I'm not sure why, but my wife gave her blessing for me to go to LA and spend a week at Doc Chapel's MSU school, learning SL-4 Kenpo. I arrived in LA on Monday afternoon, and after a short nap we hit the mats at about 8pm... until 2am, six hours of private lesson later I'm starting to get stance set and index set... Tuesday was their regular class night, 8pm-midnight. I met a lot of the SL-4 guys, Mr. Bode, Mr. Oda, Mr. Conti, and Steve and David and Armando... Doc has a great group of very hard-working guys out there. I worked out for about 3 hours, adding blocking set to my list of things to be confused by. The last hour I watched with Doc's new white belt student as the upper ranks worked on what Doc called "301 material". I'm not sure what belt that equates to... very interesting stuff. Very agressive. One thing I was most impressed by was the agressiveness of the attacks in practice. Everyone wears a cup and mouthpiece. Especially the grab/push/hug attacks. A push knocks you back over your heels. A hug crushes the air out of you. It put a lot of perspective into recent threads here and on KT about pushes and stability. You MUST regain your posture and control before you can do anything. One step into a stance does not accomplish it, sorry to say but against a REAL forceful push attack (one with follow-up) the need for regaining control becomes completely obvious. And the strength gained by achieving proper alignment and posture is amazing. Wednesday is Doc's "night off" so we only worked out for about 2 hours :/ Mostly technical stuff, not a lot of sweating. and we managed to find time to spend a few hours talking aoubt history and the future of MA, and Kenpo. I asked Dr. Chapel, "why do you continue to write so muchon te internet,when it seems to mostly just piss people off?" I was surprised to hear his answer - he promised Ed Parker he would do it. that he would continue to spread what he learned from him. And the internet is the best way to do it. Keep up the good work, Doc! Thursday, class again... 8-12. I'm sore and exhausted before class even starts LOL. Kicking set, index set, blocking set, stance set. my brain is getting pretty full. by now I think Bode is just tired of telling me to fix my feet, or maybe my footwork is getting better. I suspect the former. Friday was Doc's seminar at the IKC, so I tagged along for that. I caught the end of Mike Pick's session, the one where he taught 10 year old boys how to snap necks, maybe some of you were there? I watched Doc demonstrate some of the principles of SL-4 to a group that was mostly receptive. It was a real treat for me as I got to meet Ed Parker Jr, Clarence McGee, Bob White, Frank Trejo... Watching the technique line after spending the week with Doc's guys was... I'll just leave it at "remarkable". I wanted to go back to LB on Saturday, but Doc had class again. 2:30pm until 6, then just Doc and I from 6pm to 1am. I'm sure he's trying to kill me by now. but, I learned Sword of Destruction, Sword of Doom, Alternating Maces, and Destructive Shield. by "learned" I mean, Doc's blood pressure didn't go up too much when he watched me mangle them. I'm pretty sure the definitions of "up" and "back" are different here in the midwest than they are in LA!!! that's the only explanation of my arm movements. i swear! A couple more hours on Sunday bringing my list of techniques up to 8, and my bruises to 14. Depending on how you count them... I flew home on Monday, tired, sore, purple, and very happy. My style is not American Kenpo, but I believe that I can use what I've learned to be better at what I do. the strength of the SL-4 material is undeniable once you've spent some time with it. The timing of it will take me some time to get used to. The angles are different than what my style teaches, that also will take some adjustment. But there is no doubt in my mind that SL-4 is for REAL. Take your cup and your gumshield and go to LA. But be warned, your opinion of what you practiced before may be changed.