My son and I had a great time at this year's WMAA training camp in West Seneca, NY. Once again Tim Hartman and Janice Stranc have put on a top-notch event! I have no notes in front of me, so please forgive me if I get the order of some sessions wrong, or even omit one. It was a busy weekend! We arrived after the start of the camp due to work obligations and so missed the first two technical sessions, as well as the previous night's business seminar. There was a good turnout, with people coming from both the U.S. and Canada, including a large group from the U. of Penn., and the participants had already taken advantage of two presentations by this time (and, for some, the business seminar). I understand that Sensei Kimura--a local legend who ran a popular martial arts supply store for many years and teaches Shorinji Kempo and Kendo--taught a pressure point seminar that apparently was both enlightening and painful, and that Rick Manglinong followed with more of his popular double-stick work. I arrived in time for dinner, followed by a wonderful martial arts marketing seminar by NAPMA president Rob Colasanti. His sessions were very popular with school owners and club operators. Mr. Hartman rounded out the evening with single stick work, starting with basic block-check-counter ideas and progressing to more sophisticated aborts, with a brief detour for obstruction removal. After the last session, people moved back to the hotel or to a late dinner or snack. Saturday morning brought another session with Mr. Colasanti. He continued the theme of building a martial arts business, moving from the previous day's focus on marketing to ideas aimed more at retention. To get this much business information, including personalized consulting after the session, was a great deal for the school owners present and was clearly appreciated. Then Paul Janulis led a session on the bolo. Although the topic was nominally sword work, in fact he led us through drills that could be used with any weapon (including no weapon) and that trained attributes that many other drills don't train. His description of what was missing in most training and what was needed struck home with me on one point in particular--my son also pointed out that this was missing from our training--and I have assured Mr. Janulis that I will be stealing this drill immediately. (He knows which one I mean and can say more if he wishes.) He was followed by another FMATalk member, Roger Agbulos, who had graciously PMed me prior to the camp and asked if there was anything I particularly wanted to see. (He had read some of my posts in our Lameco forum.) So, this post led to a session on largo stick-sparring that began with a demonstration of the effectiveness of the method in an inpromptu sparring match between Mr. Agbulos and a volunteer (in the Army sense of the word) from the group, and continued with drills and discussion. Mr. Agbulos' combination of showing that it worked and explaining why it worked made for an excellent class. The geometry of it all really appealed to me! I look forward to trying out his non-telegraphic, efficient approach, which will require only a change of attitude for me, not technique. We broke for the traditional Chinese buffet lunch, then returned for Rick Manglinong's session on classical arnis. I was forced to miss most of it due to administrative concerns--it's something of a standing joke that I always happen to get pulled away during Mr. Manglinong's sessions, but I don't find it at all funny as I have attended his sessions when possible and find them very enlightening. My son assured me that it was a very good session, with a mix of stick and empty-hand techniques. Mr. Hartman closed out the afternoon session with empty-hand applications, including applications from trapping hands--reminding people once again that Modern Arnis is modern in part because of its all-around approach to self-defense. Saturday evening brought the traditional in-school buffet. The food was good, the conversation was spirited, and people were still there chatting until after midnight. I stick-sparred Mr. Hubbard with the SMAK-Stiks--we used buckler-style shields as well, for variety--then my son did the same. He also sparred Mr. Hartman (stick only). However, most people talked, played with the weapons and other equipment, and so on. Sunday morning started with Mr. Agbulos, who had solicited input from the group and decided to go with knife techniques. Much of it focused on progressions for relatively close-in knife-to-knife work, but he also covered empty hand defenses. His approach is different from the Modern Arnis approach--in many cases, much closer in--and I really benefitted from a detailed introduction to another way of doing things. He was followed by Mr. Hartman who taught a session on the Balintawak system that influenced Prof. Presas' development of Modern Arnis. As usual, the highly effective Balintawak approach to stick-dueling was very popular with everyone, and Mr. Hartman's organization of the material made it possible for people to learn and take with them so new ideas. After closing out the session and getting lunch, I understand that Mr. Hartman worked with the U. of Penn. group further, though we had to leave not long after the last session. Thanks as always to Tim Hartman and Janice Stranc for all they do to make this event such a big success. This includes not only the things you'd expect, but little things like arranging discounts not only at a local hotel but also at a nearby restaurant for camp participants. On a personal note, they once again picked us up from the airport, dropped us back off, and put us up at their house for a night in between. They are wonderful hosts. Thanks to the instructors for their time, effort, and enthusiasm: Roger Agbulos, Rob Colasanti, Paul Janulis, Kimura Sensei, Tim Hartman, and Rick Manglinong. Although I missed Mr. Kimura, who had obligations elsewhere after Friday, the weekend's instructors were very generous with their time and knowledge after their sessions as well as during them. I made new friends and got to see old ones. I'm already looking forward to next year!