Martial Arts (and the Stick Chick)

I'm the one without
a fabulous mustache.
Hi, I'm Jackie, and I'm The Stick Chick.

With my husband, Kevin, I've been studying Presas Arnis (a blend of Modern Arnis and Kombatan) and related arts since 2008.  I was a few months shy of 40 years old when I first started training.

We started the martial arts studying PaSaRyu Tae Kwon Do at John Wade Karate in Southaven, MS.  My daughter also studied there starting at age five.

At the beginning, we fell in love with the marital arts immediately and it changed our lives very much for the better!  I can't imagine a life without martial arts in it now!
Me and my PaSaRyu
 Yellow Belt.

What I loved about PaSaRyu was my instructor, Darrell Kellner. He is an excellent martial artist and includes a lot of great physical conditioning in every class. I learned many forms, learned martial arts basics, and even played around with the Bo a little bit (XMA influenced, but still). Always a humble and open-minded person, I'm proud to call Darrell a friend to this day, even though I no longer study PaSaRyu.  I eventually reached the blue belt level before I relocated to Las Vegas.

David and I cross sticks.
A few months after starting PaSaRyu in Mississippi, David Jones entered our lives.  David is a brilliant martial artist (and all-round awesome person) who introduced us to a number of arts, including Ryukyu Kempo and Modern Arnis.  At the time, it was a rather informal "play" group versus a class, but we learned tons and fell in love with the sticks!  We still travel to study with him and his students at least once a year at seminars, usually taught by Bruce Chiu and Jack Hogan.

Just before I moved to Las Vegas, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child.  As I did not want to practice any hard arts during the pregnancy - it was considered high-risk due to my age and other factors - I studied Tai Chi Chuan with two different teachers in Las Vegas.  One taught me a smattering of Chen style, and once he stopped teaching, I started studying with a Meetup group teaching Tai Chi (Meetup is a great way to find people in the martial arts when you are brand new to a city - I highly recommend it!). What I learned there definitely influences me to this day.
Bruce Chiu, me, Jack Hogan, Kev.

A few months after the safe delivery of my perfectly healthy younger daughter, circumstances required us to move (again), this time to the Fort Worth, TX area. I briefly studied Tae Kwon Do again, but my heart was not in it, as my husband and I really wanted to continue studying Modern Arnis (or a close enough version, if we could find a teacher) more than anything.

That's when we got very lucky.

Mark Lynn - he delivers
bruises to us frequently!
It was literally our last week or so at the Tae Kwon Do school.  We planned to simply save up and study with David Jones in MS on a quarterly basis since we couldn't find anybody who teaches what we wanted to learn close by us.  One of the instructors at that school points to a man sitting aside the mat and says, "That guy knows your art."

He knew we'd studied Modern Arnis, so I almost fell over myself as I rushed over to introduce myself to the man.  It turns out, I'd spotted him months earlier posting really good stuff about Arnis (and other topics) on Martial Talk and noticed he was nearby, so I messaged him and got no response.  I figured he'd either quit MT or maybe he'd moved or something, so I wrote it off in my mind.

The guy that instructor pointed out to me is the same guy! His mailbox at MT was full and he didn't see my message - so maybe we were destined to meet him eventually!

He is Mark Lynn, and is our main instructor today at Hidden Sword Martial Arts.  My older daughter attained the rank of Black Belt (1st Degree) under Mark and now studies sabre at +Cutting Edge Fencing Center.  My younger daughter started studying Tae Kwon Do under Mark  in the fall of 2015.

Kevin and I are both black belts (Lakan and Dayang Dalawa, as of April 2017) under Mark.  We ran a community center martial arts program for a few years in North Richland Hills, Texas, and today, we are offering private lessons for individuals and small groups in Kansas City, Missouri.  We currently host a free Meetup in Gladstone, MO if you want to stop by and train some time: The Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup

I earned my 1st Degree Black Belt with Sensei Mike Proctor and Sensei Keith Yates at  AKATO, Kevin earned a Black Belt with Keith Freeman at Freeman's Martial Arts in Goju-Shorei Weapons (cane) and is now studying Keysi Fighting Method with Keith.  Kevin is also a Black Belt under +Hock Hochheim and continues to study with Hock every chance he gets.

I also enjoy the Kansas City Chiefs (if you follow me on Twitter during NFL season, you should be prepared), sci fi and fantasy geekery of all kinds, Celtic and Norse history and punk music and art, video games (yes, I play video games when I get a spare moment), low carbing and ketogenic eating, liberty and freedom, and of course, being a mom and wife.

Please add me to your circles on Google Plus, and check out my Pinterest here.  I'm also on Tumblr here, LinkedIn here, MeWe here and you can always find me on Twitter at @JackieB23.  You can also drop me a note via email (especially if you are interested in guest posting for this blog) at TheStickChick23 at gmail dot com.