Friday, June 15, 2007
I have been visiting Chuck Pippin Sensei at Innovative Martial Arts for several years and always come away with memories of good times and new friends. After some sort of crew shortage at Midwest Connect, I arrived around 9:30 pm missing the bulk of the “Meet-n-Greet” I was wanting to attend. Way to go Midwest….
Anyway, the primary focus of this gathering was to evaluate Chuck Pippin and Don Young for their 4th Dan Black Belts.
Hetero Life Partners Chuck and Don
Chuck had requested this torture a few years ago. However, a bout with cancer sidelined that until now. Don only got a clue he was testing near the end of the event, but that was part of his test.
Guru Mushtaq Ali Shah led the formal aspects of the testing but was assisted by myself, Guru Bobbe Edmonds, Guru Brian ‘Buzz’ Smith and Terry Trahan directly. One cool aspect of the test was input and questioning by visitors and students of Innovative Martial Arts. The test was a very insightful look into the teaching styles of Chuck and Don as well as a good chance to run them through the paces.
Using the cane
Chuck and Don also had to present a curriculum based on a cane. I found this challenging, but they had delved into various aspects of it with a strong emphasis on using the cane when you really need to use a cane. They also were asked to break down the aspects of their first form and show practical application.
Aside from the formal aspect of the test, Don and Chuck were watched throughout the day while they interacted with guests and guest instructors. We were looking for various things such as adaptation to material and the ability to assist those trying to learn it.
It may not sound like a grueling test, but it was quite demanding, mentally as well as physically.
The test was not the only thing going on.
Saturday morning was started off with Cody Fielding doing some RMAX material from Scott Sonnon. That was a great thing to get the joints lubed up and I took away some good stuff to help with staying loose. I would love to explore more of this as I usually only pick it up here.
After that was Guru Mushtaq Ali Shah with Silat Zulfikari, and we went over the idea of bringing a friend along by using the rear hand wisely using a dasar from Silat Zulfikari called the “dragon’s tail.”
Guru Mushtaq discussing the dragon's tail dasar
This was tied in with the ability to flow with not only the technique, but the opponent. The morning showed the flexibility of Silat Zulfikari as well its effectiveness. Guru Mushtaq is always a pleasure to work out with.
Following a short break, Guru Brian "Buzz" Smith picked up on the idea of bringing a friend along, but not letting the other guy know your friend’s name is Treachery. Buzz had anecdotes about how thieves and thugs would use deception to relieve you of your valuables or life and translated that into ideas within Maharlika Kuntaw.
Guru Buzz introducing his friend Treachery to Bill Bednarick
(Bill has some good products by the way)
Once again, Guro Buzz conveyed his art with a combination of skill and humor that is greatly appreciated by me. If Buzz comes within 200 miles of your town, go, it’s a no-brainer. You will come away with great information and life lessons. I look forward to seeing Buzz in the future, you should too. Did I mention you should train with Buzz?
Don and Chuck shared some Scientific Fighting Congress knife aspects to round out the morning.
With bellies full from lunch we were treated with a last-minute addition to the gathering, Grand Master Bobby Taboada of Balintawak Arnis Cuentada with Guro Robert Klampfer. They presented some of the basics of the system and I had not met them or seen the art before this weekend, but was impressed with it and the way it was presented. Grand Master Taboada is a genial man with a great sense of humor. I would recommend the system to anyone with access to it.
We rounded out the day with the aforementioned cane curriculum and testing of Chuck and Don.
After this was the Pot Luck and it was a good time as usual. The only downer was it was raining so we were unable to have a bonfire. It is a tradition that will have to wait until next time. We were up until 2 AM and that’s pretty normal too!
Chillin' on the porch listening to the rain
Sunday began (late: that’s usual as well. Hey we were up until 2!) with a more in depth warm up from Cody. Everything I have seen from RMAX has been good information. We did some interesting squatting things and some breathing things. Look, they are difficult to explain. I suggest you buy the DVDs or hook up with someone who may be a qualified instructor near you. Your body will appreciate it. If you are in the Bay Area, look up Cody. We also looked at some thresholds of pain and rolling with a hit in order to be a better trainer as well as one who trains.
Following Cody, was Guru Bobbe Edmonds whom I have been wanting hang out with for a while and this once finally the opportunity. His teaching approach may stun the average seminar attendee, but I was digging it. I highly recommend you tap his brain at some point too.
I took away a better understanding of silat in general and will be hosting Guru Edmonds at some point in Des Moines once we agree on a date and can arrange for a keg of Guinness to be drop shipped from the factory. Did you know it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint? (That’s a double pour Bobbe, not the heavenly three pour version.)
Time was slipping by us now and Terry Trahan presented an abridged version of WeaselCraft.
Take the time and get a hold of him. He has a lot of real world experience and I am looking forward to seeing him again. For more information on him check out the following: TPI Forum, he is a moderator.
Lunch was brief and followed by another round with Grand Master Taboada. He focused on some empty hand drills that worked up a good lather. They were quick and gave a heightened awareness to both parties. They reinforced the trainer/trainee relationship as touch on by Cody Fielding earlier in the day.
The main aspects of the seminar rapped up at that time, so I showered and sat down with Sterling Heibeck to record a Podcast for his site. That was an interesting experience. I used my best “radio voice” for that one. He also interviewed Grand Master Taboada and Guro Robert Klampfer, Cody Fielding and Guro Buzz.
After a quick lively dinner with Guru Edmonds and Terry Trahan, it was time for me to return home. To read what went on after I left see Guru Mushtaq’s blog and Guru Edmonds blog.
Overall, I am impressed more and more with the caliber of instructors and participants that come to this gathering each time. The Fall Gathering is just around the corner, so as soon as I have a date I will post it here.
And he bought me dinner