Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts


Sunday, December 14, 2008

10 Years On

Ok Ah, what the heck?! Here we are somewhere in the 10th official year for Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts. Over time and with occasional stumbles with the foreign tongue, most of us just say KSMA. Kapatiran is Tagalog for solidarity or brotherhood. Suntukan means fistfight or boxing, and thus together we called it the Boxing Brotherhood. The group is dedicated to the study of Physical and Spiritual Culture.

When we began KSMA, our focus included styles such as gung fu, jujutsu, kickboxing, western fencing and an amalgam of Filipino and Indonesian styles that we were calling Kapatiran Suntukan Kali-Eskrima-Silat (that eventually became Aneh Palu Kali). Kapatiran Suntukan broadened to become the name for the overall group.

The impetus was to provide a research and development tool to those interested in sharing and exploring their chosen system. In a sense, it kept people honest about what they were training by running it through a filter. The filter would be outside one's system to expose them to other approaches and applications. Another reason the group was formed was to provide administrative and mental support to those who wanted it. The support group went well beyond the martial aspects. It drew near to the true sense of brotherhood implied in the name of the group. To this day, I know if I call upon a KSMA member for something, I will get it.

KSMA started hosting seminars and brought in some very cool people to share their knowledge. These were great opportunities to explore and develop our craft. As each of us has our own points-of-view, it is good to cross hands with those outside of our local circle.

Looking through the Wayback Machine to 1999 in a small Oklahoma community called Lawton, we see the first get-together of note that we dubbed The Gathering of the Sacred and Profane. This seminar was a great time. The main players were Marc "Animal" MacYoung, who loves field stripping arts (in a good way that makes one think), and Mushtaq Ali Shah, who taught the basics of Gerakan Suci (which evolved into Silat Zulfikari). It was also a first chance for many early KSMA members to feel each other out.

There were a few notable gatherings in Oklahoma City with Darrell Sarjeant and the Kamau Ryu folks as well as instructors of various styles invited to those events. At one such event, yours truly was playing around and popped his ACL. To say the least, that sucked.

The good thing that happened at this event was that Chuck Pippin joined KSMA.

The idea of the Gathering true to the heart and soul of KSMA really took hold in Grand Rapids, Michigan at Charles Pippin's place. Chuck and his lovely bride, Jeanne, have been hosting a biannual shindig since 2001. The feeling of family and community is very strong there, and I feel a sense of returning home on each visit. The caliber of martial artists at this event is unprecedented and the ability for everyone to openly share and learn is remarkable. Consider this list of instructors that participated and shared at previous gatherings:

Chuck Pippin, San Yun Do
Bobbe Edmonds, that thing he does
Bobby Taboada, Balintawak Escrima
Brian 'Buzz' Smith, Maharlika Kuntaw
Cody Fielding, RMAX coach
Sean Stark, Pencak Silat Pertempuran
Terry Trahan, Weaselcraft
Brandt Smith, Aneh Palu Kali
Jerry Jacobs, Pukulan Cimande Pusaka

Like any good gig (a'la -A-palooza), there are side stages where you can catch some stuff away from the main attraction. We have covered various things from archery to philosophy as well as an odd combination with the question, "If I run up and stab the guy with an arrow, is that still archery?" Ultimately, what these gatherings have become is a family reunion. If you are new to the group, you are welcomed as a long lost relative coming home after journeys abroad.

I have long held the idea that this is a group for martial artists and not any particular art. That being said, for some reason the majority of the members, and the people they train with, are a proponent of either Filipino or Indonesian arts. However, there are some other styles represented, and we have dabbled in a good variety to stay fresh and open to change.

Aside from the physical aspect of KSMA, there is that “essence” that we all tap into in times of need or thanks. Any stroll through the racks of books about martial arts or discussion with someone who has been practicing a while, may lead to some sort of spiritual study.

This spiritual aspect of the group is as open as our willingness to share what we know about the martial arts. There is no competition about this but more of a cohesion. Heated debate is not unheard of but it does not degenerate into petty bickering. Every conversation I have been a part of or overheard was light hearted, understanding and productive. I have had some pretty cool experiences with this group.

One may have a hard time with the physical if still coming to grasp with the spiritual. Whatever one may call it, one does call on it from time to time. The variety of personalities in KSMA lends itself to have someone to talk to if needed. If that person is unavailable, they usually can suggest someone else. None of this is compulsory, if one chooses not to discuss this aspect, that's cool by us.

