My 2018 seminar in Ekaterinburg: Russia Always worth a trip
Traveling to Russia and the first evening 2004 Alexander Pisarkin invited me to my first seminar in Russia, which took place in June 2005 in Ekaterinburg, about 2500 kilometer east of Moscow near the Ural. Since then until 2014 I have been in Russia and the Ukraine about 20 times and about 12 times in Ekaterinburg. So now again a seminar after 4 years.
The long break was due to the severe economic crisis in Russia and the sanctions that have caused the euro to move from around 38 rubles to almost 80 rubles. The ticket etc. became so very expencive for them. Nevertheless, the invitation came now from Alexander Pisarkin and Vitaliy Emelyanov.
The flights via Moscow and entry to Russia on Thursday were hassle-free
(after getting my visa for Russia a few months earlier, as usual). Alexander and Vitaliy picked me up from the airport and we drove first to my apartment in a large high-rise complex to drop off the luggage.
Then we went to an uzbek restaurant, which I already know well. Delicious food and of course there was Mors, a juice made from fresh fruit, which is then drunk cold. You have to try it if you ever go to Russia. During the meal we talked about the old times and the upcoming weekend.
On Friday morning, they picked me up again and we drove to the sports complex, where the training and classes have been held for many years.
There, Vitaliy took his test for the 4th Dan. He was the only candidate and according to his own information, his knees were already shaking. That was not necessary. He passed the exam very confidently, although he has spent the last 4 years without corrections and no special Dan preparation from my side. We went through the program 4 years ago and he prepared himself for the exam on this basis.
Very well done Vitaliy.
Alexander could not prepare due to other projects (the movie “Kings Blade“, his Philippine camp “Russian House” and much more), but will approach the 4th Dan exam at the next opportunity.
After the subsequent meal we went to Menatnyy. This is a small place about 1 hour’s drive outside of Ekaterinburg where Vitaliy teaches and Alexander and he set up the first statue of Lapu-Lapu outside the Philippines years ago in a small park.
I was at that time also invited for the inauguration that I attended as well as GM Rene Tongson and Tuhon Ray Dionaldo.
And Vitaliy has made Modern Arnis in Menatnyy an event and a martial art for the whole family and local community. There, parents, children and teenager train together watch the video of beginners training here. Even the head of the city administration already has the yellow belt. Out of the ordinary. The exam was attended by 48 participants aged 8 to 50 years and from white to blue.
Alexander and Vitaliy helped me with the exam. Even a small 3-year-old was already in Arnis uniform
and has practiced a bit on the side. With his mom.
Amazing to see that there is not only Mum’s skating but also Modern Arnis mums, who have repeatedly called in and tested their 7-8 year olds, what their kids should show and how the technique should be done. That was pretty amusing. The greens, and above all the blue-belts passed a test that was excellent and underlined the high technical standard of Arnis in Menatnyy.
For the second time: well done Vitaliy.
Since we came to bed very late (or early), I was glad to be picked up on Saturday around 12 o‘clock.m so I could rest before that. The course started at 1 pm and there was a reunion with several black belts, which I have known for over 10 years and had not seen for a long time. Due to the difficult economic situation, this time the seminar was only a small one with 12 people, but they were all the more motivated.
At first I had some techniques shown to me (you show me yours, I show you mine) and then demonstrated and taught in the exact execution of the techniques, which was very well received. When it comes to locks and disarms, there are also small details that can make all the difference. Here, as usual, Yuri Kalinin has translated, which many from the DAV know from the last summer camps in which he participated.
In the second session, I taught Tapi-Tapi how to program and exploit the reactions, which the students enjoyes as well. Afterwards we were in a Georgian restaurant where we got special dumplings, that contained not only minced meat but also soup!
When you bite it you had to sip the soup, otherwise you would have smudged badly. But interesting, funny and tasty.
On Sunday, the training started at 11 o’clock. At first, at the request of Alexander, I taught the historical development of disarming on strike 1 of the 1st series.
Then it went over the knife to knife drill Palusot to Single Sinawali with a stick and the free left hand, which was grabbed out of the movement and was then locked. Even in this rather painful training session everybody intensively trained and asked again and again how the locks work properly.
Which I happily showed them. Finally, at the request of the participants, I explained and demonstrated the connections and differences between Modern Drill, Decadena and Modern Freestyle. Overall, a very nice seminar in a good mood with my and our Russian friends. It is nice to see that the principle of the Modern Arnis family also works across borders to Russia.
During the subsequent meal, we again talked intensively about the past and the future. We have discussed various projects: Realistic ones: the next seminar in Saint Petersburg Planned ones: the “Russian House” camp of Alexander in early February 2019, which goes over 2 weeks and on which I will teach most probably in the first week. And visionary ones: A seminar at Lake Baikal, but we do not know if it will really happen.
Alexander also complimented us a lot. He knows many FMA styles very well and has trained all over the world with a variety of masters and grandmasters of different styles. But he says, “The structure of Modern Arnis in the DAV is the best in the world.” Thanks Alexander
After GM Rene Tongson’s comment, who has taught Arnis in 27 countries around the world and then says, “The DAV is the best-organized FMA federation in the world” again a great compliment to our work at the DAV. Thanks to all in the DAV, who help to achieve this level.
The return journey
It was getting late on sunday evening and I did not go to bed until 1 o’clock in the morning. Stupid, if the flight departs at 6:20 am. So at 5:00 am I should be at the airport and to make sure I’m there on time I should be picked up at 4 am. The alarm went off at 3:45 am and that’s not funny.
I packed my things and was ready for departure at 4 o’clock. I flew very often very early in Russia and was always picked up perfectly on time.
At 4:00, nobody was there, nor at 4:15, or at 4:30.
I sent messages via WhatsApp. They were also delivered but not read. Good that you can see that. I got nervous.
At 4:50 am I tried to call them. One person was not reachable. I still had Alexander’s backpach in my appartment and I had to return the keys. Also because of that, a taxi was not an option. Besides that, I could not have called a taxi nor could I have paid it in rubles.
Then I called Vitaliy and I was so glad that he woke up. The communication was very difficult because Vitaliy ONLY speaks Russian and I do not speak Russian except of 10 words. But now that he was awake and thank God to the Google translator and ihe Wifi in my apartment, the further communication could take place via Whatsapp in Cyrillic. He wrote he is coming.
At 5:10 am he was there. How late we were was clear to me again, when he came running towards me, took my bag and ran back to the car. I followed.
The check-in for my flight ended at 5:40. The GPS navigation system showed as travel time to the airport 24 minutes. There was no traffic at 5 am in the city and that was good. Vitaly made the 24 minutes in 18 minutes. We were both glad that we did not meet a police car on the way. Arrival at the airport:
Then wait in the car queue to get to the parking lot.
Then we ran to the airport building. Waiting for the baggage to be screened and at the security checkpoint, both at the airport entrance before check-in.
Then we ran towards the check-in desk where no passenger was standing any more. Since the airport is quite small the way was not long. Then I was able to check-in my luggage and to get my boarding pass.
At last I went through the security check to my gate and 2 minutes after I was there, the boarding started.
Phew, that was close.
For the third time: Thank you Vitaliy for this drive, which was a hell of a ride.
The change of planes in St. Petersburg was easy again and I arrived 15 minutes before schedule at 10:00 in Dusseldorf. All flights with Aeroflot started on time to the minute and arrived before the scheduled arrival time.
It was nice to be back after 4 years to refresh contacts and make new plans. Seminars in Russia: always worth a trip, but the stress before departure, I would not have needed.
Text Dieter Knüttel, Pictures copyright Dieter Knüttel