A few weekends ago Nick and I got to attend one of Mr. Wilder's seminars. If you haven't had a chance to attend one of his seminars, you need to. This seminar presented different material from the last seminar that I attended with Mr. Wilder, which was pretty cool for Nick and I.
The first day/evening we took some time to review material from the last seminar. The closest seminars to us are hosted by Eric Parsons (who runs Karate 4 Life, which is pretty cool because it utilizes Martial Arts to help people, and all his seminars go towards fund raising, etc) in Missouri. By now, I feel like I kind of know everyone who attends the seminars and it is nice to see all the familiar faces. It feels like family. ^.^ Almost everyone there had attended Mr. Wilder's last seminar in Missouri, so it was neat to see how people have taken his teachings and incorporated them into their own practice.
There are definitely a lot of fundamentals that I need to improve on, and it doesn't help that I haven't been able to attend classes or work on Marital Arts a lot over the last several months. It's just another reminder that I need to make sure I make time for this and find a way to make a living doing what I love. But I digress.
Wilder uses structure and linear force to generate power. He talks about stacking the bones in your body and when he hits, it's really cool to watch. As I said in my last review of a Wilder Seminar, it's like Martial Arts Guru magic. It's neat stuff and it really works.
Day two delved more into the newer material. One of the first activities we did was to discover if we are a Runner, Grappler, or Striker. To do this exercise you need three people. One person stands in the middle and has one person behind them and one person in front of them. The person in the middle does something to get their heart rate up and to simulate stress. I.E. Running in place or doing fast jumping jacks. The person behind them positions them-self somewhere behind the person in the middle. The person in front watches to see when the person in the back is ready, and when the person in the middle is sufficiently stressed. They then yell "GO!" and the person in the back rushes the person in the middle. The person in the middle should then respond according to instinct. You need to do this several times (roughly 5) and see if the person in the middle runs toward, runs away, engages, or does something else, like assuming the fetal position.
After you have done this a few times you can look at your tendencies and determine if you are a Runner, Grappler, or Striker. The person behind you should mix it up a lot to make the situations different to see how you respond. Nick is grappler. I tend to be a little more situational. If the person is very close to me, or I am caught off guard/by surprise, my first instinct is to run. If I can see them coming then I move in to engage.
So the point of all this is to practice to your nature. Wilder says that your nature is your nature, it is who you are and it isn't going to change, so you should embrace it and practice to your strengths. Particularly when you practice kata, you should practice with your tendencies in mind so you are thinking of applications that suite your instincts. Is that box block a grab and strike, grab and strike, grab and strike, or is it really more of a shihonage? Depends on if you are a striker or grappler. Work to your nature and practice accordingly.
We then talked about striking from a distance, which is more psychological than anything. Using your eye contact and your body language to control people. This is pretty cool stuff, and something I need a lot of work on. Homework: PEOPLE WATCH. Watch how people stand when they talk to each other, or when you talk to them, and them move your body to a different position and see how they react.
After lunch we covered kicking! I am particularly fond of kicking because while I don't have a tremendous amount of upper body strength, I DO have a great deal of lower body strength. We covered a few different types of kicks, including suni geri and two variations on a shomengeri kick. Wilder does a great job of explaining how to use structural/linear force and the stronger muscles in your hips to power your kicks as opposed to the rotational force we see everywhere else. I won't go into any more detail here because Wilder is really the best instructor for this.
Wilder then took the last hour of the seminar and turned us into monks. With ice cubes. It was epic.
Wilder also briefly covered something he calls the "Macta Bacalas" (and I'm probably spelling that wrong, Mr. Wilder, if you're reading this, please correct me) which is the warrior's path. I find myself really drawn to discussions and ideals of this nature regarding Martial Arts and Martial training. It's not that I idealize violence, but when Wilder talks about the difference between a warrior and a fighter, I can't help but want to be the warrior. I don't care about playing the game, or dragging the fight out, or winning for glory. I want to be the warrior that ends it, immediately. The Samurai mentality to some degree... knowing you could snap that ass hole in half like a twig, but not doing it because it's not worth it. It's very hard to articulate for me... I'll have to think more on it and post about it in the future. By the way, if you ever meet Mr. Wilder, he has some pretty amazing Samurai eyebrows when he does his Samurai face. You should ask him to show you.
ANYWAY, I of course wanted to know more about this "Macta Bacalas" but when I asked Wilder said it's something he created, which he covers in his newest book, which isn't out yet. I have since pre-ordered my copy of Dirty Ground and am hopeful that this topic will be covered in more depth.
Overall, it was another great seminar, and a good reminder that I really need to stop filling my life with distractions so I can work on what I really want... as soon as I figure out what that is. For now, I will continue with my art and once school is out I will go back to training. (Although I am very glad I took Anatomy and Kinesiology as the class was very interesting and I hope to have a video posted soon of a project Nick and I are working on inspired by the class).
Till next time, ja mata.