I am no longer writing for Fightland, which is a bummer in many ways, but also a relief. The work I did for them drained my brain of any martial arts thoughts for a long time, which meant this blog lay fallow. The good news is that I will have more time to lay down my thoughts here, and there is a lot to talk about.
The first thing I should mention is the New Masters Documentary film, which is still an ongoing project. We published a personal note from on the ground in Beijing today on the Kickstarter site, so all backers will have received that note. The three videographers on the ground—Chris Cherry, David Dempsey, and Graeme Nicol—believe they are very close to finishing this film. As a producer on the film, all I can do at this point is wait and prepare for an eventual marketing push to follow a completed or near completed film. That push will also involve submitting the film to festivals and competitions around the world and hoping for the best. One of the awards we had on the Kickstarter campaign was a chance to view the screening of the film in a series of cities. I know that once the film is finished, that will be, for me, the most exciting and rewarding part of the process.
Here is a story I wrote about the Thai Boxing Association Tournament in Des Moines. Really opened my eyes up to the sport, to fighting, and to the community as a whole. I have been training in Thai Boxing since October of 2015 and it has been one of the most rewarding decision I have ever made. I am in much better shape than I was and I feel good about what I’m learning. I’m also discovering long-ignored physical issues and injuries that need my attention. Most prominent is sciatica built up over time spent on the computer and not much else. But at least I’m addressing it.
Unlike my training in kungfu, training Thai Boxing has become an obsession for me: I am addicted to pad work and learning new techniques, I love sparring and dancing with my training partners, and I also study film to see if there are new things I can learn. When I trained kungfu, it seemed much more about the culture of the art for me, as opposed to the actual martial art. I never felt like the training was something I could dedicate myself to.
I wrote this story here, “Why Kungfu Masters Refuse To Teach,” as a study of why I felt the way I did about training kungfu the traditional way. Methods, I think, make up a lot of the difference. Hitting pads just feels a lot better than hitting wood or stone. I understand the hard core idea behind traditional methods, but honestly, it felt stupid to me. Even the wooden man, which I admire and have written about as well, just seemed to be a very counter-productive tool.
I am still sorting through my attachments to kungfu and my newfound love for Thai Boxing (and Brazilian jujitsu!). The culture and history and lore of kungfu are some of the most richly satisfying and fascinating research topics I have come across, but for the actual martial artist I am creating out of my soft pudge, I find other arts to be more rewarding.
I’d be interested to hear thoughts from anyone who might have a similar experience.