Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thank You, MAPA!

Four years ago, we held our first Metroplex Arnis Alliance gathering, MAPA 1.

Over the weekend, we had MAPA 13.

Thirteen gatherings of martial artists from a variety of (mostly) FMA styles and organizations, getting together and to learn and train and play and to make friendships.

The folks at MAPA 1
I've learned a lot of techniques and concepts and drills at MAPA gatherings.  I always come away from MAPA with a new idea, or a different way to think about something I already know, or a nice perspective on differences of strategic choices.

MAPA is one of the reasons I've grown a lot as a martial artist over the past four years.

The biggest benefit to MAPA may be the relationships I've made. It's hard for me to believe now, but people who are really important to my martial arts life I didn't know before we started up the gatherings.  Our FMA community here in Dallas-Fort Worth (and nearby environs) are chock full of super-nice, open minded, highly skilled, very dedicated people.

We've had MAPA gatherings indoors, and outdoors. We've covered knife, stick (both as a blunt weapon and as an edged weapon), staff (bangkaw), and lots of empty hand material (including ground work).  We've done a lot of drills - some basic, some advanced.  We've had people with decades of training attending, and we've had people with only a few months attending.

I've had a lot of fun learning from everyone I've met at MAPA.  The instructors, of course (by my count, there were 14 individual instructors) but also the participants from various schools. Each one brought something new or interesting to the table that made me a better martial artist.  I am grateful I had that opportunity to meet every single person I met.

MAPA proves that it IS possible to bring together people who might not train together all the time, for the express purpose of just making connections in our community and having fun. At the beginning, some folks thought it couldn't be done. I'll admit, there are some styles we tried hard to get active in MAPA but we just couldn't get them there, for whatever reason. That will always be something we regret.

If you've never been here, you may not realize how geographically large Dallas-Fort Worth really is (MAPA 13 took us nearly an hour to get there).  Without MAPA, I probably never would have had the opportunity to meet, train with, and become friends with the folks on the Dallas side of town, or with our friends at TNT Self Defense down in Stephenville, TX (they're practically a sister-school to Hidden Sword now).  My martial arts family is bigger and richer.

Mr. Chick and I are moving, and thus, MAPA 13 was probably our last gathering.  Maybe we'll be able to create something similar in our new city someday (I sure hope so).  MAPA proves that it can be done, after all.  While the move is a happy one, we'll miss our friends here in DFW and especially the time we've spent at MAPA gatherings (53 hours  - MAPA 5 was five hours long).

So this post is to say THANK YOU to the folks who came to MAPA.  May it continue to be strong, and active, and benefit everyone as much as it benefited us.

Below are the group pictures from every MAPA thus far.  If you want to come join the group, find the Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance Facebook page HERE and the M.A.P.A. Discussion Group on Facebook HERE.

The folks at MAPA 2

The folks at MAPA 3
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The folks at MAPA 4

The folks at MAPA 5

The folks at MAPA 6

The folks at MAPA 7
The Folks at MAPA 8
The Folks at MAPA 9
The Folks at MAPA 10
The Folks at MAPA 11
The Folks at MAPA 12. Note: we raised money for Hurricane Harvey relief for this one!
And last but not least...

The Folks at MAPA 13