Had a moment of pure bliss tonight teaching martial arts in my new space. Only half of my mats were set up but we were finally able to safely cover some panuntukan/Silat style throws. One of my students said something like "I was completely exhausted before I got here tonight, but you're so excited when you teach that you make it impossible not to get pumped up."
I'm grateful for all of my instructors, including GC, who have played a part in shaping what I have to offer my students. After I had closed the big warehouse door, before I drove home at the end of the night, I stood in the wai position facing the many pictures (including some DB action shots) I have in my new academy with my eyes closed for about 30 seconds. It was an intense moment of feeling like I was doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.
Thank you all for the good wishes. I can't wait until the same student makes a video using footage from the new academy! We were all very impressed with what he was able to do with footage from the garage academy.
I am moving my garage program to a proper 1400 sqft space. My first classes begin in my new facility tomorrow. I will be starting with three days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays), and hoping to add more classes as enrollment increases.
Children's classes (ages 5 to 13) are from 5 to 6 PM, and the adult classes are from 6 to 9 PM on all three nights.
I teach eight different arts in two progressions: my empty handed blend consists of Jeet Kune Do, Thai Boxing, Silat, Savate, Wing Chun, and Grappling and my FMA progression consists of Dog Brothers Martial Arts and Inosanto/LaCoste. Your first evening of training is always free, whether you stay for 30 minutes or all three hours.
I am having a grand opening celebration on Saturday, September 24th. There will be free sample classes all day and two of my students will be testing at the end of the day. The schedule for the day is on my Website.
Below, I have posted a video for my school one of my students made me from footage shot in my garage academy.
I am very fortunate to be able to represent the instructors, martial systems, and organizations that I do. East Los Angeles County, west San Bernardino County, and north Orange County are undeserved in terms of the systems that I teach; I want to change that. I hope to see you in my academy soon, even if you are just stopping by to hang out and leave behind some positive energy.
Grateful that today is the last day of summer. Grateful that my first class tomorrow is a group of 9th grade honors students, and I get to shape their first 45 minutes of high school. Grateful that I have found a location, and by the middle of next week, t's will be crossed and i's dotted...I will be moving my garage martial arts program into a proper warehouse!
Certainly, when a technique lands, it can end the fight. I once took a glancing, accidental groin shot with a stick at a Gathering (wearing a cup), but try as I might, I had to call off the fight, and that turned out to be the only exchange.
I am in agreement that a single shot can end a fight, having experienced it. I don't know how much long-term debilitation has been caused in DBMA but fight-ending shots. If someone takes a really good head shot, Guro Crafty will often tell that person they are done for the day. Of the folks I have seen who have had their days ended by a good head shot, I don't remember anyone carried off of the floor.
I would suggest that your goal should be to avoid/prevent violence if possible, and if not, your next goal should cultivating the ability to use whatever level of force is appropriate. If drunken Uncle Fred wants to "test your Kung-fu" at a family get together, I don't know that knees from the clinch, or a fully committed Thai round kick to the back of his leg, are necessary. If someone is trying to seriously harm you or your family, they need to be put down.
Grateful that a nice summer that has allowed me to spend time with my children is coming to a close. I am ready to get back to work, and the fall will bring with it answers about what space will end up being my first commercial school.
Grateful for a long, silly phone conversation with my best friend that lasted late into the evening.
