Friday, June 22, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 06/22/18

Happy Friday!

Here's what I did in the martial arts - training, reading, writing, etc. - this week.  It was a week of new beginnings in my martial arts life, and it was FANTASTIC.

How was your week?


On Saturday we held our first session of the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We've picked a really nice location in the shade and it's pretty comfortable, even when it is hot outside.  Right now it's just me & Mr. Chick, but hopefully this week we'll pick up a few visitors.

Sunday morning, I attended Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup.  There were three students besides myself there, and I got to working the basics of the Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo system. Very fun and thought-provoking, and I got me a nice little weapon burn on my left hand.  Note to self - bring the gear bag with paper tape next time!

Sunday was also Father's Day here in the US.  Mr. Chick's parents were in town and we had a family dinner.

Mondays and Wednesdays and some Saturdays, Mr. Chick and I will be training in Kuzushi Te with Tasshi Greg Lindquist.  This is Tasshi Lindquist's teaching of the style taught by Taika Oyata.  Back in the day, my original teacher in Ryukyu Kempo was indirectly descended from this system, so it's getting back to my ROOTS-roots in the martial arts, and I'm really stoked about it.  We're having a blast - we've been experimenting with some weapons there and we've started learning this organization's version of Naihanchi.

No new pics of me training this week, so hey, here's an old picture of me & Mr. Chick playing a "sumbrada", which is often known as the "6 count drill" or "3-8-12".  We were working on it at the KC-PAM on Saturday.


Back to the new "normal" posting schedule of me posting something fresh or reposting something on weekday mornings.  Yay!  (This post is Friday's post so it's not in the list).

Come find the Stick Chick Blog at Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Our Facebook page is THE destination to get a variety of martial arts content, not just posts from the blog.  Come give us a like!


I wish I looked this good.

Good read! Karate Kata and Cognition

Another good read: I Watched Over 100 Fights on YouTube. Here’s What I Learned. This post actually sparked some really good conversation in a Facebook group I belong to, so I've been thinking about this all week.

Lots of good stuff from Master Ken this week (his YouTube channel is HERE if you haven't subscribed), but this video proves that he actually does have some skills, people.


Over the weekend I plan to attend The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup (link above) on Saturday morning, so please do come by if you're in the area.  Sunday I'll be at the Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup (link above), getting my jo on.

Plus we're having friends over to the new house Saturday night, so I'm getting us to about 90% unpacked by then.

Have fun and train hard!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Landing On My Feet

I moved a couple of weeks ago, and except for one notable exception, I haven't trained much in three weeks.



I have no gruntles left.

Sure, it's a lot to take on in a short period of time, and yeah, I have excuses for not being in the dojo.  Moving long-distance without hiring help is a huge undertaking. Plus we had family in (both sides) because of Older Kidlet's high school graduation. Very few of you reading this are thinking, "Dang, Chickie, you lazy thing, you could be training even 20 minutes a day."

I didn't say "None of you" because I'm sure there's gotta be a couple thinking exactly that.  If it makes you feel vindicated, I sorta feel that way too.

To be honest, I just plain ran out of physical and mental gas.

This blog is subtitles "Musings of a Middle-Aged Modern Arnisadora" for a reason.  I am middle-aged.  The body just gives out when the mind is still willing.  And most of the time, the mind was fried, too.

Getting old, man.  Yikes.

Anyway, I'm making up for lost time now that about 75% of my stuff is put away and I can think about things other than "Where is the thing? I know I packed the thing. DID I FORGET THE THING??"

Muh thinnnggggg!

Not only am I working on training in Japanese Martial Arts (more on that another time), but I've joined this Meetup: Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and attended my first session and had so much fun.

Plus, we've started this Meetup hosted by yours truly:

So you can join Mr. Chick and me for a little good ol' fashioned stick banging on Saturday mornings in the park, before the heat of the day gets too uncomfortable.  Come  learn Presas Arnis with us, will ya?  It's FREE, even, so if you're in the area, get up outta bed and come play.

I know, I know.

