Eighteen men showed up to train at The Big 3 – Bowie, Toothpick and Kukri seminar at Comtech in the smoky PacNW. The smoke cleared just in time to start the weekend off right. It was an eclectic bunch and it was an eclectic weekend. From training and knife shows to history lessons and baked goods. 20 men jelled and became one for the weekend. All tracking the same with a laser focus and flowing as if it had all been rehearsed, yet many were meeting for the first time. They came from all points and all backgrounds. Schools were represented that included Robert Langford and his crew from Dynamic Tactical Systems. This was my first time working with some of these guys and they are a credit to MAA Langford. Mahipal Lunia, Sensei and the guys from Mt View Aiki Kai showed up to work. They are an extremely talented bunch and I enjoy working with them. Shihan Ken Smith from Advanced Martial Systems-Northwest came in from Seattle. Always good to have his insights that show you the tweaks that cinch that move, always the teacher. Shout out to Xander from Chicago, Harold from Wyoming, John, James and Kevin. Andy, Kenny and Mike you were missed. Frank, thank you for the water! John M, thank you! The list is growing!
While the subject matter was the Big 3, the theme of the weekend was to intuit what a weapon does and how it is used. It is about blade specificity and how to discover what it is for each. If ever blade specificity was applied to a knife it would be on the kukri. There are things it can do and definitely things it cannot do. But that moniker wouldn’t be completely fair because it can do so much. It is a farm implement, kitchen knife and general utility knife that comes in all shapes and sizes. It is used in ceremonies, in combat and personal protection. They can be fine art pieces and it is the symbol of a nation. But when held the way we do it just wants to move a certain way and in that sense it is almost easy to just follow along. It likes circles. Hooking, snaking whipping circles. It is definitely a chopper but in an intelligent way. You could almost say this was a two plane weapon. There was a gentleman there by the name of Howard Wallace. He has been to Nepal and has helped design some Kukris. He gave us quite a show of his fantastic collection (see pic) that included a rich history of the blade and the people. What a treat. Thank you Howard.
Now, it was the Big 3 and the Bowie and Arkansas Toothpick were not ignored. With such a high caliber group the basics were a warm up that led into fine tuning master plays all the while intuiting what worked best for that style knife. What footwork and body mechanics complimented the features of that knife and what adjustments needed to be made as we switched the weapon. This was Bowie/Toothpick 201.
What is it about the big blades? What makes them so magical? Whatever “it” is, was present and was the bond that made this “Smoky Blade Crew”. Thanks to Maestro Keating for a fantastic weekend. These are the ones you were sorry you missed. So come on out for the blades and stay for the baked goods! Thank you Norma!
I want to send positive energy out to Datu Kelly Worden. Keep this warrior in your thoughts and prayers.