It may be the Year of the Rabbit according to Chinese zodiac, but according to yours truly’s martial arts world, it continues to be the Year of the (Incredible) Seminar.
Justin Kagan Sensei did an outstanding job with the Cane Seminar. Peter Carbone Sensei was deeply inspirational and applicable, and Guro Eddie Quinn continued the trend of expert level training with his Silat presentation. Master level teachers all on top of their game.
Just when you think the bar could not get higher, David Merrell stepped it up during the Summer Systema Seminar yesterday (not that I am biased with Systema or anything).
Those of us who have trained with David Merrell have a high expectation. Knowing his background and seeing him in action, it is easy to understand why. What was remarkable yesterday, he stepped it up even more so. . . . .yet again.
You would think that 6 hours of training in the Florida heat and humidity would be a bit much but a lively, energetic group of Systema practitioners (mostly from CFL Systema school) proved otherwise. In fact, the group was open, receptive and eager to learn and apply the information. In other words, they were the classic example of what it is like to be a martial artist. I was never so honored to be a part of something so impressive.
The seminar was nothing what I anticipated and everything that I loved and needed. Despite having trained with David for 4 years now, I had never seen these drills, nor the ensuing approaches to defense and attack(s). A series of progressive “circle-based” drills emphasized how important precise movement is.
Strikes followed and some of our newer students were introduced to one of the unique aspects of Systema. . . in a loud and powerful way. In particular, Carlos and Craig took strikes and demonstrated a level of courage most people never attempt. Neal, Gary, the Georgia boys (Stevie and Russ) and dare I say, yours truly, of course, knew what was coming yet hung in there despite David taking strikes to a new level. Painfully so.
Knife work and multiple opponents completed the incredible day. Of the 6 seminars we have had in Orlando to date, this was by all accounts, the most enjoyable, most profound and presented information that sunk in, in ways previously not experienced. It was the “star” of the Year of Seminars.
Huge thanks to David for coming up and teaching, as well as everyone who attended. Suffice it to say that it was exceptional, though exceptional has become the norm.
When exceptional is the standard, I would say that is a pretty great way to train!