So I titled today's post "Landing on my Feet" because, well, I think I've made some good progress in my martial arts life here, better than I'd hoped for at this point.  I may have a house full of boxes and kind of weird job prospects, but by gawd, at least my martial arts life is re-combobulated!

I've landed on my feet in the Heartland, and I'm off and running.

How do you adjust to a new place and training in the martial arts?  Let us know in the comments!

Friday, June 15, 2018

My Week(s) In Stick Chicktivity - 6/15/18

And we're back!

Since my last update, I have done a bit of martial arts stuff, believe it or not, even in the middle of a grueling move 550 miles north to my new (old) hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.



Were you kids good while I was gone?  Don't answer that - I know many of you personally and I know the answer already.


I mentioned the seminar with GM Shelley Millspaugh of Kapitiran Mandirigma and how excited I was for that seminar.  Getting to train with the "other side" of the Presas Arnis family is always a thrill.

I was NOT disappointed!

What was cool is that I didn't learn brand new material but I learned different approaches and points of view of things my teacher has already taught me.  I loved it, and if you get a chance to train with GM Shelley DO IT.  He's a great teacher!

After that seminar, the move started in earnest.  We vacated our Texas house and moved into a hotel (Home2 by Hilton gets the Stick Chick stamp of approval - if they had a hot tub it would have been PERFECT)!  I got to sleep on a real mattress on a real bed for the first time in about seven weeks.

On Friday, June 1, we had a last workout at Hidden Sword Martial Arts.  It's hard to leave them, lemme tell ya. It was our martial arts home since late 2010, and it'll still be our martial arts home in Texas, forever.

Then we got to watch Older Daughter graduate from High School. It was a fantastic day and we're very proud of her.

Literally the day after graduation, we got in our moving truck as the sun rose, and moved north to Kansas City, Missouri.  The drive went quickly with no issues whatsoever, and before we knew it, we arrived at our new home.

We unpacked about 75% of our house (there's more things we need to get before we can finish) but we made pretty darn good progress overall.  Check out the post about my new Armory below to see how far I got with a space for storing most of my martial arts equipment.

On the martial arts training front, Mr. Chick had already started training in Panantuken on Friday nights and has been loving it, and I'll join him in this tonight.  We also met with a teacher that will allow us to start up training in Karate and Kobudo here, and we're very excited about it. I'll write more on this soon.


I've decided to move this weekly update post to Friday mornings, versus Saturdays.  We'll see how this goes.  IF I run across something on Quora or a question I want to ask you guys about, I'll run THAT on the weekend.

I actually got two new posts out during the move, which was sort of a miracle, really.

Goodbye, Texas

The New Armory

You'd be hard pressed to avoid me on social media. Find this blog on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter!


Seriously, follow me on Facebook because there was LOADS of cool stuff I saw while the blog was on hiatus.


Friend of the blog Cathy Chapaty has started a neat new blog, Dear Dojo, where she answers questions about the martial arts and offers advice to martial arts teachers, students and parents.  This was a really good question and a great answer:  What’s a good social media policy for my school?

Congrats to Joelle White for earning her 2nd Kyu! Read the story of her promotion test here (it's a good read, give it some of your time): Surprise!

And finally... ugh, and his toothpick bo is wrapped in rainbow tape...


TOMORROW marks the first meeting of The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup It's me & Mr. Chick in the park, getting some training in, and we're inviting all y'all to come play.  It's free and fun and bring water because while it's not as hot here in KC as it is in Texas, it's still hot enough.  That link there is on Meetup (yes, you guys CAN'T ESCAPE ME bwah hah hahaha!) or you can like Kindred Protective Arts on Facebook (that's our new martial arts venture here in KC) and I've set up the Meetups as a recurring event.

I've also joined Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and I'll be at their Meetup on Sunday morning, working on jo.

Oooo, jo.  Yes, please.

Have a great weekend, and I'll be back blogging on a regular basis next week. I know, you were holding your breath and all, but you can relax.  You'll get a happy little dose of the Stick Chick Blog in social media channels every Monday - Friday.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The New Armory

I've moved a lot in my life.

After I started training in the martial arts in 2008, I've moved four times (three of them very long distance). Outside of the various hassles that everybody has moving (protip - put the books in SMALL boxes), each of my moves has involved various levels of logistics and planning for my martial arts equipment. 

I didn't own much stuff when I started training in Mississippi and then I moved to Nevada, so it was no big deal.  But after we moved to Texas and started training in earnest with my teacher, we accumulated a lot more stuff.

I like to joke that I have a problem with owning so much martial arts stuff, and the problem is storage space. It can't possibly be owning too much martial arts stuff because that's unpossible.

As I've moved, more often than not, I end up having more martial arts stuff to move into increasingly smaller spaces with less places to store things. As a result, I have to get more creative with how and where I store my stuff each time I move.

It's also not just a matter of storage. It's also a matter of having space in the house to train, as the places I've been living have been stupid hot and often had very little space outside that's usable for training..  I often had zero shade in places where it was usual for it to get to triple digits in the summertime (and summertime lasts a loooonnnngg time, y'all.  In Texas I have worn shorts on Thanksgiving).

My first house in Texas was pretty big and I had plenty of space for a real home dojo. I wrote about it here: Pimp My Home Dojo.  It was a pretty sweet house for training!

Best home dojo EVER.

My second house in Texas had zero storage space so I didn't have a home dojo - my garage was too full for a training space. This area was mainly used to just store things until I could leave the house to train.

Martial arts stuff has become my 2nd biggest category of belongings, after books, and might be first if we count certificates, uniforms, and martial arts t-shirts. Packing them for the move was tricky. I ended up encasing my naginata like a lollipop at the blade side and driving it up in my car because I was terrified of that tip getting broken off, for example.

My new house in Missouri was built in 1959 and has zero storage space.  It is smaller than any house I've lived in since I started training, by a good 400 square feet.

BUT it has a few advantages most of my houses in other states didn't have.

First, I have a basement.  We've semi-finished it, and part of the plan included an area for my martial arts stuff.  Here's a snapshot of the space, even though it's not quite finished yet and you can't see EVERYTHING I have:

The New Armory. Not seen - my personal gear bag, wallhanger swords, some kicking shields,
a BOB, a Bully BOB, and a Wavemaster.

Second, my house has trees. LOTS OF BIG TREES, with lots of shade, all over my lot.  Plus, the driveway, which is pretty long, is shaded all day long.  It's not in the best shape right now, but when it gets replaced, it's going to be a wonderful training space.  Ditto my back yard when I get a patio put in back there.

Third, I moved to a place where summer ends before Halloween and rarely starts before Easter, so it's a lot more comfortable, even if it's more humid than Nevada or Texas were by a mile (it's not quite Mississippi level humid, though...).  Training outside in the shade in the summer won't be a torture session, even in the worst of high summer in July and August.

I don't have a great home dojo like I did in my first Texas house, but I do have a pretty sweet New Armory.  I'm still unpacking so there's a lot more work to be done in this area, but I am pleased with how it's come out so far!

Tell me about how you store your martial arts stuff at home - how have you managed moving, storing, and displaying it all?  Do you have a dedicated space? What's your home dojo like? How do you train at home?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Goodbye, Texas

In just a few days, I will no longer be a resident of the great state of Texas.  I'll be moving to my home state, Missouri, with the intention to live there for the rest of my life.

Ahh, Missouri, where summer is not 8 months long.

The reasons we chose to leave the Lone Star State boil down to basically a desire to go home. Texas offers just about anything you'd ever want, and the people here (at least in Dallas-Fort Worth) are generally really nice folks and a pleasure to live around.

But it's just not... home.

But that doesn't mean it's easy to leave Texas.  Mainly because my martial arts life here has been really, really great for me and my family.

First, I'm so grateful that fate or whatever allowed us to connect to my teacher Mark Lynn.  Mark is a fantastic teacher, someone who is always open minded and learning everywhere he can, and he passes that down to us. He is an underappreciated resource in North Texas, and we will miss training with him on a nearly-daily-basis big time.  If you're in the area, do make plans to train with him (Hidden Sword Martial Arts).