This is also an area of self-exploration and discovery – looking inside and out can reveal great insights. Personally, I have had some vivid experiences behind a stick or kick ranging from moments of clarity to delving into that mystery to find the strength to keep going. When I am working out, I sense a quality of being completely in the moment that I do not get anywhere else. It energizes who I am and galvanizes my spirit.

This segues into an aspect of the group that I find most important: The line of communication of the members. In times of need we can call upon each other for guidance and support regardless of the subject matter. It can be anything from an idea about the arts to deeply personal dealings. I believe this is one way to keep us honest as well and I believe the majority of us have a pretty good filter for detecting BS. I am always available to discuss ideas and ask questions when needed and I enjoy it.

The rules for inclusion have stayed the same since inception:
1) Drop the ego at the door
2) Share what you understand
3) Learn when you should
4) Train – "You don't have to train what I train, but you must train."
5) Have face-to-face contact with a member who will be your sponsor and vouch for you.

It's that easy. I value that KSMA members recognize the benefits of being open to the possibilities in other's arts. I recall a great quote told to me by John Wells. When he was asked what we train in, his reply was, "Whatcha got?" I think that sums up what KSMA is so very well with the various interpretations in tone of that question.

I was handed the KSMA reins in 2005 and gave a lot of thought about the future of the group. In the end, I decided that it is a good thing and that I would keep it going. I am glad I did as I have met a lot more interesting and cool people in the last couple of years. I feel that the core of the group has grown not only in number, but also in strength.

Members in Good Standing*
Jay M. Carstensen, Director
Chris Redmond, Nebraska Representative
Bao Ha
Jason Bousquet
Tony Milani
Carl Ross, Brotherhood
Bobbe Edmonds
Terry Trahan
Chuck Pippin, Brotherhood
Ian Robbins
Don Young
Dan Williams
Sterling Heibeck
Sean Stark, Brotherhood
Will "Buddha" Weatherby
Nate Bynum
Brian "Buzz" Smith

*If your name is not on this list, please send me a copy or a scan of your unexpired certificate of membership and let me know where you have been hiding. Advisors and those with Declarations of Brotherhood are permanent members. I have included this list to put it out for public record.

Okay, so it has been 10 years, where can we go from here? That is up to the members as I am merely a guide. I can be a sounding board for some or a teacher to others. I personally find gratification in the accomplishments of the friends I train with. I hope to keep this role for a while and do see KSMA growing. However, it will not be for growing's sake. All living things breathe in some way, and we are no different. That is the way it is.

The group will continue to seek out those who want to share and are available to those who wish to learn from us as well as encourage growth within ourselves.

It is more than just me out here:

Chuck Pippin
I would just like to say that my tenure with KSMA has been one with no regrets…and I say this after much thought, reflection, and no reservation. Every organization is going to have its ups and downs…and KSMA has faced some challenges…but I believe the KSMA of today is much stronger than the KSMA of yesterday. Jay, I am very proud and honored to be a member of it. I’m very excited to see where this goes…and happy to be on this Journey with you.

Terry Trahan
What does KSMA mean to me...
Family, exploration, a sense of community, sharing, and belonging.
It also is a piece of living history to me.
It leads me to grow, mature, and always reminds me that there is more to know.
In the end, it also is an entity that crosses the boundaries of political intrigue, and brings back the joy of training, developing, and the goodness of having fellowship.

Chris Redmond
I would say that KSMA means a brotherhood that allows members to study at their own pace and at their own interest but yet not at a level that is unexpecting. We expect people to put in their best effort and ideas without hesitation along with respecting other’s ideas and effort.

Carl Ross
KSMA exposed me to an approach to the martial arts that is creative and noncommercial.

Dan Williams
I feel like the KSMA keeps me in touch with a more diverse group of Martial Artists then I usually have contact with. It helps me maintain perspective on my style/training/school. It's also nice to be able to get advice from peers that are not from your school.

Sean Stark
KSMA is an organization that seeks to cut through the garbage that is found in the martial arts and to help those wanting to just advance in their skills and to pursue excellence. It’s a refreshing thing in the martial arts.

Don Young
KSMA: Source of the finest Drunken Boxing system in the world :-)

I have received a few distinct impressions of KSMA practitioners in the years I have known them. They:

1. Have solid martial arts skills.
2. Have wide range of knowledge and experience in martial arts.
3. Have open minds to experiencing new techniques and martial principles.
4. Have a desire to build community.
5. Are friendly, concerned people who don't let their egos lead the way.

I'm happy to have met them and to have been associated with KSMA for years.

Will Buddha Weatherby
So.... As I sit at my laptop at the dining room table of Michigan's
Martial Madhouse I am contemplating both my navel and KSMA. What does
it mean to me? Well, I see it as a vehicle for self-improvement within
community. My interactions with everyone associated with KSMA have
been very positive and typically a lot of fun (Q. Who ya gonna call?
A. See attached photo.). It is a group of what I like to think of as
'loving thugs'. I am comfortable having my kids around the training
and even most of the after hours events, and that is quite a

The actual ability of the folks who make up what I know of the
association (are there secret members I don't know about?) is solid,
these are actually capable fighters. This is something missing in many
"martial arts clubs" that I have had contact with. I know from
real-world use that the majority of what is being taught is sound and
will be useful during interesting "conversations".

One of my favorite aspects of the associated groups that make up the
core of Gathering of the Tribes crowd is the humility of some very
skilled people coupled with a genuine interest in graciously and
openly sharing what they have to offer. I was quite impressed with the
open-armed (and thankfully empty-handed) hospitality I was greeted
with on my visit to Des Moines.

Sterling Heibeck
KSMA is a place to hang your hat. It's full of incredible people who love to share and learn.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joe Hyams

We all have those books that direct our lives in a new direction. One of those for me was Zen and the Martial Arts, by Joe Hyams. It still resonates with me and I recommend it often (in fact I am pretty sure my copy is loaned out at the moment).
Joe's cycle has ended with us.
Thanks Joe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Inaugural Maharlika Kuntaw Seminar

Brian 'Buzz' Smith has been doing his thing for a while now. Buzz has a lot of information rattling around that head of his and I appreciate his approach in sharing it.
We started the day with some of his basic foundational principles which deal with using the opponent’s energy to your advantage.
We used the concepts Buzz refers to as “Can I have my allowance?” and “What time is it?” as well as the “coin pick up.”
Those transitioned into Buno or Kuntaw Grappling. Buzz would approach us to suggest a scenario to try out. We would say something like, “bear hug,” or “cross body position,” and he would show us a way out.

We also looked at multiple attacker ideas that many found insightful.

I have praised Buzz’s knowledge on many occasions and this was all about him. Buzz has a way of helping people understand and apply the knowledge he is sharing in an easy way.

Throughout the day we would find ourselves in the same positions we were shown in the morning; that “coin pick up” kept coming around. It did in a recent class or two since then here at home as well.
Aside from the main stuff, it was good to hang with old friends as is par for the course at Chuck’s joint in Michigan.

We had a private class for a few select people on Sunday morning prior to Buzz and Deb hightailing it outta there and we did some speed drills to help with not telegraphing our intent.

There are more shots and some videos at this location.
Do yourself a favor and train with Buzz if you have the opportunity.

Mystic Eye

(from Jeanne)
Hello all you wonderful folks,

It is nigh time (and perhaps a bit past that point) that I gave you all an update regarding the Mystic Eye Fund’s incredible success. You made it happen guys. Mushtaq has now had surgery on both of his eyes and the surgeries were a spectacular success. His first eye surgery resulted in his right eye now being 20/15. That’s certainly better than anyone else in our household! The second eye was a little less spectacular, but a huge improvement nonetheless. One reason I held off on the update was because it needed a little more time to heal before we knew how much it really helped. His vision is not quite as good as the other eye, and he still seems to have minimal cloudiness, or blurriness which has not been fully resolved. He still has some astigmatism (sp?) in this eye as well. This has apparently always been his more difficult eye, and has the worst history of high pressure from the glaucoma.

Regardless of the minor issues with his left eye, he CAN SEE!!!!! This is HUGE!!! I cannot help but mention that it has truly been an “eye opening experience” (go ahead and groan) for him to realize just how much his eyesight had degraded. This was an enormous change for him. He is so very excited about the fact that he can see how bright the colors are again (and we have had a very lovely autumn this year just to illustrate this for him). I’m sure he is equally excited about being able to drive again soon. It has been over 2 years since he has been behind the wheel of his truck.

I am immensely moved and humbled by the responses we received regarding the Mystic Eye Fund. You guys are nothing less than awesome. This COULD NOT have happened without your support. A simple thank you seems so inadequate, but…..thank you all so very much for making this happen.

