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801  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Father's Question on: March 06, 2008, 12:39:36 PM
What a great story.  That's the way I wish the world was.  I got a little heated in this thread because I'm a teacher and I take my job really seriously and I get scared for my students and their futures.  You're very right Black-and-Tan.  Kids are reaching a boiling point and we are still working on the best way to help them.  Great post.
802  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: llustrisimo- Any one know of Locations in So.Cali on: March 06, 2008, 11:49:05 AM
Maxx,

Please don't get me in trouble  grin.  It's "Candidate Guide Dog".  I can't say enough about Sensei Roy Harris in San Diego.  He is a great teacher, a good man, and he has an amazing attention to detail.  If you are looking into Illustrisimo, you might keep an eye on what's going on at the Harris Academy in San Diego.  Guro Crafty's comment about Lameco is also something you should look into.  I have a few of (sadly, the late) PG Edgar Sulite's tapes.  Good stuff.

Bryan
803  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2-4 day DBMA Camp with Guro Crafty on: March 06, 2008, 11:37:36 AM
Bruno,

Not to interrupt Maija's answer, but I just wanted to take a moment to comment on your introduction(s).  It reads like you have a wealth of knowledge to share.  I have a college commitment on the 28th and 29th, but hopefully Guro Marc will make the camp a four day camp and I can come on the 26th and 27th.  Even if I don't get to meet you this time, it reads like you have a LOT to offer and I look forward to your contributions to DBMA.

Bryan
804  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Father's Question on: March 06, 2008, 11:02:29 AM
Quote
If the stabbed student thinks the zero tolerance policy is even remotely a functional idea he just proves he has not received a functional education: 1) he was STILL stabbed even with zero tolerance, 2) it isn't really zero tolerance - the students still have pencils/pens/books/belts/scarf and a few hundred other weapons some of which are issued by the school, 3) until quite recently young males carried a pocket knife to school from sometime around the 4th grade, and 4) the only people who follow the rules (or the intent of the rule) are those who wouldn't be a problem without the rule

So the student who was stabbed should not have any input on school safety?  If he were to validate your opinion, would his education then be functional?  If he does believe that zero tolerance policies might make any difference, no matter how small, his whole education is nonfunctional?  If he believes that zero tolerance policies are 10% effective and 90% ineffective, does that still invalidate his entire education?  At what percentage does he have to support zero tolerance polices or consider that they might make some small difference before that one idea renders the whole of his educational experience nonfunctional?  After the Columbine shootings, if any staff or students who lived considered for a moment that a zero tolerance policy might have made some small difference, did that thought invalidate their entire education and their experience of that event?  If any of the victims had ever considered the small difference a zero tolerance policy might make, did that prove that the education they were receiving, up until they were killed, was nonfunctional?  How sad for them then that they had to be there on campus that day, since the education they were persuing was nonfunctional anyway due to their hypothetical thoughts on one school rule.

Quote
what a person without the ability to reason at a functional level thinks about a policy is of little concern to me and it is "just following (STUPID) orders".  As my eldest told the principle at her Hawaiian school - if you can't control the kids, then you won't do anything to my daughter when she handles the problem

So, once a person gives any merit to zero tolerance policies, they are by your definition, "stupid", and all of their other opinions don't matter to you.  If your children were students at the school in question on this thread, once you found out that the principal enforces a zero tolerance policy, you would no longer listen to her thoughts about any of the other policies at the school, label her "stupid", and you would empower your children to make all decisions about which rules they feel they should and should not follow?  As I tell my classes all the time, "This place (the school) is not very good training for you.  I don't know of a lot of jobs where you can show up late, wear clothes that are not appropriate for work, be disrespectful to your boss and you superiors, leave your trash all over the place, constantly ask your boss, 'Why do I have to do this?', and do your work at a third grade level when you are 25 years old and think that not only is it okay, but that it's funny."

Quote
As for you, if you ain't working to fix the problem, then yes.
  We are working, everyday.  We're working through hypertension, stress-related heart attacks, and salaries (even with summer school) that are a joke based on comparable salaries in other industries.  We are working for those three kids in each class of thirty-eight that have had their educations hijacked by those kids who have been taught by their parents that their education has no value.  We are working through stress-related hair-loss, weight gain, and strokes.  We are working in a system that has been set up by politicians to destroy public education, or to use education like any other "hot" political item to get elected or stay in office.  We are working because our parents taught us that personal development and trying to be lifelong learners are goals that are worth preserving, even when students get the sh&% teased out of them by their gang friends for actually doing their work and maybe even enjoying the act of learning.  We are working for our kids because if you have actually spent much time in classrooms lately, the future looks like a scary place.

So Grimel, it sounds like you have this national school violence problem solved.  In what school district do you serve as superintendant? I'll send you a resume.

805  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Father's Question on: March 05, 2008, 10:59:24 AM
Grimel,

I was not criticizing Guro Crafty's parenting.  As a whole, those people who would immediately demonize all educators are going with their biases against educational professionals.  Many of those biases were created to cover the fact that a lot of parents in the U.S. don't spend a lot of time parenting.  As a result, teachers and administrators make good lightning rods for all of the problems with the youth of America.

I am simply trying to point out that it's not right to immediately assume that the principal in question in this thread is evil, or stupid, or a lemming for having to enforce a zero tolerance policy.  I have already stipulated that as a professional educator, I think zero tolerance policies are unfair.  For the record, I think that No Child Left (Untested) Behind is wrong, but I still have to enforce it or I will lose my job.  Yes, I have tenure and I have a union, but if I flat out refused to run my class based on the California State Standards, I would eventually be out of a job.  I don't know of a lot of service based jobs out there that don't occasionally force action that might be ethically questionable.

I feel you are making a villain out of a principal for enforcing a policy that more than likely comes from the district office.  If she disagrees with any policy, I would love to live in a world where she could call the folks at the district and tell them which policies she will and will not be enforcing.  The truth is that she would not be at her job for very long if she did that.

Grilmel, I'm sorry but, for you, whenever you mention someone who is "just following orders", doesn't that expression have Nazi connotations?  In your mind, is the behavior that the principal exhibiting Nazi-like?  If you had another connotation in your head, please correct me.  However, if you did mean the standard Nazi connotation of "just following orders", that's pretty heavy.  Am I "just following orders" when I help facilitate the state test in April, despite not agreeing with standardized testing?

There are many things about contemporary education that I disagree with. A few days ago, we had a student at my school site get suspended for bringing a pair of nail clippers to school.  Is that fair?  I don't know.  Ask the (junior high school) student at my school that was literally stabbed in the back with a knife a few weeks ago if he thinks that a zero tolerance policy for anything that might be used as a weapon is "just following orders".
806  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Father's Question on: February 27, 2008, 01:50:19 PM
Grimel,

I am in agreement about the idea that zero tolerance policies are nonsense.  They were really put into place because in this age of self-help books and DVD's our culture has not come to grips with the idea that aggressive energy exists and that people need to learn how to handle it in a healthy way.  Think about all of the material out there for coping with stress.  There is no such movement to help people learn to handle their aggression in a healthy way (except for DBMA  wink and such).

I'm just not comfortable with the idea that the principal in question is an idiot because she is enforcing a policy that was probably created for her by the school district.  It's very important that we not demonize the folks out there in service based jobs (police, teachers, nurses), because we need them.  After five years, I am looking to either move to higher education, or into an administrative job of some sort.  If America wants to blame their lack of parenting skills on teachers, fine.  Just know that there are people out there who got into education to bring about some positive change, and found the reality of their job to be very different than their expectations.  I realize that phenomenon is not unique to education.

So Grimel, I agree with the policy being beyond stupid, but not with calling the principal an idiot for having to enforce it as part of her job.  Degrees do not mean that you are perfect or know it all, but they do prove you were willing to hang in there and complete a million little steps (a lot of them which feel very arbitrary at the time) to get that piece of paper and the title.  I do not believe that everyone in the world needs a college degree, but I respect anyone willing to put in the time and the years.
807  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2-4 day DBMA Camp with Guro Crafty on: February 26, 2008, 01:56:01 PM
"Dog" Ryan has some pretty sick ground skills, but he is also a very well-rounded martial artist.

Guro Crafty: Any more details or a timeline for details for the camp?  Sorry to pressure you, but I know several folks (myself included) who are excited!
808  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wing Chun Practitioner Tries To Hijack Airport! (just kidding) on: February 26, 2008, 01:48:14 PM
Recently, I was coming back to California from a martial arts conference in Atlanta.  At the seminar, we explored the weapon forms of Wing Chun.  I bought a staff at the academy at which the conference was held.  We also explored the butterfly knives of Wing Chun.  I brought my wife and my ten month old son with me and on the last day, I left an hour early to go back to the hotel, finish our packing, check out, and drive down to the airport.  By the time we got on the highway, we had about two hours before our departure time.  My wife and I had packed quickly but efficiently, checking the room for anything we might have left.

We spent a little time driving around by the airport to find a gas station so as to avoid the crazy fees one has to pay if a rental car is returned with a half empty tank of gasoline.  On the bus to the terminal, my wife looked at our luggage and my staff from the conference.

"Do you really think they'll let you take that on?", she asked.  I told her that I didn't but at least I could see what my options were.
At the check-in area, I asked the man who checked our bags what the best thing to do with the staff was.  He told me that I would be able to carry it on the plane and I was surprised.  I asked again if he thought security would really let me take the staff on the plane.  He nodded, and my family and I walked into the airport.

At security, we were escorted down a shorter line (which was nice), because we had my son in a stroller.  My wife and I grabbed several trays and started loading up our shoes and carry-on items.  Finally, I put the staff down on the X-ray machine and walked through the metal detector.  I made it through without a problem.  A few moments later, I watched the man who was looking at the monitor for the X-ray machine.  His eyes were wide and he called over several other security employees.  They looked at the screen, looked at me, looked at the screen, and shook their heads.  One woman said, "Don't ever try that again!"

They asked me what the staff was and for a moment I was tempted to say that it was decorative pole.  I try not to lie as a rule, even if it's a harmless lie.  I told them that I was coming back from a martial arts conference and that it was a staff for training.  They immediately called over a supervisor, who fixed me with quite a look.  I calmly told the supervisor that the man who checked our bags had told me I could bring on the staff.  The security team all looked at one another and shook their heads.  I apologized and told them that I was not trying to cause trouble or make a scene, but that the information I had received from one the representatives from the airline was wrong.

The supervisor escorted me to ticketing and suggested that I try to check my bags.  My wife and baby went ahead to the gate.  He also told me that I had a blade in my main carry-on bag.  When he left, I immediately opened my bag.  In my packing, I simply hadn't thought about it.  I had my butterfly knives (completely dull) in my bag and a Sharkee training blade!  I had about 30 minutes left before my departure time.  I quickly went to ticketing but the woman informed me that I had missed my window to check my bag or the staff.  She looked genuinely sorry and I told her that I had no idea of what to do with the items.  I honestly thought about leaving the blades and staff in the bathroom for a few moments!  I quickly went to security again.

The lady behind the main security line said, "I know you're not trying to get on board with that staff again!"  I told her that I needed a member of the security personnel to formally confiscate my staff and blades.  She looked at me like I had just spoken another language.  I asked her to let me by and I immediately called over a security agent.  The moment he arrived, I said, "I need you to confiscate these items so that I can make my plane."  He looked at me strangely.  A female security agent walked up behind him and I repeated myself.  The woman immediately said, "There is no way you're getting these items on the plane."  I repeated myself and explained the situation.  She got frustrated with me and walked away.  She was replaced by another lady and I repeated my needs.  I told them that I was not trying to get away with anything and that I had 1. been given false information and 2. simply screwed up by not packing my training blades in my checked bags.  I tried to get them to examine the Sharkee, and maybe let is slide, but no dice.  The two agents finally seemed to realize that I was genuine, and they both suggested that I mail the items to myself.  I told them that my flight was leaving in 15 minutes and there was no time.  I left them with my staff which I had just completed a nice day of training with, my butterfly knives that I had bought on a whim when I was 14 and studying Tae Kwon Do of all things only to use them at a Wing Chun conference some 15 years later, and a Sharkee that I had used to "kill" some folks with at the Gatherings.  Above and beyond the $100 cost of the items, they all had meaning to me.

