Here is what we think is a final draft of what will be going out in the e-newsletter:
As discussed at http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1577.0
rhythm of the seasons of our Dog Brothers Gatherings is now as follows:
There are three Gatherings every year.
In early April we have "The Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering". For these
there is only the fighters. There is no audience. These Gatherings are for
members of the Tribe. The first one was held this year and in re-enactment
of the Creation Mythos of the Dog Brothers Tribe 20 years ago, once again
the fights were for three days. The first of the days was in the Acu
Canyon Park in San Juan Capistrano where it all began what seems like only
yesterday so long ago. Days two and three were in a horse corral on a
hillside in Temecula. All three days were filmed by a 5 camera crew with
such films to its credit as the Grateful Dead movie and will figure
prominently in the Dog Brothers movie currently completing production. The
basic concept of the movie is "Pumping Iron meets Tao of the Dog" wherein
the three days of fights serve the same function in the story arc as the
contest in South Africa did for "Pumping Iron".
Future Tribal Gatherings will be for two days.
In August we have "The Dog Brothers Open Gathering". We chose August
because that is the big month for vacations in Europe and thus it is
easiest for our Euro brothers to come play. This year, as will be described
fully in a moment, it took place on Sunday August 10th in Burbank,
In late September or early October in Bern Switzerland we have "The Euro
Gathering". This year it will be September 27th. Contact Guro Benjamin
"Lonely Dog" Rittiner at email@example.com
With the new overall rhythm of the seasons established, it is time to turn
to the events of this past Sunday.
After the decade in the Hermosa Park we spend several agreeable years at
the RAW Gym in El Segundo. Then we held the Gathering at what was Original
Productions soundstage for the TV show "Monster Garage" for the Gathering
that was the focus of the National Geographic documentary "Fight Club"
(hideous name I know, I know, but my objections were overruled). OP kindly
let us do another Gathering there, but with their renovation of the space
into offices, this option no longer was available.
The search for a new space was on. This is not an easy matter. Indeed,
finding a place for a Dog Brothers Gathering is a really good trick. Not
only do we need a distinctive type of space, but our budget is limited, and
most places will freak out when they are given to understand the nature of
the event. As detailed in the saga on the thread athttp://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1484.0
we were coming scarily
close to Gathering day without a place being lined up. Fortunately Pappy
Dog put his nose to the ground and via his friend Eric Fleischman sniffed
out the Powerhouse Gym of Burbank, CA. Eric, a long time fan of the DBs,
is held in good repute at Powerhouse and put in the word on our behalf with
the owner Tisto Chapman and conversations came to a fruitful conclusion.
Thus it came to pass that this past Sunday, at 11:00 on August 10th we held
our annual "Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack" at the Powerhouse Gym
of Burbank, California.
The space in question is a large basketball court with a rubberized floor
and padding on the walls behind the baskets. The fight area consisted of a
30x30 area of puzzle type mats kindly provided by Pappy Dog, which were set
so that a padded wall comprised one of the four sides of the fight area to
enable crashing the fights into the wall. Eric and Pappy also managed to
line up a goodly number of folding chairs so that most of the audience was
able to sit. Those of you who remember the days at RAW will appreciate
this detail! Speaking of the audience, at about 220 it was the biggest one
have had since we left the Hermosa Park. In the past we have had to keep
things down a bit out of concern for the limitations of the facility, but
with Powerhouse we have plenty of room to grow. Also a big plus is the
sturdy air conditioning system!
At forty one fighters this was one of the largest Gatherings on record
(fifty fighters were registered, but apparently at the last minute there
was a bit of a vaginitis virus going around , , ,).
As those of you who have followed us for some time know, we begin the day
with knife fighting-- sometimes playfully called "sport knife dueling". As
discussed at http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=376.0
problem is that when the knives are not real, typically neither is the
with of course much room for difference of opinion as to what constitutes
realistic behavior; after all when two hostile people have knives, we are
told that the likeliest outcome is that one of them runs away LOL.
Whatever the case, the problem is that of what is often called "knife
boxing" wherein the two men merrily pummel each other away. Mockery by me
directed to the crowd such as "You're both dead!" usually gets a smile and
near zero change in behavior. Even aluminum trainers, which facilitate the
imposition of more pain, have made little difference. The past couple of
years we have gone to the "Shocknives" (see our video clip endorsing them
) I like the Shocknives-- they DO make a
difference! There are some limitations though: a) Even though we get ours
for free, for most people even with the newer models which cost less, they
cost a lot. b) with the Neanderthals that we tend to attract, we have still
have people who ignore them c) they burn through batteries really fast.
With the April Tribal Gathering and this Gathering we think we may have
finally come up with a solution: aluminum trainers that size of a small
(or not so small) bowie knife. Whatever the shape/design of the blade, the
heft of the aluminum bar makes not only substantial pain but also for the
of broken bones, especially in the hand, wrist and forearm-- which leads to
more realistic behavior.
The fights with the big aluminum trainers as well as some of the Shocknife
fights at this Gathering really stepped up to the level that we have been
looking for. Also exciting was the one 2x2 fight. Newcomer Mauricio
Sanchez of Mexico City, Mexico showed outstanding situational awareness by
breaking off from his opponent several times to ambush the man fighting his
partner from behind. In the chaos of the fight it was hard to tell if
anyone actually "lived", but both the crowd and the fighters had a fine
time. With several of the fights I started the fighters with the knives
"hidden" (typically tucked in the waistband somewhere) and shaking hands.
When I released their clasped hands, the fight was on. I encouraged each
to attack the other before drawing his knife, but this occurred only one
time-- with great success I might add!
With the knife fights over, it was time for stick. In that I have not yet
received the actual footage from cameraman Night Owl, I will mostly have to
go with general impressions.
First: The level of aggression and courage was very high, even amongst
the many newcomers and less experienced fighters. Even with this level of
aggression, the consciousness of the Dog Brothers code was consistently
Second: I was quite pleased to see many fighters embracing drawing hidden
knives and putting them into play when fights went to clinch. This is
something I have been pushing for for several years now, and it is very
satisfying to see this finally take root. A Dog Brothers Gathering is not
really about young male ritual hierarchical combat. For most there it is
about preparing, to borrow the DBMA mission statement, "to walk as a
warrior for all your days". What we install in the depth of the adrenal
for better or worse, perhaps the deepest of all learnings. In my opinion,
it is vital to transcend the mind of the BJJ mat and the MMA cage to train
ourselves in this state to always be monitoring the hands for movements
that can serve to access weapons!!!
This also includes the matter of accessing one's own weapons. At present
this mostly consists of sticking an aluminum trainer at 4:00-6:00, or under
the shirt at 2:00 (reverse the numbers for lefties). With a glove on
(more on the gloves shortly) this can be a good trick-- so particular kudos
the man who wore pants so that he had pockets into which to put his actual
folding trainer so that he could actually work what he would actually have
to access in the real world. Important data was acquired when the handle
of the knife actually broke upon impact
Third: Although it is quite common for many fighters to fight only 1-3
fights, in this Gathering we had many fighters who fought many fights.
Not only is this an impressive display of fighting spirit, but also of
conditioning-- one notes that the latter tends to support the former!
Fourth: The trend to ultralight gloves continues. Many fighters are
gloves that serve only to protect from gratering on the fencing masks, but
offer little to no protection from impact. A hearty woof of respect!
Fifth: As a fan of double stick I would have liked to have seen more
double stick fights, but the ones that were had were very good. C-Straw
Dog and Mauricio Sanchez had one that caught my eye.
