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!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Family Ties

All of us have two sides of a family - a Mom's side, and a Dad's side.

For me, I spent most of my childhood interacting with my Mom's side of my family.  I spent my teen years in the same city my Mom grew up in (St. Louis) and I was around my grandmother, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, my cousins-once-removed, and a large extended family that I have in that city.  I was pretty close to them and knew them very well.

My Dad's family is centered about two and a half hour's drive south of there (around Sikeston, MO).  I spent a few weeks each summer there in my childhood, but I didn't get to see them daily like I did my Mom's family.  While I knew them, I didn't know them as well as my relatives in St. Louis.

So what does that have to do with the martial arts?

Just like I have two sides of my family, so I have two "sides" to the style of martial arts I practice. 

While I use the term "Modern Arnis" a lot, and it is definitely a huge part of what I do, it's not what I actually do.  What I actually do is Presas Arnis - a blend of Modern Arnis (Remy Presas) and Kombatan (Ernesto Presas).

Me helping teach one of the "combative responses" my teacher got from Kombatan 

Just as I did with my family in St. Louis, I spend a lot of my time outside of my home school in Arnis around the Modern Arnis "side" of my art, the "Remy" side of the family.  I've been to more camps and seminars in Modern Arnis than I can possibly recall at the moment.  They're like my "Mom's side" of my martial arts family.  I know many Modern Arnis players, and I know them (and the art) pretty well.

Now I'm getting a chance to see the "other" side of my family, the Kombatan side - my "Dad's side" of my martial arts family.

This weekend I'm traveling to Denver, Colorado to attend the GGM Ernesto Presas Legacy Gathering.  This is the first time I've gotten to meet and train with Kombatan players who were not also Presas Arnis people like myself.  My teacher, +Datu Hartman and Datu +Dieter Kn├╝ttel all trained and ranked with GGM Ernesto Presas, but I've never gotten to train with people who were "pure" Kombatan players.

I know bits and pieces, this and that, of things that Kombatan players do, things my teacher has blended into his curriculum.  I also have a few - a very few - "Grand Master Ernesto" stories.  Going to this camp lets me get learn more, go deeper, and connect with Kombatan in its original context, versus the blend I have been learning for years.

For me, going to this camp is like going to a family reunion where you get to hang out with all the great aunts and uncles and cousins you didn't know you have, getting family stories you hadn't heard before.

My teacher is also attending the camp, and +Datu Hartman is one of the instructors, but other than that, most of the other names associated to this camp I know mainly by reputation or by interacting with them online.  It's going to be a new experience for me.

I'm pretty excited.  I'm planning how to pack my gear and I'm worrying about what happens should my checked bag NOT make it to Colorado with me.  I hate checking bags but they won't let me put my training weapons in my carry-on.

Can't imagine why.



Have you ever gotten to train with "sides" to of your martial arts "family" you don't get to see often?  What what it like?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My week in Stick Chicktivity - 06/17/17

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 day.  It's that time of the month where I go over to Dallas for my two-hour kobudo class.  I kinda stunk up on the joint but we're getting close to the end of the sai material and to the point where we'll be practicing all we've learned over the past few years.
Sunday:  Taught ADE Women's Self Defense and spent some time with my youngest and my inlaws - they left town on Monday for a long trip and I won't see any of them for a long time.
Monday:   Caught up on chores.
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis. We're working on new curriculum stuff with our recently promoted students in our family class, and we played sinawali in our adult class.
Wednesday:   Migraine started, so I stayed home and slept.  Day 1 of three days of "fun", ugh.
Thursday:   Class as Mid-Cities Arnis. Worked on anyos in family class, and worked on basics with a new student in Adult class.  Migraine continues at a low-level of annoyance.
Friday:  Migraine finally requires more nap time.  Stayed home and took it!


No new pictures of me this week, so here's one from about a month ago in our women's self defense.

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondaySensei Scumbag Strikes Again?
TuesdayThey Are Not "Chucks", Got It?
WednesdayKobudo Update: On the Home Stretch
Thursday: Let's Talk About Chambering
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Religion and the Martial Arts

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

The answer, Hannah Hillam, is ALL THE THINGS.


Nice video by +Ando Mierzwa (and +Jesse Enkamp) - entertaining and informative!



I ran across a rumor over on Tumblr that YouTube is shadowbanning martial arts content.  I'd like to hear from you martial arts YouTubers if you think this is true, or not.

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:

Thank goodness I have a relatively sedate weekend planned.  Arnis, then kobudo practice.  I am going to a camp next week in Colorado, so it's best to rest up and hopefully beat back this dumb migraine that has been plaguing me all week.

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, June 16, 2017

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Religion and the Martial Arts

IT'S FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Today's topic is pretty controversial in some quarters.

Let's talk about mixing religious faith and martial arts training.

For some of us, we openly mix religion and the martial arts. Either it's a faith system that is "native" to the martial art being practiced (usually from the East, so we're talking about a number of religious traditions depending on the source - could be Buddhism, Shintoism, or a host of others), or another faith, such as Christianity or Islam, has "replaced" those points of view but is still pretty openly a part of the training.  To train in the group, you usually also "train" in the religious practice.  We also have organizations around faith and martial arts training, such as Karate for Christ International and the Muslim Martial Arts Society, to name two.

Then you have the other side of the equation, where most, if not all, expressions of religious faith in training is discouraged or simply not allowed.  Heck, we even have some folks arguing that martial arts training is incompatible with practicing the faith at all.  Here's an article discussing this:  Should a Christian Practice Martial Arts?

So I want to know what you think about mixing religion and the martial arts.  It is important to you?  What are the pros and cons?


IS COMBINING MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING AND RELIGIOUS FAITH A GOOD THING?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kobudo Update: On the Home Stretch

It's been a while since I wrote a kobudo update.

The last update was "Oh Hai, Sai!" back in March.  We'd started learning the sai, and now I'm three months into it.

Honestly, thus far, I think sai might be my least favorite of the four weapons in this program.

Nah. Not even.

They require a lot of finicky manipulation and there's too much room for error when you use them to block in reverse grip along your arm.  I will say that the manipulation thing (from what I'd call "saber" grip to "reverse" grip and back) has got me thinking about how to do that with other weapons, so that's good, I guess.  Working with sai is also very good exercise for the wrist and forearms, so that's a plus, I guess.

At this point, I think it'd take a very long time of study before I'd choose to use them in a fight or study more than I really need to.



We're wrapping up the material we have to learn with sai, and then we'll spend some months in review, before we test for black belt in this program towards the end of the year.  So I'll be spending most of my free time practicing, practicing, practicing with bo, tonfa, nunchaku, and sai.

As of right now, here's how I'd rank the weapons I've studied in this program.  Jo doesn't count, as I studied jo under my teacher before I started this program, and I'll probably be studying it again in the black belt class next year.

  1. Nunchaku
  2. Bo
  3. Tonfa
  4. Sai
Me playing with my favorite!

Yes, I ended up liking nunchaku best of the four weapons.  Oh, not because they're practical, or I'd pick them in a fight to save my life, but because they're just so darn fun and easy to use (for an Arnis person).  I definitely get the attraction so many people have for the weapon.  I will be playing with them a lot, for fun, going forward.

I was always rather ambivalent about the bo.  Remember, the bo I study with is a 6 foot Japanese White Oak Bo, not one of those flippy-flippy, toss-and-catchy, spin-a-roonie so-called "bo" that are basically four foot dancing props.  Mine is one that you do not want to get hit with.

Given it was our first weapon, and the one I've studied longest in this program, I now kind of like the bo.  The reach and power of this weapon is substantial, and I see how it would translate pretty quickly from a dueling weapon to a battlefield weapon (put a metal tip on it, and you have yourself a pike or halberd, my friend).

I thought I'd like tonfa the most, but it was most disappointing.  I do not understand why empty hand people don't start with tonfa, as basically, all you have to do is punch or block with tonfa (with a minor adjustment here or there) as you do in empty hand and they work relatively well.  Tonfa can also be manipulated much like double sticks are in Arnis. But they're short and they're bulky.  I'll use tonfa in the future, but it's not because I'm having tons of fun with them.

