Dog Brothers Public Forum

DBMA Martial Arts Forum => Martial Arts Topics => Topic started by: blindside on September 25, 2013, 12:30:13 PM

Title: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: blindside on September 25, 2013, 12:30:13 PM
Dog Brothers Gathering – a newbies experience

This forum certainly doesn’t need another pro-Dog Brother fanboy post, but you are going to get it anyway.

A little background:
My first exposure to FMA was in 2000 finding a $3 VHS tape called “Stick vs. Other Weapons” in the martial arts section at the local used book store, as it turned out it was the last video of the original “Real Contact Stick Fighting” series.  After seeing that vid, one of my Kenpo training partners and I split the cost of the rest of the series from Panther.  Money well spent and it undoubtedly colored my perception of FMA from that time on.  We trained fairly regularly off of those tapes with “Power” and “Footwork” being the ones we focused the most on.  After that I spent several years trying to find FMA instruction, complicated by the fact that I was spending most of my year living in Wyoming, not exactly a FMA mecca.  I spent about 6 months with a Serrada instructor, and while I really tried to empty my cup, my thoughts kept coming back to “how would this work with in a Dog Brothers fight?”  Eventually we hooked up with a PTK instructor out of SLC, and it just felt right, probably because our basics were based on Eric Knaus’ movement.  Through PTK circles I kept running into people who had been to Gatherings, guys who went once, guys who were candidates, guys were full Dogs, and a guy who was an original Dog Brother.  And for the last several years I had this nagging “you have to go do this” thought crossing my mind every September.  This year the money and timing finally worked out, and I so spent last weekend in LA at the 2013 Open Gathering, some 13 years after finding that first video tape.

The couple of weeks running up the Gathering were a bit odd, getting on the DB Facebook page and forum and basically saying “hey I’m a first timer, anyone wanna fight?”  Having no idea about how experienced your opponent(s) are or if they are in a completely different weight class than you makes any preparation a bit problematic, and provides a little of that fear of the unknown as you move toward the event.

The Gathering
Once at the Gathering it was clear that lots of people knew each other, but it wasn’t clannish, as Ben (my training partner and fellow first timer) said, “everybody is really friendly.” I spent the hour before the fight chatting with other guys, trying to figure who I had scheduled fights against, and just watching the other guys who I recognized from various highlight reels.  Somewhere in that hour I thought to myself “Am I hungry?”  Ah, no that would be the nerves kicking in….  :D  Something that, quite frankly, hasn’t happened in the last several years of running my Kali training group.  I don’t fear my students, some of them are very good fighters, but I know them too well, I don’t know these other fighters here, I don’t know their games.  And that is exactly why I am here. 

The knife fights held the usual approaches, fighters who traded too much to highly technical duelists.  What stood out to me was the use of kicks by some fighters, something I don’t usually work.  My first fight was a group knife fight which was exactly the chaotic bloodbath that I expected.  A good warmup, and a fun beginning for the day.  My memories of the remaining four stick and stick y daga fights are a group of almost static images or at most little vignettes.  I would love to see video of what I actually did, as I was too adrenalized to be a good witness, but the various standout moments were something like:

“Stack him and don’t let him get the armbar and…. Hey look there is knife on the ground right next to his head, that could be useful.”

“Crap this guy is tall, his range is ridiculous.”

Wham! *staggers to right about 4 feet* “Move head, head movement, move!”

“OK, I just hit him really hard, why doesn’t it doesn’t look like it bothered him?”

“How did he grab my stick?  He is supposed to have a knife in that hand, where did his knife go? Ow, ow, ow, close, close, close!”

“And now he does have a knife in that hand…”

Wham! *after a getting thrown by a great seio nage* “Sounds like the crowd liked that.”

Wham!  “What the hell was that?  A spinning backhand pakal knife attack?  Well, too ridiculous to work twice.”  Wham!  “Dammit!”

Anyway, what impressed me the most was the attitude of the fighters.  Everything I had heard about the camaraderie and the approach of the fighters was what I had hoped for and what I saw.  So often with fighters the ego comes into play, be it a roll on the mat or a frickin’ point sparring match, I didn’t see a bit of it on Sunday.  Impressive.  Thank you to Jun, Gibby, Rich, and Tim for the fights.  I went home with a list of things to work on and some inspiration for next year.  Thanks to Crafty and all the others who arranged the event, it was certainly one of the highlights of my martial arts experience.  I’ll be back next year for a new experience, and I will do my best to bring some friends. :D 

Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 25, 2013, 06:16:32 PM
"This forum certainly doesn’t need another pro-Dog Brother fanboy post"

WRONG.  There is ALWAYS room for another fanboy post  :-D

Sounds like you had a fine time and have exactly the kind of spirit that gets what we are about.  Come again.  8-)
Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: DDF on September 26, 2013, 06:16:38 PM
I haven't been able to make it in a while, but I wanted to say that the fotos and turnout seemed very cool from afar. Congratulations to all that participated and to the new additions to the tribe.
Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Spartan Dog on September 27, 2013, 05:48:46 AM
Dog Brothers Gathering – a newbies experience


Thanks for taking the time to share it...I enjoyed reading it  :-)

After my 1st Gathering I too felt the need to do a similar write-up - ( for those interested who have not read it, it is here (

Anyway, hope you make it to the next one as well!
Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Gibby on September 27, 2013, 06:26:13 PM
Very cool Blindside!  It was an honor to step out with you at your first Gathering!  You did awesome-  What I noticed is every year, I am more present, have better vision and am able to work (or at least try to implement) specific techniques and strategies.  My first year was like yours, brief memories of specific moments- had some tunnel vision and adrenalin dump actually.  Reminded me of the first time I pulled my gun on duty only the Gathering HURT. lol

Hope to see you next year bro!
Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Gibby on September 27, 2013, 06:34:13 PM
SPartan Dog, great overview of the Gathering.  Enjoyed reading that!
Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Spartan Dog on September 28, 2013, 11:47:24 AM
SPartan Dog, great overview of the Gathering.  Enjoyed reading that!

Thank-you sir! That was written 4 years ago..the person who put it up put a photo of me in a fighting stance on top, which I felt a bit uncomfortable about - there I was, just after my 1st Gathering, and the lead photo had a "look tough" attitude all over it..oh well, at least what I wrote seemed to come out OK...
Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Gibby on September 29, 2013, 10:48:00 AM
Yeah,  the pic is the best part! LOL

Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: trekkaidius on October 02, 2013, 11:00:09 AM
 :-D lemont! I cant tell you how much this felt like my own post!
well maybe if I could write as good as you do.
bro it was like just like that for me, walk in sweating like crazy from nerves
thinking how am I even gunna know who I arranged the fights with,
how what if I offend someone, and they want me to leave, pretty much how I had NO IDEA what I was doing!
and I was about to be broken in half by anyone and everyone there..
then tobias came up to me and said "are you Tim?" I looked up and said "yussir"
thinking NOPE you got the wrong guy im just here to watch lol
but even in the brief conversation we had I think some of my tension communicated itself
and he kinda just calmed me down, I don't know how but he did..
10 min later I meet TC shadow, im like another HUGE guy.. thinking to my self im dead, I may be walking around but im dead lol
but man... everyone was soo nice to me! hey hows it goin my name is .... whats yours?
ive never been anyware that ppl were just nice to me!
but I cant remember the fights. just bits and pieces, almost like a really good dream.

how I found dog brothers... my friend ben took me over to Jason jones house, he showed me the training
sticks and the masks and the gloves and said we were gunna hit eachother with them!!!!!!!!!!!
it was like you took a kid to the toy store and told him he could play with anything he wanted!
that was about 8 or 9 months ago

lemont, tc, tobias, ryoga it was a true honor!


Title: Re: A newbies first Gathering
Post by: Gibby on October 02, 2013, 06:56:00 PM
This thread made me go back and see what I wrote after my first gathering, pretty similar!


What an honor it was for me to step out with you folks at the Gathering.  Almost 20 years of reading about the Dog Brothers and their "events" just made my first Gathering all the more powerful and inspirational.  I was determined to meet as many of the warriors as I could and just soak it all in, and I believe I did!

The family atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the warrior spirit were EVERYWHERE yesterday.  After attending 1 gathering I cannot fathom ever missing one from now on.

After my first stick fight (Dog Cchi'med) where he destroyed me I walked off to the side and someone said "So how was it?" and I just said, "that was f'ing AWESOME, oww".  Then after the event some guy approached me to do an interview and as we were walking over to get that started I said did you pick me because all of the blood on my shirt or what? and he said nah you just have been making funny comments all day, so I said well what I lack in skill I make up for as a smart-ass and he just knodded.  That was great-

Time to go down to the garage on keep working on that sweep.

A pos"