Mr. Chick and I in the very early days of training under Mark Lynn, about 2011 or so.

That paragraph seems inadequate given all Mark has taught and given us, but I just don't think the words exist in English that would capture how lucky we feel and how grateful we are.

I'm also grateful for all of the amazing people I've met and trained with here in North Texas.  A chance meeting brought us together to create the Metroplex Arnis Player's Alliance Through that I met dozens of awesome martial artists I get to train with on a semi-regular basis.  I won't list them all as I'm afraid of missing someone important, but if we've trained together at MAPA or other seminars here in North Texas - thank you.

The folks at MAPA 1.

I've also gotten to know people regionally, especially a lot of really awesome people down in Houston and up in Oklahoma.  We've started a Facebook page of Presas family arts players to keep in contact with folks (Tornado Alley Arnis Group) so if you live in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas or Missouri and want to train in the Presas family styles, do join us!

In Houston, we've grown especially close to our friends at Clear Lake Modern Arnis. Ed Kwan and Ashley Sullivan, thank you so much for everything.  And Skip Todd, please keep making training weapons, because they are BEAUTIFUL!

A special shout-out to Keith Freeman (Freeman Martial Arts), who taught Mr. Chick Goju-shorei cane but is also training in my teacher's Arnis Instructor's program.  Keith is a really wonderful martial artist and if you're in the Keller, TX area, do check out his school.

Another special shout-out to our friends at TNT Self Defense - Abel Martinez, Karen Clarke, Steve Swinney and Peter Bell.  We've trained a LOT together and they are very influential on the martial artist I've become. Thank you.

Of course I have to mention AKATO, where I earned my kobudo 1st degree black belt.  They were so nice and accepting and tolerant of the weird student of Mark's who kept hanging around.  I am especially grateful to Judy Barnett, the woman who makes that organization function on a daily basis.  Thank you, m'am.

My studies in Texas have allowed me to train with internationally recognized martial arts instructors.  This is in no way a complete list, but I've been instructed by Datu Tim Hartman, Datu Dieter Kn├╝ttel, Master of Tapi-Tapi Chuck Gauss, Master of Tapi-Tapi Ken Smith, "Super" Dan Anderson, GM Shelley Millspaugh, Master Tye Botting... not to mention the camps I've attended in other states that exposed me to many leaders of the FMA's in the United States and the world.

I didn't train much directly under them, but Hock Hochheim and GM Art Miraflor have both been instrumental to my family's martial arts life.  Hock will always be a very important influence on us. Art's such a fantastic martial artist and all-around decent human being.  Thank you.

Finally, I have to do a special thank-you to my martial arts brother, Tomas Mendoza. He is the "other" adult Arnis black belt at Hidden Sword, and it's been my privilege to with him as we've both learned and grown.

The Hidden Sword Arnis black belts.
 L to R: Junior Black Belt Dylan Serralta, me, Mark Lynn, Kevin Bradbury and Tomas Mendoza.
One of my favorite pictures of all of us.

This post is woefully incomplete, but I have more packing to do, so I'd better get to it.

Oh, one more thing... thank YOU, readers of the Stick Chick Blog.  I started this blog in Texas, after all!

I'll see y'all in Missouri.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 5/26/18

Here's what I did in the martial arts - training, reading, writing, etc. - this week.

How was your week?


On Sunday, I helped out at my teacher's monthly Arnis Instructor's course.  This has been a truly fun thing to do and I'll miss them!

Packing packing packing... oh yes, Arnis! Wednesday night.  We worked on a variety of drills from the "Kombatan side" of my teacher's blend of Presas Arnis - especially espada y daga, which is always fun!

I was given some amazing gifts this week - a polyethylene espada y daga set, and some gorgeous wood training weapons from our friend Skip Todd down in Houston.

Last instructor's class. **sniffles**

I've already been hitting stuff with these bad boys.  Whoo!

The picture doesn't do them justice. Thank you so much, Skip!


Just so's you know, with moving week coming, I'll be working on pre-programming up re-runs of old posts, and there WON'T be a Stick Chicktivity post next weekend.  I will catch up with all y'all with some fresh stuff once I get to Kansas City!

