Monday, August 16, 2010


There's a movie, Galaxy Quest. One of the lines comes from the fanboy who thinks he is becoming part of a movie shoot but is actually going into space combat: "I'm just stoked to be on the show."

I was kind of stoked to be on the show.

The Crossing The Pond Martial Arts Expo somehow happened. It's one of those ideas that rarely get off the ground: "Let's get some of the good instructors from the Uk and the US and do one seminar in Seattle and one in Coventry". I suspect that one or two people decided they really wanted to meet each other and set up the seminar as both an excuse and a way to make expenses. I also suspect that ideas that usually don't get off the ground tend to fly with power when Kris Wilder gets involved.

I signed up for the XPO months ago. One of the big reasons was Iain Abernethy. He is the guy in the UK for crossing the gulf between traditional karate and really bad situations. the other big reason was Kris. Kris has been doing some amazing things with power and structure, not only things I haven't seen elsewhere, but things that work moving and under pressure. Marc was going to be there as well. That's not so much a big deal. We've been spending enough time together that his seminar material is less new. It's cool, but I have access.

Two guys I didn't know were also going to be presenting: Nicholas Yang and Al Peasland. Turns out I have a connection with Nick-- my publisher was one of his first instructors and Dr. Yang, who started YMAA Publications (source of fine books like "Meditations on Violence") is his father.

The plan was to go up for a weekend, check to see on what Kris and Iain were doing, finally give Iain a signed copy of my book, meet the other Brit and maybe see what the kung fu guy was like. Talk to Marc about our works in progress.

My only planned connection was to drive Marc up from my area and stay at Kris. Marc had threatened to have me teach, but I blew him off. Then Kris included me in the instructors broadcast. Long and short of it (and I have no idea if people were happy or not), I was in the show.

This isn't really a review, just some impressions. The brits were a blast. Fun guys and brilliant teachers with some brutal skills. They also had never been around firearms before and it was like 14 year-olds who had just found a Playboy. We practiced building clearing.
Note to self- when your demo is being held in a church on Sunday morning, it's probably not the best time to practice dynamic entries. We missed busting into the service by one door.

Nick was too shy, and I never felt like I got a real handle on who he was and what he was doing. He was skilled, we pushed hands for a while and I could feel his ability to make himself go solid or fluid, but also a weird gellid state that was new to me. He wasn't a brawler, and that's my focus now, but he was damn good at what he did.

Marc was Marc, entertaining and funny. Of all the people there, when coffee wasn't doing the trick and I said, "I'm bored. I wish someone would attack me." Only Marc and Edwin were willing to go froggy. Brawling is better than coffee, except for the fewer anti-oxidants.

Al didn't mind rolling as well. Iain was too surrounded by groupies most times to attack, but we did practice drawing and moving with a weapon.

Kris is doing some amazing stuff. I've taken Thai kicks to the thigh from some skilled and ranked people. One of the guys in Kris' session did a slow, retarded-looking kick to my thigh. Through a phone book it did more than the best thai kick I've received. I was done.
Something to work on: Dead-hand dynamics applied to kicks. Brand new to me and useful, even devastating. Yeah. I like the big jumps in learning. Time to practice.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rory,

Could you expand on that gellid state that you found weird? And did the other instructors have share their ideas about that weird state?


zzrzinn said...

It was a fantastic time, and for all your self deprecating comments:)...I enjoyed your contributions immensely, there is nothing like figuring out how to properly and efficiently put one anothers heads into a wall with a partner!

I'd been exposed to the one step drill before from training with Kris, but having you and Marc there to correct and facilitate was a big deal, and made me see things through a slightly different lens. The group drill was also quite awesome.

All in all it was an even better event than I expected it to be, which is really saying something I had been anticipating it forever!

I can't believe it was so inexpensive, I have literally years worth of stuff to think about and work on.

So yeah, I learned a buttload..thanks man!

Lise Steenerson said...

the Buddha Palm has become the Buddha sole???
I have to see this

Anonymous said...

First, Galaxy Quest is a great movie.

Second, wish I coulda been there. Sounds like fun, especially the room clearing. Love that.


Rory said...

You know how when someone has good structure you're just pushing solid bone? And when someone has poor or regular structure, you're pushing muscle strength so that it has that quiver feeling as they resist?
At one point Nick felt like I was pushing through mud. More mobile than bone but too smooth to be muscle strength. Just a new feeling.