Brief review. This had to be the smoothest camp I have ever had the pleasure of attending or teaching at. Dieter Knuettel and the DAV were excellent hosts. I remarked to Dieter that all of the students here were for one reason only, to train. I have been to seminars and camps where the student base would split up into their respective groups or cliques. This one was vastly different. It was as if every student came from one instructor and had only one agenda – to train.
The intervening years between the death of our teacher, Remy Presas, and this camp have been ones of tempest and turmoil. I suppose this happens in every system that loses the founder. The senior students find their place in the world and art and then things continue on. The Reunion Camp in Buffalo last year pointed out to the instructors that enough time has passed and that we all could work together as members from one family. This camp demonstrated this on a broad scale. You cannot get much more in the way of differing personalities than the instructors of this camp. Before Buffalo, well, it was a crap shoot as to whether we could make a go of it. Buffalo showed we could. Dortmund showed that we could from here on out and that Buffalo was not a one-shot deal.The classes? They were many and varied from the Tactical Forms I taught to the two stick on one Tapi-Tapi sessions taught by Chuck. I would rather describe the instructors.
Chuck Gauss – “Mr. Passion” himself. I think he and Kelly Worden would have tied in a contest as to who would have excited the crowd more. Chuck’s energy infected every one in every session he taught.
Brian Zawilinski – Brian’s teaching style is the exact opposite of Chuck’s. His is a quiet presentation that exudes confidence and competence. His sessions were real-deal applications of Prof. Presas’ art – very smooth and very exact.
Tim Hartman – If Chuck is Mr. Passion, Tim is “Mr. Showman.” Tim’s session were taught with a balanced combination of precision and showmanship. He was a group favorite.
Dieter Knuettel – Where Chuck is passion, Dieter is “Mr. Energy” – every session he taught was brimming with a high-speed energy that was amazing seeing how physically tired he was from attending to all the details of promoting the camp. But that is typical Dieter and I expect nothing less.
My classes? I’ll let someone else comment and describe them.
One of the great things for me about this camp is what I learned from the other instructors. Yep. The teacher is always a student. Brian cleaned up my difficulties with the standing center lock and gave me a new insight to the center lock application. Tim saw an inaccuracy in a Balintawak application I was doing, took me off to the side and got that fixed. I learned the “Buffalo mirror breaking ejection” (inside joke) from Dieter. There was a right hand to left hand transition that I totally forgot about until I watched a session Chuck taught. Sweet. The teacher, once again, was the student.
To sum it up, this camp was not so much about the title of it, The Best Of The West, as it was about the continuation and growth of the founder’s art. This camp was an affirmation that Modern Arnis, in whatever form, is thriving and will continue to thrive and grow.