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Diemon Dave - the Hillbilly Ninja (I wrote about him here)  IS BACK!  Find him on Facebook HERE and HERE.  Video language is NSFW, warning.  But make time to watch them. You won't regret it.

Fascinating video on the Quarterstaff (posted at +Martial Arts by Coleman):

I have no words.

And I am so glad we get to wear shoes in Arnis much of the time.


I saw Deadpool 2 last weekend and I'm so happy.  Loved it.

Today my school hosts an awesome Kombatan seminar with GM Shelley Millspaugh of Kapitiran Mandirigma.  VERY excited for this one, folks!

If you're in the United States, it's a holiday weekend (Memorial Day is Monday).  Have a great one!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Questions from Quora: How do you defend yourself without feeling guilty about it?

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.

What's YOUR answer to today's Question from Quora?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 5/19/18

Here's what I did this week in the martial arts - training, writing, and the various stuff I stumbled across.

How was your week?


Saturday was my last kobudo class in Texas.  I wrote about it on the blog this week, but let me say again, I'm gonna miss those people.  I even got used to wearing the dreaded white gi!

Monday and Tuesday were packing.  Wednesday I dragged my carcass to Arnis class at Hidden Sword and I'm glad I did.  Life is necessarily interrupting things but carving out some time to just let my brain relax and just work on Arnis is always something that I really should do more often.

Light training week. Heavy moving work week.


Hey, I actually wrote some fresh stuff this week!

Thursday: We Are The Tribe

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We can't tell you the city where this was held, either.

This is literally me, with a pile of knives and other assorted tools, before I go to a place like my kid's school or the airport.


Tomorrow I help out at my teacher's monthly Instructor's course for the last time (at least for the near future).  I'm now on a long string of "last time I do stuff in Texas" now...

You KNOW you wanna come play with me, right?  Your opportunity is to join me at Hidden Sword's presentation of GM Shelley Millspaugh next weekend.  Details are HERE!

Also - all of you who have seen Deadpool 2... no spoilers, but I'd love to know what you think.  The first one is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Questions from Quora: Is Dodging a thing in Escrima?

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.

What's YOUR answer to today's Question from Quora?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Kobudo: Moving On

I attended my last formal Kobudo class in Texas over the weekend.

Our class at our Green Belt test, 2015. I'm in the front row, 2nd from the right.

You might recall I tested for my 1st degree Black Belt last November, and now I'm in the "seniors" class. We've been studying kama, which is a relatively fun and easy weapon for someone who plays Arnis to pick up.

By the way, if you actually hit stuff with your wooden practice kama, be prepared for the blade to come loose or break off. Wood glue is your friend.

And if you aren't hitting stuff, why are you bothering to study a weapon?

We've talked about maybe finding a way for me to keep training with this group long-distance via Skype or something, but from a practical point of view, if I want to continue my studies, I have to find some new people to train with in Kansas City.

I've already started that process, as I've reached out to a few people with the plan to meet up and discuss things when I get settled.  I'm excited about the possibilities in front of me.

I remember how terrified I was of starting that class.  Worried about the etiquette, worried about fitting in as an Arnis player in a room full of taekwondo and karate black belts.

Of course, those worries were kind of silly.  Today, I'm a part of the group, and even though I'm moving away, I'll always be a part of the group.

I'm grateful to my teachers and to my classmates at AKATO.  I'm going to miss them a lot.

Our class at our Black Belt test, 2017.

Have you made a transition from one school to another?  What was that like? What were your fears that ended up to be unfounded or actually ended up to be true?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 05/12/18

Here's what I did this week in the martial arts - training, writing, and the various stuff I stumbled across.

How was your week?


By necessity, moving is starting to take up a LOT more of my time.  So I don't get to go to class as much as I'd like.

Saturday I covered classes at Hidden Sword - taekwondo, sparring class, and Arnis.  For my last time covering these classes, I did what I love to do (and the students seem to love too) - we hit the bags!

Wednesday I attended class at Hidden Sword and we worked on crossada/gunting drills with double sticks and then with the knife.