I barely made my flight, but I managed to get onto the plane on time.  I will take 50% of the responsibility for what happened.  It was an expensive way to be reminded that your training weapons must be in your checked luggage.  I had my doubts about the staff going into the airport, but I was told by a man who checks bags for a living that it was okay.

Anyway, if you work at the Atlanta Airport and you are a martial arts enthusiast, if you see my stuff, send me an Email and I'll pay for postage.  I realize that probably won't happen.  I guess the best that I can hope for is that some airport security employee has a young son or daughter and they will bring home one of the items and spark an interest.  Check your training weapons, folks!
809  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Father's Question on: February 26, 2008, 11:23:38 AM
As a teacher for the past five years in the section of a southern California school district that is literally on the wrong side of the tracks: I'm disturbed by the immediate assumption that the principal in question is "clueless".  The principal must have at least a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, several years spent in the classroom, and an administrative credential under her belt in order to have become a principal.  Education does not guarantee intelligence or common sense, but it does display a commitment to a goal and a willingness to jump through multiple hoops in order to get what you want.  It sounds like the principal is in the unenviable position of having to enforce a zero tolerance policy, while dealing with a stakeholder (Guro Marc) who just happens to be an expert on the subject of violence and aggression.  At least she sounds open to using Guro Crafty's knowledge to rewrite the policy into something that makes sense.

 It's a crazy world out there.  We have fights on a regular basis at my school site.  The kids choose to make that their sport.  We have a wealth of afterschool activities, sports, clubs, and even an afterschool center with a pool table, DVD's and computers.  Most of our gang kids choose to either hang out at the gas station down the street from the school or go up to the local elementary school and start fights.  Most of our kids could use a beating.  Nobody needs to lose an eye or anything, but I have several students that would benefit from saying something stupid to somebody stupid and having their a$$es kicked a little.  I never tell my students or coworkers that I train.  Honestly, if a students came at me with a knife, my first thought would be that I hope I don't lose my house.  Many of our students won't read or write or put any effort into improving themselves, but they sure have an uncanny knack for figuring out how to exploit the system.

As a doctoral student: I am working on my doctorate of education degree right now, and I hope to write my dissertation on the topic of updating the research to date about uses of martial arts education to change students' attitudes towards violence.  I recently wrote a paper about the injustice of zero tolerance policies.  A lot of my thinking actually came from DBMA (backed up with some other academia) and I also included a citation to the DBMA site.  The challenge is that schools and school employees really can't kick a$$ anymore.  We had a girl at my site get beat up by three other girls and the incident was captured on a security recording.  The victim did nothing but try to cover her head from the beating.  She did not throw a SINGLE strike back.  The three attackers were suspended for a month.  All of their teachers had to send homework for a  month because legally the incident could not affect their grades.  The girl who had the crap beat out of her had to serve a three day suspension to keep with the schools zero tolerance policy.  I watched as the vice principal explained to her that it was only a formality and that it would not be on her permanent record.  The girl spent the conversation nodding, with tears streaming down her face.

As a father: I have a ten month old.  Rules and laws mean nothing when it's your child.  The thing is that you can't really know until you are a parent.  That's one of those things that sounds condescending, but isn't intended to be.  It's like a Gathering.  You can stick spar.  You can even go at it with rattan sticks, but until you've participated in a Gathering, you don't fully know what it's like.  Looking in my son's big eyes as he takes it all in, there is nothing I wouldn't do to preserve that innocence and his right to be a kid for a few years before he starts to understand how ugly the world can be.  That being said, I'm going to see that he has the tools he needs.  If that means standing up to a bully and having to face a suspension to establish that he is not someone to be picked on, I'll not only get a sub. to cover my classes to go pick him up, I'll take him out for fu&%ing ice cream!

