Guest Instructor Workshops

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Stick Work: From Kali Stick to Quarterstaff — Guest Instructor, Juan Sanchez

This one-day workshop will start off with learning the principles of using a stick, the most available weapon in the woods and perhaps mankind's oldest weapon. You will explore the advantages and disadvantages of having a stick vs. a blade, and the dangers involved from both a martial artist and first responder point of view. You will understanding how a stick relates to its surrounding environment, determin distance in relation to other obstacles and defending/attacking within those parameters, losing a stick during combat, improvising with your stick and more. You will learn the important principles of distance, the "invisible bubble", and when (and when not) to enter it. You will practice simple stick drills in both blocking and striking, then move to checking and proper blocking, including basic footwork when using a stick, basic power striking and the importance of follow through. Finally we will end the day learning some basic disarms and locks and how to translate these techniques to using a quarterstaff.
This will be a great day of fun and learning!
NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. ALL WHO WANT TO LEARN ARE WELCOME!

May 11 $95 Great Meadows, NJ   Date Past  

July 25 $95 Great Meadows, NJ ›› The date for this workshop has passed.  

 

Knife work

Knife Work: Defending Against & Using a Blade — Guest Instructor, Juan Sanchez

Starting with the advantages and disadvantages of using a blade from a first-responder point-of-view, this one-day workshop will teach you how to use a blade to defend yourself, and how to defend against one. You will learn the principle of distancing yourself from your attacker, "drawing their line", cross-hand tapping, and the first steps of the vital template. You will also be introduced to basic maneuvering footwork as you work to stay out of your attacker's danger zone and turn in to their blind spots.  You will also practice different methods of attacking with a blade, learn their advantages and disadvantages, and find out how to make each strike the most effective. You will finish the day learning some basic blocks and disarms, and how to adapt these techniques for use with/against a larger knife/machete.
This will be a great day of fun and learning and you will leave with a level of confidence in yourself and your safety that have never felt before.
NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. ALL WHO WANT TO LEARN ARE WELCOME!

May 10 $95 Great Meadows, NJ   Date Past  

July 26 $95 Great Meadows, NJ ›› The date for this workshop has passed.‹‹

 

Empty Hand: Defending Yourself with Nothing but Yourself — Guest Instructor, Juan Sanchez

Sometimes, you have nothing available to use to defend yourself. No opportunity exists to access a weapon. What do you do? What can you do with nothing but your empty hands?
Defending youself and understanding real-life "empty hand" situations can be very different than in a traditional learning environment like a dojo. For one thing, you must be aware of being triped by not just your attacker, but by the environment around you!
In this one-day workshop you will learn how to improvise, using grass, dry leaves, dirt or rocks to engage your attacker and enter their defenses. You will learn multiple basic striking, locking and take down principles, pulled from a variety of different martial and fighting arts, enabling you to effectively engage a taller/larger/stronger oponent. You will practice "sticky hand" drills, foot posting, off-balancing and basic footwork. You will be introduced to hooking, the concepts of "center line" and "zero pressure", as well as different take down maneuvers and basic throws.
This will be a great day of fun and learning, as you discover just how effective your own two hands can be!
NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. ALL WHO WANT TO LEARN ARE WELCOME!

May 9 $95 Great Meadows, NJ    Date Past  

July 27 $95 Great Meadows, NJ ›› The date for this workshop has passed.‹‹

 


River Cane Gadgets

Traditional Shoe Making: 10th Century Scandianavian Turn Shoe — Guest Instructor, Jason Hovattar

In this class we will begin by making a casting of your foot (they will truly be custom built!), then move on to patterns and leather selection, cutting and skiving, butt stitching and assembly. Once the upper and sole are attached you will move on to turning and hammering, closure and finishing, and finally, "gooping" the soles with an outer tread coating.
The uppers are made of 8-9 oz. American bison and the soles are heavy oil tanned latigo with an outer coating of recycled  ground truck tire dust mixed with barge cement. When the rubber coating wears down you can simply paint more on. These can become your every day shoes! From city streets to wilderness adventures, this shoe is the most comfortable and durable you will ever wear — and you can wear them hard!
This pair of shoes, if well taken care of, could easily last you for the rest of your life. Space is striclty limited to 5 students and we expect it to fill quickly so don't delay!
(Bison hide, as well as all other shoe materials and shoe-making tools are provided.)