And then there's sai.  I stated above why I don't like them much.  I get why other people do, but I don't know if I'll be converted to a fan, or not.  We'll see with further study.  It's possible I'll discover that they're the most awesome weapons ever.

If I get to include the jo in my list above, it actually is the real number one weapon of the Okinawan/Japanese weapons I've studied.  I think it's the best compromise of length, weight, and speed.  We have Actionflex versions of many of these weapons and I am usually most successful with the jo. As two-handed duelling weapons go, it's hard to beat.

My next few months will be hard work as I work towards earning my black belt in this kobudo program.  As I've repeatedly stated, I think that black belt is in no way mastery of anything more than the very basics, and that will definitely be true should I be promoted.  I don't think I'm an expert in any of these, by a long shot.  That's going to take a lot more practice.

But I'm getting there!

So what's your favorite weapon?  Let us know in the comments!


Monday, June 12, 2017

Sensei Scumbag Strikes Again?

So this news story hit late last week:

Lopez brothers, Olympic taekwondo royalty, hit with sex abuse allegations

Of course, an accusation is not proof.  Let's all keep that in mind.

BUT.

But if these allegations are true, we have yet another case of Sensei Scumbag.

Goddammit.

The Lopez family are often called "The First Family of Taekwondo" in the United States. Their performance on the mat has brought prestige and awards to my country.  So of course, because of that celebrity, and the fact that the Rio Olympics were going on, they were left in place while the investigation was ongoing, even if that meant there were other victims at risk while this was going on.

My friend Cathy Chapaty (author of "No Pouting in the Dojo", and she blogs at Searching for Grasshopper at the moment, but also read No Pouting at the Dojang and Big Budo World) wrote this epic post on Facebook about this situation, and you really should give it a read:


I can't agree more with what Cathy has to say there. 

What particularly galls me about this situation is the fact it took so long for police to be involved (who are, after all, the correct authorities to do investigations of this kind).  Honestly, though, after thinking about it, I shouldn't be terribly surprised.

Our relatively hierarchical and authoritarian martial arts culture, and our belief that somehow, martial arts training immunizes us against bad buys taking advantage of us (and our students) in the places where we have to have the most trust, makes us particularly vulnerable to this sort of thing.

Our recruitment of children and young people, often marketing the martial arts as something that empowers shy kids, or vulnerable kids, or people needing self confidence.  Combine those two, and predators have a very happy hunting ground.

Hey, you don't have to take my word for it.  There's so many examples of martial arts teachers getting caught, arrested, and convicted of abusing their students that I literally can't keep up with it on my "Sensei Scumbag" post.  Click through my link above and take a peek at the ones I have been able to add to that post - I know I've missed bunches of others.

This is a problem.  A huge problem.  And I submit that we are not equipped to cope with it, as a subculture.  We're not willing to believe that we allow people in authority, or we have people who are superior athletes or coaches, who are also willing to prey on people we're supposed to be protecting.  We obviously don't do a good enough job in making sure that the environment where a predator can take advantage of our students doesn't develop (no alone time, better chaperoning on training/tournament trips. making sure that social media/texting is appropriate, etc.).

I'll admit, though, I don't think this is unique to us, and I don't have a great solution for it, either. The fact that these asshats are using something I love so much to abuse people makes me literally sick, and there is nothing I'd like more than to hunt them down and ruin a perfectly good stick.  But that's not a great solution either.

Like this (the stick broke early).

By the way, if you don't like that I have this gut reaction, well, too bad.  I think that scumbags in positions of trust who abuse the people depending on them are members of the lowest order of human being and this is what violence is for.

But here is something I'd like to see done, in the case of celebrities and people who are Olympic gold medalists and tournament winners and whatnot.

I think when the allegations are proved true, their names and accomplishments should be struck from our rolls.  Their awards should be removed, recognition of their ranks removed, their records expunged, and they should, in our circles, become nonpersons.  We should only acknowledge them for the criminals they are, and note how it came to happen, as lessons to the rest of us.  And they should never be allowed in our ranks again.

