The superstition is that whatever you do on the first day of the New Year dictates how your year will go. If this is true, then I will spend 2015 coughing, barely able to focus, and having low energy levels. I spent New Year’s Day in the midst of a bout of acute bronchitis and sinus issues. Well, I reject this superstition. 2015 will be a great year in my personal, professional, and martial arts life. I’ll be marrying a wonderful woman, celebrating ten years in my dream job, and testing for my first black belt.
My 2014 year in review never got finished. Since my to do list got longer during recovery, let me just say that 2014 was a very good year. From progressing in my martial arts journey, watching my friend and student easily earn rank, joining forces with Team Kali, and, of course, learning from my instructor, last year was the best in my martial arts career. This year will blow that out of the water. It is time to set goals for the year ahead. (Click here to learn about goal setting.) Rather than list out my goals, here is a preview of the martial arts year to come.
This year, Ryan will test for third brown belt, and, potentially, we might have students testing for blue belt. We might even get a Cacoy Doce Pares (CDP) rank test. Master Zach Whitson will visit for our third annual Counterpoint Tactical Systems (CTS) seminar – topics still pending. We’d like to work more with Guro Joe Craig and Apex Training Center as they’ve been kind to me during the initial phases of STL Counterpoint. We have some ideas in the works that I will unveil on the blog and our FaceBook page if they become possible. Finally and most importantly, we will continue to explore Counterpoint Tactical System and Cacoy Doce Pares on our journey to becoming well rounded martial artists.
Last year, STL Counterpoint was invited to become part of Team Kali. It was an opportunity too good to pass up. In addition to gaining new training partners, teaming up with Team Kali allowed me to experience a fresh view of my martial arts. Steve DiCarlo’s experience and feedback has helped me improve as a martial arts instructor resulting in a win-win proposition that will only get better this year. As such, I plan on helping Team Kali to grow and to promote the Filipino martial arts. Team Kali also has some ideas in work. As 2015 progresses, look for those opportunities here and on Team Kali’s FaceBook page.
This blog will continue to be updated on a weekly schedule. I also plan to write and submit two articles to martial arts journals for publication. I have one multimedia experiment planned as well about which I’m particularly excited. I also hope to have some articles by guest writers on this blog for a more diverse perspective. As part of writing, research is essential. I currently read a lot of martial arts blogs as research but do not pay attention to the writing styles and patterns as much as I should. This year, that will change. Jack Slack’s Fightland articles are excellent examples of where I would like my martial arts writing to be.
I love teaching Counterpoint Tactical System and Cacoy Doce Pares. Teaching has forced me to look with fresh eyes at the curriculum. I have learned more about the introductory curriculum by teaching than I did when I was studying it. As an instructor, I have a responsibility to my students. To improve, I plan to seek more feedback on my instruction this year. An objective view of where I’m at is important to know where I need to go. Feedback from Alec Helwig and Mike Miller of Springfield FMA pointed a flaw in one area of my instruction. Correcting that forced me to take stock and revamp. It was necessary and important insight that was hard to hear but has changed me for the better. To track these changes, I started a journal about classes this year. The journal will make lesson planning easier because I can see what I have planned and whether that was able to fit the schedule – too much info, too little, too difficult, too easy, too much review, etc. At mid and end of the year, I will post a blog entry about whether the journal was worthwhile or not.
I left this until last for two reasons: a.) everything written above feeds into my personal study, and b.) this is the year of the black belt for me. I am studying towards a first degree black belt in both CTS and Cacoy Doce Pares. But, first, I’ll talk about what the year holds. The wedding is putting a lot of pressure on my schedule, but I will learn from Master Whitson as often as I can this year. The St. Louis and Springfield seminars along with Iron Mountain camp will not be missed. Hopefully, later in the year once things have calmed down, I can visit Master Whitson and Ms. Dian for training. My friend, Mike Miller, is working on his next CTS rank; I will get down to Springfield to help him as often as I can.
2015 is the year that I work towards my first degree black belt in Counterpoint Tactical Systems. It was a goal that I set for myself a few years ago and then ignored as I focused on each step necessary to get to this goal. It is at once the same as each step before it and yet different. Achieving the first degree black belt in CTS is the culmination of all the goals that I’ve set for my personal study. A post is coming this month about what exactly a black belt and, especially, this black belt mean to me.
2015 will be a strong year here in Missouri. My to do list is long and getting longer, which makes me happy. Whether I accomplish all or none of what I’ve listed above, I’ll consider this year to be a success if I can continue to give back to the art that has given so much to me. I hope you all have a great year as well!