I received this email about the Stickfighting Workshop with Al McLuckie we hosted for our Grand Opening.Â It is well-worth sharing so read on:
Thank you for bringing Al in for an awesome seminar.Â It was kind of different from other seminars in that I felt “sated”, rather than “overstuffed” at the end.Â Rather than spending the off hours trying to figure out what I learned, I’ve been able to spend them reviewing what I learned, and working out how to
incorporate that into my training.Â Some of these are:
1) Telling your partner what you’re doing as you’re doing it.Â His suggestion to call out the number of our attack made us clarify, in our action, what we were doing (this helped us to make a distinct number 2 as opposed to a wobbling attack).Â It also helped our partner to learn to recognize what the line was and see where his stick/body was in relation.Â It seems like a small thing, but Paul, Ray and I had some really good results in a short period of time.
2) Being able to work with Al, even more than having him stand to one side and correct, was incredibly helpful.Â Like so many things, feeling the correct way to do things has no substitute.Â One of the things I was able to take away from this was how he can change the rhythm of his work without changing the pace, and vice versa.Â He can work slowly, but in a staccato fashion, or he can work quickly in a fluid fashion.Â As an attacker, that change is even more shocking than “it’s working, it’s working, oh crap, I’m in trouble”.
3) I’ve respected the power/deadliness of the skilled (defined as more skilled than I) stick/knife fighter for a long time.Â However, that respect was refined this past weekend from something pretty general (a guy who knows what he’s doing is going to be really fast and the hits are going to be crippling),
to something a lot more detailed ( for example: the attacks will come on “half-beats”, and will involve both immediate changes in response to tension/blocks, and will not stop).Â The general is good as a survival tool, but the details are required for understanding.
4) Finally, building on your driving analogy, if you want to drive in the Indy 500, you need to build the basic skills at a range of speeds prior to starting Formula 1 training, and then you need to layer the Formula 1 skills onto a solid foundation.Â You’ll never be good at passing in a pack of cars at 150 mph if you can’t do it on a two-lane highway with only one car ahead of you.
You need to be able to distinguish the details at the entire range of speed, and I think, ultimately, that progression may be the most important thing I take away from this weekend.
There are probably many more things to research/implement/train/learn coming out of the last two days, but these are the ones that keeping percolating up to the top.Â If the proof of the teaching is the learning of the students and the immediacy with which they can apply the new material, then Al did an outstanding job.