The best Christmas present of all for escrimadores
Time: Sunday, 3rd December 2006, 1st advent. Good, still a while until Christmas, but getting into the mood despite the sunshine and mild temperatures.
Location: A large, new gymnasium in Limburgerhof (a little town between Speyer, Frankenthal and Ludwigshafen.)
Organiser: Sifu Toni Schmidt, 3rd TG WT, 2nd TG Escrima, head of the self-defence centre in Limburgerhof (www.kampfkunstschule-schmidt.de).
Participants: almost 50 escrimadoras and escrimadores!
The initial plan was already made two years ago, when Sifu Toni, who has been practicing WT for 13 years and Escrima for 10, invited Master Bill to hold a seminar in Limburgerhof. Unfortunately the tight schedule of the world chief instructor did not allow this, however. Sifu Toni did not give up, asked him again the following year and obtained a Yes from the grandmaster.
The event was keenly anticipated, and soon the hectic preparations were upon us. Everything had to be right so that the event ran smoothly. After all, Limbim (as Limburgerhof is affectionately known by its inhabitants) wanted to show what it could do. The training room at the school only had space enough for around 20 escrimadores, so a different venue had to be found. After many phone calls and a final discussion with the mayor, we succeeded in securing the gymnasium at the Domholz school. Now we just had to notify the EWTO of the seminar, post the information on our website and send out the invitations by e-mail.
Then the day arrived. The magic was due to start at 10:30 pm, and so it did when Master Bill opened the seminar precisely on time. It was good that we had such a large gymnasium, as the almost 50m participants (of which 20 were from our own school) certainly needed room! The groups consisting of students at the lower, intermediate and advanced levels, plus the Technicians, spread themselves out and began with the warm-up and ”simple” exercises.
The full programme was absolved, starting with basics, applications and drills right up to buckler and long-staff exercises. Plenty of activity and happy faces everywhere. Master Bill clearly enjoyed giving instructions and making corrections here and there, and taking pleasure in the independence of his students. Later Master Bill said how very satisfied he was how fantastically his Escrima had developed. And no wonder, for after all you reap what you sow.
After two and a half hours it was time for lunch. A whole hour had been planned for this, but this was shortened to only 30 minutes after a democratic show of hands. No votes to the contrary, and no abstentions. Which shows the general mood and motivation on that Sunday.
The half-hour break was a real pleasure in the open air, at a mild 14°C in the sunshine. Master Bill had to admit it: "It's like summer!" – of course, the Palatinate is a blessed region famous for its top-quality Riesling wine.
Then on to the second part. Forms and applications were now on the agenda. Concentration was required to avoid injuries caused by lack of attention, but there was certainly no lack of concentration that day.
Master Bill was highly satisfied with his students, and the seminar was like a perpetual motion machine started up by his initial spark. Watching was just as enjoyable as taking part!
The time flew, and the hands were gradually nearing 4 o’clock. Unfortunately everything good comes to an end. In the final ten minutes Master Bill presented 23(!) examination certificates to the exhausted but happy students. A fantastic seminar finally came to an end. Really? No, there was an encore, as Master Bill spent the next 15 minutes signing autographs and copies of his book. He has always been a very approachable grandmaster.
Conclusion: An unforgettable seminar, with Master Bill in the very best of moods and in top form (as always), on the warmest 1st. advent since records began, and with participants from all over Germany. Christmas will need to be very good to top that.
The centre for self-defence once again thanks Master Bill and the numerous participants!
See you at the next seminar in Limburgerhof – there will definitely be one.