Love and wellness to you all!

Jeanne Pippin

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Update from Jeanne

Hi all!

I thought it was about time I sent out an update to everyone. Things are moving along quite fast and we have all you generous folks who have donated to this worthy cause to thank for helping make this vision a reality. (I'm sorry but the pun just had to happen!) The "mystic eye" fund has almost reached it's goal already, and it's been only a little over a week. We have the enormous generosity of you caring folks to thank for that, and I'm not sure just how to adequately express our gratitude. We are as of today almost at our baseline goal for the fund to pay for his surgery. We have raised just under $2400 and we had set $2500 for the minimum to pay for the surgery, and extras like new glasses, medications, and unavoidable incidentals such as gas for those volunteers who have been driving him all over tarnation as every visit seems to be at a different location across town. (thanks, by the way to all our know who you are and I LOVE YOU MAN!!!!) We haven't seen any of the bills yet, so we're hoping the estimates given to us by the nice lady at the surgeon's office are within range.

Mushtaq had his worst eye operated on this morning and he is already back home and in great spirits (which admittedly may be due to chemically induced giddiness) and all seems to be going as planned. He still has a cover taped over his eye for a few hours, so he doesn't know yet how much improvement in his vision has been accomplished. This was the eye that was entirely comped due to hardship criteria. His vision will be interesting for the next 2 weeks while his eyes are so out of balance with eachother. The next surgery is October 7th and this is the one which will incur the fees the fund was set up for. We are almost there folks! For those of you who have not yet been able to donate, rest assured that we still have time and that the funds will still be needed to assist with his convalescense as he recovers and the inevitable incidentals which tend to crop up for these things.

Once again thanks to all for their hard work and generosity. This will be a life changing gift you are giving a dear friend.

Jeanne Bijkerk-Pippin

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Help Out An Old Friend

(From Jeanne)
Greetings all,
As you may or may not be aware, Mushtaq is in dire need of lens replacement surgery on both eyes due to cataracts and glaucoma. He has been losing his sight for some years and is now legally blind in his right eye with vision greatly diminished in the left. Not being able to see has severely impacted his ability to work and gain income, and of course has affected his life in general.

A number of us have come together to try to raise money to get Mushtaq the lens replacement surgery he needs. Without insurance, each eye would cost about $11,000. Mushtaq does qualify for coverage on the right eye under hardship criteria, but because the left eye is not as severe, it is not covered.

In a fortunate turn of events, we have found a surgeon who has generously offered to perform the surgery on both eyes, forgoing his fees entirely. There are still some costs: the operating room, medical personnel, and medications, which all come to about $2,000. We would like to raise $2,500 or more to allow for Mushtaq's convalescence during his recovery time as well.

If we are able raise even more, we want to apply it to his other outstanding and long-neglected medical issues, which include kidney disease and dental work. We will of course account for all use of donated monies to our contributors.

With the help of his many good friends and students across the world, we believe we can do this! We invite you to be part of this effort.

The fund is called "Mushtaq's Mystic Eye Fund", and we hope you will consider a donation. We are asking for $50 or more, but any amount is welcome. Surgery dates are September 23 and October 7, so we'd appreciate receiving your check by October 1st.

Thank you for helping us raise money to restore the eyesight of our friend, teacher and mentor!

How to contribute:
Checks made out to:

Jeanne Bijkerk-Pippin
with "Mushtaq's Mystic Eye Fund Share #11" on the memo line.

Post to: Lake Michigan Credit Union
PO box 2848
Grand Rapids MI 49502-0591
Att: Mushtaq's Mystic Eye Fun
C/O Jeanne Bijkerk-Pippin Share acct. # 11

By popular request I have completed the set up for a PayPal account to accept donations for Mushtaq's eye surgery which will dump right into the Mystic Eye Fund. If this is a donation method which is more convenient for you please direct payments through PayPal to I appreciate everyone's input and inquiries. I will be sending weekly updates in regards to fund status and Mushtaq's progress.

Thanks to all for their interest, and assistance! It is so exciting to finally have this happen for him.

Jeanne Bijkerk-Pippin

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Keluarga 2008

The weekend of July 25-27 was Pencak Silat Pertempuran’s Keluarga. Guru Sean Stark arrived on Thursday evening via motorcycle from Florida.
Sterling had the good sense to fly in from Michigan and the hanging out began. One of my local students, Teri joined us after dinner.
Hugo and Christina arrived from Wisconsin and we hung out at my pad and spent the evening reacquainting or acquainting ourselves, which is always a good time.
On Friday morning, we hooked up at the park and started delving into the art.
Initially, to get things moving, we did a yoga-like version of the evasions that Guru introduced to us a few years ago that usually only pops up at this gathering. They are good for stretching out one’s limbs and core. One other thing we did was to build a wave-like energy to get the blood pumping with a lot of level changing and arm movement.
To augment the evasions, explosive elements were applied to the base movements. Those were a very nice addition to the knowledge and application of them.
We then added hand entries to the evasions and eventually moved into leg entries.

Overall, the day was spent on the first few levels of PSP and fixing minor things here and there with all of us.

One of the major reasons for having Keluarga is that hands on time with people you normally do not work out with.  This is a good thing in my opinion so one can break out of the local mold for a little bit to play with those who are unfamiliar to your frames of reference.
On day two we continued with the lower levels of the system and worked some catches, traps and takedowns.

All very well and good and we only supplemented the bruising (or heat rash for me) from the prior day. We worked on some elements of movement that I needed to cover and I was happy to get into that and have some things pointed out to me. We also came to the conclusion that if one has some Tai Chi experience, that helps in how you can feel your body move. Unfortunately for me, I have none; therefore I have more work to get to where I want to be.

Day three continued the takedowns.  While fun, after two days the body is moving a little slower.  In some ways this is good as it lends to one not using strength and focusing on structure and positioning.  We also worked on Jurus-jurus a little more as well.

Aside from the working out, we eat. Instead of the usual Asian food at every meal (which we did eat a lot of – mainly Thai), I thought it would be fun to go to one of my favorite haunts, The Royal Mile: Irish Isle theme and Guinness Draught and now non-smoking (sorry Hugo). If you visit me, we can go; it has become somewhat of a KSMA hangout.
It is at these moments when we find out how nuts and open to bold conversation we can be. For example, Hugo’s big toe is the length of an average man’s flaccid penis.

We also learned that our server for the evening had no problem being referred as “bar wench.” COOL!

Overall this was a small but very productive Keluarga and I am looking forward to the next one.  I truly enjoy the people I have come to know over the last several years.
Oh, and if you missed this year's in the Midwest, I hear there will be a Keluarga in Florida tentatively scheduled for January.  Watch the PSP website for updates.  Otherwise, pencil in every weekend from July through August until we nail down a date.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Champion in Our Midst

Carl asked that I include the following poem by Shaykh Taner Ansari.

Boxing Match

I thought hitting the other guy is winning the match. 
I learned that winning the match is how much hitting I can take before the other guy gives up.

Holy Cow! The Thai Boxing Association recently had their Championship rounds nearby in Clive. KSMA brother, Carl Ross, drove up from his stomping grounds in Oklahoma. He fights at Super Middle Weight and there were only a few fighters in that weight class.
Elimination rounds were on Saturday and he fought Michael Jackson (I swear) and defeated him soundly. This put him in the ring with Sacha Leonard-Hijazi the Canadian Champion. Carl went the distance, but lost by decision. He was proud of his efforts and we talked about the lessons learned from the bout.
Sunday, Carl had planned to kick back and watch the fights. Early that morning, however, he received a call that the Canadian had withdrawn because of an injury to his knee. We decided that is was from all the hits he applied to Carl’s stomach. So, Carl found himself fighting for The Belt.
Carl fought Missourian Elmir Kulosman and once again went the distance. It was in the hands of the judges and they reached a split decision 29-28,29-28,28-29 in Carl’s favor and he won his division.

      Congratulations Carl!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Put Hammer to Steel

At the last Gathering at Chuck’s, we (the Tribal Edge guys with Buzz and myself) did a trial run for what may become a regular occurrence: Knife Making 101. It was a spontaneous thing for me to do, and I am so glad I did it.
Keep an eye out for the announcement if this becomes an official class.
For the last few years, Chuck, along with Mushtaq Ali Shah, Buddha Weatherby and now, Ian Robbins, have been producing pointy things at Tribal Edge Knifeworks

Along the back half of Chuck’s garage (anyone else think of Joe’s Garage?)are the tools and equipment of Tribal Edge. The forge is propane driven and has a wall of firebrick on the backside to prevent the flames from igniting the building. The ignition process sounds like an F-4 Phantom at full afterburner.

Fire in the hole!

The group works with a variety of steels and in the case of the knives that Buzz and I decided to make, it was a former coil spring from a vehicle. It is 5160 high carbon steel, which, according to Chuck, makes great blades.

The first step was to pound it into a billet to work with and then we began the shaping process. Buzz was going for a custom fit kerambit. I like the retention ring from the kerambit I carry and decided to see how that would function as a straight blade with edge on the “inside.”

Ian did a lot of the initial work and some shaping. He let us hammer enough to make us feel like we were doing something, however. Just as I was getting the rhythm of the swing down, it was done. I hadn’t noticed that I had blistered until near the end of the hammering. There is definitely something therapeutic in the swinging. We then let the metal cool in the forge overnight.

Following the forging, we did what Chuck referred to as “stock removal.” We smoothed out a lot of the hammer marks, trued the lines of the overall profile a little as well as dressed up the geometry of the blade that would save us time on draw filing. All of which I think was a result of my novice hammer strokes. We did this fixing up using a belt sander. Chuck was apt to point out to be very aware of the grip as the sander could snatch the blade-in-waiting and pull in a finger to smooth.

The next step was to bust out the lube. We used Oil Stones to smooth out the appearance of the blade’s texture and move toward a good shape and look. The first run was with 120 grit stone to get the groove going. That was followed up with 320 grit to get a little deeper. We also located and drilled the holes for the pins using the drill press.

Then we moved the blade slowly in and out of the forge repeatedly to normalize the metal. In other words, we just heated and manipulated the heck out of it and this process to will help the metal align its chakras. It’s Tantric.

The blade was then heated to a non-magnetic state and I found this rather interesting. Using a magnetic bullet, I pressed it against red hot metal to see if it would still pull. When it was no longer attractive, we quenched it in oil. This hardened the metal to a state of brittleness such that it would have shattered if dropped. Needless to say, after all the work that went into the knife so far, that would have sucked. Chuck was rather nonchalant about it, so I didn’t let it worry me.

In order to get the metal back to a state that if would not become a pile of shards, we applied what Chuck referred to as the “drawing process.”
This involved a high tech piece of equipment: the toaster oven, which happened to be the only piece of equipment not in the garage. We heated the metal for an hour at 375 degrees and then let it cool to room temperature. Chuck had buffed an area of the tang so we could watch for a color change. The process was repeated until we saw a distinct golden straw color. This indicated the brittleness of the metal had lessened enough to allow it to hold and edge and not shatter when dropped.

We again used the Oil Stones to polish the blade further. This process was actually a little challenging due to the taper from the original thickness of the metal down to the eventual edge of the knife. It took a skilled hand and I definitely let Chuck smooth out my rough edges on that.

At this step, we also cut out and rough shaped the wood that will become the handle. Tribal Edge offers a number of cool woods to fit the mood. I chose Gabon Ebony for this knife, as the lighter grain really looks great on the overall black. We aligned and drilled the holes for the pins in the wood. Using a band saw we rough shaped the handle and fit it with homemade pins. The pins are varying sizes of metal tubing with epoxy holding them together. They are surprisingly simple things that add a tremendous amount to the aesthetics of the finished product.

Now is the moment when it all comes together. The wood is affixed to the tang with a binary epoxy and the pins get a layer of super glue and are slid into place. The piece is clamped and allowed to set overnight.

The main thing left to do is sand down the pins and shape the wood using a combination of belt sander and hand sanding. Once the correct and ergonomic feel of the handle has been found, it is slathered in Danish Oil. The oil soaks into the pores and crystallizes. This helps protect the wood from moisture. Chuck applies oil to the wood multiple times to assure it is deeply penetrated.

Chuck kept the blade to make a leather sheath similar to the one he fabricated for my kerambit. I also asked him to make a trainer version for me and am sure that will be nice. That is one of the coolest benefits about working with the guys; they made the live blade and can easily replicate a trainer with the feel and weight of the original. This is highly advisable investment, particularly so if the blade you have made can be your everyday carry.

Chuck is fairly demanding about all the custom blades made at Tribal Edge having a name. The first thing that came to mind was, “Call it Terry Trahan,” because it was his fondness for the pikal grip that led me to the design I chose. The next thing just rolled off the tongue and everyone liked it, so it stuck:

Reversal of Fortune

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