GM Angelo Baldissone French Seminar 2016
On the 7th of October 2016, I made my way to the not too far away place of Rennes in France to conduct a Seminar and private lessons. This was a long overdue visit as my last trip to France teaching was in 1998, where does the time go! On arriving in France it had lost none of its charm, the sights, the food, the people were just as friendly as I left them in 1998. My hosts Thierry and Natalie Louis of Kobukai-Defense welcomed me into their home with open arms. It was such a pleasure to meet their family and to share time and a meal with them all.
After a brief rest from my journey over to France we went to the Dojo to start to train as this is my joy in life as well as playing my piano, this was private training where I could start to introduce the principles as this would also be the important topic for the week end.
It is always good to start from the beginning and assume nothing and it never surprises me when showing the basics you learn even more yourself. As we say in Filipino Kyusho ‘When you teach something you learn it twice and you may also find something new in your understanding’.
We first concentrated on the basic martial arts principles, Posture started first and this word covers many things , your posture, the opponents posture and your mental and the opponents mental posture and how they relate to one another, we could do a seminar on just posture for the whole week end as it would take a very detailed analysis. We then followed on to Footwork and Elbows in, then of course as a natural progression we explored Absorption, Deflection and Projection, Kinetic loading was the next topics and how to use all the joints and links in the body to drive each part when doing bag/pad work. That was more than enough for the first day.
After a meal we went out to see some of the sights in Rennes. Rennes is the administrative capital of the French department of Ille-et-Vilaine. It is situated at the confluence of the Ille and Vilaine rivers. The city’s name is derived from the Redones, a Celtic tribe that established its capital there. In 1720 the city was almost completely destroyed by fire but some buildings survived like the imposing Palais de Justice, a lot of Rennes is medieval and is currently being restored, I particularly like the old draw bridge in the medieval section , any way enough of the history lesson.
Saturday was seminar day and after what is nearly like a religion for me of a Muesli and Banana breakfast we made our way to the Leisure complex, people travelled great distances to join in the seminar and I am always so pleased to see the participants eager to learn so much as depicted by their smiling faces , It is always encouraged to everyone to ask questions throughout the seminar as this ensures that everyone is going in the same direction and crystallizes everyone’s understanding of what we are studying together. We started off by understanding sticking and following the opponent‘s energy, some of the positions people managed to get into, I nearly had to call the fire brigade.
Saturday seminar topics gave a new understanding to everyone by doing many different things like Filipino Boxing, Sticks, Knifes, Locking, Pressure points and much more but I always stress how although we are using different mediums the principles remain constant and the same, an example of this would be it is no use trying to lock someone if you don’t have their posture first or if you have not taken all the slack and space out first, or if they are too tight then you must put slack/space in, the lock won’t work well if you have your elbows out . If you don’t understand this see you at one of the seminars.
It was a good time to take a break for lunch and our hosts had laid on a small banquet in the hall which we were very grateful for. (I love French food). It was a good opportunity for me to go around and talk to everyone on what they did in the martial arts and for chats about their lives. You can never learn too much. After lunch we concentrated on power generation and standing in a positive and negative stance coupled with kinetic loading.
The last part of the day seminar after lunch was devoted to the centreline which is such a massive subject, I showed how to remain on centreline so your attacker cannot reach you and how to absorb, deflect and project on centre, centreline is not just a geographical line if this was true I could be in England and my opponent could be in China and we could still be on the centreline, so this is not the case it is much deeper than this. This concluded the seminar. A big thank you to LU who managed to translate from English to French all that was going on in the seminar and private lessons. No small task given the complexity of the subject matter.
After saying thank you and good bye to everyone who participated at the Saturday seminar it was time to go to my host’s house for a well earned shower and to get ready to go out for more sightseeing and a Japanese meal.
Sunday was devoted to private lessons and there was a chance to show the Sarong and flexible weapons applications as well as the Indonesian Karambit, it is always a pleasure to do some things which you cannot do in a large groups as these things require more time, personal training and guidance. Self defence against knifes and different self defence scenarios as being trapped against a wall with limited space finished off our training set.
We went back to the house for shower, packing and the short journey back to Rennes airport, There were a lot of laughs throughout the week end and I was very sad to say good bye to my hosts but it was a great pleasure for me and I am grateful to everyone who made my visit so wonderful. Thank you very much.
“Vive la France”
GM Angelo Baldissone French Seminar 2016