Summer Gathering 2003 Report
A Howl of Greeting to All:
On Sunday July 13th, the ?Dog Brothers? Summer Gathering of the Pack? was held once again at the RAW Gym in El Segundo, CA--- on the heels of the ?Dog Brothers Martial Arts Training Camp? held July 10-12.
Each Gathering has its own unique rhythm, part of which is each fighter?s preparations. To know that you have given your word to yourself that at time certain and place certain you will be , , , .
In the months prior to this Gathering, Top Dog announced that this would be his ?last time?. The summer Gathering last year there was an exciting fight between TD and Tom Kier. With the word that Tom was returning to fight again (advertisement: in conjunction with his appearance as Tuhon of Sayoc Kali covering ?Medical Management? at our DBMA Training Camp the day before) there was considerable anticipation amongst the cognoscenti of the return engagement?which poetically enough would take place on TD?s last day.
Curious glances were cast from around the room as Eric and Tom greeted each other when Tom arrived at the Camp. Alas, due to back and knee problems the fight was not to be. After Tuhon Tom?s morning presentation (a fascinating and highly practical presentation on the near totally neglected area of Medical Management?we thank TT for his help) the afternoon session was one of GM Gyi?s famous get-ready-to fight Dhanda yoga sessions. The ever-playful GM Gyi paired the two Eric and Tom together for the session. During one position (think Child?s Pose facing Down Dog with Down Dog?s front paws on his back) TT had to walk his hands down the length of TD?s back, deep massaging the spinal erectors as he went. TD is a long body type and Tom had to really reach. ?God, you?re long? he commented.
TD, reciprocating, complimented Tom?s hand strength as Tom worked on his back muscles. ?You?re very strong.?
Hot Dog, never one to miss a beat, continued with ?And you?re very pretty.?
GM Gyi cracked up.
But I digress , , ,
The fighters were:
Gerald ?C-Heretic? Dog Boggs
Dog Brian ?Porn Star? Jungwiwattanattaporn, a.k.a. ?Jung?
Dog Mike Barredo
R. Kalani Grimm
Amal Jasen , , , ,
and Linda Matsumi (knife)
After several years of lapsing in this regard, we will once again be listing all fighters on the Fire Hydrant page of our website. If I have missed anyone, please email me so that your name can be included.
Yours truly and Salty Dog served as Ringmaster; GM Gyi was available for injury management; as usual James Stacey was Timekeeper and Master of Arms; Underdog?s son James Salter was on Camera; and we were once again fortunate to have Mark Mikita on Djembe drum. In attendance also were Original DBs Sled Dog and Surf Dog, and Hot Dog.
As always, my Pretty Kitty was In Charge of Reality.
The crowd/tribe was in full strength. We were honored by the attendance of Grandmaster Atillo of Atillo Balintawak and introduced him to the crowd. The number of the fighters was a bit less than usual?(approximately 25) but when the dust cleared, the time spent fighting was longer than usual. Also greater than usual were the number of injuries-- more on this below.
For the opening talk I had intended to underline my words about realistic behavior in the knife fights by waving a real knife around in front of people?s faces, but, well, I forgot the knife and had to use only words to make my point. Whatever the cause, I would say that the level of realism in the knife fights on the whole was good.
A few Gatherings ago we introduced using aluminum training blades. The first time we did this, nearly everyone used them. However the percent of people using them has declined substantially since then. This is understandable?a good whack with an aluminum blade on the hand carries with it a substantial chance of breaking bones?not to mention how much it hurts wherever it hits or the chance of a power thrust doing damage. I should mention that the trend towards ultra-light hand gear continues?with several fighters using ski gloves, moto-cross gloves and such both against knife and against stick.
There were many exciting and skillful knife fights demonstrating good technique as well as athleticism. A disarm by kick was seen, as were traps, and kills from both long range and close. Linda Matsumi, our efforts at helping her find women opponents for stick having come up empty this time, faced her opponent?s hard plastic knife with aluminum. She showed excellent ambidexterity switching from left to right for a kill slash to the neck, and later made another kill after a disarm.
Top Dog?s son Matt (14 years old and already taller than me L ) made his Gathering debut facing his father?and gave a very good account of himself.
Bryan Lorentzen and C-Heretic Dog opened the Stick fights with a fight that went to clinch and grapple in fairly short order. Once there, both men showed well on several levels including skillful headbutts and headbutt defense.
Dog Brian Porn Star went sinwali against his opponent?s single and showed good array of outer-range-in-to-media-range-and-out-again techniques.
Pinoy Maynard Ancheta came in with an interesting and different structure that allowed for good range control via chamber and footwork shifts. When I asked him in class the next week what he had been using he told me it was his interpretation of Hsing Yi empty hand
James Wilks and his opponent were up next with some large sticks. James showed a varied game including a KK kicking close and sound vale tudo kissakatami (sp?) on the ground to submission.
Lonely Dog and his opponent fought Staff. Lonely is pretty formidable on staff and looked good as he drove the fight went to Vale Tudo clinch in the corner.
True Dog and Dog Greg had a hardcore KK siniwali fight going that was cut short as the fight clinched and Greg?s shoulder dislocated. When I called him a few days afterwards he told me that the doc says it was relatively minor and all should be well.
In a single stick fight that included both Right against Left and Right against Right, Kalani Grimm of the Hawaii clan of the Dog Brothers dropped his opponent. Blood flowed freely during the post-fight commentary.
