to be harassed, bullied or abused by anyone associated to the school.
Safety first.

THE STUDENT/INSTRUCTOR RELATIONSHIP

A student has the right to know what ranks and/or instructor certifications a martial arts teacher has legitimately earned.  Instructors should not claim rank not earned or lie about their qualifications to teach.  An honest 2nd Degree Black Belt instructor in a single style is better than a dishonest Grand Master in 7 different styles.

A student has the right to have a method to contact the instructor outside of class, and to have phone calls, emails, or text messages returned within a reasonable period of time.



A student has the right to expect the training schedule to be clearly communicated and adhered to. Classes will begin on time, end on time, and not be changed at the last minute outside of extenuating circumstances (such as sudden illness, accident, natural disaster, etc.).

A student has the right to know if he or she will be trained by other students, and not the instructor. This is actually not uncommon; there's plenty of martial arts schools where higher ranked students work with lower ranked students, and the instructor might not be directly training individual students every class. Students should have the right to know if this is something that is normal in the school they attend.

So what do you think? Are these reasonable things a student has the right to expect from an instructor?  Did I miss anything important?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 10/07/17

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 class at Hidden Sword inn the morning, and MAPA 12 in the afternoon  I say this after each MAPA, but this really might have been the best one yet!  We raised $605.00 to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in South Texas.
Sunday:  Chores, schlepping children to various activities, and some kobudo practice.
Monday:  Watched my Chiefs win a game. Good day!
Tuesday:   Took younger daughter to class at Hidden Sword, and practiced kobudo.  Migraines have been coming back in spades.
Wednesday:   Stoopid migraines.
Thursday:   Took younger daughter to class at Hidden Sword, but I was too wiped out to practice much.
Friday:   Finally had to go in for a treatment that helps me with this stupid migraine thing, and I while I was tired, I was well enough to go to sparring class at Mid-Cities Arnis.

MAPA 12 attendees.


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayA Plea to the Martial Arts Community About Active Shooter Training
Tuesday: Stayed up too late watching my team and got up too late to get a post together.
WednesdayThe Waiting
Thursday: Bo: Why I suck and What I'm Doing About It
FridayQuestions from Quora: What is the Most Overrated Weapon of All Time?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

New content from some of my favorite online Martial Arts creators:

+Joelle White  wrote Shifting Dreams, which dovetails nicely with +Andrea Harkins ' Find Clarity In Your Life.

+Ando Mierzwa says stuff I can't agree more with here:


We are living in great times, as we are getting LOTS AND LOTS of "Enter the Dojo content on a weekly basis.



This is basically my house, given all the humans living here do martial arts:



And finally, I can tell you, when I get chosen to be uke, it's special, because I'm a stubby and dumpy middle aged woman and nobody's impressed when someone takes ME down.




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 will do kobudo and Arnis. A "normal" day for a change!


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, October 6, 2017

Questions from Quora: What are the Most Overrated Weapons of All Time?



Quora is a leading internet site where questions get asked and answered by people from all over the world!  As you can imagine, lots of questions get asked about the martial arts.  "Questions from Quora" shares a question I find interesting, and my answer to the question.

Got a martial arts question you want me to answer?  Send me an "Ask to Answer" on Quora, and I just might!

What's YOUR answer to today's Quora Question?  Let me know in the comments below!

What Are the Most Overrated Weapons of All Time?

 Here's my answer (which you can see HERE directly on Quora.  If you like it, please upvote it!)



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Waiting

So the exact date of my kobudo black belt test was set about a month or two ago.

I've been working hard in practicing every chance I get, trying to fine tune what we're expected to know so I can not look like a complete buffoon on the test.

It feels like the days are moving by soooo sloooowwwlllyy.


I'm terrible at waiting for future events.  I'm a future-oriented person (which has its perks and downsides), and I love to make plans and checklists and what have you for the future. I enjoy the logistical problem that's to be solved (whether it's something in martial arts, like a test or a seminar, or other things like going on a trip or planning a party).

But once I've made a decision on something I really hate having to put off acting on that decision until some far-off future date.

That's the state I'm in now. I honestly wish I could just take the test right now (forgoing the month of practice I have ahead of me, which I certainly could use) because I just want to get it over with.

I have other things I'm working on for the future too. 2018 is going to be a big year of change for me and my family. This kobudo black belt test is sort of the first "big event" in a chain of events leading up to stuff I'm working on for next summer (and beyond).

Plans within plans... and I'm having to wait for the right time to execute those plans.

Timing.  Ah, timing, it's such an important concept in the martial arts, isn't it? You'd think, by now, that I'd have a better tolerance for waiting for the right time to do things.

You'd think.

So tell me about how you deal with the lead-up to a big promotion in the martial arts.  Are you like me - just wanting to get it over with?  What are your tips for getting through the waiting period before test day? Let us know in the comments!




Saturday, September 30, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/30/17

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:  A bit of kobudo practice, then I went to Bridgeport to assist my teacher in his monthly Arnis Instructor's Course. Fun day!
Sunday: Busy day! Younger daughter has started singing lessons, I watched my beloved Chiefs win, and we went to "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" which I liked a lot. As you'd expect, the fight choreography was superb, and now I've not only started thinking about throwing knives and axes, but I'm wondering where I can learn bullwhip and lasso!
Monday:  My night off.
Tuesday:   Ocular migraine hit me hard, and I ended up going to bed at 5 pm and didn't wake up for 12 hours!
Wednesday:   Stoopid migraines.
Thursday:   Feeling better, and we started my new schedule.  I will only be teaching on Friday nights; on Tue/Thu I will take younger daughter to taekwondo class, and I will be practicing kobudo and/or walking the track during her classes.
Friday:   Had a minor ocular migraine but I've been trying an alternate method of treatment - dark glasses - all week, and it's been a lot better as a result.  Went to Mid-Cities Arnis for Friday classes.



BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayFive Awful Reasons to Try the Martial Arts
Tuesday: Scaling the Martial Arts Cliff
WednesdayIn Defense of the McDojo
Thursday: 3 Annoying Realities of Being a Martial Artist
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Should Belt Ranks Exist?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

People who've trained with me a while will find this especially amusing.



+Jesse Enkamp is playing with fire (and this is extremely well done!):



Speaking of Master Ken...




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 spend my morning in kobudo practice. Eventually I'll get good at it, right?   In the afternoon my teacher's school is hosting MAPA 12 - dang, 12 of these?  Wow! - with some amazing instructors.  All proceeds go to Hurricane Harvey relief, so this is a great time to dip a toe into the FMA's if you've never done so before.  Link to the event is HERE.

I'm working on a new approach

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, September 27, 2017

In Defense of the McDojo

Yep, I'm going to defend that scourge of the martial arts world, the McDojo.

Does a Shodan come with that meal?

But first, let's define our terms.

What's a McDojo?

When I use the term, I'm talking about a martial arts school that waters down what it teaches in order to draw in and retain students. 

It does NOT mean:
  • A successful martial arts school
  • A martial arts school that uses effective marketing to draw in students and keep its door open
  • A school that teaches performance martial arts weapons exclusively
  • A martial arts school that caters to children
  • A martial arts school with a kids after-school program and summer break day camps
It is possible to have all those things I listed above and NOT be a McDojo.

Nope, let's talk about those teaching down "watered down" versions of their arts.  What that actually is could be a long discussion in its own right, so let's pretend we can agree on what that means.

So hey, the McDojo. It's a good thing they exist, and here's why:

McDojos are the sponge that sucks in the audience of people who are not, and may never be, interested in the "real" martial arts.

Most McDojos cater to parents who want their kids to study for physical fitness, self esteem, and discipline.  Their competition isn't Sensei Hardcore's Karate School - it's the soccer league, the basketball league, and the local dance studio.

So they deliver what their audience is looking for.  Physical fitness, self esteem, and discipline.

Learning how to defend against and use violence against other people is not on the list.

And that's what "real" martial arts are, isn't it?  The study of violence?

The truth is, most people these days are not interested in violence.  They're afraid of getting hurt in training, or they don't want to contemplate that violence can happen to them (and in reality, it's pretty rare for most people, at least in the US and Canada).

Not for everybody - dunno why, but it's true.

We weirdos who enjoy acquiring bruises for fun are a small minority of people, and we always have been.  When we live in a society where you don't have to be good at violence, most people avoid it.

McDojos capturing that audience means you don't have them in YOUR classes, Sensei Hardcore.  So you should be grateful there's a place for them to go and you don't have to waste your time and resources on them.

One more thing - some of those kids put in a McDojo grow up and then seek out "real" martial arts training.  It's not a huge number, but it's not a nontrivial amount.  Be a place where they can come to train for real and not feel bad about their McDojo days.

It's not necessary to shame people who didn't know better and earned rank in a McDojo.   They did what was asked of them. When they do get serious, they won't come to you, they'll go to the place that doesn't make them feel like bad people.

McDojos have a place in our martial arts world.  It's not where you and I want to study, but be grateful they're around, because ultimately, it's to our own benefit.

Did you ever train in a McDojo?  What were some of the things you learned there, both good and bad? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/23/17

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 classes at Hidden Sword while my teacher was at a demo.  Had the tkd kids work their basics and do a skill-based obstacle course.  In Arnis, we hit the bags!
Sunday:  Kobudo and chores.  Oldest kid started getting sick, which was a preview for my Monday and Tuesday.
Monday:  I got whatever crud my kid has, stayed home from class and went to bed early.
Tuesday:   Spent the entire day home in bed due to the crud.
Wednesday:   Last day of the crud.  I worked but came home and went to bed almost immediately.
Thursday:   Just as I'm getting over the crud... hooray, the first migraine attack in over 40 days.  Meds made me exhausted so I went to bed early.
Friday:   Had two ocular migraines, but didn't take the heavy-duty med that knocks me out.  Went to class at Mid-Cities Arnis and stick sparred.

Stick Sparring is so dang fun.


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayThe Intimidation Factor
Tuesday: Nuthin'.  I was sick!
WednesdayRegistering Yourself As a Deadly Weapon IS NOW AVAILABLE!
Thursday: Context is Everything
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Online Learning vs. McDojo - Which Would You Choose?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

This happens a lot to me at seminars where I don't know a lot of people. Can't imagine why people don't want to pair up with a dumpy middle aged woman.




Because of the de-monetaztion thing I mentioned last week on  YouTube, there's a new way to support "Enter the Dojo", via their Patreon.  I will be pledging as this weekend.  Won't you join me?





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 kobudo practice and then I go out to Bridgeport to help my teacher work with a group of folks learning Arnis in a special program.  It's gonna be a long and productive day.  Hopefully this stupid migraine swarm I'm in the middle of will let up!

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, September 20, 2017

Registering Yourself As a Deadly Weapon IS NOW AVAILABLE!

ATTENTION MARTIAL ARTISTS!

We all know that at a certain point in our studies of the martial arts, we're supposed to go down to your local police department and register body parts as deadly weapons.

It's a shocker when we find out that such a registry doesn't actually exist.

If you're like me, you can't believe that some of these deadly tough guys in the martial arts world are allowed to just walk around.   The danger to the public is astounding!

It's probably due to our politicians being bought and paid for by Big Dojo.

So your pal the Stick Chick is gonna step up and do something about it.

As a service to the public, I will register your deadly body parts for the low price of $19.95 a part.

On a budget?  You can just register a right hand, or a left foot.  Body parts other than arms and legs are available, but to Ameri-do-te students only.

Once I receive your payment, I'll send you this fabulous certificate that will look just grand posted on the wall of your dojo.



Now we can finally start thinking of the children, and getting all of you incredibly dangerous badasses registered.

Send in your payment TODAY!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/16/17

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: Three hours of kobudo practice, an hour long Arnis class, and then my monthly two-hour long kobudo class over in Dallas.  The hard work is paying off, I think.
Sunday:  Went to see "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" on the big screen. That movie really holds up.
Monday:  My day off.
Tuesday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. Worked with one of my students to start learning the competition form, Anyo Lima, for a tournament in November.
Wednesday:   Attended class at Hidden Sword. We're gearing up to test our students in a month or so, so we worked on some review material
Thursday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Reviewed some form work and some knife basics.
Friday:   Nobody showed up for sparring night so I got in a little practice, and then I crashed early! Oh, and for Chiefs fans, it was Red Friday - every Friday is a "red friday" but this is actually a huge event in Kansas City before the Chiefs first home game of the season. Millions of dollars are raised for the local Ronald McDonald house by selling "Chiefs Kingdom" flags.  I have friends getting me this year's flag - the one in the picture is last year.

Red Friday: Redding it Up on Fridays since 1992

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondaySinawali: Getting the Most Out of It (Part 1)
TuesdaySinawali: Getting the Most Out of It (Part 2)
WednesdayFrom One Black Belt to Two
Thursday: For the Love of the Ropey-Whackstick
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Shoes or No Shoes?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

And I wear mat shoes, so I have to take those off and get into my sandals before going, because wearing mat shoes in a bathroom is GROSS.


I am not very happy with what's been going on with content creators' videos getting de-monetized (or outright removed) by YouTube because they're not "advertiser friendly".  Here's one video they've done this with, and it's ridiculous that they have:



If you don't want to miss "Enter the Dojo" content - because who knows what YouTube will remove or find "unfriendly to advertisers" these days - make sure you have liked Master Ken on Facebook (page is HERE).


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 kobudo practice, I'm covering classes (my teacher and hubby are going to a demo out in Irving with GM Art Miraflor), and then wow, I think I will actually just do some chores and take a nap!

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, September 13, 2017

From One Black Belt to Two

In a couple of months, I will be testing for my 1st Degree Black Belt in the kobudo program I've been studying with for the past three years.

This represents the second time I am earning this rank, albeit in a different style.  The first time was when my teacher secret-tested and surprise promoted me in 2013 to Dayang Isa (equivalent rank in Presas Arnis to 1st Degree Black).

This will be my first formal black belt test where I know I'm being tested.

The idea of being 1st Degree Black in more than one organization and style seems a little bizarre to me.  Not because it can't be done, but because I'm the one doing it.

I am not so far removed from being white belt. I started at a late age and I remember thinking that black belt rank(s) were very far off in the future and nearly unattainable for me.

And now here I am, getting ready to earn my second black belt.

I know, I can't believe it.

I know that you can go online and "earn" black belts in various martial arts styles by "home study".  Most of these amount to earning the black belt rank by the hard work of the check clearing.  There's folks out there collecting black belt certificates like Pokemon.

Most of us aren't doing that, thogh.  Most of us, when we earn this rank in a different art or style than our base style, have to work hard to earn it.  I certainly didn't buy this rank.  If at our last practice class they think I just can't put in the work to cut it, they won't let me test.  If I choke on the test, I'll fail.

Of course, to be in the program, you have to be a high rank Brown Belt or a Black Belt in another style already, so you aren't starting over completely from scratch in the martial arts.  A lot of narrow add-on programs like my kobudo class are like that.  They don't take a lot of calendar time, in the scheme of things, but they're often designed to skip other kinds of basics that we've already learned in our "base" styles.

That means that while I have been in kobudo class for three years, it is built upon the study I've been doing for the last nine years.  Ditto my classmates, who are by now all black belts (many of them are 2nd and 3rd degree) in their empty hand styles.

This just goes to support, yet again, that black belt isn't and shouldn't and can't be some objective measure outside of "basic proficiency in this style or system".

In kobudo, that's certainly true for me.  I'm nowhere near an "expert" in what I've studied, not by a long shot.  I'm reaching a level where I'm not fumbling around with the basics associated to the weapon so I can really learn going forward.

I rarely drop my weapons and heck, I only hit myself very rarely.

I admit I haven't attempted the flips yet.
Trust me, that's an accomplishment.

Some of us believe that 1st Black should be more than just that sort measure - that it should represent some level of combat competency.  I have no argument with this, but if your measure is "being able to win a fight", I'd like to know what that looks like in weapons system, given we can't free spar with what we train with (my bo and tonfa and nunchaku are not training versions; they'll HURT YOU, and my sai might be steel instead of iron but you don't want to be hit with them, trust me).

I think we'd end up going through students really quickly.

We will also accept your maimed.

So have you earned more than one 1st Degree Black Belt (or equivalent) rank in more than one system? What were the circumstances?  How long did it take?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/09/17

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:  My youngest daughter's birthday, so we did birthday activities all day long.
Sunday:  Did some chores and got in a little kobudo practice.
Monday:   Labor Day, a holiday in the United States.  I actually took the day off and took advantage of the downtime.
Tuesday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. Started reviewing what folks know so we can make sure we've covered the needed material for some tests in October or November.
Wednesday:   Attended class at Hidden Sword.  Hardly anybody in Arnis, so a classmate and I spent the time working hard on kobudo.
Thursday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. Worked on our forms.  Went home and watched my beloved Kansas City Chiefs pull an upset win against the Super Bowl champs in the NFL season opener.  Life is goooooood.
Friday:  Had a touch of illness, enough that I felt it best to stay home and recover (especially so that I could follow through on my plans for today).

We spar with padded sticks, but they can still raise a welt sometimes. 


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

Monday: No Post. It was a holiday, y'all.
Tuesday5 Ways to Tell if You're Watching a Demonstration (Versus an Actual Fight)
Wednesday4 Annoying Realities of Being a Weapons Based Martial Artist
Thursday: Pondering Green Belt
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Handling Rank When Changing Schools - Black Belt Edition

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I'm a bit of an over-cautious helicopter-y type parent myself, but honestly, how can one learn to use anything safely if they never get the chance?


This video was posted over on Facebook.  It's REALLY NEAT.
video

Lots of neat videos from our friends at Enter the Dojo this week!




And finally... please, please do keep making this assumption.




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 will be spending a couple of hours in kobudo practice this morning, then an hour of Arnis, then out to Dallas for kobudo class.  We'll see if I think I've improved (especially compared to my fellow students) with all of the extra practice I've been putting in!

Tomorrow, our family is going to go see "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" on the big screen.  Gonna be fun!

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, September 6, 2017

4 Annoying Realities of Being a Weapons Based Martial Artist

I love weapons, y'all.

No, really, I love 'em.  Doing empty hand stuff in martial arts is fine and dandy and fun, but it doesn't hold a candle to learning how to use weapons.

And my Sticks, and my knives, and my staffs, and my tonfa, and my nunchaku, and...

I realize I'm in an extreme minority here.  If martial artists are at most 5% of the adult population - and that's a generous estimate - we weapons-based people are probably at most a quarter of that group.  Most of us gravitate towards and use empty hand styles, and that's okay.

It's just not my personal preference.

As cool and fun as using weapons are - and it really, really is - there are some pretty big downsides.  Here's four annoying realities of being a weapons based martial artist.

IT'S HARD TO KNOW IF WHAT WE'RE DOING WILL WORK

There are very few of us in real life who know for sure that something will work with a weapon, and I don't think any of us want to be in that situation on purpose, because usually that means badly injuring or killing somebody.

Thus, blunted training weapons, safety equipment, and lack of intent all add up to a big question mark over what we do.

It's very, very difficult to pressure test weapons and honestly, most of us don't.  Most of us dance with weapons or hit inanimate objects not trying to hit us back.  Even those styles that do sparring with resistance, there's always rules for safety that mean that you don't REALLY know, for sure, if what you're doing would work in real life.

We do have "probably will work", but not "certainly will". It will always be a debate over whether such-and-such is useful, or not.

IT'S EXPENSIVE

We have the same expenses that empty hand martial artists typically do - class fees and uniforms - but then we have a lot more.

Our weapons themselves are pricey, especially if we get training weapons that are meant to be durable and hold up against a beating and are not just dancing props.  But even dancing props are expensive.

Take my bo.  My 6 foot white oak bo cost $80.  Mine is a durable type of bo that can take a lot of hits against bo (and other weapons like sai and tonfa).  We've tried to find cheaper models but they get broken within a day's use.

I've seen the good bo break, live and in person, twice.  That's 80 bucks down the drain, just like that. If you hit stuff often in training, as we do, eventually your weapon(s) can and will break, and that's just the way it goes.

Heck, I've seen an expensive XMA type toothpick bo snap in half by merely grazing a training mat during practice.  That was also 80 bucks down the drain - yikes!

Another expense are the equipment you need to carry your equipment - cases and whatnot - and store your equipment (racks and shelves, chests, etc.)

I'm not even counting the armor that martial art sports like fencing and kendo have to invest in - that's also pricey, and has to be repaired and replaced from time to time with use.

It all add up, and quickly.



IT'S INCONVENIENT

Toting around and storing weapons is a pain in the rear.

I'm lucky in that I have a car, and I don't have to try to tote this stuff long distances over public transportation (those of you who do, I'd love to hear how you do it).  But when the time came to buy a new car, I had to take into consideration that car's ability to tote around my martial arts gear.

Being able to fit my longer weapons in the car is not a trivial matter!

Additionally, we have lots of different gear bags for different uses, and before I go off somewhere, I have to check that what I need is in the bag.

Favorite pair of sticks? Check.  Backup pair if favorite pair gets broken?  Check.  Favorite training knife? Check.  Backup training knife for either sharing with others who don't have one or for double-knife drills?  Check.  Repair tape for sticks?  Check. Palmsticks? Check. Training bolo? Check.

Pictured: a fraction of what I own, and I had to carry most of this by myself.

That's just my arnis bag and I didn't include belt, mat shoes/socks, and first aid stuff I usually have in my bag.  Add in my kobudo stuff and it's a long checklist.

Then there's storage.  Long weapons like a naginata, a bo, and a jo shouldn't be stored standing up, as they'll warp over time.  You should store them laying flat.  Thus, I need a place to store them flat that's out of the way (I store mine along the back of a couch). Everything else needs a place to keep them dry and out of the way so I don't stub a toe on a tonfa or something (and yes, I've done that).

You empty hand folks have it so easy.  Even with your sparring gear.  Harrumph.

YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH

Maybe it's just me, but not only do a I have a main weapon I train with (a main bo, a main jo, a favorite pair of sticks, etc.) but I have to have a backup.

That's because things can break, especially when you hit things with them, so you end up making sure that you're prepared when you do.

After all, it would be a real bummer if you had to stop training while you wait for a replacement weapon to arrive, right?

I also find that weapons based training is kind of an addiction. There's always a better version of your weapon or protective gear that you're wanting to buy.  You spend time online lovingly saving links to shopping sites where you can buy some weapons goodies.  It's sorta like how some empty hand people get into gi addiction (the correct quantity of uniforms you need to own is "many") - we get into weapons addiction.

Nope.  Not enough swords.

So there you have it - it's expensive, inconvenient, kind of an addiction, and you never are completely sure what you do will work.

It's still the BEST THING EVER.

Tell me how you manage the inconveniences and expenses of your martial arts training. Any good tips for transport and storage?  Let me know in the comments!




Saturday, September 2, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 09/02/17

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, then we went out to Bridgeport for my teacher's monthly Arnis Instructor's course training.  Fun day.
Sunday:  Caught up on chores and watched Harvey news (I'm in North Texas but I have friends who were directly affected).
Monday:   Covered classes at Hidden Sword. We worked more on block check counter, then played with disarms.
Tuesday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. We did bag work - my intent is do to more of this than we've been doing, to help strengthen our students and to help correct poor form.
Wednesday:   My day off!
Thursday:   Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. We worked on self defense techniques.
Friday:  Worked on core principles in stick sparring - the hit and retract strike and the pull-through strike, and when to use either - and worked striking combos on the bag.  Then we sparred a bit.

No pics this week of me - here's Mr. Chick sparring two of our kid students.

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayThe Weapon Is An Extension Of The Hand - Except It Totally Isn't
TuesdayMutts and Purebreds in the Martial Arts
WednesdayWe Can Be Heroes
Thursday: How Women Fight: Female on Female Violence
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Martial Arts Organizations' Control Over Members

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I'm wearing mat shoes!  MAT SHOES!



Nice article of a kid using karate to fight off a potential abduction. Y'all, this stuff DOES work in real life for kids - we have too many examples of it to ignore this.  Karate Kid: Georgia boy fights off attempted kidnapper with martial arts

As everyone knows now, Hurricane Harvey hit South Texas hard.  Houston gets the most attention, but as of this writing, the city of Beaumont has no water at all, and there are smaller cities and towns all over the Texas Gulf Coast than need help.

Here's Master Ken's advice for helping out with Hurricane Harvey:


Our MAPA 12 event on 9/30 is also going to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims.  Here's the details over on Facebook:  MAPA 12

There was also a cyclone and massive flooding event in Asia, and here's more about that (if you can help them, please do also, thanks): Attention is on Harvey, but flooding has killed thousands across Asia


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 Younger Daughter's birthday, AND it's a Holiday weekend, so I'll be doing stuff with her and catching up on all the chores that have accumulated for months that need doing.

I've been practicing sai (and general kobudo) a lot, and I've turned a corner where I don't suck as hard as I did.  Progress!=

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, September 1, 2017

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Martial Arts Organizations' Control Over Members

It's FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Today, let's talk about martial arts organizations, and how much control they could or should have over members within their ranks.

There are cases out there of organizations not only dictating what is taught to member students in the schools belonging to the group, but also controlling how much exposure to other martial arts content members receive.

That is, not only are members of the group forbidden to cross train or train outside the group if they wish to remain members, but other activities involving the martial arts are not allowed either. That might include anything from not allowing attendance/participation at an unsanctioned seminar or tournament to revoking membership of people who like or share non-organization martial arts content on social media.

The idea is that the group doesn't want ANY influence in their ranks outside of what the leadership says needs to be there.  Or sometimes, this sort of behavior is seen within the group's subculture as disloyalty to a teacher or system.

So what do you think about this sort of thing?  Is this something you'd support in a group you lead or belong to?

HOW MUCH CONTROL SHOULD MARTIAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS HAVE OVER MEMBERS' EXPOSURE OR PARTICIPATION IN NON-ORGANIZATION MARTIAL ARTS CONTENT?


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

We Can Be Heroes

As you know, the Texas Gulf Coast (and soon, Louisiana too, looks like) has been hit with a massive natural disaster in the form of Hurricane Harvey.

They are calling it the largest flooding event in US history.  11 million people have been affected so far (and you can't keep up with the numbers as it's still rising). Harvey is still sitting there in the Gulf Coast, like a really bad house guest who won't take the hint to LEAVE ALREADY.  Lives have been lost - a miraculous few, compared to how many are at risk - and more will be lost in the days to come.

The property damage and disruption to our economy is going to be a big problem for years to come.

Personally, I'm well out of any risk area - Texas is, after all, BIG, and I'm in North Texas - but I have friends and training partners down there in the middle of it all.

Via Al Garza on Facebook.  Al Garza's Premier Martial Arts in League City, TX  8/28/17

Lots of people have stepped up and done heroic things in the wake of this storm, but it's not over, not by a long shot.

We have dedicated our +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance 12th Gathering, set for Saturday, September 30, as a Harvey benefit seminar.  All proceeds - every dime - will go to Harvey relief organizations.

The Facebook event can be found HERE.  If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and ever wanted to try Filipino Martial Arts, this is be BEST event ever to get your toes in the water.  Plus you get to benefit a great cause.

I want to issue a challenge to each of you.

I challenge your martial arts school, organization or training group to hold a Harvey benefit for relief efforts.

Hold a kick-a-thon, donate proceeds from a class or seminar, heck, host a blood drive, volunteer at a local shelter if you can... whatever you can do, do it.

Our world seems to be full of conflict, and hate, and division.  Let's counter that with doing something good.  This is a better use of our time than sniping at each other over the issues of the day, or obsessing over misinformation on Twitter, or what have you.

If you like, I've whipped up a little logo for your event if you want to use it, completely free of charge and you don't even have to give me credit.


The important thing is to raise CASH for relief groups.  They can use the money to get the right things for the right people in the middle of the affected areas.

Here's a good reference of groups you can consider donating to:  How to get (and offer) help after Hurricane Harvey

We can be heroes, just by doing what we love, for a really great cause.  And thanks in advance for your help.