As a martial artist:This topic is near and dear to my heart.  After we finish fighting, after all of our Gatherings, after all of the certificates and belts, after all of the great people and the amazing stories, after a little credit card debt to catch a plane and make a seminar, after a MMA/boxing/muay Thai career, what do you want to do with your martial art?  What are the arts for?  Assume you already have all of the credentials you want and a six pack.  After all of that, we are left with the fact that martial arts can be used to improve the world around us.  I truly believe that with the unique insights into violence, aggression, personal development, and self-discovery, we really can have a positive influence on those around us.  That contributes to the greater good.  I know that all sounds a bit cliched and "new-agey", but if we change our perceptions, our reality can be different.

Guro Crafty, please follow up on this thread when you and the principal sit down together to look at the policy.  I really want to hear about how it goes.
810  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Anyone have any good Circuit Ideas for home on: February 20, 2008, 03:08:07 PM
Just a short piece of info.  I went to a local Costco a few weeks ago and their tire center gave me a large, used tire for free.  I only took one, but they offered as many as I could cart away.  They also told me that they usually have to call a service to take the old tires and that they prefer to donate the used tires when possible.  They had recently donated 20 used tires to a local high school for their football team's training.  I noticed that C-Dog Pound had some tire work in his circuit training and I have been having a great time lately alternating between kettlebell rounds and rounds using my tire as a heavy bag for weapons.  I went in fully prepared to lay out money for a new tire, only to have a nice clerk suggest I get a used one for free!  I'm sure the thought of getting a used tire for free is not new on the forum, but this was a real positive experience.  I had my piece of (free) equipment washed and hung in my home gym within ten minutes leaving the store.
811  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2-4 day DBMA Camp with Guro Crafty on: February 20, 2008, 02:57:53 PM
I am available for any events for the camp on the 26th and 27th.  I have a research retreat for my graduate work starting on the 28th from 8am-5pm and running through the 4th of July cry, so I could only make the first two days if the camp turns out to be a four day event.

Guro Crafty, is this going to be like the previous camps that are featured in the gallery on the public site?  Multiple DBMA and guest instructors, all covering some topic relavant to DBMA?  Also, what kid of material would Bruno Cruicchi be covering?  Any location(s) in mind?  Sorry.  Lots of questions for something that obviously takes a great deal of time and energy to plan, but this is very exciting!
812  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: February 15, 2008, 09:58:29 AM
I'll ask in public since I know there are other interested parties:

Guro Marc,
Any more thoughts or information about a camp in California?
813  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ninja Babies on: February 05, 2008, 10:58:44 AM
"Dog" Ryan-  As martial artists, martial athletes, and martial scholars, I like that we are starting to spend some time looking at character development and ethics in the same detail that we examine our fighting ability.  When you used the word "attributes", I immediately went to the JKD usage.  What a great idea that character development in children and ethics might run parallel to attributes like speed, strength, and endurance in forging a complete martial artist and a well developed child.

Rio- My apologies for being unclear.  I was asking, aside from formal training, do you have anything you do with your young ones that is martial arts training, but doesn't appear to be?  For lack of a better example, think Daniel in The Karate Kid sanding the floor and painting the fence.  For really young kids, it is usually in the form of a game or during play that you are training them when they don't know it.  Now that I think about it, when he gets older, maybe my son can carry out the garbage with one hand while he presses a kettlebell with the other... smiley
814  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Ninja Babies on: February 04, 2008, 12:18:13 PM
I have a nine month old son. This past holiday season, I took my boy to a holiday party at a large martial arts academy at which I train.  When I was giving my son a bottle, several of the other students noticed that I feed my son with him holding onto my bottle arm in the closed guard.  I have been giving my son his bottles this way for as long as I can remember.

One of my other favorite games is to force my son to keep me at bay with his feet.  When I get to his side, he is kissed and tickled for some time.  I have noticed that over time, his legs have gotten stronger and he is a bit better at pushing me away.  I also take my son with me two nights a week to an academy for my teaching/training.  The other students seem to like that my boy is being exposed to the martial arts so early in his development.

I was wondering, for all the folks out there with kids or who have regular interaction with children, what kinds of things (like the above examples) do you do to expose them to martial arts?
815  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: new to the board on: January 18, 2008, 01:03:03 PM
Welcome to the forum.  Your school looks like a fun place to train.  How great that in a small town you have all of the training opportunities that you wrote about!

816  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: January 18, 2008, 12:58:21 PM
"Dog" Ryan,

Thanks for the shout out! I'm very proud to be a member of the tribe, and now "C-Guide Dog".  I'm also happy to be amongst the current group of people who are moving through the ranks in the tribe, a really great group of folks, including yourself.

C-Guide Dog

PS: A minor detail, but "Bryan" please. Not "Brian", "Bryon", or "Byron".  Just like "Brian", except with a "y". Thank you, I really apprciate it.
817  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DB Gathering of the Pack August 10th, 2008 on: January 08, 2008, 01:21:36 AM
Dog Tom,

What a great post! All I have to add is that the post-Gathering state of being is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.  Aside from a great shot on the elbow from Poi Dog and a good knee to the ribs from Pappy, most of the injuries I have sustained at the Gatherings have gone unnoticed until I arrived home and fired up that post-Gathering shower.  This is not to say that I have not been hit hard by many of the other amazing warriors that I have fought with but the high that I experience every time I fight in a Gathering makes it all seem not so bad and VERY, VERY worth it. There's NOTHING like it. 

If you are even thinking of fighting, you should do it.  Take a knife fight to warm-up and then take a stick fight and see what happens. The Gathering is a lab space, not the Olympics. I have "been killed", "killed", looked really bad and gotten beat up, and also managed to pull a few cool things off. I'm willing to "die", tap, "kill", get hit, or hit you as many times as I need to in order to facilitate my growth and to see the tribe grow as a whole. I've written this before: Let's step out there and  hurt each other a little bit. smiley
818  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Training to much? on: July 11, 2007, 11:12:20 AM
Maxx,

5thprofessional47 has given you some really good advice.  That single day a week of rest is really important.  If you have a hard time with taking a day, think about that day off as part of your training.  That way, you won't feel guilty when that day comes.  Also, if you can plan some kind of fun activity on that day, you will find that it will really enrich your overall training.  Again, think about that activity (even if it's taking in a movie you've been waiting to see) as part of your overall training.  Also, remember that one of the missions of DBMA is that you should "walk as a warrior for all your days."  Each day is different and each decade is different.  That is not an excuse to be lazy but a reality.  Maybe you were tired during the training session you described.  Maybe you had a momentary head rush.  Maybe your usual training routine needs to be revamped.  One of my favorite things to do is evaluate how my work day has changed me when I train in the evenings.  Am I tired?  Am I pumped up?  Was I rushing to get to class?  Am I nervous about something?  Am I focused?  Am I taking too many mental vacations?  Your training should be working for you and for what you need.  That's my 2 cents.  Think about the day off each week, keep training, and most importantly, have fun.  Things usually balance themselves out so you'll probably have a work out soon where you do something you didn't think you could do or you go longer than you've ever gone before.
819  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Some Jun07 Gathering Pics on: July 11, 2007, 10:49:11 AM
Both of those sets of pics were a lot of fun to look at.  Thank you both for sharing!
820  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What does Kali Tudo Groundwork have in store for us?? on: May 08, 2007, 07:08:55 PM
I'm very happy to be a member of Sensei Harris' Grappling Association as well as a member of the Dog Brothers Tribe.  When I saw this thread, I was hoping to get Mr. Harris to answer.  Mr. Harris is a very good teacher with a great eye for the little details.  I hope this is okay with Guru Crafty but here is a link to Mr. Harris' response on the boards on the Harris International Website.

http://www.royharris.com/forum/showthread.php?p=11727#post11727
821  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: March 16, 2007, 01:31:34 PM
1. "Let's go out there and hurt each other a little bit."  I always say something like this to my training partner before we go out and fight.  I always try to get them to laugh with me before we step out there and hit each other with sticks.  I was just realizing right now that I don't know what word to use to refer to the other men who fight with me during the Gatherings.  What's the right word?  Partner/brother/warrior? All seem appropriate.  "Opponent" doesn't seem right.  I don't mean to disrespect the warriors I have fought or will fight in June.  They give me MAJOR game and I have been "killed" many times.  I know that using the word "opponent" might be helpful to put me in a more aggressive mental state.  The problem is that if I really try to think of my partner as someone who is threatening my family and I use that, there might be a little hate in my heart.  I don't think that this would turn all 5'7" of me into a "mindless killing machine" (I'm more Jack Russell Terrier than a Doberman anyways), but Gatherings have nothing to do with hate.  At the same time, I want to respect my opponent and give him a chance to test himself.  It's a fine line to walk.  I have wondered many times after a fight if I am aggressive enough for DBMA.

2. What I really love about the Gatherings is that they are a good model for how the world should be: two men with aggression realize that aggression exists and they go and use that aggression to test themselves and to grow.  After the fight ends, while it might seem like a terrible cliche, both men have won because they know themselves better.  Wouldn't it be great if all of the stupid people in the stupid places doing stupid things (Guru Crafty's expression) could fight in the same way?  One young man with no healthy outlet for his aggression says something dumb to another young man.  The second young man hits him in the face and the first young man realizes what he said was wrong.  They argue over who should buy the beer and they both feel like they know themselves better.  No one calls their friends or pulls out a knife.  Maybe it's wrong to dream about a utopia but maybe that's a vision that's tied into the heart of DBMA. 

P.S. Most of my posts always come back to how we can use the martial arts to improve the state of the world.  I teach junior high in a fairly tough neighborhood.  If only some of my students would hit each other with sticks once in a while.  They would be a lot happier!  I look forward to hurting and getting hurt a little bit by some of you in June.

822  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 22, 2007, 07:43:35 PM
Jeff,

Your experience is one of professional warriors trying to use their knowledge to guide future generations.  You were doing that in a situation where the knowledge you were passing on really did play a part in the survival of those military professionals that you were guiding.  Talk about testing knowledge in the adrenal state!   Personally, I am a public school teacher and a martial arts enthusiast.  However, our goal of passing on knowledge to those who came after us to help define character is the same.  While my job sometimes feels like combat, you however performed that role in a military environment.  You have my deep respect and admiration.
823  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Wali Songo Silat with Pendekar Steve Benitez on: February 22, 2007, 05:29:11 PM
Just for informational purposes: Guru Inosanto closed his mixed Silat camp last year with footage of Pendekar Benitez.  All I have to say is wow!  Pendekar Beneitez has amazing movement on the ground and blinding speed.  John and Suzanne Spezzano, who are instructors over at the Inosanto Academy, fly out to train with Pendekar Benitez several times a year, and they have nothing but respect for him.  I have a previous commitment but if you are local, you should do everything you can to attend the seminar.
824  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 22, 2007, 05:14:12 PM
This is a great thread with many people expressing relevant and thought provoking ideas.  The ideal of a knight versus the actual reality of knights has already been explored in this thread.  What strikes me about this topic is how much of human fiction is devoted to archetypal warrior characters.  I am writing about fiction, not history because fiction often shows us what human beings strive to be in light of reality.  A knight, a samurai, a Shaolin monk, an ignorant white man who learns warrior ways from another culture, a Jedi, etc., all have to do with an ideal warrior-intellectual who demonstrates for those around him what the best life path is.

It can often be inferred from these works that contain characters like this that the warrior knows their wisdom has come with a hard price.  The warrior-character usually waits for the days when they can move on to the next stage of life/manhood.  What is so troubling about real-life contemporary, archetypal villains (criminals, violent drug-addicts, gang members, etc.) is that they exhibit no signs of revering life and they do not give any thought to the future.  There is no "next stage" for them, whereas the warrior archetype from fiction is often waiting for "the war to end", or for "the fighting to stop" so that they can assume an elder/King/sage sort of roll. 

