STL Counterpoint’s 2nd annual seminar with Counterpoint Tactical System founder Zach Whitson is in the history books. It exceeded my expectations. Old friends showed up. The CTS family came by and supported us. New students got to meet Master Whitson. Ryan surprised me with a shirt and our logo on it. (I knew he was having them made, but I didn’t think they’d be ready for the seminar.) I’ve already put up some thanks, and I recognized the hard work Ryan put in his test. So, what was covered?
Friday nights before the seminar, I have an advanced class with Grandmaster Whitson. I use that night to get group training on the material that I’m learning. This year, we covered Kenpo Counterpoint 2 (KCP2) – the Assault Set. To paraphrase Zach, this set is not for handling your drunk uncle Charlie. This is a brutal reaction to street encounter with people who view you as a means to their end.
The Saturday seminar is broken into two sessions – morning and afternoon. The morning session covered Cacoy Doce Pares (CDP). It was the last chance for Ryan to get some lessons from Grandmaster Whitson before his red belt test later that day. Zach took us through the basics all the way to beginning sparring. CDP is one of my favorite aspects of CTS, and I try to apply its training model to the other aspects of CTS. Learning how to go with the force instead of react against it is where I’m at in my CDP learning, and I take every chance I can to get hands on with Grandmaster Whitson.
The afternoon session covered Kenpo Counterpoint 1 (KCP1). This is a series of empty hand drills that take Kenpo techniques and combine them with the counter/recounter philosophy of Filipino Martial Arts. FMA practitioners would recognize KCP1 as a cousin to Hubud drills. Before this seminar, the only time I got hands on with Zach for KCP1 was during my brown belt 3 test when I had to demonstrate the drills to him. A number of Springfield FMA students are studying this material for their next test, and on the belief that Ryan would pass his belt test, this was what I would be teaching next. So, it seemed like a good time to get a lesson from Grandmaster Whitson. Since I knew the drills and didn’t have to worry about passing a test, I caught a lot more of the concepts that Zach was teaching. I definitely have a new appreciation for these drills and how they fit together with panantukan – Filipino boxing. The more I learn; the more there is to learn.
Ryan is sparring with Alec for his red belt test:
Sunday is private lesson time. I get hands on with my teacher. I am not quite confident of the curriculum material for my next belt test, but I chose to focus on Cacoy Doce Pares training. At some point, I need to test for my black belt in CDP. I chose not to focus on that, though. I wanted to work on my touch. We warmed up with double stick drills, some pre-arranged sparring, and striking drills. Then we just sparred. Grandmaster Whitson would pause and work on my touch when I started to get too heavy. He made up a drill for me for that day to work on lightening up. It worked, and he taught the second trapping drill to keep working on the gains that I made with him. It was an exhausting but amazing morning. We covered some more Kenpo Counterpoint 2, but my brain was still reeling with all the CDP training.
Of course, I learned a ton. I am still processing all that I learned, and I have many, many things to study for the rest of the year. My notes are incomplete as any attempt to capture a moment is incomplete. However, certain concepts have stuck in my head and forced a new look at old material. This is why I like Counterpoint Tactical System. The material and the techniques are sparse compared to other martial arts, but the concepts change the practitioner’s perspective. The old saying is that you never step in the same river twice. I am beginning to think that CTS is similar. You can step into the same drill twice, but you don’t have to.