Friday, July 27, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/27/18

It's FRIDAY!  Yay!

Struggles this week. Didn't get to train like I wanted to. The mind was willing, the body, not so much.

Hope yours was good!


Saturday was our (now) normal session of bangin' sticks at Happy Rock Park at the The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  Lots of fun playing with some cool concepts, even if my right arm/shoulder is still hinky from the epic day of nunchaku training from the prior week.  If you're in the KC area on a Saturday morning, come play with us!  It's free and fun!

Sunday I joined the Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup. I have to take it easy with my right shoulder healing, but I did get some work in, and a little Arnis after (working mostly with my left hand, which is, after all, something I'm always trying to get better with).

Monday I attended karate and worked on Naihanchi Shodan and Naihanchi Nidan, then worked just one specific portion of the nunchaku form I'm working on - a pretty tricky catch that puts the weapon in reverse grip in one hand.  NOT EASY.

And then... the migraine swarm started, and I struggled with it for the rest of the week. Had a big one hit Wednesday just before karate class.  Ocular migraine, vertigo, fuzzy brain, fatigue... everything except pain.  In that state it would be a very, very bad idea for me to handle weapons.

So I took it easy. Nothing else for it.

So I didn't get as much work as I wanted this week.  Sigh.


Blog posts I wrote and shared via social media this week:

Monday: The Gift of Fear
Tuesday: Three is a Magic Number
Wednesday: The Big P

Connect with the Stick Chick Blog on your favorite social media platform! I'm on Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter



It's not real.  But damn, it still amuses me every time I run across it...

This list ISN'T EVEN COMPLETE, if you can believe it... 21 things women who train in martial arts are tired of hearing

This is SO COOL.

And finally... damn straight, it does.

As usual, other neat content, stories, and funny stuff can be found on the Facebook page. Join us!


Really hoping this migraine swarm disappears because I have stuff to do this weekend.  Plus, Mr. Chick will be gone all weekend attending this:

I'd tell all y'all to be good, but I know lots of you on a personal level, and I know it's a fruitless endeavor.

Train hard, train smart, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Big P

We martial artists know that training teaches us so much more than just using punching, kicking, grappling, and weapons to great effect on "bad guys". 

I'm talking about the values we incorporate into what we do.

Often, we're explicit about certain values, like taekwondo's tenets of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit.  We have them on our web sites, in our student handbooks, on the wall of our training spaces, and it's something we refer to and talk about a lot, explicitly.

We also communicate values via proverbs, such as "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast" or "fall down seven times, get up eight", or "a black belt is a white belt who never quit" and so forth.

Whether it's direct or it's indirect, every single one of us are absorbing these values as we train. We carry these values with us into other spheres of our lives - work, family, friends, faith, and other hobbies.

Lately, I've been learning and relearning a value that I think every one of you reading this can relate to. That value is PATIENCE.

Ah, patience, the Big P.  It's kicking my butt.

I gotta quit letting Patience sneak up behind me like that, for one.

I've been studying new things with new teachers lately, and I admit, I'm dismayed that I'm not catching on faster.

I want to be good at it, RIGHT NOW.

Of course, I know that's not a reasonable expectation.  If I were teaching me as a student, I'd tell me the exact same things my teachers are telling me.  I'm doing fine, I'm making good progress, be patient.

My brain knows this.  My body even knows this.

But my heart... my heart is yelling at me to STOP SUCKING AT THIS STUFF FASTER!

That's the theme of my life lately... being patient.

Frankly, I'm not the world's best when it comes to patience. I wanna do, NOW, and I really dislike having to wait.  I'm the Veruca Salt of the martial arts world, I guess.

I'm not a bad egg!  I'm not!

However, there is a way you can make the time you have to wait shorter.

The hack, as the kids say, to having to be patient is another big P: Practice.

It's not a matter of letting time pass. It's a matter of the repetitions and work you do to acquire the skill.  So if you want to be good faster, you spend more time training and you'll get faster quicker.  It really is that simple.

We like to say that earning a black belt in a given style takes so long - three years, five years, ten years, what have you.  Unless your style requires a certain minimum time-in-rank (as many do), you CAN do it faster, legitimately.  Those time frames assume a certain level of training, so many hours per week over the years.

Let me explain what I mean. Here's a hypothetical for you:

Let's say it takes 5 years to earn a black belt in a style.  Let's assume 10 hours of training a week (in class and home practice) and 50 weeks in the year. That makes you a dedicated martial artist, by the way. So, this person would earn black belt rank with 2,500 training hours.

If a person trains 20 hours a week, a super-dedicated person who is going WAY above and beyond in training, that person can get that same amount of training in half the time, 2-1/2 years.

I bet the super-dedicated person who earns the black belt rank in 2-1/2 years is no better or worse, all things being equal, than the dedicated person who did it in five.

They both have the same amount of training time.

Thus, if I want to stop being annoyed by having to be patience, the real solution is to practice, not whine about it here on the blog or get mad at myself for not catching on faster.

Practice beats patience.  And you can quote me on that one.

Do you struggle with patience?  How much do you practice?  Any advice for someone like me?  Let us know in the comments!

Friday, July 20, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/20/18

Friday I'm in love... with the martial arts!

Yeah, I'm a huge dork. What can I say?

This week rocked hard, and I hope your week was awesome, too!


Saturday was a heck of a day.

First off, we played empty hand drills at The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup.  I mentioned I met another local FMA player in last week's round up. His name is Harley Weibling, and he came by to visit our meetup and he's a super-awesome guy. He hosts a class on Saturdays at Cave Spring Park at 10 am, so do check out his classes in the area, y'all.  He knows his stuff!

After the Meetup, I spent about 4 functional hours or so of working on my new nunchaku form with my new teachers and friends at Zensekai Karate Kobudo Rengokai's Kansas seminar.  There were folks there from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado and Florida (I feel like I'm missing a state so sorry if I have).  Yes, it was incredibly fun, but it totally wrecked my right arm (esp. my wrist), but hey, that's what you get when you do repetitive motion for hours and you're pushing a half-century, right?  No regrets on that - happy to have learned the form and now I have to perfect it.

Also, the head of the organization, Greg Lindquist (and our teacher) was promoted to Hanshi 10th Dan.  Congratulations, sir!

Because I destroyed myself on Saturday, on Sunday I did NOT go to the Shindo Ryu Meetup over in Overland Park.  Decided the wiser course is to rest and recover, so I did that instead.

Monday night we perfected our forms.  Well, got in more practice, anyway, because I have a loooonnngg way to go.  But still, having fun with it.

Wednesday I ended up going to bed at about 4 pm and slept so late I didn't go to Karate.  Hey, sometimes, you just gotta rest, and so I did.



Blog posts I wrote and shared via social media this week:

You can't escape the Stick Chick Blog on social media, so why not connect with me on Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Facebook is always hoppin' with good stuff so please do join us there.


If you aren't sure who that might be... it might be YOU.

Nice primer on kobudo weapons from Karate by Jesse:

Hey, yours truly is a contributor to the "Martial Arts Woman" so hey, pick up a copy and enjoy not just my perspective on our weird little hobby, but the perspectives of 24 other women! Buy on Amazon HERE.

Datu Tim Hartman competed in a tournament and won first place in the Masters division with this nice interpretation of our stick form into a katana.

Saw some nice blog posts this week you should check out:

And finally... a wolf after my own heart:

I also ran across some... interesting... stories involving weapons of various kinds in some really weird situations, and those are on the Facebook page. Come check it out.


The weather changed this week and we're all feeling kinda sluggish in my house.  I have the Kansas City Presas Arnis and the Overland Park Shindo Ryu Meetup, so that should get me moving again.

Also Older Daughter spent a week or so with family and she comes home on Saturday.  I got a small taste of what it's going to be like with her going off to college next month.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Getting Old Sucks

Getting old sucks.

Yeah, sure, better than the alternative.

But still, it sucks.

The mind is willing, but the body says...

