After speaking to Marc Denny at the last gathering, he asked me to please post my personal "post gathering" experience on this forum for all to read.
The gathering itself was invaluable to me in many ways: the test of skill, the "brotherhood", but most of all the adrenaline rush. Learning to deal with the adrenaline rush provied invaluable just a couple of months after the gathering. Before I get to that, a little about my gathering experience. At the gathering, I participated in one knife fight and three stick fights. During the majority of my fights, I was overwhelmed by the adrenaline rush, forcing me to operate on "automatic pilot". It wasn't until my last stick fight that I could actually think clearly and approach my opponent strategically.
I live in a primarily hispanic neighborhood, and many of my neighbors are involved in gangs. I've known many of the guys since they were kids, and they treat me with respect, because they know that I both teach and study marital arts. A few months after the gathering, one of my next door neighbors went a bit crazy, and began to beat up his younger brothers. He was only twenty, not too tall, but very bulky and strong, due to his weightlifting and football practices. I heard the yelling and immediately ran to the gate that opened to their back yard. As I began to enter, one of the younger brothers ran past me, his mouth bloodied. The mother met me at the gate and insisted that "everything was under control". But when I returned back to my apartment, I began hearing the mother yell "James! No!". I looked over the fence and saw the mother trying to hold her eldest son down on the ground. The grandparents were trying to help, but one had a heart condition and the other was battling cancer--not a very strong team! To make things worse, James was taking swings at his mother. With my adrenaline surging, I hopped the fence, pushed the mother aside and took her son back down to the ground. I was amazed at how clearly I was able to think, depite all the adrenaline in my system! I put him into a classic neck crank and locked his arm under my leg. To my suprise, he turned his head and bit me in the ribcage (I wasn't wearing a shirt)! More adrenaline dumped in. I still could think clearly, so I turned him into a postion to charge me head on, so that I could put him into a guillatine choke. I rolled back and held on for the ride, until he almost passed out. "Yes", the police arrived, took photos of my bite wound and took statements. I didn't press charges, but James was taken to the county jail for the night, followed by several months of anger management classes. He was obviously high on some drug that day, as well as the adrenaline he felt, because he could remember next to nothing about the incident. When he got out of jail, he came over to my apartment and apologized profusely. I told him that he was so out of control that day, that if he had hit one of his grandparents, in their fragile state, he would have killed them. I said. "I chose to jump the fence, because I didn't want our next converation to be through prison bars".
Had I not participated in the Dog Brothers Gathering, I would never been able to handle that situation with such diplomacy and clarity of mind. To the founders and coordinators of the Dog Brothers, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to go beyond my previous limits, and directly apply those lessons to real life! The gathering and the incident that followed, truely changed my life.