Yes, I do think people can be rehabilitated and "do their time" after crimes.  But that being said, these people should never, ever be placed in a position of trust in our world again.  You get one chance, you blow it, you should never be welcomed back.  The risk to potential victims is not worth whatever this individual can bring to the table.  I don't care how good of a teacher they are, how great a martial artist they are.  They're gone, forever.

So if the latest, maybe most famous Sensei Scumbag story is true... those medals they've won cease to exist as far as I'm concerned.  They have never brought honor to my country, only shame.

It's the least we can do.

So what do YOU think we can do?  What are your thoughts about this latest situation?  Let me know in the comments/



Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 06/10/17

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:  Tournament day!  Students from Mid-Cities Arnis and Hidden Sword Martial Arts competed in the Monica Lopez Charity Tournament.  Our schools did really well - one of my MCA students took third in weapons, and I took third in black belt weapons.
Sunday:  My inlaws are in town, so we spent the day with them.
Monday:   Caught up on chores.
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  Introduced our students to the new sinawali patterns they are to know for their next ranks. We had a new student start in the adult class, so I spent my time working with her.
Wednesday:   Arnis class at Hidden Sword Martial Arts. Since we are going to a Kombatan camp in a few weeks, my teacher decided to review some high-level Kombatan material;  stuff he's never taught in our classes before. I got to see some completely new drills - yay!
Thursday:   Went to urgent care with an earache - I have ear infections in both ears (booo) but I have meds that are helping me now (yay). Taught class at Mid-Cities Arnis. We had a new parent in our Family class so I worked with her.  In adult class I taught our new student single sinawali.
Friday:  Stick sparring class!  Our new family class student sparred for the first time. Fun night!

Team Mid-Cities Arnis after our tournament.  Great job girls!


BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayThree Reasons Tournaments are Great (for Non-Competitive People)
TuesdayThanks to the Martial Arts Widow(er)
Wednesday4 Myths About the Martial Arts (Non-Martial Artists and Newbies Believe)
Thursday: Finding My Place
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Alive Training

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

Marc MacYoung has been updating and adding content to his No Nonsense Self Defense blog.  You really should spend some time over there if you're interested in the topic of self defense. No Nonsense Self Defense

My teacher posted videos of the new drill - called the Freestyle Pattern - that I mentioned above (Wednesday),  He's learning it with a friend from GGM Ernesto Presas in 2002.  There's a few more on his YouTube channel:




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 go over to Dallas to train in kobudo.  Tomorrow we teach another session of Women's Self Defense.  I'm also hoping to squeeze in a viewing of "Wonder Woman".

Busy week, busy weekend!

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!

Monday, June 5, 2017

4 Reasons Tournaments are Great (for Non-Competitive People)

I'm not a tournament sort of person.

Oh sure, I've competed in tournaments - three, now - and I've placed in two out of the three.  That's not too shabby considering that forms and tournaments really just isn't my thing (and I didn't start competing in tournaments at all until I was black belt rank, which shows you I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer).

Every time somebody walks up to the ring with a katana.  *sigh*

It's not that I mind competitiveness - I actually thrive on it, personally, being an outgoing, sporty kind of person (that's right, I'm sporty AND  huge raging nerd - you can be both, y'know).  I think it can get out of hand for some people, sure, but there's nothing wrong with healthy competitiveness.

I just don't feel the need to compete on a personal level in the martial arts.  That's partially because of my style, but also... well, nobody IS me, and it's difficult to find other stubby middle aged dumpy people to compare myself to in the martial arts world.  So I'm sorta "meh" on martial arts competition in general.

BUT.

I think there's a lot of benefits that a good tournament can bring for non-competitive people (I'm surrounded by those, so I know y'all quite well).

Mind you, I think these benefits mostly hold for smaller tournaments, not the huge city-wide open tournaments featuring screaming people and parents getting into fistfights with each other and judges over the scoring and with spectators yelling mean things at the competitors.

