The weekend of the 17th-19th we traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Kerry and I and two other young boys from our school participated in the WEKAF National Eskrima stick fighting championships. This art has its origins in the Philippines and is inclusive of empty handed, grappling, and weapons. The kali sticks, which is one name for them, are one of the weapons strongly associated with the discipline. One fights with them much as one would a sword or nunchaku; in fact there is correlation to both.
I ended up in 5th place in single stick for my division losing by one or two points to the fighter who went on to win the National championship. It was close enough for him to claim I was his toughest opponent. So the brackets go. My double stick competition was much the same. I also thoroughly enjoyed putting a three man team together and competing in the team fights. I was assured I won my round there.
Kerry, even being down with a respiratory infection, took second in single stick by a split decision against a young man almost two years older and 70 pounds heavier. He then went on to take third in double stick having never competed in that before. What can one say. He has the chi and is qualified for the World Championship again.
Following our return to Colorado I spent many hours in final preparation for my Black Belt test held this Friday. Principally this is a Jeet Kune Do school and black belt. We are tested on at least seven different styles and our own expression thereof, including Jun Fan, Muay Thai, Boxing, Ju Jitsu, and Eskrima. After several hours of testing I received my Black Belt. I do understand this…a Black belt is a benchmark. It is a door opening, not a graduation. I have an entire world before me which serves as a dojo; a place of training, for again as Steve Ilg has said ‘my workout is everywhere.’
‘The key immortality is to first live a life worth remembering’
Above: Kerry (in red) in a final Eskrima match. Haku flowing into Ai Imawa during his demo. Sparring for the Black belt.