This year, Sayoc NorCal was proud to have 5 students attend their first Sayoc Sama Sama. After the event, they got together, exchanged thoughts on Sama Sama and wrote the following review:
SAMA SAMA 2013
Written by the attending students of Sayoc NorCal
Sama Sama 2013 Highlights:
- Pre-Sama Sama course, “Hidden Agenda”
- Panantukan with kerambit
- Drawing weapons from concealment, integrating Guard-5
- Raymond attaining rank of Apprentice
- 15-Hour training days in the Florida heat!
Sayoc Sama Sama 2013 was a huge accomplishment and step up in our training under Tuhon Ricardo Kayanan and Guro John Perrings. This was the first Sama Sama that Derek, Frank, Edwin, Raymond, and I would attend, and we rocked it together. Traveling, eating, laughing, sweating, training night and day, and being bombarded with information not only brought us together as a training group, but definitely pushed us to a heightened level of awareness and skill. As this summary continues, I will try to touch upon the different aspects that stuck out for each of us.
Friday, July 5, 2013 was Hidden Agenda which was like a soft opening to Sama Sama and was instructed by Guro Kevin Estela. For Frank, this was his favorite part of Sama Sama because Guro Kevin covered such a spread of applicable information. He started off discussing D.O.A (Desire, Opportunity, Ability) and its relation to one being safe. He then lead us through a secret box awareness exercise where we had 30 seconds to identify as many objects in the box using only our sense of touch. To throw us off, Guro Kevin threw some live critters in the box.
Next, he gave us a brief description on different blade grinds, which lead us into his next section on blade sharpening and stropping. He provided each of us with a piece of leather, polishing and sharpening compounds, and helped us to bring our own knives to hair-shaving sharpness. After that Guro Kevin showed us how to use a slingshot. The skills used from rubber chicken target shooting were then put to use in our slingshot- marshmallow duals. Just before dinner break, we learned some of the essential items to include in our Emergency Kit (poncho, emergency blanket, cordage, Reynolds oven bags, lighter, mirrors, whistle, just to name a few). Finally, we got some surprise instruction from Tuhon Tom Kier, Director of Operations for Sayoc Tactical Group (STG).
Saturday, July 6, 2013 was the official opening to Sama Sama. We started the morning with our group lineup to formally salute Pamana Tuhon Sayoc and the Full Instructors. After some welcoming words from Pamana Tuhon Sayoc, we split off into groups (associate instructors, apprentice instructors, and practitioners).
The practitioners were lead by Guro Harley Elmore. We started off cycling through 3 of 9, rotating through different partners. It was great to flow with other practitioners outside our training group just so we can feel different energies, and observe some of the minute differences in specific movements. Guro Harley then lead us to the shade of trees where he instructed us on Transition Drill #1 isolations.
Next, we all gathered under the tent for instruction under Tuhon Patrick Consing and Guro Nick Sags. Tuhon Pat briefly reviewed the layers of 3 of 9, and then we jumped right into learning the 3 of 9 hidden formula which integrated all 3 templates. After lunch, we did a mass installation line to rep Transition Drills #1-5. This gave us the opportunity to train with different people from all levels, and review and get updated on any changes that were made to the drills.
Just before dinner we all engaged in our Actionflex sparring matches using blade rules. To tell you the truth, it was pretty nerve racking going up against practitioners we’ve never moved around with. But, with the support of the group, we all jumped into the ring and gained a wealth of knowledge about what we need to work on for next year.
After dinner came Derek’s favorite training session of Sama Sama, and I have to admit I was pretty stoked too. Under Guro Charles Giangreco, we worked through the first set of Panantukan with the karambit. This appealed to Derek and I because it added to our previous knowledge of Panantukan, and the karambit’s forward curve in reverse grip felt very natural with the strike/targeting patterns.
Sunday, July 7, 2013 started off with the apprentices and practitioners gathering together to practice our Blade Toss Quick Draws. Under the watchful eye of Tuhon Jimmie Sayoc, Guro Harley Elmore, and Guro Charles Giangreco we had to earn our “okay” with right, left, and double hand draws. This took almost 1 ½- 2 hours, but many were able to accomplish it with shade as their reward.
After that we broke off into groups, and tried to rotate through as many instructors as time permitted. Guro Victor Wong covered alternate angles of cutting within Transition Drill 1 and 3 of 9. Tuhon Jimmie went over some scenario training, and each practitioner had to find 1 or 2 moves/cuts that were the most effective against an assailant. Tuhon Patrick and Guro Nick taught a new, unnamed flow drill. They first taught us the empty hand version, and then we had to apply it to single blade, and double blade. Guro Harley taught a section on draws from concealment and handling two opponents. This was Edwin’s favorite section of Sama Sama because such a simple exercise can be a crucial move if need be applied. Guro Harley also covered draws from hub positions, and draws after Guard 5 strikes, but what stuck out the most for Edwin was the triple draw drill.
Next, we all gathered under the main tent to learn some of the Guard Series taught by Guro Nicholas Stevens. Soon after, Tuhon Carl Atienza taught long blade passing applications. We then applied it to multiple attackers, and Tuhon Carl demonstrated how your strikes/cuts should flow from one attacker to the next.
After dinner, with the cracking of whips we had an impromptu whip session with Tuhon Jimmie Sayoc. He showed some basic cracks from the 9-count pattern, arm wraps, paper cutting, how to make a popper, and even broke down the basics for double whip. After that, we all gathered around while he discussed the seriousness of stepping up our intent in our training. He strongly emphasized that there shouldn’t be a difference between handling our trainers, and handling our live blades.
The last thing for the night would have to be my favorite segment of Sama Sama: the Sayaw. We gathered around a roaring fire pit, and to the beat of the drum, we flowed and danced with our blades. At first it was very intimidating, considering it was our first Sama Sama, and we had no clue what to do. However, it was inspiring to see the Tuhons and Full Instructors start off, and we followed their rhythm. Once we started to move with the music, the feeling is almost indescribable. You feel the heat of the fire on your face, the energy from the warriors you’re sharing Sama Sama with, and the energy from teachers past and present. I loved it!!!!
Monday, July 8, 2013 was the last day of Sama Sama. We started the morning with an open floor to anyone who wanted to demonstrate whatever they wanted share with the group. Guro Mike Pana demonstrated stick and dagger applications. Guro Sean Brandt demonstrated raising the intensity of resisting receiver grips. Justin Garcia from Jungle Gym Martial Arts demonstrated how the Sayoc methodology could be applied to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ground techniques to create flow drills. Guro Mike Duke spoke about how his research into and compilation of knowledge about everyday street awareness. Guro Ervin Quintin discussed how Sayoc Kali is applied to other styles of Martial Arts, like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Next, almost everyone had to take center stage to demonstrate their whip skills regardless of prior experience. These ranged from those who trained with Tuhon Jimmie to those who have never handled a whip. During the last segment before leaving for the airport, Tuhon Jimmie had us focus on targets 1 and 2. We worked on slowly raising the intent level while feeding and receiving these 2 targets. We also covered “hot hand” tapping, alternate clearing angles, body bifurcation, blade switching and chambering, and drawing from the other person’s rig.
At the end of Sama Sama, we all took something special away from it. I think we all share Raymond’s sentiment: that being submerged in the Florida heat and 15 hour training days definitely pushed us to a new level of skill and self-awareness. And with more training and guidance to come, we can strive to “trust in our training.”