There are many accolades to go around. Suffice to say that the athletes, Head Coaches & of course master of ceremonies Coach Sonnon created an unforgettable experience while building a path to a new way experiencing, training and ‘mastering’ The Art of Martial engagement.
Though I am still processing and working to assimilate the weekend, the inspiration and knowledge that I can in fact pursue MA with a new vigor and appreciation would have been sufficient reward for my effort to prepare for, and participate in Flow Fighting.
Over many years I have pursued MA and always abandon it. Without laboring the detail, I personally found too much ego, unexplained tradition, unnecessary brutality and route repetition. Yet lacked the vocabulary and/or experience to contradict this counter-intuitive approach that was being driven at me.
With Flow Fighting, each of these paradigms thankfully falls. Mastery becomes ones own personal quest, driven by the unique and innate talents, foibles, desires, body type, history, fears and needs of each individual. The Flow Fighting system, the 10 delivery systems and their subsystems are principle based rather than technique based.
Brutality and ego are deafeningly absent from the room. In all drill work, the athletes work at the level of the least comfortable individual in the pairing or group – as Coach Wilson said, “What good would it do me if I kicked the student’s ass, and what good would it do the student?” the answer is obvious. The true nature of competition (seeking [our greatness] together) is underscored throughout the process.
Weaving the nature of the origins of MA’s along with a modern sense of what it means to be an athlete, efficient conditioning systems, rooted with the underpinning of CST – is in my experience, an enjoyable, efficient and superior way to explore this natural aspect of human movement and engagement. Understanding the nature of movement, of the joined center of mass between you and your partner/opponent, allows one to improvise and adjust to the dynamic elements at play.
When I bow in the Flow Fighting arena (which I do often), it is because of my deep appreciation for what I have been given and genuine respect for the individual(s).
I venture to say that each attendee is grateful for their experience, as we were able to watch each other’s progress and development during the weekend. And yet, I believe an excellent litmus test would be the progress of the neophytes. There were half a dozen folks at the event that had zero martial arts experience. To watch them come in on the first day, progress to the second and then come out the other end with more awareness of what MA is really about that I had gained in years of practice was, priceless.
One of my clearest memories was the final drill of the weekend – sparring. Taking all the learning from the weekend and putting it all together. Five athletes worked with each one of the coaches, I worked with Coach Wilson (btw, one of the finest martial artists and police officers [I’ve known hundreds] and men I’ve ever met).
One athlete (his first time to any MA) was sparing with the Coach, the Coach got him in a solid position getting ready to sprawl the athlete downward. There was a noticeable shift in energy, the athlete drove upward in a spiral using all the good elements of structure and alignment and pinned Coach down on the mat.
As we all (including Coach) applauded a breakthrough moment for this individual, the athlete turned to us and said, “Everything just slowed down, I knew where I was, where he was and what I needed to do.” --- epiphany!
I hit it, hit it, I hit it Every time!