Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Facing the Change

I've been hinting at a possible big change coming for the Stick Chick in 2018 for a while now, and finally I can talk about it publicly.  It was mostly dependent on the decision Older Daughter made about college.

She's made her decision, and as a result, we've made the decision to relocate from Texas back to the Kansas City area by the summertime.

We're going home.

I moved away from Kansas City in 2005.

At that time, I didn't train.  I decided to make a huge change in my life and get healthier in 2007, and I first stepped on a mat in a martial arts school in 2008, in Mississippi.  Since then, I moved cross-country twice, had a second child, and started training Presas Arnis full time in late 2010.

I did not have a martial arts life in Kansas City, so this is going to be interesting.

To my knowledge, there isn't anyone who teaches Presas Arnis like my teacher teaches, nor does it have anybody actively teaching who is a member of the World Modern Arnis Alliance as I am.

That means we're going to have to take charge and create it.  Plant the flag for Presas Arnis, I guess?

One small step for an Arnisadora, one giant leap for Arniskind.

I'll be working hard to find a place (or two, or three) to teach Presas Arnis up there, so I can continue to grow in my core style. It's my hope to get a big enough group and to make enough connections that we'll be able to bring in my teacher and +Datu Hartman (and others, of course) for seminars.  There are a few Kombatan folks up there that I definitely plan to get with, if at all possible.

As Presas Arnis is a blend of Modern Arnis and Kombatan, here in Texas we're sort of the Kombatan-y Modern Arnis players.  Up there, we'll be the Modern Arnis-y Kombatan players!

I'm contemplating what additional training I'll do up there outside of Arnis.  There's a lot of options to consider but I have several really interesting possibilities to choose from, some of which were not available to me in Texas, so that's pretty darn exciting.

While I'm in Texas, I'm trying to train with everybody I possibly can before I leave.  There's one more Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance session to come - MAPA 13 - and I'm hoping to train with the statewide Texas Modern Arnis Coalition down in the Houston or College Station area some time in April.

Plus we have +Prof. Dan Anderson coming here in April, and Grand Master Shelley Millspaugh of Kapitiran Mandirigma coming in May.

And of course, much of my free time will be spent on preparing for the move.

A lot of this is in my relatively near future.

It's also not like I don't have connections to Kansas City in the martial arts world.  Not only did I meet a few at the Ernesto Presas Legacy Camp last summer in Denver, but my Texas martial arts family has plenty of connections to the Heartland of America.

As for the Stick Chick blog, nothing changes, as I plan to keep on writing about my journey and my observations on our weird little hobby of acquiring bruises for fun.

So keep an eye on this space - and if you're in the Kansas City area, let's connect and train.

Let me close out this post with this:

Have you made a big move and had to re-establish your martial arts training in your new place? How did you do it?  Any tips for finding folks to train with? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 02/24/17

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?


Hey, feeling mostly good again, so I got to have a relatively normal week!

I covered Arnis classes on Saturday while my teacher was in Mississippi.  We worked on the finer details of sinawali and reviewed the purpose of the drill.

Monday I attended Arnis class at Hidden Sword. We have been working on elements of the Freestyle drill from Kombatan.  This is new material for us so it's pretty darn fun.

Tuesday I took younger daughter to Taekwondo class.

In Wednesday's class at Hidden Sword I spent some of the time coaching one of our students on the "pokey drill", a sinawali pattern that includes poking strikes (our #6 poke, if you know our strike numbering system), working on targeting and timing with the drill.  Later, I got to work with one of my peers on some of the finer details and variants of Kombatan's Freestyle drill.  Very fun!

Thursday I took kidlet to Taekwondo, and Friday I took off.

Didn't take any pictures of me training this week, so here's a blurry selfie of me up in Oklahoma about a month ago.  Here at the Stick Chick Blog, we're all about timeliness and quality.


Monday: How Do You Teach Discipline and Respect?
Tuesday3 Ways to Get Hurt - or Hurt Others - in Modern Arnis
WednesdayThat Kid
Thursday: Exploring the X
FridayFACE-OFF FRIDAY: Stopping Sexual Predators in the Martial Arts


Surely not...

