Friday, June 29, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 6/29/18

To quote a great modern poet, "It's Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down on Friday".

Another week of training and other martial arts goodness is in the books!

How was your week?


Saturday morning Mr. Chick and I were at the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  We worked on a drill from Force Necessary and then related back to other drills we've learned.

My god, we're such martial arts GEEKS.

Sunday morning I "woke up" with a doozy of a migraine headache, so I ended up staying home and sleeping it off instead of going to the Jo meetup as planned.  Stoopid migraines.

Monday and Wednesday we worked on Naihanchi Shodan at our Karate class.  I've got the base framework of the moves down, now I have to spend a lot more time perfecting it. As I'm not super-great at forms, I expect I'll be working on this a looonnggg time.  Having fun with it, though - nice challenging work for my brain.

Again, no new pics of me training this week, so here's an old one from kobudo of me and my friend Tomas working on bo.


It sure is nice to be back in a routine again...

You can find the week's posts (and other martial arts goodness) at the Stick Chick Blog on social media: Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Facebook in particular is hoppin' with martial arts stuff, so please, if you're on that channel, like the page and share it with your martial arts friends, please. Thanks!


Happens about half the time, actually. And of course, my answer is yes, yes I can.

Neat video featuring the founder of Kombatan, Ernesto Presas:

Y'know the old saying, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight"?  Well, this dude brought a weed whacker to a machete fight.  Didn't turn out good for him: Man brings weed wacker to a machete fight in Buffalo

For years, I've expressed the opinion that the utility of the flying side kick in a fight was dubious at best.  And now I stand corrected: Video shows bystander taking out violent homeless man with impressive flying kick


My home is mostly together now and I'm pretty happy with the results.  Even figured out where the best place is to practice (although it's not as hot here as it was in Fort Worth, it's WAY more humid, and gosh, I'd forgotten how... special... that is.)

Gonna be a long summer, y'all.

Get to work, people! See you on social media and here on the blog next week!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

REVISED OPINION: Tonfa: Not a Huge Fan, No.

Waaaay back in the day, I wrote this post about how much I was looking forward to studying tonfa:

Why Tonfa ROCK!

To summarize, I had a fascination with that weapon since the early days of my training. Tonfa are rarely the kinds of weapons you see people tossing and catching and dancing with at performance martial arts competitions, usually to music.  So that alone drew me to them.

These are my tonfa.  Well, one pair of tonfa that I own.

I also thought that they'd be the easiest for an Arnis player to learn and get good with, as tonfa look similar to what we use in Arnis, especially if you don't insist on always gripping them using the handle (the "tsuka").

Long story short, I like practical, meaty weapons, and tonfa seemed to fit the bill.

I've trained with tonfa a few years now, and the result:

I am not a fan of tonfa.

Who knew?

Before I continue, let me make one thing clear: I like weapons. No, I love weapons.  All cultures, all types.  I'm just nutty for them.  And I'd rather have a weapon I'm not wild about in a bad situation than not have one at all.

I'm just saying if I have a choice, tonfa is not what I'd choose over other weapons, such as bo, or jo, or nunchaku even, or a stick, or a machete, or a knife.  Especially if it's for realsies and life is on the line.  But if all I have are tonfa, by all means, I'll be happy to have them.

I'll TRY, anyway!

Here's the thing.

I think tonfa is possibly the easiest weapon for you empty hand punch kickers to pick up and use, immediately. Of the weapons I've personally studied, tonfa strikes me as the one that translates directly into things you guys learn empty hand.

Think your down block/strike, knife hands. inside-out or outside-in blocking/striking, upwards block/strike...

You can literally do these as you do empty hand with tonfa in your hand and you'd be good to go.  So, IMO, from that perspective, tonfa are a pretty good intro weapon for people with empty hand training and skills.  Unlike arnis, you can actually just do karate with tonfa and be a-okay for the most part.

It's when you start flipping them around that they're losing me.

Sure, it's not like the strikes, parries, blocks, etc. from the tonfa extended from the arm aren't useful and can work. They can and do.  But learning to do it well - timing, and angle in particular - is not easy, not at all. And you have to have a pair of tonfa well fitted to your hand, or you're going to get some spectacular friction burns on your hands (I speak from experience in this).

I see people doing extended tonfa strikes against incoming longer, heavier weapons and I don't think that'll work if the attacker is coming full power. I think there is a huge risk they'll go right through tonfa, even if you are extending properly so the force is being transmitted to your arm, and not the weapon (think windshield wipers if you want to know what a hard block against improperly held tonfa look like).

And if your hands get sweaty - and in a fight, they just might - it becomes even harder to do those extended motions.  They get stuck OR they spin too freely.  If you're sweaty, heck, you might as well just punch-kick with them against your forearms, like I mentioned above.

I just find all of that more work and effort than it's worth, is all.  I think you'd be better off with a weapon like a billy club or a stick.

I also think that I might like tonfa more as a single hand weapon vs. double.  Check this out:

Image found HERE.

That's a common Arnis disarm with a tonfa, and it works well (and I know it works well against a variety of weapons because we've played with it, so it's not just sticks).  And yeah, they're doing the flippy thing that I was railing against above, but note that it's not weapon-to-weapon, it's closing in and weapon-to-body, a different matter.

So maybe my beef isn't with the weapon itself, but how it's taught?


In any case, if I'm given my druthers, I'd prefer another weapon to tonfa.  At least for now.

Hey, my opinion changed before.  It could change again.

So do you like tonfa? Tell me why I'm wrong and I SHOULD change my mind!  Or if you agree with me, let me know why YOU'RE not a fan of tonfa!

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!