Reminiscent course - An educational weekend

On the holiday weekend 03./04. October 2015 Arnis enthusiasts from Penzberg, Wernigerode, Königslutter and Braunschweig pilgrimaged to Leipzig to the sports hall of the riot police. The reason for this was the reminiscence course with Grand Master Wolfgang Schnur (10th DAN).

On Saturday the grandmaster set the emphasis on the exact execution of techniques, their principles as well as on the philosophy behind it. Torsten Zumpf (2nd Dan) of the organizing Dojo Leipzig assisted him in this task. The aim of the course was to promote and expand understanding for subtleties. Mainly the wishes of the present students were taken into account. Sunday was based on what had been learned the day before. The management was taken over by Torsten Zumpf. The focus was on Anyo and various block techniques with subsequent disarmament.

At this point I would like to end the objective reporting and switch to a more subjective point of view. I belong to the low-grade students and, like some of my Leipzig comrades-in-arms, met the grandmaster for the first time on this weekend. As a result, I was not the only one who was excited and curious about this special event. In addition, I was pretty sure that I would be able to take my "8th Klase" exam on Saturday towards the end of the course. And this with the grandmaster personally, which did not diminish my excitement logically way. So I prepared myself more than usual technically, theoretically and mentally. I was particularly concerned with adhering to etiquette and I even put my Arnis wardrobe meticulously into my pocket according to the MAMD folding rule (which I will always do from now on). At last our teacher chased all Leipzig exam candidates through the complete program to eliminate last mistakes or ambiguities.

In order not to run alone into the arms of the grandmaster, I made myself earlier than necessary on the way to the sports hall. But my plan didn't really work out. Directly on the parking lot I already met the grandmaster. We greeted each other briefly with a handshake. I suddenly had something in the back of my mind with "shaking hands". My first thoughts were: "Had I offended against any etiquette and perhaps even embarrassed my teacher? Now just hurry to the gym!"

Arriving in the changing room I noticed that almost everyone had folded their training clothes according to the folding order. Now just a quick help with the organizational preparations and the course began.

As always, the weather in the hall was perfect for training. After the traditional start, Grand Master Wolfgang Schnur opened the training course. It was only now that I noticed that he was relatively small. Someone had told me that size should not be confused with body length. And that someone was right. Although the grandmaster was in bad health, you could clearly feel his charisma, his strength and his mutual respect in the room. I immediately had to think of the great "Jedi Master Yoda", whom my teacher Torsten Zumpf liked to quote during his training sessions.

After the warming up the main part followed with the usual mixed training partner changes. I practiced stick disarmament with subsequent counterattack, Banda y Banda, Rompida and the 1st series double stick. The grandmaster interrupted the exercises occasionally and gave correction instructions in the form of short meaningful explanations and/or demonstrated further techniques. From time to time he also showed his witty humour. New for me was the use of the stick in middle position. These techniques with subsequent counterattack were so explosively demonstrated by Grand Master Schnur that one could still feel the force even at a distance of 5m. When imitating them, I quickly realized that the seemingly simple movements could not be implemented so easily at all.

At the end of the training day, each participant received a certificate of participation from the Grand Master himself. Actually, this would be the end of the course and the expected exams of some students, including me, would take place. But the farewell constellation was surprisingly kept. After a short moving speech, the GM announced that this would be the official last event of its kind for him. He then began to call students up and gave them a document stating that they had been elevated to the next higher class. Visibly surprised, many of the participants soon held their documents in their hands. After the GM had officially finished the reminiscence course, everyone remained in the constellation order and applauded for minutes. Some were overwhelmed with mixed feelings and tears in their eyes. Then Grand Master Schnur fulfilled the wish of the students and was available for individual and group photos.

Again GM Wolfgang Schnur to line up and another surprise followed. The GM gave Torsten Zumpf the 1st Dan in the "Mano Mano".

Then we let the evening end together in the Greek restaurant "Alexandros". This 3rd of October 2015 will certainly be remembered by everyone.

On Sunday punctually 10 a.m. it went on. After the warming up and a short repetition of the techniques from Saturday, course leader Torsten Zumpf divided the present in groups, in order to practice "Anyo". In my group Manuel was assigned the leadership to teach us the sequence of "Anyo Dalawa". I understood the step algorithm relatively quickly. Everyone does the same thing and yet not the same thing, nothing is really right wrong. But somehow I got some understandable confusion. Then Sven tried to give me the rough polish. I should pay more attention to my breathing, let everything flow softly like water and banish thinking to the background as well as just enjoy every movement with fun. He stroked himself, as if after a tasty meal, over his slight abdominal base. Due to his size, his calm and comfortable serenity and his gestures he reminded me immediately of "Balu the Bear". Please forgive me the pictorial comparisons from the Jungle Book.

Afterwards we practiced disarmament of the wrap. These worked super, but the enemy stick fell permanently on my feet, which can be very painful in the long run. At this point I would like to thank Max for his patient help in correcting my mistake.

At the end followed loose "One-One". I was especially impressed by Olli, who constantly disarmed my stick. He claimed convincingly that he had never heard of a wrapping disarmament before this weekend.
In between Torsten once again explained the history of his foundation house and emphasized the importance of mastery and practice of the basic techniques. These basic techniques form the foundation on which the house, i.e. advanced techniques, can be built stably. The building can then be architecturally designed and further developed in various directions. Whether towers, in whichever places, will rise later, remains flexible. The more often I hear the story, the more I think I understand what he wants to teach us. While in the meantime I think I've found a place where I'd like to start digging for the foundation, some people thought they were still looking for the spade. Yes Micha, I am already a bit further. Even our Alex had to learn painfully that even simple somersaults, done 15 times in a row, not only disturb the balance but also, if you fall on a firm foundation, destroy your own glasses.

Despite the fact that my body was exhausted and my nerve tracts in the brain were tainted, at the end of the day the paradoxical good feeling arose that I had really learned something.

Surely a lot has happened with the numerous inputs on this weekend, which I could not perceive or not take up. Conclusion: Everyone took something for themselves. But I don't mean the food (Viennese, cakes, cookies, fruit, potato salad etc.) during the breaks. By the way, Martina will process the rest of the banana mountain into ecologically harmless wine.

The courses have not only brought me technical progress, but have also surprisingly influenced my inner attitude. Arnis is much, much more than I had previously thought. It's about much more than just fighting technique, fun pastimes or just balancing everyday life. It is also the simple little things that often weigh heavily and can bring about big changes. Not always thinking but just letting it flow. Thinking is very important, but too much thinking at the wrong time makes you slow. The mind always tries to gain the upper hand, but has to be in harmony with the body and the soul. It is important to work on his attitude and the perfection of his character. I still hear the words of the Grand Master: "Practice, practice, practice - just do it, don't talk" Practice makes the Master - much, much more practice logically the Grand Master.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who made this weekend possible and helped diligently.

You can read another report about the Reminiscent course here.

Author of the text
Andy Persdorf