Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I fought at my first Dog Brothers Gathering!

Photo Credit:  http://www.montrealmartialarts.com

This is my AAR (After Action Report) of my first ever Dog Brothers Gathering.

Many people who train the martial arts don't train stickfighting with minimal protection. For those that do train stickfighting, many don't fight at a Dog Brothers Gathering. And I'm guessing there are few people in their 50's with ~2 years of training going to a Gathering and might I add that the Gathering was in a different country to boot! I did all that ... WOW!


July  21, 2018, Saturday
Gelinas Academy of Mixed Martial Arts
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 warm up knife fight (90 seconds)

And 5 fights (2 minutes each)  ...  I wanted one more fight but I took too long a break after eating a granola bar and a protein bar in addition to drinking 2 bottles of water. It was the 7th Canadian Dog Brothers Gathering so 7 fights would've been nice. Only 6 total fights though for a total time of 11.5 minutes between 11:00-3:30. My body is still achy all over after 2 days from only 11.5 mins of stickfighting!

1. Knife fight vs Wandering Dog/Shawn Zirger

I thought he got 3 clean kills but after the fight he said he only got one, the other 2 were not deadly. He said I sliced his forearm with a clean hit. We have been online friends for a long time and glad we finally met! The day after the Gathering he taught a block of material that blew my mind. If you have a chance, go train with Wandering Dog!

Wandering Dog:

"Was great to meet and get the day started with you."

2. Single stick with Foxhound/Matt Berry

We agreed to no knee shots and no grappling on the ground. He was recovering from an injury. He tried 2 spinning back kicks which missed ... on his 2nd kick I was able to hit his leg .... not hard but hard enough that IIRC he acknowledged it. He hit me quite a few times. He hits hard. Got me on my left elbow. He switched from his Dominant/right to his Complementary/left and I almost switched also. I fought with my Complementary Hand (Left). My Brother, "Dog" Chris, yelled at me, "It's your first Gathering. You are not left-handed. Switch to your right!" As it was my first Gathering, he felt I shouldn't have handicapped myself further especially against a Full Dog Brother who is a well-rounded martial artist and scary fighter.

But I am proud I stuck to my Complementary Hand ... I was very close to switching to my Dominant Hand though! But I resisted the urge. Towards the end of the fight I was driving him into the cage and got him pinned and was going to try for a "cameltoe" takedown but the bell rang.


"Huge thanks and love to my opponents ...
@stickgrappler (huge respects to this man!!)"

"@stickgrappler you were great! Fighting Full Dog Brothers right off the bat?? I knew I had to play tricks on you right away, I am humbled to be a part of your first Gathering. I will be down to NYC to train with you fine folks before the Open. As far as I am concerned, though, you're a proven StickFighter!!"

3. Double sticks vs Candidate Chili Pepper Dog/Badger Jones

I may have hit his hands a few times. I blocked with my head way too many times though LOL. He hit me with 1 rib shot and 2x on my forearms. He said I telegraphed. We didn't get a chance to chat about our fight. We have been online friends for a long time and glad we finally met. I have been training the Cavewoman series and it didn't manifest in this fight despite me using it in our training group sparring. Much to work on.

C-Chili Pepper Dog:

"- Jack Lee, double stick, despite your self-deprecation, you showed good technique and power and took on a lot of heavy hitters for your first Gathering. (also, nice to finally meet you after some 20-odd vears of online discussion)"

4. Double sticks vs Sage Dog/Roger Whissel

62 yrs old, hip replacement last year and also Ascended to Full Dog Brother last year. We agreed to no grappling and no knee shots. HE HITS HARD EVEN THOUGH HE'S 62!!! Got hit in my head with his Caveman (diagonal slash down) from his Dominant/right hand. The first ever head shot where my head felt the hit! All other head shots I ever got I can hear I got hit but the mask took the hit and my head didn't feel those ... he hit me in my left elbow where I had bursitis a few years ago. Swollen now. Hit me on the ribs with nasty looking stick hickey that hurt a little but is nothing. At one point, he dropped one stick and I let him pick it up. We have been online friends for a long time and glad we finally met.

Sage Dog:

"You were awesome my friend. Thanks for the fight."

5. Single stick vs Kevin Fillman

His 2nd Gathering ...  nephew of Sage Dog. Forgot to say no knee shots to him prior to the fight ... he went 2x for my knee and I avoided except for the first where he hit me on my thigh. Stick hickey from thigh disappeared already. Lost my stick ... don't recall if he hit my hand, hit my stick hard or I just dropped. IIRC he said he hit my stick hard and I dropped it then. I clinched and pinned him vs cage as he repeatedly hit my head ... I tried to control his stick arm to no avail. After the fight he said he never fought a lefty before and that after his right dominant hand Caveman strike it was easy for a lefty to hit his forearm which I did (I was able to use "follow the force"). I told him that my Dominant hand is my right and I fought with my Complementary hand and he was surprised!

After this fight on Saturday, Wandering Dog offered some words of advice which sounded cryptic at first. After Sunday's seminar in which he taught a block of material from his current martial arts research that he was reluctant to share initially, his advice from the previous day was crystal clear!

