Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Gathering '09, my view

OK, I have put this off long enough, and Jay, Chuck, and Buzz have posted their
Gathering posts, so, off we go into my memories of this Gathering of the Tribes, v. 2009. But first, a quick word. If you are going to come on here, and post something
about people who were not present at the Gathering, do it under your name. I will not post anonymous comments. Either be an adult, and take responsibility for your words, or STFU. I don't have time for cowards, or shit-stirrers. So, onwards and upwards.

Raja and I got into Grand Rapids(yeah, I know) at midnight Thurs/Friday, and Chuck
Pippen was cool enough to come get us, and put us up for the entire time we were there. This is the most important thing about the Gathering to understand, it is about tribe, family, taking care of each other, and it is personified in how Chuck & Jeanne open their home to all of us reprobates every year.
Friday was spent admiring the knife Chuck made for me, based on the first class I taught in 2007. Keep an eye out for my review of the Weasel, coming soon. We went to breakfast at IHOP, with Mel Hebert, who is a Rossi Kuntao player, and a damn good one. Also at breakfast, and staying at Casa Gathering was Geoffery Bossman, who is
a long time practitioner of various SE Asian arts. Pretty talented as well.
So far, it was a good group of people. We spent the rest of the day bs'ing, playing, getting to know each other, and greeting the fellow travellers as they came in. It really is like coming home to recharge, especially when you get to see the family you have chosen after a long interval. Buddha came in, and it is always great to see him, and we talked for a long while. Then, the Jayman showed up with his entourage. Now the fun was beginning, in earnest. Jay is just one of those people who I hit it off with the first time we spoke, and it has grown from there.
He also brought Carl Ross, who I had heard so much about, and was finally able to meet him. Hey Carl, I hope you find the other half of that job soon, brother.
More eating, this time at a nice Irish Pub, and really getting to talk with Ian, who drove Raj and I there. Ian is an amazingly talented smith and knifemaker, and funny as hell, to boot. As always, somehow, we always manage to stay up til the most ungodly of hours, and the fun just keeps going.

Saturday comes, and, as is the tradition, Jeanne made a wonderful breakfast, and then the training begins. At a Gathering, you can take whatever classes you want, for as long as you want, kind of like a buffet of mayhem. Well, Saturday morning, the table gets set. This year, all of the returning instructors taught on the first day, noobs, the second. Well, nobody is more of a returning instructor then Chuck and Don, so they were first up. Great class on entries against a commited knife attack. Got the blood pumping, the forearms clashing, and some very good, usable
stuff, when the pointy end is trying to enter you.
Then came one of the classes I was waiting for, Jay Carstensen. He is KSMA. Do not let this guy fool you, he knows his stuff. Although he did not teach a repeat ninjutsu class this year, I was still happy. He taught a variant on medio sumbrada, and translations to knife and empty hand. I personally picked up a lot from this, and everyone was rocking along with it, despite the mosquitos best efforts.
After Jay, came the man who is the king, no the KING of treachery, Guro Buzz Smith, of Maharlika Kuntaw. If there is a tricky way to do something, he will teach it in his Bugtongan class. A man after my own heart, I must say. The best part of the class, aside from the angling, was the foot stuffing session. But I guess you'd a had to be there...
Next, it was my turn. I must say, I did better this time, and Raja was the best assistant I could have hoped for. But Raj, sorry about the eye.
After my class, it was Sterling and Dans turn for PSP. They worked on the Ales from that system, and did a great job.
At the end of their class, Jay and Chuck present formal Declarations of Brotherhood for the KSMA. I am proud to have received one, along with Don Young, and Carl Ross.
It's like coming home, and not being a martial outlaw any longer.
That was the end of formal training for the day. But, as always, training always goes on. One of the most oft heard phrases of a Gathering, "Hey, what about this?"
or "How do you...". Great times, and a great dinner, set up in potluck manner.
Once again, much laughing, talking, sharing, more goofing, and lots of pics.
Sunday, as stated prior, was noob day, and they were all great.
Craig Gray taught some effective handgun disarms from Krav Maga, after starting with some Chi Kung work. These were probably among the most realistic ones I have seen, and provided another glimpse of the reality you might face.
Then we all convened in the dojo, for Nick Gutschow, and Silat Sharef groundwork. I wish I could give a first hand report on the movement, but I and all the other old guys sat and watched. It was some good, old fashioned, hard floor work, and definately a young mans game. But, Nick is impressive as hell, and moves like a
lizard on greased glass. It was spooky.
Then came Mel... sounds like a song, huh. He did boxing meets Kuntao, and did it in a wonderful, high energy, and very applicable manner.
This was truly the end of the formal training, and a huge amount of info was given out, with no ego, no holding back. If only all "martial artists" could be so cool, and generous...
More food, fun, laughing, show and tell, man, I wish it could happen all the time.
Thank you so much to Jeanne and Chuck, for the hospitality. Thank you to the Tribe, for the great time. Thank you to Sterling, for interviewing me for his podcast show, and thanks to everyone, we'll be back next year.
Oh yeah, next year is the big 10th for the Gathering, good times, man, good times.


Blogger Chuck said...

Terry, Awesome Post! Can't beging to tell you how happy I was to have you able to attend...and it was great to meet Raj as well! The "Wallet to Eye" technique will live in infamy! Chuck

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Excellent stuff, brother. Great encapsulation of an epic weekend. Us old timers kept mumbling to ourselves, "can this get any better?"
There was so much going on - you missed my ninja shit this year huh? I only teach that when Bobbe is around...

9:19 PM  
Blogger IRTBrian said...

Cool blog Terry!

7:57 AM  

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