Look who's back posting again! Yep, it's +Brian Johns at +Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts!  Make sure you subscribe to his blog and keep an eye on his YouTube channel! Progression not Perfection

I had to update my post Enough with Sensei Scumbag's Shenanigans this week, as a martial arts instructor was arrested for having child porn in Belleville, IL, and another one is now facing a 40 year sentence for sexually abusing one of his students in Tampa.

+Wim Demeere wrote a good, thought-provoking post about misinterpreting what you see when a little snippet of demo video makes the rounds on the internet (with a specific focus on Joe Rogan and the MMA community's point of view): Joe Rogan and the Narrow Focus of MMA

Speaking of MMA...

Lots more on the Blog's Facebook page this week.  HINT HINT HINT.

I have goal for 2018 to get the Stick Chick Blog Facebook pages to 1000 likes.  So please, if you're on Facebook, like the page, will ya (link is RIGHT HERE)?  Share it with your friends who like the martial arts too?  Pretty please?


Today we go out to Bridgeport for my teacher's Instructor Course.  It's always fun helping out in that class.

And tomorrow we're going to go see "Black Panther".  I've read conflicting reports that the martial arts style the fights are based on are FMA's or Silat. Either way it's gonna rock.

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, February 23, 2018

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Stopping Sexual Predators in the Martial Arts


It's Friday, and it's your chance to SOUND OFF on today's controversial question in the martial arts.

We have a serious problem regarding sexual predators in the martial arts.

Our world is huge, diverse, fragmented, and honestly, it's not terribly difficult for a sexual predator to get access to a large pool of potential victims.  It happens in our small local dojos, in big successful and well-regarded martial arts schools, and heck, recent revelations show it happens in big-time martial arts sports like Olympic Judo and Takewondo.

Heck, the USA's ONLY two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo was herself a victim of a martial arts instructor who abused her.  Read more: Kayla Harrison

Frankly, friends, I think we're not doing enough to protect ourselves and our students from sexual predators. I've written about this problem on my posts Enough with Sensei Scumbag's Shenanigans and Sensei Scumbag Strikes Again?

I want to hear from you on this topic today.  Let's not just talk about what we might do or what legislation we could support (if any), but let's also make a commitment, here and now, to do more to make our schools safe, Sensei Scumbag-free places.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

That Kid

Here at the Stick Chick Blog, I have a post series called "That Guy".  This series is all about the stereotypical annoying sorts of students you meet while training.

Y'know.  The PhilosopherThe Full CupRanky McGee.  You can read the entire "That Guy" series here on the blog by searching for the "That Guy" label here on the blog.

Today, I'd like to talk about That Kid.

Before you say, "Chickie, you're hit a new low, you're picking on little kids, way to punch down." I have a confession to make.

My very own child is That Kid.

I finally have a reason to use this gif!

So let's talk about what That Kid looks like.

That Kid is the one that finds a way to scoot closer and closer to a friend during warm-ups so they can make jokes and poke each other.

That Kid is the one who constantly interrupts training and instruction to make side comments that she thinks is funny.

That Kid decides that making faces at himself in the mirror is more fun than paying attention to what's going on.

That Kid literally doesn't stop talking for more than 30 seconds in 45 minute class.

That Kid, when it's time to line up for a drill, always tries to cut in line and makes the rest of the group complain about who got in line first.

You hear That Kid's name every few minutes, as in "THAT KID!  Stop doing that and focus!" and "THAT KID! Are you with us today?" and "THAT KID! 10 pushups!"

In fact, That Kid gets assigned a LOT of pushups for this stuff but it doesn't seem to phase her one little bit.  As soon as she's done, she gets back on the mat and continues being disruptive.

That Kid always finds a way to goof off during the drill.  He does things like the wrong kick or punch, or adding sound effects to the technique, or starting a discussion with his friend about how Batman would do this technique.