Those suck

Nope, let's talk about the organizational tournaments, style tournaments, smaller local martial arts organization open tournaments, that sort of thing.  These things typically have four to six rings at most.  Here's some reasons those of you out there who aren't terribly competitive might want to participate in martial arts tournaments.

CONNECT WITH THE LARGER MARTIAL ARTS COMMUNITY

What I do is pretty exotic to these karate and taekwondo people I usually see at local tournaments.  What's cool is that by attending these things and showing what we do, we get more interest in my style (which is, for most people, an add-on to their base style).  People will ask me questions, they'll want to pick up a thing or two (and I'll refer them to my teacher, usually, as he has a program to do just that sort of thing), they will seem pleased that they now have a connection and a resource for this stuff if they want it.

The most common reaction, though.

It puts my school and style in context with a larger local group, and we make a lot of friendships as a result.  It's nice to have friends in other schools and styles for a variety of reasons.  It makes our martial arts experience richer.

FINE TUNING YOUR OWN GAME

It sucks to work really hard for a tournament, go, and not win anything.  It double-sucks when you're a kid.  If you're not the competitive sort, you have to wonder, well, heck, what's the point, then?

Preparation for a tournament gives you an extra incentive to fine-tune your material.  To really get your stances perfect, your motions crisp, or your flow smooth and powerful.  Competition acts as the whetstone to the knife of your kata, weapons, or sparring skills.  The pressure of preparation and competition helps you get motivated to do that fine work.

BONDING WITH YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS

There's nothing better then getting out of a ring after competing than having friends and fellow students make nice supportive comments.  It really makes you feel like part of a group.

Additionally, it's fun to be on the sidelines, cheering your fellow students on.

Either way, you create closer friendships and relationships with your fellow students, which makes your training that much better.  One aspect of martial arts training that we never really talk about are the friendships we make, especially within our own schools.  Participation in tournaments helps those friendships along.



LEARNING FROM WATCHING OTHER COMPETITORS

Sitting on the sidelines at a competition allows you to watch and see a lot of great stuff from people working hard to be very good at what they do.  It's difficult to find another environment where there's so much hard work and excellence in such a small place.

So while you're waiting, there's no reason you can't get some good ideas from your fellow competitors to improve your own game, right?

So there you go, four reasons why non-competitive people should try a martial arts tournament.  Do you have any advice for tournaments?  Why should people participate?  Let me know in the comments!





Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 06/03/17

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 helped Mr. Chick with a private student's lesson, then I covered my teacher's TKD classes, then I helped out at my teacher's monthly Arnis Instructor's class.
Sunday:  Took a day off.  First one in, like a month, where I wasn't doing martial arts or chores.
Monday:   Memorial Day.  Another day off of rest.
Tuesday:   Class at Mid-Cities Arnis.  We promoted our Yellow Belts to Orange and our Orange Belts to Green. In Adult class, we worked on disarms.
Wednesday:   Last big practice before the tournament this weekend for my jo form.
Thursday:   Spent the day in bed sick (I didn't even get a Throwback Thursday post up) but I was feeling okay enough to go to classes that night. Family class - it was a special topics class (on base disruptions).  Adult class I spent working with a student who is competing in the upcoming tournament while Mr. Chick worked on some drills with the adult students.
Friday:  Still feeling a bit under the weather, but not enough to stay home. Stick sparring and our last practice before the tournament on Saturday..




BLOGGY GOODNESS:

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

MondayRest or Work: It's All Training
Tuesday (rerun): We Are Poor Judges (of Ourselves)
WednesdayConversion Therapy
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Is Point Sparring Useless?

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

New Post by my friend +Kai Morgan:  Are “spiritually meaningful” martial arts better than combat arts?

VERY COOL post about an old Japanese martial arts manual for women: Martial Arts for Women: Century-Old Book Details Moves

And this neat video, called "The most important concept in martial arts you've probably never heard of!":



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 tournament day!  Myself, two of my students at Mid-Cities Arnis, and a bunch of students from Hidden Sword will be competing today.  No matter how things turn out, I'm super-proud of them 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!