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.