My Reflections Back on MKG Summer Camp 2017!
So, I have finally had a few minutes to relax and reflect on my experience at this years Annual MKG Summer Camp. When I returned home, I was welcomed back and asked many times, “How was camp?!” and the only answer that I could give was. “Good!” Now, that may seem I like a very basic answer and could be understood as an understated reflection of the weekend. I realize that, but that was all I had at the time. I was still processing.
So, for those of you who have never gone to the annual MKG Summer Camp let me paint you a picture. Imagine 60 – 80 people all gathered in one place, to share in the same passion, lead by a man that has given the last 35 + years of his life to developing, growing and sharing that passion with others for 8 hours a day, 3 days straight. That is camp in its most base form.
Now, imagine that not only there are 60 – 80 people, half of those people you have a personal relationship with, in which you have definitely shared sweat and possibly blood and tears with. Are starting to get the picture? This is Camp.
Now this man that is leading us has spent weeks, if not months or possibly the past year preparing for the 3 day experience. Preparing to share with us his perspective on a passion that he has had his entire life. He cares so much about this common passion that he would exhaust himself by teaching these 60 – 80 people for over 20 hours even after having a recent medical procedure that made it difficult to even walk. Can you feel that passion yet? This is Camp.
The knowledge he shared with us was immense. Now imagine that all of those people are just as willing to share their perspective on this passion with each other just as freely. So over the 3 days you are continually filled with more perspectives on things that you may have thought you knew and also woken up to things that you maybe never knew before. This is Camp.
So, In the future when people ask me, “How was camp?”, I am not going to answer. “Good!”. I am going to say, “Come next year and find out.”, because “good” isnt good enough. I just don’t have the capacity and perspective to answer that question with the effort and honesty that it deserves. And if I am honest, if I did I don’t think people could comprehend how important Camp is to me. So they just have to experience it all on there own.
Now, if you asked me what I learned at camp, I could maybe answer that a bit better. It would also take some time for me to process, but I can start to single out a few things that have come to my attention. Please understand as I answer this that I will still be unpacking the
information, sifting, sorting, organizing, reviewing, learning and practicing all that I have experienced until the next camp.
So here are a few of the early nuggets that I can share.
#1 Double Stick training is deep. We spent 2 hours at the beginning of camp doing double stick drills. I thought that I had a “Good Handle” on double stick training, but my mind was blown in that short time. It only made me want to dive deeper.
#2 – I was reminded how everyone has so much to offer if you ask. I was able to ask a lot of questions this camp and was blown away by the generosity of knowledge that I received. What was just as awesome is it was from some of the most interesting sources.
#3 I was encouraged by my perceived shortcomings. I was reminded that as an instructor, I do have a responsibility to help others do the things that I may not be able to do any more, but in my personal expression I can embrace my challenges and just redefine and refine them. This perspective encouraged me to keep moving forward in places that I thought I was stuck. “ Low and Mean! “
#4 Exhaustion is reinvigorating. Weird, Huh? As we do every year, we had “Wednesday” It is a very taxing martial arts cardio and conditioning session. After this session, I am always so exhausted. This experience lead to a heart and determination that I needed to find again. It has reinvigorated me on my return to my gym and has translated into a new determination on the “business front”.
#5 One of the biggest things is that martial art is so deep and connected deeply. I remember 2 sessions very distinctly where Guro Rick made a point to demonstrate the variety of the art and how they are all connected, useful and needed to express the whole art. During these times we were encouraged to “Play” and navigate our way around the art. Although, I “knew” they were connected it was beautiful to experience it and also share the experience of play with other people. I was able to see and feel how others are navigating through the depths of the art.
I know there is so much more that I will learn in the coming weeks and months of processing the weekend. Most of all I want to express how thankful I am for my MKG Family. Thank you Guro Rick Faye for sharing his passion. Thank you to all of the students and instructors that assisted in the demonstrations, taking the falls to help us learn. And all of my fellow gym owners that were in attendance to remind me that I am not alone in that great responsibility of growing a martial arts community. And thank you to the Salter’s for sharing their home with me over the weekend and really making me feel like family.
As always, I am already looking forward to next year. 360 days and counting!