Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Conversion Therapy

I've been spending my personal martial arts time in a project.

On the spur of the moment in my 2nd Degree test about a month ago, I converted our first form, Baston Anyo Isa, into the jo.  This was part of my demonstration that Arnis prepares a person to work with just about any weapon (using the Okinawan/Japanese kobudo weapons), if you are flexible and creative.  Here is a video of that conversion, which I came up with literally about an hour before this video was recorded.

I decided to continue with the theme of converting our forms into the jo when I had students who wanted to compete at a local (Arnis friendly) charity tournament.  If they were going to work hard to compete, I would, too.

It's our first competition as a school, and I didn't want my kids to go alone, y'know?

Thus, I've been working on making Baston Anyo Lima into jo for the last few weeks. 

This is Baston Anyo Lima, performed by myself in 2013.

Baston Anyo Lima is designed to be performed with a one-handed sword or stick, usually no more than 71-81 cm (28-32 inches).  The jo is a 1.5 meter (5 foot long) blunt two-handed weapon.

These things are not super similar to one another, as weapons go.  Short one-handed blade to longer two-handed blunt.  It is important to try to keep to the spirit of the form in its original weapon - the stances, moving back and forth, the angles of attack and defense - while also making sure what you're doing with the different weapon actually makes sense.

It's important, in my opinion, to make sure what I was doing isn't moving from the realm of things you could or would actually do with the weapon, to becoming "dances with sticks".

You long-time readers of this blog know what I think about "dances with sticks".

This meant I had to really think through and apply what I learned a long time ago with the jo (in 2014).  I did the conversion, getting help from my teacher when I got stuck, and now I have a workable jo version of Baston Anyo Lima.

I have no idea if it'll do well at competition or not.  Honestly, it's not the point of the project anyway.  It'd be nice to win something at competition, sure.  I am totally down for winning things.

But it's more important for me to understand how to convert one form template to another, using a weapon that is really different than the one the form was originally designed for.  This makes me think really hard about both weapons involved.

After this competition, I plan to work on Baston Anyo Lima again, this time converting it into nunchaku.  The intent is that I will use it for competition in November, but also, it's just another brain-candy, nerdy little project.

Y'all know how I love that stuff.

I'll let you know how the competition turns out - and I will (probably) have video of it, so you can see the form.

Tell me about personal projects you've worked on in the martial arts that weren't strictly required for your studies.  Have you worked on editing or converting forms from one thing to another?  Let me know in the comments!