Top Dog dropped his first opponent of the day with a kidney shot.
Dog Mike Barredo adapted his usual structure to fight with a sprained ankle and showed well. Achieving the close and takedown, his mount dominated his opponent?s stick to submission.
Pinoy Dog Carlo Arellano had a sweet KK roof teep combo but had to stop soon thereafter as a knee injury reactivated.
Dog Brian Jung and C-Heretic, who have been working on their clinch games, had an interesting clinch and ground based fight for those with the eye to see it.
Dog Bryan showed some quality stickgrappling in his next fight.
Top Dog continued to lift his leg in his next fight with several strong shots to the head and elsewhere.
C-Heretic, after being driven in the crowd while having half guard, reversed and submitted with a shoulder lock
As part of a well-varied attack James Wilks scored an excellent knee shot in his next fight, a technical takedown and another kissakatami finish.
The knee shot theme continued as True Dog got in a couple in his next fight?not to mention a groin shot. Throwing in kick on the close and some strong vale tudo striking pressure, True got the submission.
Top Dog and Lonely Dog were next. These two always have a fine fight. Lonely is one of the very few people who can threaten Top?s knee or foot, but this time Top closed as he did so. A surprisingly long clinch (after all, Top has 80 pounds on Lonely) staggered into the pads that were stacked up against some weightlifting equipment and his movement muffled by the pads Lonely had to submit to the Fang.
Matt Knaus had his first stickfight and showed very well. The glow of the altered state was obvious in his post-fight interview. We?ll be seeing more of Matt I think.
Dog Bryan scored a clean hand shot and a pair of knee shots before a wild close put him on his back. Again showing good stickgrappling, he reversed and calmly finished with a nutcracker variation.
Dog Brian?s teacher had promised him that if he used the new ?Los Triques Siniwali? material that it would appear in the next DBMA Siniwali video and apparently he took it to heart.
Against a worthy opponent (who scored well too) he displayed a nice mix of attacks?until he lost one stick. Closing with a shout after taking a good hit, he was able to achieve arm bar position from which he pummeled his opponent into submission with both stick and empty-handed strikes.
After taking one to the head, James Wilks and his opponent clinched. Although he was swept on his effort to sweep out of clinch, he kept his focus and went for an arm-bar that flowed very nicely into a leg/inside heel hock that was applied both skillfully and with excellent safety awareness.
Top Dog continued on his rampage against in a siniwali fight with True Dog, dropping him with a fluid attack reminiscent of the famous one that dropped Salty Dog at the beginning of the first video in the first series (RCSF #1 www.dogbrothers.com
J ) True?s post-fight commentary was priceless?he?s a medical technician and his description of the symptoms of his concussion was hysterical.
Dog Bryan siniwali caught Lonely Dog?s staff thinking too much about the snake and his explosive charge got him inside the range of Lonely?s justly feared staff. It cost Lonely some work, but eventually he reversed and passed guard and stunned Dog Bryan with a kick to the occipetal (sp?) that brought matters to a close. Although the kick was substantially pulled, timing and placement were superb.
The closing fight of the day was Top Dog with his son Matt?a very special moment for both. The fight went to clinch and the crowd roared as Matt pulled off a hanging arm throw! TD was able to reverse and take side control, which Matt (who wrestles for his high school team) momentarily reversed.
There were many more fights than these and all in all it was a fine day of warrior spirit. The tribe (and that includes those there to witness) is strong.
That said, over the years in my role as Guiding Force I have had occasion to offer some thoughts for consideration and would like to do so now.
When I give the Magic Words at the beginning of a day?s fighting to the Fighters I will say ?The idea is that we are members of the same tribe, helping prepare each other to stand together to defend our land, women and children. Thus if you go too hard on a man and break him or whether you go too easy on him and leave him inadequately tested and seasoned, it will not serve you well when you stand together in battle.?
No doubt people who think the fencing masks to be helmets will not note the point, but the number of probable concussions in this Gathering (GM Gyi, who assisted injured fighters, estimates at least 6) was too high. An occasional concussion is to be expected at this level? and certainly Top, Salty and I all have been concussed but my sense of things is that this level of concussions is too much. At this rate, the tribe will weaken, not strengthen, from the experience.
Stickfighting IS dangerous and injuries WILL happen, but there is a difference between someone who genuinely understands the risks and takes them anyway, and a young male in a testosterone frenzy thinking he is invulnerable. One may be crazy, but the other is foolish. It may be crazy to do this while genuinely appreciating the consequences risked, but that understanding informs the training and gives it power. What one then brings to a day of fighting allows for an extraordinary experience. But if one simply comes sailing in without the awareness of what a shot to the head can mean and lacking the training to minimize its likelihood, then one is not brave, but foolish.
Why is this happening now at this time?
It is not because some fighters are taking shots that should not be taken. I am proud of the character, composure and awareness shown by the fighters in not taking shots that should not be taken. There is no problem on this front.
The problem, in my opinion has two basic causes. First, with the trend of manufacture of the fencing masks tending towards ever heavier, many of the current masks have large zones of substantial protection, thus leading to unsound habits. Thus it may come as a surprise to a fighter when he gets hit in a zone that offers little protection.
Second, in my opinion is that there is a tendency at the moment to bypass the rigorous training methods that yield sound defensive skills.
What to do?
When it comes to a Dog Brothers Gathering, only you are responsible for you. If you wish to fight, it is up to you what to do about this. I do suggest you think about it and train well.
The adventure continues,
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers