When I first encountered Jogo do Pau a couple years ago I was still in the middle of learning German longsword and various single handed styles. My fencing was a patchwork of different techniques and odd habits, but sometimes that’s just part of the process. You have to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, and that means trying everything you can get your hands on. That being said, I think it’s a good idea to always approach a new combat system/style with a blank slate and an open mind; even if it seems familiar.
Today was a big day for our little study group! Now that the weather is starting to turn less pleasant, we decided to make the leap to the great indoors. It wasn’t easy finding a space to rent that was A) affordable, and B) had tall enough ceilings, but we happened upon a perfect fit. We’re happy to announce that our new home is the Capoeira Aché Brasil Academy in Mount Pleasant. There’s something kind of perfect about practicing Portuguese stick fighting in a Brazilian studio which also happens to be one of the training locations for Maelstrom, a local club that teaches Southeast Asian martial arts. When you practice a niche combat art, it’s nice to know you’re in good company.
Hey guys, it’s been a few months since our last post and a few things have happened. Krista and I worked on baton for a while, and this allowed us to experiment with some fun drills. The padded batons made it possible for us to practice at full speed, and challenge each other by taking advantage of any mistake our partner made. Secondly, I taught a friend for about a month who was completely green. The drill experimentation Krista and I were doing really helped me during these training periods since I went in knowing what I wanted to cover. Again, we used the padded batons and I would have the trainee perform as fast as he could, while also executing techniques successfully. I was very happy to see that by the end of several training sessions, he was mostly successful at parrying full speed strikes and was able to perform strikes quickly.
Now for the exciting news.
For training weapons right now, we are going to be using Actionflex escrima sticks and then these heavy plastic sticks from cold steel. I know a lot of people aren’t really into foam, and I understand that, but they are really great tools for practice, especially for beginners (I’ll probably get into that in another post) for the following reasons:
- Safe use of uncontrolled strikes (kind of important for Krista, as she’s an illustrator and needs her hands) We like to practice at full speed as much as possible, and these make that possible.
- Very little protection required. At most, optional mask and light gloves.
- cost effective
Finding other HEMA practitioners in Canada is hard enough as it is, but finding people who practice, let alone know about Jogo do Pau is a true rarity. For those of you who just said, “Drogo doh what?”, here is a great video by Luis Preto (our instructor) that sums up the art: