Thursday, June 14, 2007

What I did on vacation

Alright, at the end of May, I managed to get some vacation time, and decided to go to
Michigan. I know, I know, Michigan. But there was a good reason. It was the bi-annual
Gathering of the Tribes at the Innovative Martial Arts dojo, and my first chance to go.
And, despite it being in Michigan, I loved it.
It started on Friday, 25MAY07. After an interesting tour of mid-70's airports, and a smoking
lounge designed for 10, and serving 35, I arrived in Grand Rapids, a little before my brother-in-crime, Bobbe Edmonds(look in the links bar). We met up, gathered luggage, met Chuck, and his
partner Don, and got the rental car. So as not to sound braggy, I will just say that Mazda M3s
are the shit. We went to the hotel, dropped the luggage, got some toys out of the bags, and went to Chucks house, which is also where the dojo is. On arrival, I met Jeanne, Chucks wife(she really is to good for you Chuck), and finally saw the old man, Mushtaq, my silat teacher.(once again, look in the links bar), and a bunch of other people, some of whom I had communicated online with for awhile. One was Bill Bednarik, who makes some of the nicest trainers, thumpers and toys I have seen. Check his stuff out at . His fighting ability is top notch as well. Finally, Jay Carstensen of KSMA fame showed up(you know, links bar),
and we soon found out that Jay has a sick, perverted sense of humor. Of course that means that we became fast friends. The rest of the night was spent talking, playing, and show and tell with
a bunch of various interesting implements. At around 2 am, Bobbe and I made it back to the hotel and passed out. Then came Saturday...

Saturday, or, How to hurt someone, hurl crass insults, and perform silat while laughing hilariously.
Mush,(he just loves being called that), I mean Guru Mushtaq, started the day, after Cody Fielding warmed us up with some Intu-flow. Silat Zulfikari was the basis, of course, but it was an interesting segment. Taking one "seed movement" and taking it as far as you can.
Then came a great treat. Guro Buzz Smith of Maharlika Kuntaw taught. He is amazing, has a great sense of humor, and incredible teaching ability.
After Buzz, Chuck and Don took us through some Hocheim knife work.
Then, as a great surprise, Grandmaster Bobby Taboada, of Balintiwak Cuentada Eskrima, taught a class on the basics of his great art. What a nice man, especially as he was "just in the neighborhood". In Michigan!?! His class was great, and a lot of information was transmitted
on the use of the baston in Balintiwak.
The drummers also helped out by keeping the tempo at the right pace. It was also fun sharing "oxygen" with Grandmaster in between classes.
After this, it was Chuck and Don time again, teaching a section on SunYun Do walking stick work, as part of their rank testing. Oh, did I mention that Don didn't know he was testing? Sneaky bastards, it was great. I enjoyed whacking sticks with Jay, and learning what they had
come up with.
Then, after all this, the "official" rank testing, for 4th Dan was held. After a presentation, questioning period, and some small scenarios, they, meaning Chuck and Don, had defend against a mass attack/robbery consisting of 6 people, of which I was one. And boy did they have to work. I am a sneaky, assholey bastard after all. In a great performance, in which Cuck managed to stab me in the throat through my mouth, without hardly touching anything,(long story), it was done. After conferring, they were unanimously awarded 4th Dan ranking by the League of Non-Alligned Martial Artists, of which I am a proud member..
Then, there was much food, comaraderie, and more playing, until bedtime, which I can't remember when that was. I do know that the only place to eat in Grand Rapids after 1:30 am
is Denny's, though.
Sunday was started off by Cody of RMAX International teaching some FlowFit, and getting us more in touch with our movement, which was awesome. Then the moment we had all waited for. Bobbe did a great segment on the silat of the Sunda peoples from Java. Never as there been such a mix of laughter, smartassedness, and twisting joints. It was one of the best classes in silat I have been involved in.
Then there was a small class, followed by Grandmaster Toboada teaching some empty hand apps from Balintiwak. Another great time.
Then, the rest of the time, through Monday night was just great fun. Sharing, playing, show and tell(still), movies... the list goes on.
I had a blast, can you tell?