Well, I am back from my trip, and I will tell you about that in a bit but first let me catch you up on this.
We had our Spring Gathering of the Tribes over memorial Day this year, and boy did we have fun!
We had a really good crowd, with people coming from as far away as Oklahoma.
We had a fun "meet and greet" on Friday with people renewing old acquaintances and the new folks getting to know everyone. Plenty of impromptu sharing took place over the evening.
We opened the Saturday session with me teaching a session on cane fighting as a way to teach the principle of "reinforcement" (Alas, there are no pictures of either of the sessions I taught).
People seemed to have a pretty good time with the material, though I have to admit it was a bit different than the usual approach.
The second session was taken by Chuck, who taught lower body work that dovetailed quite nicely into the theme of the weekend.
The third session was taken by Guro Buzz Smith of Maharlika Kuntaw who joined us again. Guro Buzz is one of Michigan's hidden treasures. Very few people have heard of him, relatively speaking, but you would have to go a long ways to find anyone who could match his skill at his art.
Guro Buzz lead a session in the use of the Filipino long staff. This was a real treat for everyone, as his approach is both practical and a bit different than the more mainstream FMA.
One day soon we may be able to talk Guro Buzz into doing a seminar just on his material some weekend, so stay tuned for more information.
I took the last session of the day. The material I taught was a bit unusual and is called "Indeh Besh" or "Apache knife". I chose to share this because we also had Guro Bill Anderson, who has teaching rights in several Kuntaw systems, come up from Illinois to join us for the weekend. Guro Bill has been training with a fellow named Robert Redfeather who also teaches the methods of Apache knife fighting he learned from his family.
Traditionally, there has never been a formalized knife "martial art" among the Apache. Rather, you learned from your relatives. So every expression is liable to be a bit different.
Guro Bill and I thought that it would be interesting to give people an experience of two different family traditions from the same source (Redfeather is also from Mescalero) and as far as I know, this was the very first time something like this has happened.
The stuff I learned from my family looks a lot like "ambush" knife fighting, (called "besh chaha'oh", shadow knife). It involves a lot of deception, misdirection, trickery, and "cheating", but given that the Apache were mostly outnumbered and outgunned, and fighting a war on two fronts, that is to be expected.
Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy the material.
The nest day we started with a talk by Chuck's physical therapist, who had some good advice about how to keep healthy while training.
Then we got down to business Guro Bill introducing the basics of the "Ghost Dog" system.
It was very solid material, practical and useful. It was fun to see the parallels between his material and what I had learned. Even though there were differences, they were obviously from the same place. For me, I think I had the most fun with this just because it was sort of a "back to the roots" sort of thing.
Here is the obligatory group photo, with as good a group of people as you would ever want to train with.
On Sunday evening and Monday I worked with my local students and the ones that traveled to get here.
I am happy to report that after going over all the material he needs, Carl has been given permission to lead Silat Zulfikari groups in Oklahoma (huzzah, huzzah)
It was a good weekend and I am already looking forward to the fall gathering.