Thursday I took Younger Daughter to taekwondo.

No new pics of me training this week. I'm moving, mmmkay?


My brain is more in move mode than writing mode, so there wasn't a ton of fresh content this week, sorry y'all.  It's just gonna be that way for a while.

It's hard to avoid the Stick Chick Blog on social media! You can find us on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter. Come join us on your favorite social media channel!


Nice article on why adults should consider starting up martial arts training: Five brain-boosting reasons to take up martial arts – at any age

Joelle White posted a really great post that you oughta share with your students: Not Fair!

An interesting take on a machete/knife fight from Spain that's making the rounds (including some nice discussion on the blog's Facebook page): Is Reverse Grip Dangerous?

I'm sure this happens as much as our favorite "nunchaku hit to the head and/or crotch" videos that make the rounds.


Today I attend my last regular Kobudo class in-person.  I'm going to miss the people I've been training with there, big-time.

If you wanna train with yours truly in DFW before I head north, you just HAVE to join me at this AWESOME seminar with GM Shelley Millspaugh.  Deets right HERE.

Have a fantastic Mother's Day weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Questions from Quora: Where can I find like-minded martial artists where I live?

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.

What's YOUR answer to today's Question from Quora?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 05/05/18

Another week is in the books! Here's what I did in the martial arts - training, writing, and the various stuff I stumbled across.

How was your week?


When I'm not sick, I get to have a normal week!

Saturday I trained like I usually do - Arnis and a little kobudo.

Sunday I spent five hours with "Super" Dan Anderson training in some classical drills from Modern Arnis.  I've been able to train with him many times, and he always provides an interesting insight into what we do and how he believes we can make it much better.  It was a really great day and I'm glad I got to go.

I took Monday off so I could get some work done that I didn't get done on Sunday for the move.  Tuesday I took younger daughter to taekwondo.  Wednesday was Arnis class at Hidden Sword, and we worked on a variety of things, including a fun and interesting little knife drill progression. Thursday is taekwondo day for younger daughter.

This is me working a drill at the seminar:


Here's the bloggery that went on today at the patented Stick Chick Blog post factory:

The Stick Chick Blog is all over the Internet! You can find us on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter. Come join us on your favorite social media channel!


Well, this ISN'T good.  Grand Master Jhoon Rhee of Taekwondo passed away this week.  I am not a TKD player but my daughter, my teacher, and many people I train with are in a direct lineage with their teachers back to Master Rhee.  He was greatly respected and will be sorely missed.  If you would like to contribute to a memorial fund, click HERE.

I know Arnis is this way for me...

And finally...


This is my last "normal" weekend before I move away. I'm actually covering some classes today, so I think I'm going to have them hit some bags.  Then the rest of the weekend I'll be packing stuff.

Have a fun week - train hard!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Adventures in Martial Arts Provincialism

Since I started training, I've moved long distance three times, and I'm gearing up for my fourth.

So I can tell you, for a fact, that martial arts in the United States is very, very provincial.

There is, sister, believe you me.

You see, in a place as big as the United States, it's pretty common to discover that unless you train a pretty major and popular style (think BJJ, Judo, the major variants of Karate, Kung Fu, Kempo and Taekwondo as examples), you may not find anyone training or teaching the particular strand of martial arts you've been training in the city you moved from.

You MIGHT find something similar, but then again... you might not.  Not only that, each of the styles I mentioned above have differing lineages and organizations and sometimes they don't always play nice.

When I moved from Mississippi to Las Vegas, there was literally NO ONE that we could find that taught any of the styles I'd started studying.  Oh, it doesn't mean they weren't there; we just couldn't find them. We found some distant relations, but exactly what we wanted to study was nowhere to be found.

When I moved to Texas, six months and dumb luck helped me find my teacher for Arnis, but I have yet to find anybody teaching the empty hand styles I started in Mississippi.

So here I am, gearing up to move again, and not only am I worrying about the move, establishing ourselves in our new home, looking for a job, etc., but I'm also having to do a lot of research and think hard about how and where I'm going to train.