Sixth: Some random impressions:
Able to easily pace lesser opponents and step up as necessary with the more
challenging one, Pappy Dog showed understated polish and skill in his
fights. On his 50th birthday "Dog Pound" at a svelte 265 (down from 305)
had a rocking fight with Lorenz Glaza. War Dog returned to the DB wars
after a couple of years of MIA due to getting started as a LEO and looked
good as ever. Guide Dog, off a tremendous showing in Temecula and a broken
foot since then, was able to do quite well anyway. C-Straw Dog continues
one of the fighters who shows strong stick skills. Dog Tom represented us
old folks quite well. Dog Dean showed both skill and an extra measure of
warrior spirit by fighting with a knee that was already scheduled for
surgery. Dog Mat showed that the growth from the Temecula Gathering is
yielding strong fruit. First timer Rene Cocolo of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
had an excellent cherry performance, including one fight with strong boxing
blast type punches that drove his opponent across the fight area. Fellow
old-timer Steve Gruhn as usual dove in with gusto until what may be a torn
hamstring laid him low. Canadian Phil Hurcum showed several nice roof to
belly thrusts in one of his many fights as well as considerable joie de
combat. As usual Mark Mosquiera was in the mix, and first timer Mauricio
Sanchez of Mexico showed excellent double stick in his fight with C-Straw
Dog. Dog Eric Bryant continues to bring scary kicking skill to his stick
skills-- he's the kind of man who can easily kick someone in the head
before they see it coming-- and so he does.
New djembe drummer "Yumi" (christened "Yumi the Yummy" by one wag in
attendance) did a fine job of providing pulse to the proceedings without
drowning out the action. Part way through the day she was assisted
spontaneously and quite capably by a man whose name I don't remember
without reviewing the video. Our usual Master of Arms and Timekeeper
James Stacey was otherwise engaged but his students Mike and Brian stepped
in nicely. Of particular importance was Dog Dean Webster who not only was
quite busy as a fighter, but also served as EMT. Ascensions to and within
Dog Brothers Tribe can be found athttp://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=784.50
Both Powerhouse and we were very happy with each other and look forward to
a long-term relationship.
In closing, as we return to our semi-normal lives I would like to quote
Phil Hurcum athttp://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1484.150
(where you can find
comments from other fighters as well)
"ha, i am a pretty emotional guy i guess, i look at the photos and i want
to be there again. i should smile.
"i came home and i could hardly talk more than a whisper, thanks big steve
and tom g for leaning on my throat!
"i lay in bed last night and every time i swallowed my adams apple would
move up and down and click, it s true, scared me for a bit but hey if i
gotta go out this is better than diapers ;] .
" , , , i wish i was there still. i have a pretty good life here, family
and friends even, but damn i had more hugs than fights, wtf am i supposed
to do now? watch golf? go back to my cubicle and pretend thats important?
"After this weekend, everything else is slow, which helps my painting, but
"i would like to thank all the people who talked to me, put up with me, and
even those who ignored me, this is my second gathering, and hopefully one
more of many, and this was a life goal for me.
"i cant do this without you, an we cant do this without each other, thanks
for allowing me to be a part of a bigger picture which means something.
"i am rambling a bit so i will leave off fore i wax maudlin, as if i
"gonna finish my glass of fighting cock bourbon, true, and start training
tonight for next year, not true.
"guro crafty, thanks for the time and effort you put into this, you have
changed the lives of four Canadians.
"mabuhay ng escrima!! mabuhay ng familia, personal and martial!
"( i reread this twice and i dont want to post it really but i am hitting
the button anyway)
To my eye, the seemingly unpolished writing speaks eloquently of the
altered state that comes from this experience.
As the saying goes, "Intelligence is the amount of time it takes to forget
a lesson". Carry the lessons of this experience forward with you and
walk as a warrior for all your days. No judges! What others think of
you is none of your business. No referees! Even in the aggressive
adrenal state you are responsible for what you do. No trophies! This
is not for the roar or the adulation of others. This is for the you who
you are in the silence of a stick buzzing by your head-- in the moment
you decide just which self it is you wish to defend.
"The greater the dichotomy, the profounder the transformation. Higher
consciousness through harder contact" (c)
As the Adventure continues, I am
The Crafty Dog
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers
PS: Lurking silently is my Pretty Kitty, "In Charge of Reality." I am
simply in charge of everything else.