It strikes me that we have many templates for what could be a well-lived life available here in this thread.  Most of them seem to contain a warrior stage that comes fairly early on in the various progressions.  The progressions all seem to move from those stages to some sort of a father-figure/adviser roll.  In the DBMA logo, "heart" is on the top of the triangle.  In the Inosanto/LaCoste FMA triangle, love is at the top.  This is the same thing.  The healing arts are the last phase of FMA in Guru Inosanto's FMA progression.  ALL of these life templates are leading the warrior to the same place: being a guide/father/King/adviser/sage/healer who is loved and respected for having walked the path and now improving the world around him by guiding the youth through the same process.

It has already been articulately expressed in this thread that ideals for how to live life are usually met with skepticism in our culture and how unfortunate that is.  If we can have the courage to strap on fencing masks and hit one another with sticks to cultivate the warrior spirit, can we have the courage to say that we want to use martial art, or martial philosophy, or a martial experience/life to try and make the world a better place?  I already know how naive that last sentence must read as but it only reads as such because of cultural cynicism.  Do we have the courage to try and be a modern-day knight, Jedi, samurai, etc.?  If we can do that, it just may be that our world-wide dream for the world to be a good place, as demonstrated in fiction, might actually start to catch up with our reality.
825  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: February 21, 2007, 09:24:04 PM
I am going to try and start things off on a positive note in a thread that I know is going to be heated.  Energy drills are fun.  They are fun to do with someone that knows them.  I often talk about sumbrada and the related drills in this thread as a language.  It's fun to learn the language and then speak it with others familiar with it.  You can go super slow with these drills.  You can work with minimal resistance.  You can also step it up and use some padding and go full speed, moving in and out of the drills.  Watching two expereinced FMA practitioners move in and out of the drills is really beautiful.

Personally, at the two gatherings I have participated in, I have been able to deflect a strike and return a strike that made contact (Sumbrada) here and there.  I will admit to getting hit at the gatherings, getting "killed" many times, and realizing my ground game needs work.  My preparation for participating at the gatherings has been  a few years in the Inosanto blend and some VERY padded stick sparring sessions.  I am still alive after my participation.  My main goal in DBMA is access to experiences that make me qualified to talk about what has worked for me in the FMA.  I like talking about roof blocks because I have used them in real time.  I feel qualified to share my own experiences with others if it is helpful.  For me, I like a mix of the energy drill training and the fighter's perspective to keep my FMA experience fresh.  Really, the "combat-only" perspective and the energy-drill perspective should be working together in the modern FMA practitioner.

The problem I am seeing in contemporary martial arts is that we need to realize that we are ALL family.  We all have something to offer.  The energy drills of the FMA have something to offer.  Going right into stick and knife sparring is a route that has something to offer.  Seeking out those techniques that have been "tested" is a route that has something to offer.  I realize this paragraph is a little touchy-feely but what we are all talking about is using martial arts to improve the state of the world, whether that is being an unorganized militia or doing Tai Chi in the morning because it is relaxing.

In that respect, let's stop being martial arts bigots and accept that everyone has different goals.  For all the "sumbrada studs" (Guru Crafty's expression) out there, keep on doing your thing.  We need you to make the FMA look good and attract new, good people to the art.  For all of the hard-core fighters out there, keep doing your thing.  Not everyone (understandably) wants to go down your road and we will need to hear about your experiences so we can learn from them.  For the folks in the middle who just wanted to learn martial arts because of the character and health benefits it offers, keep doing your thing.  I have met some of the nicest people ever in the martial arts and the feeling of belonging the arts can bring you is amazing.  So, if you want reality only or "cage-tested" material only, okay.  Just realize that you should not judge the folks who like learning a million variables for punyo sumbrada.  The energy-drill folks also need to stop looking at DBMA and shaking their heads because they are not seeing one clean snake or vine disarm at any of the gatherings.  If we start to look at it from the perspective of using the FMA to improve the state of the world, that is much healthier than fighting over who is "alive" and who is "dead". Whether that improvement in the world is preparing someone to defend their loved ones or giving a child a place to go and practice "kung-fu" afterschool that keeps them out of trouble, it is all the same goal.
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