Guide Dog's REAL Advice (I had posted a sarcastic list of ideas in this thread as a goof) to New Fighters:
1. Send in your liability wavier. 2. (MOST IMPORTANT) Show up about an hour or so early to the Gathering. The showing up part is so very important. As a full DB with two little kids, last public Gathering we had a strep throat scare in my house, and last Tribal Gathering, my son brought home a nice stomach flu that got me, my daughter, and my wife. I've been out for a year, and am actually coming off Gathering withdrawal. When Guro Crafty uses that Woody Allen quote that 90% of life is showing up, it actually turns out to be true. 3. Do NOT do the solitary, sullen act. Most of the people I have met in DBMA, whether tribe member or not, have actually been really nice people. Most of the folks I have met at the Gatherings have had really great senses of humor, and that is very important. Don't take yourself, or fighting with sticks, too seriously. Do give it your all without reducing anyone's IQ, but try to have fun. Brand new fighters might not have ANY idea what I am writing about, but you will. 4. Take a knife fight and consider it your warm-up. When you finish and get back to the waiting area, do not dwell in any kind of result from that fight. If you "killed' you opponent in simulation, great. If you "died", whatev's. We all have holes in our games that we are always working on. 5. Take a single stick fight with either a fighter that has some experience, or a newbie who seems to be of a like mind. What I mean by that is an experienced fighter can work with you and whatever level is manifesting when you step out. By having a conversation with another newbie, you can gauge what sort of a mental state he/she is in. As long as you both share an understanding of what the fight should look like, I think you will be okay. I am not suggesting that you plan for a "pillow fight", but if your prospective opponent/partner is talking about the "nobility that comes with surviving a coma", you should politely suggest that your partner is at another level and would best be served by finding someone else. Experienced fighters should be able to say something to put you slightly at ease, and newbies of a like mind should be able to reflect your apprehension in a manner that allows you both to honor what you are feeling and get on with it. (Slight addendum for this point) - as far as sticks go, have your first fight with whatever is your MOST natural weapons configuration. Most prefer single stick, but if you are a siniwali fighter/stick and dagger fighter/staff fighter, go with whatever you are the most comfortable with. The rest of what I wrote still applies, regardless of with what weapon(s) configuration you choose to fight. 6. Unless you actually sustain an injury that ends the fight (and I believe most won't), when you get back to the fighters area, slow your breathing, and immediately take/set up another stick fight. Don't out think yourself here. You're in it. You just learned what it is. You will never be in a state of not knowing again. Go out and fight again. 7. I would suggest you take as many fights as you can, and that MOST people have one more in them when they believe they are done. Once you mentally make up your mind your day is over, take off your gear, and be present. Watch the rest of the day's fights. 8. Don't worry about ascension. If you are meant to be a DB, just show up and keep fighting. It will happen eventually. 9. Enjoy your first day of fighting. You never get another one. 10. Figure out how to take back what you have learned in the adrenal state to your regular classes/training group.
In my experience with the DB's, we really are friends at the end of the day. I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your day and your journey/ transformation.
I'm glad you liked it, guys. In all seriousness, I think it's the average tribe member's sense of humor that is unique to this organization. I have laughed harder at DB Gatherings and events than at practically any other martial arts event. There's another piece of advice to all new fighters: smile and laugh once you get in your first few fights and your nerves settle. It's really important because once you get out of your own way in terms of nerves, or any ego-related issues, stick fighting is fun!
I'm in the mood to take my inner smart-a$$ out for a walk, so please indulge me. For those new folks planning on fighting in September, just show up and be mentally present. The rest will take care of itself. What follows is me just being silly; please don't take any of this seriously.
Guide Dog's Advice for "Winning" at a Dog Brother's Gathering
1. When you arrive at the Gathering site, be sure to push a few people in line out of the way, even though Pretty Kitty or who ever is working the door will usually stop the line for the fighters. Does anyone really remember Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies? No way! We remember Mr. T's Clubber Lang, and why? Because he was an a$$hole. Act accordingly.
2. When Guro Crafty is giving the same pre- fight speech he always gives, make sure you are listening to your I-pod. After all, the day is really about you and you alone.
3. When the camera comes around to you and you have to say your name and your age, make sure that you use your title of "Super Grandmaster Founder" before doing so.
4. Before the fighting starts, make a point to not speak to anyone, especially the other fighters. This will really cultivate your air of mystery and cause everyone in the room to fear and respect you.
5. Be sure before your knife fights to specify that your opponent is not allowed to use any grappling, slashes, thrusts, punching, kicking, lead switches, or fakes. This is after all a simulation of a knife fight! If you score a lethal shot in exchange for your opponent scoring a lethal shot a half second later, that is a major victory.
