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

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Spring 2008 Gathering of the Tribes

This is, I think, the seventh year for putting on this event, and it has truly grown from a small seed to something very special.

The gathering is put on by a group of people who have loosely organized themselves into

This is a group of people, many, but not all of whom are teachers of the martial arts, who became fed up and disgusted with the petty and juvenile nature of martial arts politics. We had all seen just one too many petty tyrant who believed that having someone pay them for instruction gave them the license to try and control every aspect of a student's life.

The martial arts world has far too many egomaniacal narcissists who demand "hormat" as a divine right and define hormat as complete unquestioning submission of the student to the every whim of the teacher.

So a bunch of us voted "with our feet".

It was perhaps inevitable that we managed to find each other and began coming together to share ideas in an open forum where everyone was equally respected.

This is how the Gathering of the Tribes started.

This year's Spring Gathering started in the usual fashion, with the Friday evening "meet and greet". This is a social/free training time that allows us to catch up with friends who we have not seen in a while and for new people to to get to know, and feel comfortable with everyone. As one might imagine, the party went late into the evening.

As per usual, Saturday morning started out with a pancake breakfast for anyone who was staying on the property or could manage to drag themselves over here that early.

Our first clinic of the day was given by Maha Guru Buzz Smith of Maharlika Kuntaw.

Buzz introduced us to his Kuntaw "lock and flow" exercises.

Buzz was assisted by his very capable student Anton. Since Anton is about twice Buzz's size there was no doubt that the material was going to work against a larger opponent.

Everyone has lots of fun learn to flow from one lock to another under different circumstances and in real time.

Buzz managed to give personal instruction to everyone. Buzz's clinic set the tone for the gathering in that most of the clinics worked different aspects of close range fighting, clinching and takedown.

Next up for a clinic was our own Guru Bobbe Edmonds. Bobbe segued naturally from Buzz's material into Pangamot and Dumog.

Bobbe made sure to work with everyone in the group.

And his instruction was first rate. It was easy to see the relation between the Kuntaw empty hand locks and flows and the use of the stick as an extra lever.

But for some reason Bobbe kept sneaking up behind me and hitting me in the head with his stick every time my partner applied a lock.

I would have to say we all had a lot of fun.

The next session was with RMAX Head Coach Cody Fielding.

Cody did a grappling clinic, working pummeling drills and other clinch work, and takedowns from the clinch.

He also addressed environmental factors, like the cage in MMA fights or the use of a handy wall. This turned out to be a great addition to the theme of the day.

Up next were our own Sterling and Dan who did a fascinating clinic on building and using an inexpensive "wooden dummy"

They brought several of the home made dummies along,

And ew all got to try our stuff on them to our heart's content.

This ended the formal part of the day but for one thing. We, the League that is, has some presentations to make.

First, we had certificates of acknowledgment for Norm and Marsha. We wanted to stand behind them and be witnesses to their rank in Shorin Ryu.

Then we had something that we had been plotting for a year.

We wanted to do something for Buzz to affirm him as both a consummate martial artist, a great teacher and as one of the elders of our Tribe. Buzz has been unstinting in his support for the Gathering of the Tribes and the League, so we wanted to acclaim him to the station he deserves.

Bobbe outdid himself (don't let it go to your head ya young whipper snapper) with the designing of the certificate and it was signed by all of the founding members in attendance.

Bobbe read the certificate and I gave a little speech about what it meant to us to have had Buzz's support these last few years. When we presented the certificate to him Buzz was quite moved.
So with that we wrapped up the formal part of the day and got to the Saturday evening feast.

As usual Jeanne made satey and Chuck grilled. We had tons of food and everyone ate, hung out watched movies (Remo Williams, the Adventure Begins and Forbidden kingdom) and generally had a great time.

Sunday morning say people up and shaking off the cobwebs with warm-ups. It was just another day in paradise thanks to the glorious Michigan spring weather.

Sunday's first clinic was lead by your humble servent and covered a bit of Silat knife work with emphasis on clinch and grappling. I was able to relate what we did to Saturday's materal with some success I think.

Everyone has fun poking each other with training knives,

and trying out different variations

and just generally enjoying the day.

The second formal session of the day was with our own James who worked the group through some trigger point release work.

After all the working out it was nice to do some things to get the soreness out of the body.

The rest of Sunday and Monday were devoted to more informal sessions. Our friend Keith Zahn, a master bowier, brought over several of his hand made long bows and gave people a chance to get a little archery coaching.

Ian and Chuck opened up the Smithy and helped anyone interested work on making their own knives.

Here is Ian taking a break from the forge to shoot a few arrows.

The kids in attendance loved the archery as well.

And Bobbe has his Robin Hood moment.

Mariah did a little teaching as well, giving lessons in Filipino style rope swinging.

Don managed to get the ropes going pretty well after a little coaching.

Then it was time to say goodbye to friends new and old,

Until next time, September's Fall Gathering of the Tribes.


Michael B. said...

An excellent report Mushtaq...once again you folks put on a class A weekend, of these days, LOL...injury and illness always rear their heads come gathering time.

Silatyogi said...

Looks like it was a GREAT TIME! I plan on making out to the next one next year. Looking forward to meeting you Mushtaq & sharing.

Best wishes,


Steve Perry said...

Wow. How terrific it must have been.

Of course, I am trying to figure out which Bobbe picture to use. I kinda like the archery one, but the one where he is reading the certificate is nice.

If you have a better one stashed, send it it me ...

steve-vh said...

You didn't see the tongue one on my blog?

Dan Gambiera said...

Looks like they just keep getting better and better.

I still say tnat for this crowd the "non-aligned" logo should be a plumb bob about five degrees off plumb...

charles said...

This is one of my favorite times of the year! Sharing ideas and experiences. just reconnecting with friends that we only get to see ocassionally.

Thanks to all for another great weekend Gathering!

Looking forward to the next one!

Mushtaq, nice write up!


Bobbe Edmonds said...

Sadly, there are NO OTHER EXISTING PHOTOS of the Gathering, and alas, the ones on this page are copyrighted. Sorry, Steve. Guess you'll have to go back to pulling the wings off flies now. And looking for your time-traveling self righteous steak.

B said...

It sucks I couldn't make it :( Looks like fantastic fun was had.

Steve Perry said...

No other photos, you say?

I have friends in low places. And you keep forgetting what it says on the barrel of the Cisco Kid's gun, don'tcha?

AF1 said...

The inexpensive wooden dummies look very cool.

Anonymous said...


It looks like you guys had a real great time.

I especially like the home made wooden dummies.

great article!

Chuck said...

How does someone go about getting invited? This looks like a lot of fun.