I wanted to share a great moment with you guys. I had the privilege to interview Jackie Bradbury – The Stick Chick. Jackie is a martial artist, “arnisadora” and she owns TheStickChick.com, where she shares her insights and experiences in Filipino Martial Arts and Martial Arts in general.
In this interview, Jackie shares how the Filipino Martial Arts of Arnis changed her life. This is a story of her journey towards mastery and self-fulfilment.
So read on…
Stick Fighting Sport: Can you share with us your martial arts background?
Jackie Bradbury: I didn't start training until I was a few months shy of 40 years old. Prior to that, I had been an athlete in my youth (track and field sports, including shotput and discus, and I was a cheerleader too), but really, I hadn't been very active at all for nearly 20 years.
I hit a mid-life crisis and realized that if I didn't change my ways my old age was going to be really miserable. Since working out is boring, and I can't run (bad knees), I ended up joining my husband and daughter in training as the easiest thing to do.
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Stick Fighting Sport: Of all the martial arts why did you choose Eskrima as your main art?
Jackie Bradbury: I feel like it chose me. I started in a version of taekwondo, but I was introduced to Modern Arnis within a couple of months and found my passion in life. It just suits me, personally. I can do it well and it jives with how my mind just works – it's practical and logical and very intelligent.
Here in the U.S., it is very rare for a person to study Arnis/Kali/Eskrima as their base art, and I am one of the few who does.
Stick Fighting Sport: What makes the style of Eskrima you're teaching unique?
Jackie Bradbury: I train what is called in the US “Presas Arnis” which is basically a blend of Modern Arnis (Remy Presas) and Kombatan (Ernesto Presas). I can play both styles well enough, but I look sort of “weird” to each side of my Arnis “family”, as my habits are a little different.
One thing my teacher is very big on – as am I, as his student – is having proficiency enough to use any object as a self-defence tool. I cross-study in other martial arts styles weapons so I can be better at it, just as GGM Ernesto Presas did.
Stick Fighting Sport: What is your main purpose as a martial artist and arnisador?
Jackie Bradbury: Martial arts training saved my life and made it better in so many ways (that's a common subject on my blog). I love being part of our community, connecting with so many awesome people around the world, and meeting so many interesting and cool martial artists who always have something neat to show me.
I want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can to enjoy the same benefits!
Stick Fighting Sport: How would you like your legacy as a master of Arnis to be remembered?
Jackie Bradbury: That I taught students well, that I inspired lots of other women to start training, and that I contributed to the spread of Arnis/Kali/Eskrima around the world.
Stick Fighting Sport: What is your message to those who want to learn the Filipino Martial Arts of Arnis?
Jackie Bradbury: It can be hard to find someone to train with (I know, believe me, I know) so don't be afraid to ask around online for advice on finding someone to train within your area (you can ALWAYS ask me and I'll do my best to help!)
Don't be afraid to just jump in and start playing – we're really nice people and you'll have a great time!
Stick Fighting Sport: Tell us something about your Blog – StickChick.com
Jacke Bradbury: I started the Stick Chick blog as a way to learn how to actually do blogging and social media writing about a topic I know well and love best. I've been writing for five years and I have no plans to stop… ever! The best thing about it is that I've gotten to “meet” so many awesome martial artists world-wide – I don't think that would have happened if I didn't start blogging.
I STRONGLY encourage FMA players to write about what they do via blogging, or make videos, and tell everyone why they love it so. We have to get our voices out there and let the wider world know we're here!