Dog Brothers, and Dog Brothers Martial Arts (DBMA)
The Dog Brothers
The Dog Brothers are both a group of stick fighters, and a way of training with a goal of attending full-contact, limited rules, minimal safety-gear fighting events in the USA and Europe, known as the Gathering of the Pack.
As noted, Dog Brothers is a fundamentally a way of training. As originally established by a group of stick fighters – including Tuhon Philip Sled Dog Gelinas – and eventually framed by Marc Crafty Dog Denny:
The spirit of the fights is that of members of the same tribe helping each other to prepare to defend the land, women, and children of the tribe. Both going too hard and going too soft are counterproductive. In this spirit, what might be too much for one man to handle, could be too little for another. It is a sign of respect for your “opponent” to really go after him-you are saying you respect and believe in his skill and spirit to deal with it, yet at the same time even in the adrenaline of the moment you are looking out for his welfare so as to not damage him and thus weaken the tribe. It is in your best interest that he be as good a warrior as possible when you stand together in battle.
And while the words quoted above speak from the male orientation toward warcraft, protector roles, and brotherhood from which Dog Brothers was born, it can be applied to anyone who chooses to test themselves in this way. At maelstrom we strive to make sure the experience is open to all. We may all have limits we wish to exceed, goals we wish to reach, and a new self we wish to meet. The Dog Brothers approach is a proven way to achieve that kind of transformation. Again to quote Marc (who seems to generate most of the really memorable quotes):
Higher consciousness through harder contact.
Or, as we say at maelstrom:
The way out is through
Dog Brothers Martial Arts (DBMA)
DBMA is a system of weapons fighting developed by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny and the Dog Brothers. It has a curriculum and ranking structure entirely of its own.
DBMA is a system of weapons fighting with elements from many styles. It has evolved out of the fighting experience of the Dog Brothers, and is founded in Filipino stick fighting, but has come to include significant influence from Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Thai krabi krabong, Indonesian pencak silat, and other fighting systems. Similar in philosophy, it was also influenced by Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do: DBMA absorbs “what works, discarding what does not”.
The Dog Brothers conception and methodology was originally established by a small group of martial artists in 1988, leading figures among them Philip Sled Dog Gelinas, Eric “Top Dog” Knaus, Arlan “Salty Dog” Sanford, and Marc Crafty Dog Denny. For most of these martial artists, guro Dan Inosanto was and is an important influence, if not their direct teacher. The early days of DBMA revolved around training and experimentation at the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles, CA. Top Dog and Sled Dog were originally informed by Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali, while Crafty Dog primarily applied Lacoste-Inosanto kali and then later Machado BJJ, and Salty Dog brought the Thai arts to the table.
DBMA still constitutes a wide range of influences. And the shorthand “Dog Brothers” can now refer to several different things: There are two relevant to training at maelstrom:
One is Dog Brothers as a chosen name for a methodology of training that can include almost any martial style or system. There are (male) DB fighters who attain a certain recognition within the DB practices who are referred to as a “Dog Brother”, and receive or choose a name with “Dog” in it or related to it. The other is Dog Brothers Martial Art (DBMA) that is a specific expression of Dog Brothers practices, incorporating a curriculum developed primarily by Crafty Dog, the head of the DBMA initiative.
At maelstrom, involvement in a Dog Brothers approach is voluntary and according to personal goals. We selectively apply the terms and methodologies to achieve our own approach to training – open to everyone, balanced for safety, and rooted in our core values – Respect, Safety, Equality.
Stick fight training, via the Dog Brothers approach, is really about the transformation possible for the student – male or female. This is for anyone who wants to grow beyond dogma and rigid formalism. Real lessons and opportunities for growth are there for those who can break through their personal limitations and step up to the challenge. Intensity and focus are key requirements – both mental and physical. And it is not expected that everyone will choose this way.
You can find more information about DBMA and the DBMA organization here
At maelstrom, we embrace all our training brothers and sisters equally. Regardless of their training skills, fighting systems, techniques or styles, everyone has something share when fighters are willing to learn.
In our Sunday morning Fight Lab classes, like with Dog Brothers fights, there are no weight classes, no stylistic requirements, but also no gender restrictions, no discrimination of any sort. Everyone fights that wants to, each according to their goals and to their limits – and as far beyond as they are willing to go.
For those who are considering this path, we offer a chance to dip your toe in during the Intro To Fight Lab Day which happens once a month. This is the “lite” version of the regular Sunday morning Fight Lab class. We ensure training intensity and challenges are reduced to help provide a transitional step for new students.
For some people, the ultimate goal is simply to test and improve their own training. For others it is to fight at one of the Beat the Crap out of Cancer (BTCOOC) fundraisers. For others it is travel to Los Angeles or Montreal (or Europe) to join in the Gathering of the Pack – a Real Contact, no-rules, minimum equipment Dog Brothers event that sees 40-50 fighters lining up to take turns for 2 minute fights over a 3-5 hour period.
At BTCOOC and at a Gathering, each fighter finds his or her own dance partner and reaches an agreement on what kind of fight and what kind of weapons are to be used. They step onto the field or arena when their turn comes up. Two minutes later it is over.
“No judges, no referees, no trophies. One rule only: Be friends at the end of the day. This means no one should spend the night in the hospital, and everyone should leave with the IQ that they came with.”
The difference is that Gatherings are far more intense and full-contact than the typical BTCOOC fights, or the day-to-day training at maelstrom. Only a few who train at the Sunday morning Fight Lab go to the Gathering. Many more will go to events like Beat The Crap Out of Cancer where one sees much wider, and lower, degrees of intensity. Those that do find something that brings them back, time after time.
Highlights from the 2011 Tribal Gathering:
Highlights from the 2012 Open Gathering: