MMA Training Camp CSW Style

(At about 5:19 in the video above you can see the fundamentals of the movement that we use to accomplish the Leg Lock Counter to the Arm Bar Flower Sweep Technique)

After the Paypal debacle (suckers screwed me over, refused to allow me to close my accounts and then had the nerve to send me a “customer service survey”), it was a welcomed and refreshing change of pace to head out to sunny California for my annual pilgrimage to Erik Paulson’s Fighter/Instructor CSW Camp.

As can be expected, the learning was non-stop. Everywhere you turned there was an opportunity for growth and the soaking up of Martial wisdom.

One of the aspects of camp I enjoy is being surrounded by people who are just about as crazy and fanatical about the Martial Arts as I am.

Sensei Paulson and Ajarn Greg Nelson converse with Khuen Khru Vic Spatola the guy responsible for testing me for my Thai Boxing Instructorship under Ajarn Chai.

When your life and mind are occupied by Martial Arts the same way that Rainman thinks about Kmart tighty whitites and Judge Wapner, you start to wonder about your own sanity. But having an opportunity to be in the environment that Sensei Paulson provides, gives lunatics like me a chance to kick back and simply feel like part of the gang.

For me there are really 3 seminars taking place simultaneously at a camp like this.

First is the main seminar. You learn from the likes of Erik Paulson, Greg Nelson, Rigan Machado, Marvin Cook, and Nick Saignac, and you drill the many techniques that they share during their segments. Second is what you pick up from the other high level instructors and fighters that you drill with, spar with, and interact with. You get to see how they’ve tweaked the material you both learned the year before, you get to see tricks that get developed in their relatively isolated neck of the woods and you get to see how the system you’ve developed in your locale fares versus those from around the world.

Lastly, there are the life lessons shared and discussed off camera, during a lunch break, in the hotel lobby. You realize that you’re not alone in your pursuit of Martial excellence, in your attempts to build up a school, and in the stresses and occasional heart breaks that accompany such a journey. You learn tactics for survival, and gain strength from the fact that others have endured and overcome. You see who your instructors look up to and who they glean wisdom from.

As Khuen Khru Nino Pilla said to me this year “It’s so tempting to be seduced into fixing your attentions to the young fighters, winning belts and making the highlight reel, but really your attention should be focused on the old masters (like Billy Robinson, Cacoy Cañete, Dan Inosanto, Buddy Tompson). They have had so much more time to perfect and understand the craft. And more importantly, they hold the wisdom for what is to come for all of us, as we will all get older (if we are lucky), but none of us will ever get younger like those fighters that everyone sees and idolizes on T.V.”

Now that right there was worth the price of admission for me.

But there’s much more that I take away from the CSW Camp experience. It’s a chance for me to see old friends.

The true measure of a great instructor is his students. Eddie Abney, really pushed me and made me think during our sparring rounds. I would expect no less from a student of Khuen Khru Alvin Chan.

Seniors and mentors like Khuen Khru Alvin Chan, who never ceases to amaze me with his kindness and increasing enthusiasm for our chosen profession.

Or Khuen Khru Joe Cargado, who puts up with my joking around and humors my strange quirks.

As I was lining up my sparring partners (to ensure that I wasn’t going to get maimed or destroyed by the likes of the Ben Jones that were amongst the ranks), I was hollering out to my friends “James, you’re 1, Joe, you’re 2, Brandon, you’re 3,” etc. etc. Joe hollers out to each of them, “Yeah, take a number!”

It’s a wonderful place to be, and a real privilege to be able to go, and to be a young kid again, if only for a few days. I returned home, tired, sore, and bursting at the seams with new moves, new ideas and a deeper understanding of the Martial Life Style. And for those of you loyal followers who are wondering, I tapped out that evil wolf this time around. I hope I can do it again the next time I’m on the mats at the World CSW Headquarters, living my life to the fullest.

6 replies
  1. Sterling
    Sterling says:

    Doesn’t get much better than CSW Camp!

    I got goosebumps reading your quote from Khuen Khru Nino Pilla on looking to the old masters rather than young fighters. Words of wisdom.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing experience with the rest of us. It’s such a treat.

  2. kensei
    kensei says:

    wow what a great post!
    kuehn kru vic spatola at grandmaster chai’s semenar teaching me the jab right strait.
    great words of wisdom from kuehn kru nino pilla.

    i also remember kuehn kru alven chan at csw camp. everyone was warming up their hips by swinging are legs and i happen to hit his leg with my leg. i was scared because his a tall asian dude with lots of tatoos but we just kinda apologized to each other. theres also a clip of him sparring i think in the csw 2009 camp on youtube and he’s just kind of working on defence while his with some spazz.

    i wish mma gyms where filled with small fishes like the ocean but it’s the other way around :(.

    thank you for the artical sir

  3. naturalbornfighter1
    naturalbornfighter1 says:

    Fantastic post Dr.Sick!!!!!
    My coach has often spoke to me regarding seminars with fighters, he always maintained, I don’t want to learn from them, I want to learn from their coach who taught them. It popped straight into my head when I read Khuen Kru Nino Pilla’s quote. It’s a great Quote.

    I loved watching Greg Nelson’s submission movement, he flows so well. You are incredibly blessed to have so many great coaches such as Erik Paulson, Greg Nelson, Alven Chan and so many others so close by and we are all blessed to have you sharing the magic with us, Thanks again Dr.Sick.

    So many golden nuggets of information on this page.

  4. Kiser
    Kiser says:

    Camp was amazing. I particularly enjoyed Ajarn Nelson and Sensei Paulson’s segments where they would take turns teaching.

    Rigan Machado was nothing short of amazing. He is one of the most effective teachers I have ever worked with.

    I missed the quote from Khuen Khru Nino Pilla at the camp. Dang that is so cool!

    Great work summing up CSW Camp 2011.

    I am already counting down to CSW Camp 2012 and staying at the beach this time. Camp is going to take on a whole new level of fun and vacation next year.


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