My body has traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

Friday, September 26, 2008

Escrima in issue of Men's health Magazine

Ermar Alexander of GB is profiled in the next issue of Men’s Health magazine.
I’ve seen Ermar at the last several WEKAF World’s. Very energetic, fast paced fighter who does do this leap in fights.
Great to see some good FMA coverage and of a guy who handles himself with class and sets a good example at tournaments.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Final day of WEKAF competition - victory

The final day of WEKAF saw Mariah winning both her fights on the way to winning her second World title in Double Stick. Well done and well earned.
She showed the spirit we all new she had and demonstrated all the improvements her coaches had put into her.
She jumped out to an early lead and established the superior attitude and there was no denying her this title. Make no mistake, she had to earn it.
Erin was tough and Bonnie from Australia did the Aussies proud as she was a real game fighter. Mariah did her infamous over the top drum pounding on Bonnie’s shoulders in the first round and raised one absolutely nasty lump on her that I worked out with Balur later. Seemed only fair.

Then Cole had to fight former classmate, Matthew. Their last meeting was at Nationals in ’06 where Cole dug deep and prevailed. At this circuit’s Feb. Nationals Mathew got the bye and Cole won his first fight so Matt fought the looser and lost. So they never fought. The 2nd place qualifier got hurt in training and didn’t make the trip so Matt took the open slot.
This time Cole got the bye. I’m guessing because Cole was the top qualifier from the US.

Matt fought a player from GB and did a bang up job demolishing him by constantly coming forward (as I advised him to do after watching the guy fight SS). 2 disarms on the way to a dominating win. Had to be good for his confidence.

Now it was down to Cole and Matt for the title. What Matt didn’t know was Cole was now a completely different and far more savy fighter. In the past much of Cole’s fighting prowess was from natural ability and sheer fighting spirit. That changed after some time with Bobbe, Mushtaq and Cody.
He was also heavily training in MMA and his strength, confidence and stamina was way up.

He really buckled down and trained hard for this one. We spent a great deal of time on learning how to be in the moment and deal with whatever is happening in the most superior way. Never get stuck in a plan but impose your will.
Based on my experience, we went over a lot of what if scenarios and how to turn them to your benefit. I have to say, Cole executed the plan expertly.
Used his left stick to block with extensively (few fighters do this) and then countered high and low. Constantly went for a left hand disarm. You may never get it but it rattles the other guy when you are able to come close so many times. There is one attempt at 1:17 of round #3 where it looks like Cole did a particularly hard lock to Matt’s hand and you can see Bong point it out. But if you watch closely you can see Cole hooks only the stick and turns his body to pull it away. At the exact time, Matt turns the other way, thereby badly wrenching his own hand. Well executed by both. Matt didn’t get disarmed but it had to hurt. Cole gave him little choice, disarm or pain.

He used devastating leg shots, never backed off, constantly kept the pressure on and kept Matt on his heels backing up. All things we worked on. I asked the judges afterwards and the things they saw that made them give him the win were exactly the things we had worked so hard on. I did feel bad for Matt as I’m sure he worked just as hard and you can see me tell him after the decision. Both fighters told the other how much better they were now afterwards.

But I gotta say, you can see just how much better Cole was. Thanks for helping coach Mariah.

Navadisha footwork btw

Note that Cole touches gloves here too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sutukil and Mactan day 2

The second day of competition we did not thankfully have any events. We still attended to support Wendy for her event(which should have occured the day before, get the theme of how well the tournament was executed?) which I think eventually ended around 2-3PM. Spent most of the time judging, taking pics with folks I know, ect.

My favorite pic of the trip

We then took a late obliatory trip out to Mactan Island which is actually where the airport is. Mactan is the historical site where Magellan met his infamous demise after navigating the globe. As an FMA practitioner, it's kinda tradition to get your picture taken in front of the Lapu Lapu statue.

Sutukil is sort of short hand for the area due to the foods available. Sutukil is a combination of three cooking styles. There are quite a few souveneir shops (with by far the best prices) and we did a fair amount of shopping.
The Sutukil shops display on ice whatever has been caught that morning and you pick it, tell them how you want it cooked and sit down in their place. We had lunch there in 2004 and I still remember the 12" prawns.

Yeah, he was that big.

Headed back to Mactan.
We ended with dinner at Mr. A. It's a resturant in the hills that the better off locals go to, not for tourists. They cook all the traditional foods but do them REALLY well. We found it in '04 when we had time for lunch before our flight home and the gloden Cowrie was closed. Bong asked the taxi driver for a recommendation and we ended at Mr A. Awesome place overlooking the city.

