Gathering of the Tribes

G of the T: Too many people to list... I'm in there somewhere (kinda like where's Waldo!)

Ok, before I get going with this blog let me briefly revisit my last. After receiving numerous comments on my last blog (thanks folks!) I thought I might clarify a couple things:
First I wanted to thank Andy Veen for covering some of the Wed. evening classes for me while I was/am gone. I do appreciate it and I hope the experience helps you on your journey as well. You always do a good job.

Second, I wrote the article to let you readers in on some of my process; some of the things that enter into my head if even for a brief moment, that's all...don't take things too seriously, no worries gang...really! :-)

Third, thanks for all of your feedback keep it coming!

Now for our regularly scheduled show:

Memorial Day weekend was the 10th Anniversary for The Gathering of the Tribes seminar held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many students and instructors from all over the U.S. came to train, share knowledge, meet new people & have a great weekend. There were several main workshops and many smaller breakout sessions. I was asked to teach a Krav Maga segment again this year which I was honored to do. I was also asked by a few folks to do some breakout sessions which thrilled me to no end as well!

In my main section I covered: warrior ethics, universal values, protector/defender mentality, some empty hand Krav Maga tactics followed by a knife defense or two and finally some pistol disarms.

I would go on but this blog entry from Chuck Sullivan does a great job summerizing things. You can check out his blog at read it here!

The Gathering of The Tribes 10th Anniversary On Memorial Day weekend the guys and I made the trip up to Grand Rapids, Michigan to go to The Gathering of The Tribes. It was a weekend filled with lots of quality martial arts instruction in an ego free environment. Anyone who has been in the martial arts knows what kind of political junk that goes with that whole scene. The Gathering is a refuge from that kind of crap. The people were easy to hang with and talk to. After being into martial arts for over 20 years I had begun to get really jaded concerning other martial artists. They are usually obnoxious, arrogant, and condescending. After just being a fly on the wall and watching everything go down I realized that these guys were actually "leaving their egos at the door". It turned out to be a great weekend. I can't say enough good things about everyone there.

We got to train with some advanced FMA and Silat players from around the country.

Chuck Pippin of Innovative Martial Arts taught the opening session and even ran a bladesmithing class where Jeff walked away with an awesome knife. I hope to get a picture of it on here soon.

My brain started to turn to mush after awhile.But here is what I remembered:

Chuck and Don from Innovative Martial Arts opened with some great drills to add intensity to real life threats that include physical violence combined with verbal abuse. They also went through a great drill called the Increasing Five. I am going to have Chuck come to Memphis sometime this fall for more of his "Vendor Neutral" knife work. Write me if you want to come on over to the class.

Terry Trahan did some of his no BS martial applications against the knife. I didn't get to spend much time with Terry and hope to pick his brain more next year.

Bobbe Edmonds worked on some cool Hubud stuff. A word about Bobbe...he is LARGER THAN LIFE. I spent most of the weekend studying him from afar not sure if I wanted to run or have a beer with him. Here is my favorite quote from the weekend that he gave when Rob was trying to tell him one of his trademark bad jokes..."I'm Bobbe F-ing Edmonds. You gotta come up with something better than that."

Buzz Smith delivered some of his trickery. We took an instant liking to Buzz. He is a sincere knowledgeable teacher that isn't afraid to answer your questions. We did a lot of work in between sessions where he taught us a little of the short staff work from Kuntaw. Rob is going to be coordinating a future trip for Buzz to the Memphis area soon. I hope to get some pics up of him stretching Jeff out pretty good.

Jay Carstensen,the founder of KSMA, gave a cool interpretation of Hubud with your back on the ground that included a sweep. Jay is also a Life Coach. Check out his site if you get a chance.

Craig Gray of Ronin Martial Arts taught some knife and gun disarms from Krav Maga. This was my first exposure to Krav and I like it. He let me pick his brain about being on the ground with a knife. We hope to have him down here in Memphis to teach his 5 hour ground defense against the knife this fall. It will probably be a small private class give me a call if any of my local friends are interested in attending.

Sean Stark represented his Combat PSP silat style. I didn't get to do this section as Chuck was helping work on a custom sheath for a knife my grandfather gave me. The guys said he gave out some good solid material.

Geoffrey Bossman from Kentucky taught at the Gathering for the first time. He has that punk dry slightly sarcastic sense of humor that I love. We did some Hubud with sticks and a close that was great. He also taught some standing grappling. Geoff had some really interesting experience to share from working with his crew. The police officers, bouncers, etc that he works with still see a lot of haymakers and front tackles. Cool stuff.

One great unexpected thing that happened this weekend was being conscripted into the Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts organization. I look forward to learning and hanging with all of these guys in the future.

Posted by Chuck Sullivan, L.Ac. at 8:06 AM

More from me:

As the weekend progressed I quickly realized how far my training and habits have diverged (even more) from art to tactical methods. Not passing judgement or anything like that, just recognizing some differences. Gone were my numerous defensive variations from attacks such as straight and hook punches or knife thrusts. I found myself relying on a few simple, straight forward tactics to deal with the situation. I realize that I am practicing "possibility" less and "probability" more. I have an appreciation for the diversity of all of the many variations of defenses that I saw and that were shared with me, however this is just further reinforcement that my path has changed direction. As I continue to teach people who are not "artists," and who have minimal time to practice yet still rely on the tactics to work under pressure & surprise, I find that my training also changes to support these efforts. That said my days as an artist are most likely behind me. I will admit a part of my ego still has a certian yearning for art and seeing so many incredible people so well versed in their respective styles left me inspired and appreciative for my experience with each of them. Training with great martial artists and sharing in their craft is a wonderful experience, thank you to all who I had the pleasure of encountering.

All the best,


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