6. Be sure to inspect any potential opponent's stick(s). First, measure the weapon, then quickly run it through an X-ray filter. Demand that your opponent provide the name of the manufacturer of the stick, as well as the forms to indicate that the weapon(s) cleared customs in a legal fashion if the sticks were not made in America. Once the weapon(s) has/have been deemed legitimate, escort your potential opponent to the restroom where you will verify his/her weight and height, and obtain a urine sample. Do not take any fights with anyone who weighs more than five pounds than you do, or is more than three inches taller than you, as doing so is simply NOT how it is going to be in the street. After all, MMA has weight classes, and MMA is as close as it gets to real combat. If the urine sample comes back positive for caffeine, call off the fight. You do not associate with people who use performance enhancing drugs.
7. If someone does manage to make it through your screening process and you agree to a stick fight, be sure that when on deck, you are drawing as much attention to yourself as possible, almost making it impossible for anyone to watch the fight in progress. You are, after all, NEXT, and everyone better damn well know it. Be sure to say some really personal, inappropriate, profanity-laden comments about your opponent just before you put your mouthpiece in and fencing mask on. Dog Brothers is all about stress testing; your opponent will thank you for pointing out that his wife is a fat whore, because that will cause him to really lose his temper and if he still happens to be breathing after your fight having come in seething with rage, than you have given him a great gift.
8. If you do score a shot, and your opponent waves you off to indicate the fight is over, by all means, hit him/her as hard as you can anyway. STRIKE HARD! STRIKE FAST! NO MERCY, SIR!
9. When the fight is over, if your opponent attempts to give you a hug, ESPECIALLY if you are male, eye-jab the prick! Let all the ladies in the house know that you are STRAIGHT, STRAIGHT, STRAIGHT. Even though you just got done doing a real contact stick fight, hugging someone of the same gender sends the wrong message. Showing that you are a nice person gives you about as much street cred as a 10 year-old girl showing off her Kelly Clarkson CD collection.
10. When the day's fights are over, immediately demand that you are the first in line for a tribal ascension, particularly if it is your first day fighting, and particularly if you only had one stick fight, did not sustain any injuries, but decided to call it a day as a "favor" to the other fighters.
11. At each level: dog, C-dog, and full DB, the moment after Guro Crafty asks you to rise, make sure you shout, "Where's my fu&%in' belt?!!!!"
12. When you do make full DB, demand that Top Dog go back to simply "Eric Knaus", because it's pretty clear that you are the real Top Dog in the group.
13. Each day, send Guro Crafty an E-mail reminding him that you are still waiting for your Tuhonship in DBMA, and as a mere Guro, he needs to get moving on that sh&%!
I would enjoy doing a double vs. double with no grappling or a staff vs. double with you, regardless of who is on staff and who is on double. Last public Gathering, we had a strep throat scare in the family so I didn't want to expose anyone to that and the last tribal, my son passed on a wonderfully nasty stomach bug to everyone in the house. I've been away for a year and am excited to step back out there in September (knock on something...)
I'm not a fan of the word "mastery" or "master". To me it seems to indicate an area in which one has achieved perfection. I don't really believe in perfection as an obtainable state in any endeavor. I'm not trying to be difficult or suggest this thread is linguistically invalid (it's a very worthwhile question), the word "mastery" just doesn't work for me. As I often tell the high school students to whom I teach writing, "Perfection is boring." I much prefer the word "expert" over the word "master".
There have already been some great points made in this thread. As far as what and what should not be daily practice, I believe in annual phases. My daily training looks different when I am closer to a Gathering than when I am getting ready to go to a multi-day seminar in some of the systems I teach. I do several empty handed forms on a mostly daily basis of the mushin or mediative aspects. My practice looks different after having children, and I imagine it will change again when my kids are a little older.
My main instructor says that you have to adjust your training every five to ten years. I like that. As for what I practice daily, it depends on the season and what events are coming up in my annual training calendar.
Grateful to have had my pink slip rescinded for my current high school teaching job, which I happen to like an awful lot. It is going to be a very different summer than I thought it was going to be in terms of stress.
I am dropping my forms for the tribal and for September in the mail in a few hours. I know I could have done them electronically, but every now and then I like seeing, and using tangable documents. They should be in to you in a day or so.