Master Chuck Gauss hosted the Annual Michigan Camp on the weekend of June 2-5, 2016 at his school in Westland, Michigan. It was a tremendous event!

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Look at how happy this group is!

The Lineup

Many were excited when Master of Tapi-Tapi Chuck Gauss announced an outstanding lineup of instructors. He invited three Datus and two Masters of Tapi-Tapi to teach at the camp.

First, Masters Chuck Gauss and Ken Smith trained with Professor Presas for many years before being promoted to Master of Tapi-Tapi in 2000. They traveled all over the continental United States following Professor to many seminars and camps. Under Professor, they learned all aspects of Modern Arnis.

Secondly, Datu Bong Jornales was one of six Datus promoted by Professor Presas. The camp attendees found that Datu Bong is very approachable and friendly. He is known for his stick sparring abilities, superb conditioning, and easy teaching style. 

Next, Datu Shishir Inocalla was the first to be promoted to “Datu” by Professor. He is well known for having played Michaelangelo in “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Datu Shishir has trained in arnis, kung fu, karate, tai chi, and yoga. Datu Shishir made clear to us that he is passionate about promoting arnis as a sport in the Philippines and worldwide. He currently resides in Canada and teaches arnis.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Datu Kelly Worden was not able to attend. His presence and his knowledge was sorely missed by all. Nonetheless, this turned out to be a great event.

These outstanding instructors showcased the diverse aspects of Modern Arnis. Many of the camp participants enjoyed learning from all of these outstanding instructors.

Each instructor offered their unique takes on Modern Arnis. We had fun with their different approaches to the art.

The Sessions

The instructors taught material that seemed, on the surface, to be different from the others. Yet, all instructors taught from the same base. I was amazed to see how all the instructors had evolved in different directions. They had taken what they had learned from Professor and made it their own.

First, Master of Tapi-Tapi Ken Smith’s sessions focused on empty hand self-defense and left-hand tapi tapi. Furthermore, Master Ken introduced us to an empty hand flow drill that was quite functional, realistic, and fun for us! Many camp participants commented that this was one of their favorite drills taught at the camp.

Next, Master of Tapi-Tapi Chuck Gauss focused on knife self-defense, and the right and left-handed versions of abanico corto in tapi tapi.  In addition, he particularly stressed the importance of intent. Without intent, he stressed, one would not be able to save one’s own life.

With his friendly approach, Datu/GM Bong Jornales taught padded stick sparring and rope techniques. In addition, he also taught a 4 directional workout involving double canes that was quite fun for the attendees.

Finally, Datu Shishir taught two sessions on Saturday. His sessions focused on the sinawalis, block check counter, sensitivity drills against knife attacks, slap off/pull off, and various empty hand techniques. Besides giving us a good work out, Datu Shishir’s friendly approach to teaching was appreciated by all.

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Datu Shishir Inocalla, Master of Tapi-Tapi Ken Smith, Datu Bong Jornales, and Master of Tapi-Tapi Chuck Gauss.

The Energy

More important than the instruction at the camp was the great energy among the instructors and participants. Master Chuck Gauss created a noticeable synergy between himself and Master Ken, Datu Bong, and Datu Shishir.

Kudos to Master Chuck Gauss for putting together yet another great Michigan Camp! Speaking for myself, I look forward to more events like this!

In conclusion, I had a phenomenal time and I’m sure that many have the same sentiments!

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