When I was young, and an athlete, I pushed myself pretty hard. I could do a lot of "work" for a long time (and needed to, because I am NOT a natural athlete). While there were consequences (I think by my count I sprained my ankle at least six times as a cheerleader and a track and field athlete), I do not remember feeling like I've been hit by a truck after a training session.

This was after hours of running up and down hills, of throwing 8 lb shotput and 2 lb discus, of being a part of human pyramids where I was one of the people at the base, with other girls standing on my hips and shoulders (both at the same time).  None of this is lightweight stuff.

I did this almost daily with serious physical consequences.

Over the weekend, I spent a few hours not wearing shoes on a wood surface, flailing around objects that don't weigh much, and by the end, I'm walking funny and I have sharp pain in my joints.  I had to cancel training planned for the next day because I didn't think I can manipulate a weapon without it flying out of my grasp and putting an eye out, much less walk all the way from my car to the training area (all of, oh, 50 yards) without needing to stop and rest a couple of times.

Physically, I'm wrecked.

This ain't fair, y'all.

I know, I know, who said life is fair, blah blah blah.  Granted.


I came to training late in life, and I started because I wanted my old age to suck less (because if I continued my chain-smoking sedentary ways, it was gonna be AWFULSAUCE).   So that's the kicker of all this.

If I didn't spent hours barefoot swinging objects (or doing forms empty hand, or banging sticks or whatever martial art thing I'm doing day to day), and paying for it with needing a day to recover from it sometimes, it would be WORSE.

I have plenty of friends in my age group that don't train or take regular exercise, that are basically me before I fell into martial arts.  They have all the ache and pains I do, but they didn't have all the fun we have when we train when they acquired those aches and pains. And of course, they aren't experiencing the mental and emotional benefits of training either.

So yeah, it could be worse.  Heck, my chronic conditions don't heap on an extra helping of pain like, say, rheumatoid arthritis does my friend Mike Mahaffey, or the pain many of you reading this have from old injuries or other conditions that make doing what we do difficult and painful.

But think of how bad it would be if we didn't train, right?


But still... getting old SUCKS!

Have you noticed extra pains or needing more recovery time from training hard as you've aged?  What tips would you have for the older martial artist to prevent injury and pain?  Let us know in the comments!

Friday, July 13, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/13/18

It's Friday the 13th!  But it's your lucky day, because here's my roundup of my martial arts stuff for the week!

Fantastic training week this week, y'all.  Hope yours was just as awesome.


Hey, we finally have someone we don't know in The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup!  It was awesome meeting a new friend and training with him.  I sure hope that's a sign of great things to come for the group...

Sunday I made it to the  Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and got in some productive jo work.  After class, I worked with the group for about 45 minutes - I taught them single sinawali. Another FMA player has joined the group and we've made friends, and I hope to see him more soon.  Maybe we are sowing the seeds of a MAPA for the KC area?  That'd be awesome if we can make that happen.

At our karate class on Monday, we continued working on Naihanchi Shodan, and Naihanchi Nidan. If you know me, you know forms aren't my forte, but I'm making progress, I think.  On Wednesday, we started working with weapons for the first time. And guess which one I'm working on.

Go on, guess.

Give up?

AWWWW YISSSSSS!  Yes, I am a SUPER HAPPY CAMPER right now, lemme tell ya.

Mr. Chick started bo, so at our home practice on Thursday he started teaching me that, too.



Here's all the jibber-jabber I shared from the blog this week:

Looking for the Stick Chick Blog on social media? I totally got you covered on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter Come to the Facebook page in particular, as there's ALL SORTS of funny, challenging, and thought-provoking martial arts content there.


I didn't have a brother, but I do have a cousin who is a wrestler, and yep, he practiced on his sister, and my sister, and me....

Two posts this week on the important topic of sexual harassment and abuse in the martial arts. Cathy Chapaty writes When your sensei talks to you about sex, run, and Aesopian BJJ/FRC wrote Confronting the Problem of Sexual Harassment and Coercion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Both are really good and I highly recommend you read them and share them.

This video is making the rounds in martial arts circles and it's hilarious:

And finally...


