Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thinking Outside the Box

BaHad Zu'bu Eskrima

This weekend my friend, Steve Van Harn and I took a trip over to Chicago to attend the first seminar given by Punong Guro Mike Blackgrave since his return from an extended stay in the Philippines studying with Grand Master Yuli Ramo.

I have known Mike for some time, and had wondered just a bit as to why he had given up practicing the arts he had been working with for the last twenty years (mostly Pekiti Tirsia) to take up a new art that most people had not even heard of.

With this intriguing thought in mind Steve and I piled into his truck along with assorted sticks and blades to make the three hour drive to the windy city.

The seminar was being held at the Midway Kodenkan, which is a very nice school that teaches Jujitsu, Kali, and Lua, the traditional martial art of Hawaii.

Working out at this particular facility was one of the things I was looking forward to. I had been hearing a lot of good things about this place for a while and I was looking forward to experiencing what was offered there.

I am happy to say that what I heard was in fact true. Midway is a very high quality school and would be a good place to start if one were looking for a place to train in the Chicago area.

Of particular note was the opportunity to meet John Bednarski, one of the instructors at the school. John has a well deserved reputation in both Kali and Silat and working with him was one of the real high points of the day for me.

Mike Blackgrave and Bill Anderson

Another pleasant part of the day was getting to see Bill Anderson again. Bill has been studying and teaching Kuntaw longer than most players in the US have been alive. He has not only "seen the elephant" he has run up and kicked it in the trunk a couple of times to make sure it was the right beast.

If Bill thinks something is worth his time you can bank on it being something of real value.

Mike Blackgrave teaching footwork

The day started out with Mike going over the Basics of BaHad Zubu.

First we learned the footwork, which is light and mobile. There is not much of the triangle stepping one finds in some of the Filipino arts, rather Might taught us his "floating footwork", which allows for taking odd and interesting angles quickly and unexpectedly.

Once Mike was happy with our understanding of the footwork we moved on to sticks.

Bahad Zubu stickwork is elegant in the sense that it gives simple movements and teaches how to combine them intuitively to accomplish one's task. One of the real joys of this art is that because of its training philosophy one can gain skill quite quickly. There is none of the "47 ways to hold a knife" or six billion angles to learn.

From stick we progressed to knife and then empty hand using all the same principles, so we did not have to add more "technique" in order to taste these skills.

My overall impression is that Bahad Zubu is a sophisticated, elegant martial art with a fast learning curve that is focused on combat application (rather than sport) and I would recommend both it and Guru Mike to anyone looking for serious FMA.

The obligatory group photo


Bill Anderson said...

Thanks for the kind comments about this fat old bald guy who knows very little and moves even less.
I have enjoyed my time learning from both you and the guys from GR, you took this guy in without a formal introduction and shared your knowledge with me with no problems.. It has been an honor to see the tjimande silat and south african knife that you were so kind to share with me when I came up in December..
I am going to be heading back to the south pacific island of gilligan in about a week and will take the tools that you added to my tool box to make me a better and well rounded martial combatives practitioner.. I will take the knowledge that you shared with me and will pass it along to the guys who I will eventually wind up teaching once I get back to the island and working with the Naval Security forces there..

It has been a great honor to be able to share the little knowledge that I have to everyone that has attended the Gathering of the Tribes, which I will miss dearly, I mean where else can you get to gether with like minded combatives practitioners and slam and jam with no ego and arrogance present.. That training atmosphere is what I was exposed to when I lived in taiwan and the philippines where all practitioners were treated like family and we "played" at training.

Again, thanks for the training and all the kind comments that you wrote about this old man.

Hormat and Maraming Salamat Po

Bill Anderson
Defensive Tactics systems

Michael B. said...

Hey Mushtaq thanks for the kind words.....Billy you crazy ass...answer you damn phone...LOL...I've been trying to call you but all I get is a busy signal....must be all that cold weather huh????

jason williams said...

Hi there guys. This seminar sounds like it was really awesome. I cannot wait to have the opportunity to learn even just a little of what you guys teach. I am sure we will all meet someday, somehow, and then we won't be able to get rid of each other:) Congratulations on a good seminar guys.