Last weekend, I was honored to be a part of the renowned 2023 Renaissance Martial Arts Festival, expertly hosted by Mark Cardona in the charming city of Rochester, NY. Year after year, this event gathers a diverse group of enthusiasts and experts, spanning not only New York, Virginia, and Connecticut but also the Midwest. To top it off, this edition even saw an international participant all the way from Canada.
Though my schedule doesn’t always align with the festival, it’s an occasion I never want to miss. This year was particularly special for me. After over a decade, I had the privilege of bringing a group of my teenage students to experience the festival. While I frequently host events and invite external instructors to Horizon Martial Arts, there’s a unique charm in allowing students to step out and experience different environments. Especially with younger learners, finding the right mix of safety, creativity, and a friendly atmosphere in an external event can be challenging. However, this festival lived up to expectations. My students, aged 11 to 16, not only had a fantastic time but also earned accolades from senior black belts present.
Regarding my session, I let the attendees lead the way. We delved deep into the utilization of edge weapons as educational tools for open hand combatives. Moreover, I emphasized the distinction between techniques and drills, highlighting that drills mainly cater to skill development rather than tactical application. This insight ignited a cascade of questions, both during the session and informal side discussions.
For those yet to experience the Renaissance Martial Arts Festival, it comes with my highest recommendation. It’s not just about martial arts; it’s about community. The after-hours social interactions only add to its charm. Although it’s traditionally spread over two days, prior commitments limited me to just one this year. But rest assured, I eagerly await my next opportunity to join and contribute, schedules permitting.
A heartfelt thank you to Mark for curating such a communal event and allowing me to impart knowledge.
Datu Tim Hartman
World Modern Arnis Alliance & Horizon Martial Arts
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