It was a bit late by now as we also stopped to see Fort San Pedro and Magellan's cross, more obigatory tourist spots. I was fine with that, I was along for the ride, so to speak, with no agenda.
Fort San Pedro
Magellan's Cross
Mr A's overlooking the city
I believe that's our hotel in the middle all lit up.

Mr A's offers mostly Filipino dishes but done very well. So I was in a pretty adventurous mood feeling a bit safer. Had some Tanquige fish, Tuna jaw, Kini Lau (pickled fish) and this:What is it? Sisig. Sizling Pork ears. Really not too bad.

As Bobbe recently pointed out, they eat that because they're poor. "You're a rich American, eat the good stuff!". But hey, I went there to immerse not observe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cheeseburger and a large orange drink

Man I love this bit.
Have some co-workers who constantly remind me of this when they begin speaking.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Air Supply

This is just for Bobbe.

I think most of us are aware of his adoration for all things Air Supply.

I think we now know where it stems from, his time in Cebu (either that or he started the infection).

Look closely, there's actually a cycle cab named "Air Supply". Just waiting for Bobbe to return I guess.

On our way back from Sutukil we stopped at Fort San Pedro. It was pretty dark by then so we didn't get too many good pictures. Someone had rented out the courtyard for some sort of anniversary celebration. And the KTV machine was out.

I think you can figure out this one despite the blurriness.

Just for you with love Bobbe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tournament day 1

First day of competion and the tournament was to be held at the local mall. Now we're not talking American Malls here. These suckers have 4 floors. We're talking colossal. We showed up somewhat early for the ad-hoc "rules and officials" meeting, held downstars at a Starbuck outside. Consisted of groups in two rooms separated by glass and one guy communicating things back and forth. OK, to be expected. So with anticipation we headed to the mall location and staked out chairs.
And then we waited. If you're familiar with FMA, then you understand the term "Filipino time". Starting at 9AM could mean anywhere up to 2 hs later. I've even seen tournaments in CA advertised as "NO Filipino time". Having experienced and gotten used to this last time, I had low expectations. Little did I realize there's two floors of lower than that. By a mile way worse than I've ever seen. Many of the usual suspects that helped run these were not to be involved. I suspect there was some of the usual politics and the locals were wanting to run the whole thing as a matter of pride or whatever. Big mistake.
All the registrations from the day before had disappeared overnight. Everything was being hand written on legal pads by Pinay's who hardly spoke english. See any problems there?
I'd have to say this was again an auspicious start and even saying " I expected this" didn't cover it. Needless to say we were disgusted and bored. I consequently have very few pics at this point.
At one point I did sub as center judge for one of the forms rings for a while. That was fine, I don't mind judging. I knew eventually my division was coming (there wasn't too many left after what had to have been 4-5 hrs) so I excused my self. Sure enough, I was called. Which ring? Yep, same one. It was just Ernie (doing a traditional DP form) and I again. At least three of the judges were DP folks. End result was we both had all 9's and 9.5's. I think Ernie had one more 9.5. No surprises with that judging, NBD.

I ran a good form so I'm happy with that. They'll never see anything like it again.

A few hours later we got around to Cole's division.

I sticking with the debacle of how the tournament was run they decided (for what brilliant reason we never got) to combine the 14-15 with the 16-17. Nothing we could say would change that. Cole's first fight was with a 16 yr old Brit who had a serious push checking problem. Finally close to loosing a point at the thrid round. We had prepared for this eventuallity and Cole had no problem handling him despite getting continually shoved three steps back and knocked off his feet.

There was a bit of broughha after the third round as I took Cole's helmet off. Seems the Brit follow rules that do not allow removing the helmet until there is a winner declared. They wanted him disqualified. Typical stuff. Believe me, I know the rules backward and forwards. It's not in there but that's how they "practice" them in Europe. It's certainly not that way on Britian's website, I checked the rules on their site.

In the end it didn't matter. Cole won unanamously. For first place cole had to fight a guy who will be 18 in 6 months and was at least 3" taller.

Cole got accidentally disarmed in the first round and it proved to just not be enough to recover from. It was a good and close fight. I think ultimatly the other guy just had more reach and could come over the top more.

The end of a somewhat disappointing (in several ways) day. We headed back to the hotel around 9PM and never even got dinner.