Tomorrow we host our Presas Arnis Meetup, then we're spending the day at a day-long seminar by our Karate teacher.  Very excited for this, as we'll get to meet a lot more folks in our organization. And we'll get to train lots of weapons.

Be good and train well!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Not Wrong, Just Different

I was working with a few new training friends, showing them some basics from Presas Arnis.

Also in attendance - much to my relief because he was a huge help - is another person who's very well versed in the FMA's, just in a different lineage.  "Lineage" in the Filipino Martial Arts is convoluted, complicated, and not as direct as it is in the Japanese, Korean, or Chinese martial arts, but for the sake of this post, we'll use that terminology.  I am from one lineage, and he's from a different one.

To our friends, though, he and I do the exact same thing.

He was helping me get the group going, and he coached them to do slightly different footwork than what we teach initially. I hadn't seen that way before (but upon reflection it totally makes sense and I think it's a good idea) but in the moment, I was afraid of confusing the newbies and I was uncomfortable with just rolling with what he was saying.

It wasn't that his way is wrong.  It's just different.

I regret now that in the moment, that I didn't adapt to his method, as it is actually a pretty good idea. I was still clinging to the way I was taught and the way I've been taught to teach it.

But we all do that, don't we?  When presented with an innovation or a different point of view on something we believe we know well in the martial arts that doesn't come directly from our teacher(s), we resist the change by instinct.

Generally speaking, the martial arts world is pretty conservative. We prefer to do things as our teacher taught them, and changing things is a big deal.

Partly out of loyalty to that teacher, partly because some of the cultures our styles come from are pretty conservative and change-resistant, and partly because it's uncomfortable to change something you've been spending years working on a specific way.

And sometimes it's political.  That is, my teacher/lineage is the real deal, and those other guys are posers or liars or misunderstanding the technique or whatever. Because if you do it different, you must be wrong, right?

I first heard the phrase "not wrong, different" from Datu Dieter Kn├╝ttel at a seminar of his I was attending.  He was showing a specific method of doing something but he noted that others do it a different way and talked about why his organization chooses to do it the way Datu was showing it.

My teacher has always been good about sending the same message.  You can do it differently, and here's why he chooses to do it this way. However, the succinct way Datu Dieter put it "Not wrong, just different" has always stuck with me since I heard him say it.

Not wrong, just different.  There's more than one valid way to solve a problem, and each has upsides and downsides.  Which one you go with depends on which way you think that the upsides greatly outweigh the downsides.

It's helped me develop an open mind, which is very helpful as I do cross train a lot, not only with different FMA styles, but completely different unrelated martial arts styles as well.  I think I do a good job of "emptying the cup" as hard as I can when I'm in someone else's domain and trying to learn how they want me to do it.

As you can see, though, by the story I told at the beginning of this post, as open minded and as flexible as I am, I still feel uncomfortable when things are different.  That's especially true when I am working with people who are closer to what I do and my teacher teaches.

I'm still skeptical of what the other guy is doing, trying to justify what I'm doing and why we do it OUR way.  I still have to be bludgeoned over the head to see a good idea and recognize it as such in the moment.

I have to keep saying to myself, "Not wrong, just different" and understand what the reason is behind the difference, and see if it makes sense to me. I have to respect the difference, even if it isn't something I'd do myself. 

I might find something that helps me (and my students) learn something I think is important, in a better way.

Do you agree or disagree with the idea that you can be different but not wrong? How do you "empty your cup"? How do you roll with it when presented with a different way? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, July 6, 2018

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 07/06/18

Hey, everybody, it's FRIDAY!

Busy, busy this week. How did yours go?


Saturday Mr. Chick and I trained Presas Arnis in at Happy Rock Park (we're hosting The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup, in case you or someone you know is in the area and wants to train).  I'm working on a project and we used this time to do some curriculum development.

Sunday I joined the Overland Park Shindo Muso Ryu Meetup and worked on jo a lot more.  It's very fun, and they're a great group of folks to train with. Jo is such an awesome weapon, y'all.

Monday, Mr. Chick and I attended Karate class.  We have been working on Naihanchi Shodan, and we learned the basic structure of Naihanchi Nidan.

Wednesday was Independence Day here in the USA, so there was no Karate class.  We hung out with friends and watched folks blow things up real good.  Very fun day.

Thursday night we went over to Leavenworth and met Arnis "relatives" (they play Luzviminda Arnis) at Sagasu Family Martial Arts.  We learned some of their stuff, and hung out and connected for a while.  While it's a little far for us to train there regularly, we definitely plan to connect with them as much as we can.

Here's a shot of me doing a drill we learned from Luzviminda Arnis at a Texas Modern Arnis Coalition gathering in Bryan, Texas, at Montoyas Shorin Kempo Karate Jitsu last year.  We actually worked on this stuff Thursday night, too!


The ramblings from the past and the fresh blog content for this week:

If you follow or like or whatever us on social media, you won't miss a thing! We're on  Google PlusFacebookMeWeTumblr, and Twitter The Stick Chick Blog on Facebook is the busiest channel, so please, if you're over there, give us a like and share it with your martial arts friends. It's far more than just "here's my blog" - I try to make that a fully operational martial arts humor and information page, so it's worth your time.


Can't judge a book by it's cover...

How did I miss this skit back in the day?  The Hollywood School of Self Defense is hilarious!

FMA legend Ron Saturno has lost his home and everything he owns in the fires out west. If you can contribute to this Gofundme to help him get back on his feet, please do: Fire Recovery for Guro Ron Saturno

Yes you CAN find time to train.  They did it in traffic!

LOTS more good stuff on my social media channels - especially Facebook (have I mentioned I have a Facebook page before? I have?  Huh, it doesn't seem like I have...)


My martial arts life is starting to gel in a good way, and I'm pretty pleased with that.  Meeting "family" last night was so awesome, and there's more "relatives" I plan to connect with here in KC.

This weekend it will be some Arnis and some Jo, as has become my wont.  Train hard and have fun, kids!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Not Quite Normal

July 4, 2018, marks the end of my first month in Kansas City.

The JC Nichols Memorial Fountain in Kansas City.  

The worst of the move is over, and while I have a few loose ends here and there, the house is put together into a livable state.  The armory is put together and I've figured out how to train at the new house, which is a distinct improvement over the old house.

Actually, even though it is substantially smaller, I like my new house WAY more than the house I just moved out of, overall.

I've started training with a new teacher in a branch of Okinawan Karate full-time and I'm training with another in a Japanese Jo system part-time.   Both of these are fun and interesting and informative and a fresh point of view.

When it comes to Arnis, though, right now, it's just me and Mr. Chick going to the park on Saturday mornings, working on what we want to work on in Presas Arnis.  I've started a Meetup (The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup) to attract people who might want to try out my style, but while we've had a few bites, no takers yet.  My Jo instructor says this is normal for Meetup here in KC and that it will take time to get a few serious people to join us.

I have other plans in the works but I just can't execute them just yet.  If you're a long time reader of the blog, you know how much I just love having a plan but having to wait until I can actually do something about it.

My motto for 2018.
I've done what I can do but things are still... off.

Part of this is the adjustment to not training with my teacher of 8 years in Presas Arnis.  You get used to the routine, the point of view, and the relationship when you train with someone for the better part of a decade on a weekly basis.

He's still my teacher, guys, but I'll only see him at most a couple of times a year, and that's just...weird.

And I think that part of this is learning the martial arts culture and scene in a new city. The thing is, the city itself, I know well (and it hasn't changed much in 13 years, really).  But I was not a martial artist when I lived here before.  So it's not a matter of resuming my old life here. It's creating a new one in the ashes of the old one, y'know?

It's discombobulating.

Still, I'm training and that's good. The feeling that I should be running on all cylinders in such a short period of time is unreasonable, I know.

But still....

Any advice for me?  Do you hate waiting as much as I do?  Let me know in the comments!


Speaking of America, Happy Independence Day, United States of America!  If you've never read it, I suggest you take a moment and and read this:  Declaration of Independence Transcription at the National Archives