That Kid will complain loudly when he doesn't get to do something he wants to do.  Sometimes, That Kid will throw an outright temper tantrum.

This, in a gi.

That Kid is the poster child for why parents put their kids in martial arts training in the first place.  She lacks discipline and focus and is constantly a disruptive force of nature.

When you teach That Kid, it makes the session last a million years and by the end of it, you need a shot of whisky and a nap.

Oh, That Kid.  Your regular school teacher is a saint.

Every single one of you who have taught a kid's martial arts class for five minutes have in mind at least one, probably more, children you've interacted with that are definitely That Kid.

So as I said above, my kid is That Kid.  Oh, not every class, mind you, but often enough that I have to attend her classes to help keep her in line as much as I can (versus working out at the Rec Center while she's training, as I'd love to do) because she can be too much in a room full of kids for the teacher to cope with solo.

That's the point of this post.  I want to know how YOU deal with THAT KID in class.  What are your tools, techniques and strategies to get this kid in line and focused in class? What methods of correction do you use?   Got any funny THAT KID horror stories?

Let us know in the comments!

To see all of the THAT GUY posts, click HERE.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 02/17/18

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?


I finally adulted up and went to the doctor Saturday morning for drugs to get over the nearly two week illness I'd been fighting.  Thank goodness it's not the flu - it's a sinus infection.

GM Art Miraflor from Stockton, CA has been working in the area for a couple of years now, and he is finally transferring back to his home.  Mr. Chick and my teacher have been studying with him on the side, and he came to our Arnis class on Saturday for one last training sessions with him.  We'll miss you, GM Art!

 I spent the rest of the weekend resting.

Monday I felt a lot better, so I went to Arnis class at Hidden Sword.

Tuesday I took younger daughter to taekwondo class at Hidden Sword.

Wednesday we covered classes at Hidden Sword and Mr. Chick taught us some drills he learned from a visit to another Arnis school over on the Dallas side of town.  Yeah, it was Valentine's Day, so we spent it training, which is way more romantic than flowers and candy, y'all.

Thursday I took younger daughter to taekwondo.

Friday I went to bed early, as I had a day-long vestibular migraine and I was exhausted.

I am still not 100% well - the sinus infection I have is a tough one apparently - but I am a lot better and coughing a whole lot less!

Me, GM Art, Mr. Chick


Monday: One is the Loneliest Martial Arts Number
TuesdayPeace and the Martial Arts
WednesdayWhy Stick Sparring ROCKS!
Thursday: Breaking the Law
FridayQuestions from Quora: In what way can martial arts benefit you that common sports can’t (other than self defense)?

HELP THE CHICKIE OUT: I have goal for 2018 to get the Stick Chick Blog Facebook pages to 1000 likes.  So please, if you're on Facebook, like the page, will ya (link is RIGHT HERE)?  Share it with your friends who like the martial arts too?  Pretty please?


That's where my glasses and car key went...


Friend me, connect with me on Google Plus, follow me on Twitter or on Tumblr... just CONNECT, because you're my kind of people.


My teacher is off in Mississippi teaching and helping out at a seminar by +Hock Hochheim so we're covering Arnis class today. I plan to get in some kobudo practice in the morning.

Then, because I'm NOT 100% I will rest up some more.  I dunno if this is just a really bad infection, or if it's just my age, or a combo of both.  Annoying.

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!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Breaking the Law

Most martial arts styles have a set of basic rules they go by.

I'm not talking about the etiquette and cultural rules, I mean the style rules, the basic principles and strategy behind the way you are taught to move and to fight.

You guys know what I mean.  These are rules such as your stances look like such-and-such, you punch using a specific mechanic, your footwork and body positioning goes a certain way, etc. 

These are the habits that you are teaching with most of your basic drills.  The idea is that there comes a point where you are following those rules - call them laws by that point - without having to think about it, as you move on to add in higher level skill sets.

Here's a few of ours:
  • The weapon hand that is forward is the same as the foot that's forward
  • Always assume there's a weapon somewhere even if you can't see it
  • Hands up, especially the empty hand (live hand)
  • Chamber for your strikes
  • Take the simplest and most direct shot you can (a less ideal fast shot is better than an ideal but late shot)
There's more, but those are some that we emphasize a LOT in our school.  

Thus, by the time a person reaches Black Belt level (or the equivalent in your style), these laws are well known and understood and are habits and you can not only execute them but you understand why you do.

And then... you start breaking the laws.

We want our guys to move and behave a specific way that we believe is best to deal with the most common scenarios. That's why we drill those basics so hard, so that they become so habitual we don't have to think, we just DO.  They're the "default" settings.

DEFAULT. But it doesn't make it the ONLY settings.

There's plenty of times I break the rules - the LAWS - I listed above in my style.


Let's take one, weapon hand/weapon foot forward.  The reasons we teach this is that we want to keep the weapon in between our meat and the bad guy's weapon, we want to have a better reach, and if we narrow our stance a bit, it makes us a smaller target.

We immediately break this rule when it comes to blocking... sorta.  See?

Weapon is back, not forward, on this block, which is versus
a strike coming in on my right side (attacker's left)
I say "sorta" because in this block, my empty left hand becomes, for a moment, the "weapon" hand, to hinder the opponent so I can re-deploy the weapon in my right hand (or not, depending on what I choose to do next).

But there's other times where the demands of range or what I'm fighting with or against or my body positioning requires my weapon hand and foot to be back, not forward.  Here's another shot of me breaking the law:

That is... if I'm striking.  If I'm blocking (with the attack again coming in to my right side), I'm actually following a different rule, which is to get out of the way against an incoming strike (my right leg is back).  This creates clearance so my right leg doesn't get hit.  That law supersedes the basic one of weapon hand/weapon foot forward.

There's other examples where we break this specific law, but those are just two.

This is why it's tricky as all get-out to judge what someone is doing based on a snippet of video or a photo or two.  They might have messed up in a fundamental law. Or... it just might be that the situation they're working on REQUIRES the law to be broken as a greater good, if you will. 

Our laws and rules exist for good reason, but it doesn't mean that they're universally applicable to every situation, especially given the chaotic nature of violence.  There's a time to follow the rules strictly, and a time to toss them by the wayside.

You learn which is which as you continue your studies.  That's another reason, kids, that not only should you practice your fundamentals - your laws - but you need to study long enough to realize that there's plenty of good reason to break them.  You start learning when to uphold the laws, and when they should be broken!

So which "laws" do you have in YOUR style, and when do you start breaking them?  Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 02/10/18

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?


Saturday and Sunday I attended WMAA Texas Camp.  While the content was somewhat familiar to me, it was presented in different view point than I'm used to, and that's always a GREAT way to learn!

Sunday night I attended a Kung Fu Knife seminar by +Dr. Tye W. Botting.  Very good content, and it's always great to get a different strategic perspective than the one you usually get.  Great seminar!

If you read last week's round-up, you know I was sick half of last week, and I was still sick over the weekend.  Monday it caught up to me and I stayed home and slept a lot.

Tuesday both younger daughter and I stayed home due to illness.

Wednesday I attended Arnis class and we worked on Trapping Hands De Cadena and some variants of hubud.

Thursday I took younger daughter to Taekwondo class, and Friday, well, still sick (that's 10 days if you're counting) so Friday night while Mr. Chick and my teacher were training I was in bed in a Nyquil coma.


When I'm sick, my posting schedule gets all interrupted!

TuesdayInjury: The Nature of the Beast
WednesdayWe're Crazy People, You Know That?
Thursday: Letters, Words and Phrases
Friday: No post, because Friday posts are NOT WORKING OUT.  Y'all got any ideas?

HELP THE CHICKIE OUT: I have goal for 2018 to get the Stick Chick Blog Facebook pages to 1000 likes.  So please, if you're on Facebook, like the page, will ya (link is RIGHT HERE)?  Share it with your friends who like the martial arts too?  Pretty please?


Especially the last 10 days, fighting off whatever this thing is...

I couldn't stop watching it.  I may have a problem.

Define "very".

Me, last weekend:

"When are you ever going to get into a stick fight in the street?"  Well.... here you go:


I have finally decided to start adulting, so I'll be going to the doctor today and taking the weekend off to rest and (hopefully) recuperate from the cruds.  Wish me luck.

Hope you have a great weekend, everybody!

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, February 7, 2018

We're Crazy People, You Know That?

I've been fighting off some sort of bug, a nagging illness that just won't GO AWAY.

It comes and goes - sometimes I'll feel okay, then two hours later, whammo, sick as a dog yet again.  Fever, congestion, coughing, body aches, and any combo of those in bits and pieces off and on for a week now.

Of course, I had a full weekend of martial arts training planned (and paid for, mind you) during this period.

A normal person would back out and decide to rest and recover and train another day.  I'm sick enough where my brain doesn't operate properly to do my normal nine-to-five job, mind you, so yeah, it'd be wise to hole up in bed with meds and sleep it off, right?  Take the downtime now in order to get over it faster, right?

Every martial artist reading this post knows what actually happened.

Of course I didn't miss training. Not only that, it was a camp, so yeah, I went to lunch and dinner and hung out with the crew as much as I could, sneezing and coughing and sniffling as I did so.  By the end of my weekend I was dead on my feet and ready to sleep, but I was there.

I know many of you out there are thinking to yourselves, "Dick move, Chickie, you could get your training partners sick." And you're right, I grant you that. I did keep washing my hands and using hand sanitizer, and we weren't working on too much that required getting super-close most of the time.  I didn't hug anybody, and if you know me, that's so NOT like me.  But yes, it was dickish to risk infecting my training partners.

But most of you - MOST of you - if you're honest with yourselves, would have done the same thing I did.  You'd have sucked it up and trained, just like I did.

That's our culture, isn't it?  Injury? Suck it up and train.  Illness? Suck it up and train.  Chronic pain or disability?  Work around it, suck it up, and train.

It's what we do.  It's one of those things that binds us together as a community, no matter what style we actually practice. My friend Mike Mahaffey suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and he lives with incredible pain much of the time.  His solution, especially when his meds aren't getting the job done?

He rolls, that's what he does.

The Black Knight part of "Monty Python & the Holy Grail" is a lot funnier to me now that I train.

We know, on an intellectual level, this is a bad idea.  We need to rest. We need to recover.  When we're sick, we need to take care of ourselves and get better.   We're mostly grownups here, and our grownup selves would tell our children to do just that, right?

But we don't do it.

We train. 

It doesn't take very long for many of us to make the decision to train over being realistic and, well, SANE.  I tore a calf muscle early in my training - about three or four months in, maybe? - and I didn't miss my first-ever seminar two days later nor did I miss a single martial arts class, and I went to class five times a week back then, even though any amount of weight on that leg caused me to scream in agony for most of a month.

Each one of you has a story like this, or have heard it from somebody else. This is just NORMAL in our weird little hobby.

What happens when you get hurt IN CLASS?  Well, if you're like me - and I bet you are - you pretend it doesn't hurt that much until you lose functionality,  In my case, I take pride that I can take a shot to the hand from a newbie - it's always a newbie - that hurts like a mo-fo and the newbie doesn't even realize it happened.  It has to be swelling and non-functional for me to stop training, like when I got my fingers jammed soft weapons sparring and I had to go to the Urgent Care to make sure nothing was broken.

We all know that you can only put this "rest and recover" thing for so long, though.  You're accumulating a physical debt that will eventually have to be paid, my friend.  That means that now, I had to take a day off of everything else in my life - work, regular martial arts classes, and y'know, the normal non-martial-artsy stuff - because I just couldn't be in go-mode any more.

So WHY? Why do we do this to ourselves, my fellow crazy persons?

