FIRST STOP: GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN – Kali de Mano’s Advanced Summer Camp

BLAST OFF! Our martial arts journey OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES! *Photo by: Claes Johansson*

Kali de Mano of Gothenburg, Sweden

3 things to know about training with Kali de Mano in Gothenburg:

  1. The level of training that Guro Claes Johansson and his instructors provide is SUPERB. Expect a very high quality level of teaching, skills and rigour from the instructors; and a most impressively consistent, high standard from all the advanced students and assistants.
  2. The people are STARS.  Every single Kali de Mano member we met, without exception, trained with and welcomed us with such exceptional warmth, kindness and open hearts. We were utterly blown away.
  3. The city of Gothenburg is a hospitable and diverse one – and the weather was great! ; )  Exceptionally so, our Swedish friends tell us!

Here’s what happened on the first day.

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We had blasted into Gothenburg late the previous night, just as Guns N’ Roses “Paradise City” came roaring onto our speakers. (Not deliberately chosen by us; just the shuffle button being used as a voice of prescience by the gods!) A dear friend of ours whom we had met at the Peaceful Warrior Camps in Bali had left us the keys to her flat while she holidayed on summer isles. Guro Claes met us at that late hour just to welcome us into Gothenburg, and to ensure that we got settled at our friend’s flat smoothly (see what we meant earlier about staggering hospitality?)!

That first day of training, we covered:

  • Knife / daga. Relatively advanced movements, focusing on acquiring a knife flow with a partner through mutual harmony and intention.
  • Sensitivity drills. Learning to predict the movement of the opponent, through skin contact only, to train the body to respond reflexively. Eventually this exercise built up to blindfold training: thereby removing the reliance on visual cues, as well as drastically reducing mental interference with physical response. (Interestingly, we all quickly realised that working blindfolded made for faster response and smoother flow!)
  • Corto sticks. Working with short sticks for improving stick-and-hand manipulation.
  • Pencak silat. On this first day Guro Claes gave us a very basic form of footwork – which was already challenging!
  • Double sticks / sinawali. A stick in each of the hands for coordination work, as well as to work full-body flow in coordinated ‘dances’ with partners.

This first day’s drills provided the groundwork for the rest of the week – and, as you can see, with such an epic first day, the week was nothing short of stupendous. Already in that first day, we worked on a huge spectrum of concepts, each with a rich depth of structure that could be explored ad infinitum.

For more details on the curriculum covered… try out their training!  You can contact Guro Claes here to arrange a trial session at the Kali de Mano class. Be warned: Looking at the extraordinary members of their club, I swear that they have a Good Guy Filter affixed to their doorway. You either walk in a Good Guy, or you walk out a Good Guy!

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SPECIAL NOTE: This camp was an advanced camp. All the students were there by invitation only, which meant that everyone present had basic shared understanding of the same martial concepts, and a sufficient training background for the camp to be conducted at a more advanced level. Also, during the very first hour, Guro Claes assured us all that he could personally vouch for the character of every single person who was present. And every single person there upheld his honour.

For the first time since this summer camp began some years back, Guro Claes issued invitations to foreign guests, all people he had trained with at the Peaceful Warrior Camps: Ingo and Yee Han, and also Mike Waite of Advanced Martial Arts and Fitness, Perth, Australia. Shihan Mike would give a few guest classes later on in the week! Greatly anticipated!

Comments heartily welcomed!

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