WTW, 6/3/2009

The important jobs of a ballpen

At the 2nd part of the Leadership-II seminar during the Pentecost weekend, Escrima master Thomas Dietrich from Seesen tought the 150 attending EWTO school leaders what can be done with a biro in Escrima.

If you thought Escrima masters are only skilled with weapons, you've been awfully wrong and were disabused. Sifu Thomas Dietrich fascinated his listeners during his eloquent lecture and the accompanying practical demonstrations.

He made use of the good weather to relocate the session after a few introducing words to the grassland which surrounds the premises of the Manfred Sauer foundation. The participants followed him to the outside, armed with their scripts and ballpens. First there was some theoretical background information on the terms "Escrima", "Kali", and "Arnis". It was up to the ballpens to write down these explanations. Next there was a prelude to the practical session, entitled "Using everyday objects for self-defence". Papers and ballpens were put aside and the pens prevented the sheets to be scattered to the four winds. The participants were ready for the first exercise: one side standing with their arms hanging down and being pushed away by their partner using straight arms.

The next block of theory had another job for the ballpen to do, writing down trivia about the origin of the Escrima style that is being tought at the EWTO. During the practical exercise the one being pushed was allowed to raise their arms this time, but it didn't feel any better.

Next theory session: "GM Bill Newman's teachers". Practical exercise: The one being attacked is allowed to have their arms up and make a step in a 45° angle away from the direction of the attack. "Not the last word on the subject", as Sifu Thomas pointed out, "but a tremendous progress compared to the first exercise, when the attack hit you with full force."

The next theoretical sessions were about "The evolution of Escrima due to GM Bill Newman" and finally into the individual student grade programmes. For the next practical exercise the ballpens were finally assigned the long-awaited job: No longer being bound to sheets of paper but being used as a defence object, amplifying counter-hits. First the attacker's wrist was the target to be reached by moving offline. Then an additional blow to the opponent's lower ribs was conducted with the ballpen. That way these writing tools turned more and more from an everyday object to a supporting weapon of self-defence.

During the theoretical sessions the ballpens were still used by the Leadership participants in their primary purpose, but during the practical exercises, there were no longer used as clips or paper weights. So a gust of wind changed the agenda for the rest of the day by reordering the sessions. Escrima-Master Thomas Dietrich didn't lose his quick-wittedness though and kept cool "during the next practical exercise you put your folders down with the closed side to the wind so it won't mess up your notes."

No sooner said than done, the seminar continued to the end without further problems. Looking at the importance of a ballpen now, you realise: A biro can be very useful and important during a seminar but without human guidance, it's nothing but a dead object.

Text and pics: hm
Source translated by: The Navigator