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).
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 Knüttel 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!