Friday, October 24, 2008

Job Corps



Here I am beside Mr. Craig Marks (to my left) and few of the cadets from the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps.

I have had the pleasure of working with these fine young people for almost a year now. They are attending the pre-military / law enforcement academy at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corp Center in Grand Rapids Michigan. This program is headed up by Mr. Craig Marks a former Marine himself (if there is such a thing as a "former Marine!"). He has an un-dieing commitment to the program and more importantly to each of the cadets. He helps each of them to reach out for their dream of having a career in law enforcement, military service or private security. It' s amazing that he has the time because he is also a father of six wonderful children and a wife who (hopefully) keeps him sane...or maybe makes him just that much crazier, it's hard to tell!! Anyway Craig you are doing a fantastic job and definatly making a big difference to not only each of the cadets you come into contact with, but our entire community!

Last year Craig asked me if I was interested in teaching close quarter combatives and warrior ethics at the Academy; I felt very honored to accept the position. Yes, sometimes the scheduling gets a bit crazy and things usually don't go off with out a hitch, but to say it's all worth it would be an understatement. I get a lot of fulfillment sharing in the growth of each of the cadets as well as the entire program. It is my way to contribute to them and the community that I live in. We are all in this together and the more we help one another, the better we all are!!

The cadets and I generally go over hand to hand combatives, restraining tactics and most importantly warrior ethics. I have a lot of respect for these young folks. They are a high energy group filled with many questions and real life experiences. I think I learn more from them than they do me! Tonight we reviewed the material we covered in our last session and introduced some new ground work including side control, mount escapes and reversals from the guard as well as escapes from standing head locks, chokes and a bear hug or two.

It was a smaller group tonight than last time so, unfortunately a few of the cadets weren't able to be in this pic, but hopefully we can get them in the next one.

All in all great job tonight gang. Keep going!!

~Craig

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kuntaw with Buzz Smith





This Saturday a dozen or so of us got together at Chuck Pippin's Innovative Martial Arts Academy in Grand Rapids Michigan to train with Buzz Smith a master of the Southeast Asian martial art known as Kuntaw. Buzz is very knowledgeable and has much to offer. I have had the pleasure of training with Buzz at two earlier Gathering of the Tribes and this was no different. His perspective on standing and ground fighting was well received and very insightful. I like his approach to martial arts and the way he teaches. He uses examples of movements that we do every day to help people more easily understand the concepts he is trying to get across. Movements like "looking at your watch, picking up change, asking for lunch money, hitchhiking and many others" have helped many internalize combative movements that may otherwise take much longer to pick up. I know some of his teaching methods have helped me and people I have trained understand and communicate things in much simpler terms. Definitely shortening the learning curve. It is rare that I come across an instructor with so much knowledge, open mindedness, unique and functional teaching methods, respectful demeanor and skill. Truly a great experience. Thank you Buzz! I am looking forward to training with you again soon.

~Craig

Buyu Camp with Jack Hoban in Jersey







Shortly after touching down in the U.S. I was off to the East Coast to train with Jack Hoban in the art of Budo Tai Jutsu. It was a weekend filled with good training and great people. It was good seeing Jack again. It seemed like it had been a while since I saw him last.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous the whole weekend. People came from all over the world to train. I had the pleasure to see many people I typically train with when I go out there and met many more wonderful and talented martial artists.

Saturday morning after an early jog and warm up everyone sat down and Jack led a couple hour training session that was filled with his usual (and sometimes unusual!) great training insights and methods. Then as we all sat in the grass Jack surprised me by asking if I would teach one of the afternoon sessions. I was a little taken back but very honored and excited to have been asked to contribute. Jack asked me what my session was going to cover and I immediately knew... I told him I would show some ground work. When my group gathered we began covering escapes from the mount, some sweeps from the guard, a couple submissions, and getting up in base. The group kept an open mind and did very well, Jack even joined in and gave me a hand. He was a gracious and respectful host. Thanks Jack!

Although I had to leave a little early to drive 14 hours home, I had a great weekend!

I am looking forward to seeing Jack in November.

~Craig

Old News

Well, although I have many stories yet from Greece, they seem old news now, so if anyone out there is interested in how things wrapped up (or pics) I guess we'll have to go out for beers to chat. Stories of nude beaches, the Greek auto-bon and Samatha Fox will have to wait for a night out somewhere.

...Thailand and Vietnam next trip??

We'll see... :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back home... So much to still say

Well my friends, I have been back home for a few weeks now. I have finished my journey in Greece, my time at the Buyu Camp with Jack Hoban in Jersey, back to college and even back into the swing of things with my new job. I managed to get a few pics up on the site, but there are more coming. I also have some more Greece stories as well as others, so stay tuned. Little by little I am getting unburied and back into the groove of things. Thanks for your patience!!

~Craig