I realize I had not posted on here in some time. I had been using this more as a Website than a blog for some time. I plan to change that, and post regular articles here.
2014 was an amazing year. I trained with some world-class martial artists for the first time. I certified my first set of instructors. I am currently moving on a plan to expand my organization.
I am honored to have developed a core group of students that have stayed with me in the garage since I moved my classes back there in summer of 2012. I am honored to now be representing several of the systems I teach at the Associate Instructor level. I have four students who are not only yellow sashes under myself, but yellow sashes in Wing Chun under Sifu Francis Fong. I am taking the final steps to get my first group of instructors into the Inosanto International Martial Arts Instructors Association. I recently reconfigured my curriculum. I will be offering my students greater depth.
2015 is going to be amazing. I hope to be making a big announcement soon.
In order to:
1. Differentiate a Kids’ Martial Arts Program
2. Offer more hours in such a deep curriculum
3. Create a schedule more in line with planning for the future
Starting today (3/27/2013) here is the new schedule for the Garage Academy:
5 PM to 6 PM – Kids Martial Arts (ages 5 to 13)
6 PM to 7:30 PM – Empty-handed Blend (Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Mixed Grappling, Savate, Silat, Wing Chun)
7:30 PM to 9 PM – Filipino Martial Arts (Inosanto/LaCoste, Dog Brothers, Balintawak)
9 PM to 10 PM- Wing Chun (Sifu Fong’s curriculum)
6 to 7 PM – Kids Martial Arts (ages 5 to 13)
7 PM to 8:15 – Filipino Martial Arts (Inosanto/LaCoste, Dog Brothers, Balintawak)
8:15 PM to 9:30 – Empty Handed Blend (Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Mixed Grappling, Savate, Silat, Wing Chun)
I hope to see you in class soon,
Guro Doctor Bryan Stoops
I just had the pleasure of watching the “first draft” of my DVD on stick fighting. It contains a great deal of information, and a great deal of my Phase I FMA curriculum as a means to begin developing a “game” as a stick fighter. I like 95% of what I saw (the 5% I didn’t like consisted of some verbal stumbling on my part, and just a few instances of using the wrong term in the heat of shooting footage).
Despite my having a performing arts background, I hate watching myself on video. That being written, I am excited to see the disk come together, and I will be excited to offer it to my students, and anyone else who might be interested. In south east Asia, students of the arts learn weapons first, which is a very different paradigm than in the West. For many of us who grew up watching Bruce Lee and other martial arts film stars, it seems downright unfair to use a weapon when fighting multiple opponents. In the south east Asian arts, one sometimes prepares to fight not only multiple opponents, but huge numbers (some of the blade systems I study are designed to help fight 10-20 people). The odds of surviving a real attack from a group in those numbers depend greatly on the presence of a weapon.
Many people invalidate weapons training. I hear/read comments on a regular basis like, “How many times will I be walking down the street carrying a stick?” If one looks around his/her living space, or automobile, improvised weapons are often all around. If they are not, what can you do to prepare to defend yourself in the worst possible situations? Carrying weapons can be a violation of the law, depending on where one lives. The decision to carry is highly personal. Even if the idea of carrying a concealed blade is highly repellant, there are still legal tools (like key ring kubaton – click here) one can carry.
For that reason, if one aspires to be able to defend himself/herself, weapons training is essential. My DVD will lay a good foundation for fighting with a blunt impact weapon. Those skills translate to all sorts of household items (baseball bats, umbrellas, etc). When my disk is ready, for distribution, I will be sure it is available to as many who might need the information as possible.
In the meantime, I am pursuing more martial arts learning, and some new training opportunities have arisen. I will continue to share the material I am learning (as long as I am allowed to do so) with those who want it. Some of the footage for Volume 2 of the stick fighting series has already been shot. I will continue to move forward and learn from success and challenges.
This is an interesting time period for me: After a year of operating my classes out of a 1300 sqft space in Pomona, I have moved my classes back into my garage in Chino Hills. I have also cut my teaching time down from 12 hours a week to 4 hours a week.
The downside is that we are a little cramped. The upside is that the nice equipment from the larger space is now in the garage. We also have a Wing Chun dummy now. The other upside is that I actually have some time to focus on my own training. During the average week, I try to train with Guro Inosanto for at least 1 evening of 3 to 4 hours of class. Then I teach for 4 hours on Wednesdays. Later in the week, I take a private lesson with a local FMA instructor, and afterwards, I immediately drive into the Inland Empire later in the evening to study 2 blade systems with another local FMA instructor.
I am attempting to squeeze in the 8 arts making up both my FMA blend and my empty handed blend during the 4 hour classes on Wednesdays. When I describe my training to many people, they are shocked that I continue to take classes, both in arts in which I am already certified as an instructor, and in systems in which I am not.
In the system of FMA’s in which I take private lessons, my instructor has already authorized me to start introducing the basics of his system to my students, even though I am not a representative instructor in that system. My other instructor in the 2 blade systems knows I aspire to instructorship in those styles as well. Since they are both highly in-demand blade systems, I have signed a form promising to not teach any of those systems in any group setting.
The point of this is not to collect instructorship/rank in as many systems as possible, but to create a never ending cycle of learning and passing on knowledge to my students. That is what has been modeled for me and that is what I attempt to model for those I teach.
While I am sad the Pomona facility did not work out, I have a DVD in the works, and my small group of core students is making great progress. Despite my vision of a large school being put on hold, I am excited to see where martial arts and my great, growing group of student take me. I also get to be a student again every week, which I really enjoy. Not exactly where I thought I would be at this time, but certainly exciting regardless. Stay tuned.