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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

In the Elements

At the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup, we meet and train outdoors, in a park.

Playing sinawali this summer at the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup

I like to think that this is part of the grand tradition of FMA training in parks, all over the world. You'll find people stick-banging out in the park in the Philippines, in the United States and Canada, and in Europe, too.

Because our style(s) don't typically require a lot of equipment (we don't need bags or mats or mirrors or any of that stuff), training in a park is just an easy thing to do. It typically doesn't cost us anything (it certainly doesn't for our Meetup), so we can afford to train with as little overhead as possible.

I like to think that this makes our styles a little more accessible to the general public. After all, the folks using the park see us training, and it's not unusual for someone to ask questions about it as they pass by.

Luckily, in our park, we have a nice shady area and we train early enough in the morning that even in the height of a Midwestern summer - which can be BRUTAL, especially with high humidity - it's not terribly uncomfortable to train.

There's also a small shelter nearby, so we train under it when it's wet.

We did have to cancel the Meetup once due to severe weather - lightning and thunder storms - but we all went to a donut shop and nerded out on the martial arts over coffee and donuts, which isn't necessarily a bad way to train once in a while.

Unfortunately, though, it's November, and guess what that means in Missouri.

This is my first winter back home in Kansas City, and while I love the season, I admit that it's going to be hard to train at the Meetup some mornings because it is going to be COLD.

Not "it's 50 degrees Fahrenheit and I have to wear a parka and snow boots and ten layers of clothing" Texas cold, but actual, real cold, like sometimes 10 degrees Fahrenheit cold, with a wind chill in negative numbers.

I know, I know, you guys living in the real north (Canada, northern US plains, Alaska, Scandinavia, Russia, etc.) think I'm adorable.

Me, I love the cold, but those temps are even too much for me. We also have a chance of snow and ice - and we get a lot of ice at our latitude - which makes it difficult or even impossible to drive anywhere.

I suspect, if we can get to the park, we'll end up doing a lot more panatuken (boxing) and empty hand work when the temperatures really drop, because we can wear gloves and not worry about dropping weapons while we train (cold hands are stiff hands, especially old hands like mine).

And we will just have some days where it's just too cold to train outside. We'll probably retreat to the coffee and donuts style Meetup.

That's how it goes, when you train in the elements, right?

Do you train outdoors? What are some ways you manage extreme weather (heat, cold, etc.)? Let us know in the comments?

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