Yesterday I went out to Lodi for the first meeting of GM Arthur Gonzalez of Tenio's Decuerdas Eskrima and GM Marc Denny of the Dog Brothers. Since I was the person who put them in touch with each other, I was very interested to see the results of my matchmaking. I met Art Gonzalez a little over a year ago and was immediately impressed with his no-nonsense down-to-earth approach to self-defense. I first met Marc Denny back in 1988 at the 1st National Eskrima Championships in San Jose, and I've appreciated his savvy in developing the Dog Brothers as an organization and as a vehicle for FMA education. I thought I saw a commonality in the approach of these two men, hence the introductions.
When I arrived at GM Gonzalez' home at 11am, Marc was already there, along with a couple of Art's students. I could tell right away that there was a good rapport between the two grandmasters, without any sign of formality or stiffness. It was raining, so we drove to the business district in Lodi where Art sometimes teaches at a student's location. There Art gave a 90 minute presentation of his system, introducing Marc to the concepts and principles of his approach. The half-dozen of us in the room practiced a few techniques for grappling against someone with a knife to get a taste of practical application. When I say a few techniques, I mean we were all drenched in sweat by the end of the session, and I for one was a little bit sore, the sign of a productive workout.
Afterward we all went to lunch, where discussion ranged from martial arts experiences to travel to neurolinguistic programming (NLP). By the time we broke, it was 4pm, and a few of us headed back to Art's place. There we practiced some flow drills in the yard until the rain picked up again, at which point we called it a day. When I left, Art and Marc were heading out again to meet some more of Art's friends. I could see a high level of respect between the two men, and what looks like the beginning of a new friendship.