Kevin Fillman:

"Thank you for the kind moves and also the fight. You made me have to adapt to your style. Thank you for the lesson"

6. Single stick vs Candidate Painted Dog/Liam Burke

It was late in the day, fewer and fewer Fighters were lining up. He was sitting down in the spectators section and was tired. On an earlier Facebook post of a mutual friend, he encouraged me to show up and that he would be honored to fight me. I asked him if he still had a fight left in him and despite being tired, he wanted to go with a technical fight with machete. Told him I'm a stick guy and I offered to fight a technical single stick fight. He said with sticks he didn't think it can be technical. He thought about it for a little and said ok ... we were the penultimate fight. Forgot to say no knee shots before we started and he kept going after my knee! I didn't think to hit his head as he went for my knee :( After the fight he said I was the only one he fought today to adapt mid-fight. I think his first drift shot grazed my thigh... then he went for more drift shots and I cross-stepped or 'elastico' back on those shots  and avoided his knee shots. I really don't remember now how I was able to avoid his drift shots. All his previous fights of the day he landed his drift shots at the knee. At first I didn't know he was a Candidate Dog Brother and during dinner I looked up the Fighters List and found out... if I knew I may not have requested the fight ... LOL at me!

C-Painted Dog:

"Glad I didn't hit you in the knee. Drift shots to the leg have been a huge part of my game these days.

You're being modest and you did damn well. It was an honour to fight you and I hope to continue sharing growth with you."

Due to my Family/financial situation with Princess Stickgrappler #1 in 2nd year of college, Princess SG #2 a junior in high school and SG Jr a high school freshman, I may not get to go to another Gathering to test myself until SG Jr is out of college in 7 yrs. I would be 60 then and may not fight at a Gathering at that age despite this Gathering having seen Tuhon Phil Gelinas aka Sled Dog, 65, a 63 yr old gentleman recovering from his stroke and fighting at his first Gathering and 62 yr old Sage Dog fighting.

Nothing broken ... swollen elbow only. Nothing lost. Everything gained!




Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting by Badger Johnson

One of the most important concepts that Bruce Lee and others (Sun Tzu) talked about is ‘Fighting without Fighting’.

Why is this important? It involves a methodology of dealing with conflict that gives a successful outcome, with a minimum of subsequent issues. It is a way to empower individuals to handle daily life. It gives an alternative to simply butting heads, using logical and sensible tactics. It is both a way of acting and a thought process and something one can practice and affords personal growth. Below are some ideas. As always research carefully the ‘how’ of enacting these methods in your own situation. Not all of them may be applicable to everyone.

Twenty-Five Examples of Methods of Fighting Without Fighting.

1. Do Not Be The Enemy - Define, or redefine your enemy. Often it is yourself. Sometimes we ‘need’ our enemies to keep us vigilant. The body needs stressors to keep its defenses strong.

2. The Brain - Use your brain, your best weapon, find a way to put the enemy on bad footing, or in a situation where they self-defeat.

3. The Art of Interception - Bruce Lee talks about the art of interception. We must intercept the opponent’s intent, their opportunity and their methods, not only up close but at a distance. Intercept motive, means and opportunity.

4. Make Careful Choices - Choose your battles carefully.

5. Seek To Make A Friend - Make the enemy your friend or at least see their side and thus deescalate things.

6. Be The Gray Man - Use stealthy methods, be transparent, leave no trace. Striking causes wounds which can be used as complicit evidence. Be the ‘gray man’.

7. Multiple Fronts - Encounter the opponent on multiple fronts. You can use overwhelming methods to defeat that which you might not defeat on a single front.

8. Define Your Enemy - By defining your opponent I mean not just carefully researching them, it, him, but look beyond an individual. Your opponent might be fatigue, or lack of self-knowledge or lack of preparation. It could be internal or external. It could be an idea, a prejudice which is keeping you confined.

9. Laying Traps - One way to intercept the opponent is by laying traps. If you know an action will make the opponent go right or left, lay a trap where they will go. Understanding the opponent is paramount because you can not predict what they will do to lay a trap if you have not understood their motivation.

10. The Subtle Beats The Overt - Seek subtle means over overt means, because those use less energy.

11. Limit Your Damage - Before you engage the enemy, try to make sure that though you might take damage you can survive and not be destroyed should you lose any particular engagement.

12. Seek The Successful - Look for real world examples of how success is achieved, analyze that success for principles you can incorporate.

13. Do Not Fear Failure - The best teacher is failure, so don’t be too afraid of failing in any one encounter. You learn and can come back and win later.

14. Be Elsewhere - The best way to win a battle is often not to be there. While your opponent is engaging and expending energy you are somewhere else.

15. Anticipate Early - Anticipating danger and trouble is part of interception, it doesn’t necessarily mean you never seek to engage, just engage on your terms.

16. Blow It Off - In any conflict if possible, always seek to ‘blow it off’. Let time pass. There’s less chance for unnecessary or unpleasant repercussions or backlash.

17. Poker Face - Avoid showing your intent, or plans. It may cause the enemy to fear your level of threat. Poker face.

18. Do Not Gloat - Once you have succeeded in solving without conflict avoid the tendency to gloat over your success. Allow the enemy to save face.

19. Do No Harm - Adopt a ‘first do no harm’ approach to conflict and resolution.

20. Do Not Be Drawn In - Try never to be drawn needlessly into an ego-driven conflict.

21. Do Not Cling - Learn and practice ways not to cling to a goal or an object. Do not cling to the need to be right or wrong.

22. Add Your New Findings - If you need victory at times, consider adding a new method of resolution to your list that you get from experience. You have added a new tool toward self-mastery. That kind of victory will last.

23. The Six Diseases - Study and work at solving the six diseases of excessive self-consciousness.
“The six diseases are:
  • The desire for victory;
  • The desire to resort to technical cunning;
  • The desire to display all that he has learned;
  • The desire to overawe the enemy;
  • The desire to play a passive role;
  • The desire to get rid of whatever disease he is likely to be infected with.”
24. Practice What You Learn - As part of the process one should seek ways to practice and perfect the art of fighting without fighting.

25. Avoid Ego Battles - Seek the 10,000 foot view on issues. This will help one to not be caught up in ego-battles with strangers.

© Badger Johnson 2018

Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:


back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps