The Joy of Pushing Hard – Modern Cimande Instructors Intensive Course

Connor and I had the immense pleasure and privilege of attending a three day intensive instructors course in Modern Cimande over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Led by Guro Ed Wong this was the first extended martial arts course I have attended since before Connor was born.

One of my very first weekends away with my wife when we were first dating was, much to her disgust and shock when she saw what we willingly put ourselves through, an intensive weekend martial arts camp at a beautiful beach resort.  That just meant hours of forms in the sand, push-ups in the water and balance training in the waves – not quite the romantic weekend away she had been expecting.  Not to mention the twenty or so martial arts guys with us all weekend.

My wife dodged this one (strangely) and it was just Connor and I spending the ultimate boy’s weekend together.

We are both very stiff, sore, scratched and bruised today, but would happily do it all again and in fact are hoping to train more in Canada with Ed next year.

Connor’s Perspective

You can’t really understand this training session until you have tried it; the complete panic you feel as you are getting beaten up by a gang of thirteen grown men simultaneously attacking you for three minutes and all very experienced martial artists doing the same instructor’s course. Knowing that the beating will not stop until the time is up and all you can do is try to protect yourself and attack as much as you can to buy yourself some space – but with thirteen people attacking you, that is almost impossible.

Overall this training session was absolutely awesome (though my body doesn’t agree with me this morning). I understand for some parents and kids out there that this sort of training seminar sounds like something out of a nightmare-filled book, for me it was an absolute blast and an amazing experience.
Our instructor for the 3 days of intensive training was Guro Ed, who’s style of combat is extremely practical and means you won’t be the one dead on the street.
This training seminar, while taxing on the body, was possibly even more taxing on the mind and should not be joined under any false notions of easiness.  This was not a kid’s training class.
If you are interested in martial arts for fighting, then I would highly recommend joining this seminar (though you should have at least two years of martial arts training, because we won’t be covering the basics).
I’m a bit amazed that I actually managed to get out of bed this morning to write my opinions on the seminar, but I did get out a lot better than probably most people who attended (especially my Dad – the back of his right knee is just one big swollen bruise, courtesy of my practice and he was probably the oldest person on the course).
I really don’t know how to explain it, because this is unlike anything I have ever done, but I will say this, when someone asks me next time what the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life is, it was this seminar.
I hope after reading this that some of you do decide to join the next instructor’s seminar and I look forward to seeing the Modern Cimande community grow.

David’s Perspective

I had been looking forward to this weekend since it was announced about six months before and we had signed up pretty much straight away.

I don’t know why, but I enjoy not just picking up new skills, but also the aches and pains involved in learning new martial arts skills and the group bonding that occurs in an intense environment like an instructor’s course.

Mostly, what made this a really special experience for me is that Connor and I were doing this together.  He shares my love of martial arts and over the course of the three days I was able to see more clearly what a fantastic young man he is.

If I had known before just how tough the course would be, both mentally and physically, I may not have allowed Connor to attend – as it turned out, I would have been doing him an immense disservice if I had denied him this.  Turns out he is much tougher, mentally and physically, than I would have previously given him credit for.

I feel like this weekend I was forced to acknowledge that my son is not a little boy any more, but is clearly a young man.

In the past I have spoken with my brother and other fathers about the old traditions in tribal cultures of rights of passage for young men and trying to recreate this for our sons – turns out that this weekend was that moment for Connor.

As part of the final testing all of the course participants together attack one participant for a full three minutes.

This is not some nice choreographed display where one by one people attack – it is a gang attack (although with experienced guys like were on this course, it is also a surprisingly courteous experience that is not meant to cause permanent injury – bruises, scratches, aches and pains – absolutely).  The intention is to force the focus of the attacks into a state of fear and for the focus to master that fear and rely on their training to get them through.  It has to be experienced to be understood.

The first time that I got thrown during my turn and lay there on the floor covering up from the kicks and wondering how I was going to get to my feet again, was a scary moment.  For Connor, it was even more, being pounded by a group of very big and experienced men.  And yet he pushed through, mastered his fear and kept fighting to the very end – in fact he got angry that he was scared and fought back even harder at the end.

I am super proud of Connor for how he handled everything over the weekend.  He was a great training partner.  He was a source of motivation for me and often of inspiration.  He just sucked it up whenever he was hurt, which was often, (at one point having to wipe up streams of blood from a bad gash in his leg from someone’s toenail – which he did without complaint) and moved on with the task in front of us.

Did I mention that he is now one of the youngest qualified Modern Cimande instructors in the world?

I probably tend to criticize more than I praise – but this was a weekend where I found absolutely nothing to criticize about the heart that Connor showed.  I am looking forward to attending many more training events with Connor in the future.



4 thoughts on “The Joy of Pushing Hard – Modern Cimande Instructors Intensive Course

  1. Congratulations to you both! You’re both very hard-working and dedicated students. I wish you all the best in the future. We certainly miss having you all around. You’re always welcome back. Take care! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That sounds like a fantastic course for a variety of reasons. I think your ‘rites of passage’ comment is particularly interesting. It certainly is a frequently absent event in modern lifestyles. Congratulations for all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. The rites of passage is something largely missing in Western society, striving to overcome a real obstacle and being recognized as almost grown up and responsible for your own actions and life. I don’t think that end of school exams, or national testing bring with them quite the same sense of accomplishment.
      For me, I think that the equivalent was some particularly tough and exploratory camping trips when I was a teenager.
      Interestingly, whenever I have read on this in the past, the focus has always been on boys. Fine for me I guess, but if I had a daughter, then I think that I would also want the same thing for her also. In fact I like to think that she would have been with us at this intensive weekend. I think that recognizing girls as strong, independent people who have responsibility for their own lives is just as important as doing this for boys, and it disturbs me that whenever I read about this subject the focus is invariably on boys only.


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