Some of this is the machismo of our culture.  We buy into this weird, completely unrealistic self-conception that we can take any kind of physical punishment and keep going.  It might be that women actually internalize it a little more deeply, as we don't want to be perceived as weak and not able to keep up with our male training partners.

But it's not the only reason.

Martial arts training is far more than just physical activity and learning how to do violence.  For many of us, it becomes part of our identity. It's fulfills physical, emotional, intellectual, and social needs. It's a place where we feel safe, feel like one of the group.  We're accepted, and in that space, we're with our people.

Along with community, the mat is our "happy place", where we get a break from the trials and troubles of work, family, politics, religion, relationships, and daily life. I know when I'm deep in some martial art problem, that mental break is something I need to keep me going.  Even when I'm sick or hurting, I can take my attention OFF IT and put it on something I like a lot more.

And there's upsides!
We have so many good reasons to keep training in the face of illness and injury that to outsiders seems like insanity, don't we?

We're crazy people.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a nap. I have to get to Arnis class soon.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 02/03/18

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?


Monday was pretty good.  I trained at Hidden Sword in Arnis.

Then illnesses struck the Chickie household again.

Younger Daughter came down with something on Tuesday, so we didn't go to Taekwondo.

Wednesday I came down with the same cruds she has, so I stayed home and slept in instead of going to Modern Arnis class.  Good thing I did as I am still stick as I type this on Saturday (better, but not well).

The whole family stayed home and slept on Thursday!

Friday, Older Daughter took and passed her driver's license exam, then that evening I attended the TUSK Seminar by Datu Tim Hartman over at Trainer's Elite. I'n not WELL-well, mind you, but I'm not going to miss this opportunity to train, so it's all about having many good drugs and liberal use of disinfectant gel.

No pics of me this week, so instead, lemme just say I LOVE YOU GUYS.


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

Monday4 Myths About the Martial Arts (Non-Martial Artists and Newbies Believe)
TuesdayThe Martial Science
WednesdayMoving and the Martial Arts
Thursday: Planning for Failure
FridayMartial Arts Wish: Change One Physical Characteristic

HELP THE CHICKIE OUT: I have goal for 2018 to get the Stick Chick Blog Facebook pages to 1000 likes.  So please, if you're on Facebook, like the page, will ya (link is RIGHT HERE)?  Share it with your friends who like the martial arts too?  Pretty please?


It's false advertising, I tells ya!

If you train in the Filipino Martial Arts, you will ABSOLUTELY recognize a lot of what these guys are doing here.  IT IS ALL THE SAME.

Good read about women's self defense, and the reliance on the "stranger jumps out of the bushes" scenario: Dirty Little Secrets

New video from Master Ken at Enter the Dojo, and this one is right up my alley!


Action packed weekend for the Stick Chick.  I'm attending the World Modern Arnis Alliance Texas camp (you can still join me - check it out HERE), then Sunday night attending a seminar by +Dr. Tye W. Botting (learn more HERE).  I'll be bathing in hand sanitizer and avoiding breathing on everyone, I promise (I suspect the crud has turned into a sinus infection anyway, so hey, that's not communicable so everyone is safe while I am miserable!).

Hope you have a great weekend, everybody!

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, February 2, 2018

Martial Arts Wish: Change One Physical Characteristic

I've captured a martial arts Genie who specializes in wishes in the martial arts.  His name is Jeffrey.

Jeffrey the Genie.

Anyhoo, Jeffrey can grant you a single wish, but only within the paramenters I set. So think hard before you make your wish for Jeffrey to grant.

Your wish is the answer to this question:


I'm tempted to wish to be taller (proportionally) by about five inches, but I don't know that would make a big difference in my Arnis training.  Instead, I will wish away all of my physical injuries and ailments so I don't have that interfering with my training.

I have old sports injuries (track, cheering) that I struggle with, especially in my knees and hips, that don't let me do a few things I'd like to do.  Not having migraines to interfere with training would be sweet.

So what can Jeffrey the Genie change about YOU to make you a better martial artist?