When you're a martial arts lifer like I am, this is not a non-trivial problem.

You see, certain styles and organizations are dominant in one city where it might not exist in another.

Take Modern Arnis.  As far as I can find - and boy howdy, have I looked - Modern Arnis as I know it, in all of the major lineages, doesn't exist in Kansas City.

A close relative style of Modern Arnis, Kombatan, does exist there.

Now that's fine and dandy for me, as I actually train in Presas Arnis, a hybrid style that blends Modern Arnis and Kombatan (and a few other things to boot), so it's not hard for me to get with Kombatan people to train.

If I were a pure Modern Arnis player - and I wanted to remain that way - then I have to start my own group if I want to train it at all, and then travel on occasion to a Modern Arnis camp or seminar or private lessons to learn more from teachers.

Heck, as a Presas Arnis player, that is part of MY plan when I get settled, because I don't want to abandon the Modern Arnis side of what I do.

In other cities, I would have to switch to a different FMA style set as there aren't even any close relatives to Modern Arnis around at all.

Yep, that's almost exactly how I felt here in Fort Worth prior to finding my teacher

It's not just my style that has this problem.  I mentioned the "major variants" of well known and popular styles above. Take "karate". There are places where Shotokan dominates, places where Goju-ryu dominates, places where Wado-ryu dominates, and so on.

Here in Dallas-Fort Worth, it's big enough to have more variety, but even here, one variant of taekwondo - American Karate - dominates the others.

When you move, you not only have the issue of trying to find a place to train what you want (and you  may end up having to compromise and shift styles a bit) but also there's rank implications that can be a hassle.

Are you close enough to your new style that they'll recognize your rank? Or do you have to start over at white belt?  Or do you have to "test in" at whatever rank they think you are in their style?

Again, non-trivial considerations.

If you've only trained in one city, you might not realize that this provincialism is a thing.  If you move away to a different place, be prepared for this fact.  It might represent an opportunity to try something new as well as the need to shift your core style to something else.

So let's hear your stories about encountering provincialism in the martial arts. Have you ever moved to a new city and had to search for a place to train?  What was important to know when you did that?  What training advice would you give to someone moving away? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 04/28/18

Happy Saturday!  Here's what I did in the martial arts - training, writing, and the various stuff I stumbled across - this week.

How was your week?


When I'm not sick, I get to have a normal week!

Saturday was a "normal" day. Got in a little kobudo practice and then I attended our normal Arnis class.  In the afternoon, Older Daughter slapped on her Black Belt and helped our teacher and I with a rank promotion test for the TKD students (hey, I'm not a TKD black belt but I've seen SO MUCH OF IT given everyone around me trains in it I know what to look for).  Good day, and overall the kids did great for their rank promotion test.

Monday Arnis at Hidden Sword, Tuesday I took Younger Daughter to TKD, Wednesday more Arnis goodness at Hidden Sword, Thursday was again Younger Daughter's TKD class.

Friday I took Younger Daughter to see "Isle of Dogs".  Good movie; I recommend it.


Full week of posting goodness, y'all!

The Stick Chick Blog  is a multi-channel social media martial arts juggernaut. You can find us on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter. I would add that MeWe allows a black belt, a knife, and crossed swords as reactions to posts soooooo... get over there, y'all!


True story. My first martial arts school and style - PaSaRyu Taekwondo - is the style created by Kang Rhee, one of the people in Memphis that Elvis Presley trained with.  Our dojo had a big picture of the two of them together.  Also, as a kid, Elvis was alive and used to ride his motorcycle through the apartment complex we lived in.

I am a big fan of Operation Blazing Sword.  It is a program to connect firearm instructors with folks in the LGBTQ community so people can get trained to defend themselves (for free, even!).  I think it's an excellent idea.  Learn more HERE.

Nice, thoughtful post by Joelle White: Accessibility


Today I have some kobudo practice and Arnis.  Tomorrow, I'll be attending a Dan Anderson Modern Arnis seminar our school is hosting - it's gonna ROCK so y'all come out if you're in the neighborhood (event and details found HERE).

Train hard and have a great week!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Questions from Quora: Which is better, Kobudo or Filipino Stick Fighting?

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.

What's YOUR answer to today's Question from Quora?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Martial Arts Refuge

My life is pretty chaotic right now.

I'm in the middle of packing my home for a long-distance move and wrapping up my job before I leave it.

At my day job, I am writing procedures and training documents, and I've started the process of training people to do key functions that I do today.  The routine I had there is disrupted and my work flow is all discombobulated.

Routine at home is not even a thing, really. I am living with bins and boxes and piles of this and that waiting to be packed, and I have a list of chores to do before the move that seems a mile long. 

I have to go through everything we own and decide what goes and what stays.

I have to carefully plan what I buy in terms of food because I want to make sure most of what we have is eaten up by the time we get to move day (this is a non-trivial problem because freezer/fridge items must be used up before the move).

I have to figure out how to get rid of the things we're not taking with us. Some of them are huge or valuable and I have to arrange moving them or selling them or donating them or freecycling them.

That's just a taste of the hundreds of things I'm having to keep track of right now.

As a result, the normal demands and stresses of life are amplified and much, much harder to cope with that it used to be.

Pretty much.

I'm tired, I'm stressed, and mentally, I'm as fried as I've ever been.  By 9 pm at night I am ready to collapse and I usually do.

This would seem like a reasonable time to throttle back on going to Arnis class, going to seminars, and martial arts practice. After all, I have a lot to do and a very hard deadline to meet, and nobody would think that's the wrong thing to do.

Instead, I drag myself to everything on my martial arts calendar.  Except if I'm sick or something, I'm not slowing down on that one bit.

If I don't keep training, I'll completely lose my mind.

In Arnis class, I don't have to manage a thousand little details because my teacher does that.  While the content varies, I have a relatively consistent experience in each class, so it's basically the only normal, regular thing in my going on right now.

I get physical and mental exercise without being driven to utter exhaustion (like I am while I'm cleaning and packing at home).

You know what the best thing about going to martial arts training?  It's clean.  It's organized.  It is not done amidst stacks of boxes and bags and trash waiting to go out to the curb because your bin's too full right now.

Training is the place where my brain can relax and I can just let go of everything for a couple of hours.  

It's my happy place while the rest of my life undergoes the necessary devolution into chaos a big change like we're making requires.

I don't know how I'd do all this without having my martial arts refuge, I really don't.

How does martial arts training help you cope with the stresses in your life?  Is the mat or dojo YOUR refuge?  What positive effects did you see from your training?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 04/21/18

Another week in the books!  Here's what I did in the martial arts - training, writing, and the various stuff I stumbled across.

How was your week?


Saturday I attended Arnis class and then I went to my second-to-last Kobudo class.  We worked on learning our Kama Ichi form, then we seniors (and yeah, it still weirds me out that I'm a "senior" in there) helped out the juniors with Bo Ichi.

Sunday night I started getting a really bad migraine episode (that hit really hard Monday mid-morning) and it knocked me out of work and training and writing and most everything, really, until Thursday. So that was fun.

Thursday I took Younger Daughter to taekwondo.

So basically, training-wise, it was crazy light due to my brain deciding to no work more gooder.

That's me, in the foreground. There's a part in the form where we change to reverse grip
and I was trying to figure that bad boy out.

Because of the stoopid migraine, not much fresh content on the blog this week. Sorry, y'all.

The Stick Chick Blog can be found on a profusion - nay, a veritable plethora - of social media platforms.  Google Plus, Facebook, MeWe, Tumblr, Twitter.  The Facebook page is the most active of the bunch, but I'm trying to make the MeWe group busier, too.  So if you do that social media thang, I'd love it if you connect with me there!


Any week with a fresh video from Master Ken is a good week.

Reasons fooling around with a live blade is SERIOUS BUSINESS (no matter what they show you on television or in movies), example 442:


Today is a "normal" training day - kobudo practice and Arnis.  Our school is also doing a taekwondo rank promotion today, so I'll stick around to help out.

Hope your week was awesome, and have a great weekend.  See you Monday, as long as my brain decides not to be a jerk.