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 


Blow Gun

Cherokee Blow Guns & Thistle Darts — Guest Instructor, Doug Meyer

Doug Meyer has, literally, written the book on River Cane Blowguns. We first met Doug at the 2007 Flint Ridge Knap-in, where we were completely fascinated by his River Cane Blowguns, Thistle Darts and other cool items, and we are always thrilled when he comes to Practical Primitive to offer this workshop!
Each student will choose their own piece of cane, learn the secrets to removing the nodes in both modern and primitive fashion, prepare and straighten their blow gun, and add all the finishing touches.

Thistle Dart In addition to making your own blowgun, you will learn how to make Thistle Darts from the master himself! Doug can "spin up a dart" faster than you can believe, and there will be plenty of thistle heads on hand for you to learn and practice, and make your own set of darts for your new blowgun. Once your blowgun and darts are complete, you will get a chance to practice your accuracy on the archery range, and learn how to use this portable, stealthy and highly useful hunting tool.
This is going to be a GREAT day — one that you will be talking about for a long time — so don't miss out!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 


Fingerweaving Projects

Finger Weaving — Guest Instructor, Doug Meyer

Fingerweaving is a "Contact Era" Native American skill that weaves threads together using your fingers instead of a loom. Most commonly found among the Eastern Tribes, this technique allows you to make strong, flat, woven pieces that can be used for tumplines, belts, sashes, leg ties, straps, slings and more. You will learn and practice the basic diagonal weave, which will teach you to set up more complicated patterns, and you will then create your own finger-woven project to take home with you!
Doug will also have many examples of other more advanced finger weaving techniques in his finished pieces that will be on display, as well as in several books and articles on its historical and modern uses. Fingerweaving is a perfect example of a functional art, where an everyday object with an important purpose can be made beautiful and intricate without involving any complicated machinery or looms. All you need are your fingers, your imagination and a desire to make the ordinary, extraordinary!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 


River Cane Gadgets

Preparing, Preserving & Using Gourds — Guest Instructor, Doug Meyer

Bowls, cups, spoons, quivers, baskets, buckets, containers, sifters, rattles, drums, dolls, toys, masks... Gourds come in all shapes and sizes and can truly be used for almost anything!
Doug Meyer will teach this unique and amazing workshop on choosing, preparing, cleaning, drying and using Gourds.
You'll have the opportunity to make several different objects from gourds, such as a cup, bowl or spoon, a blowgun dart quiver (which, if you've also attended his Blowguns & Thistle Darts workshop will come in very handy!) a container and/or sifter and much more!
One of the most versitile and easiest to work with raw materials, gourds can be grown in almost any home garden or found in any farmer's market, so are also easy and inexpensive to obtain. Don't miss this fun and entertaining workshop, and discover just how useful Gourds can be!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

Water bottles Berry Bucket Spoon Quivers Cup Canteens Bowl

 


River Cane Gadgets

River Cane: Tools, Toys & Gadgets — Guest Instructor, Doug Meyer

River Cane is an incredibly useful resource that is often overlooked by the traditional outdoors-adventurer. Doug Meyer has agreed to stick around for a second day to teach this new workshop on the multitude of other uses for River Cane. Over the course of the day you will learn how to make everything from whistles and turkey calls, to pipe stems, beads, needles, fish hooks, anchors, floats, vials, knives and much more. Eeven how to use river cane to make a torch and bow drill fireboard. We have never met anyone with as much experience using river cane as Doug, and are really looking forward to learning all the cool uses he has discovered and re-discovered over the past decade. Come on out and join us, and we know you'll learn amazing new skills with an abundant, renewable and easy-to-work-with resource!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

 

Cane Beads Pipe Stem Turkey Call Vials

 

Guest Instructors

Doug Meyer

Doug Meyer

After a tour in the US Army, Doug Meyer graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he received his BA in History and Anthropology. It was after attending an Anthropology class that is interest in experimental archeology was peaked, and he began actively practicing primitive technology under Steve Watts.
Doug's main focus is blowguns, but he has tried his hand at most types of primitive skills. He has studied tracking and fire making with Charles Worsham and flintknapping with Dr. Errett Callahan, for whom he has been a teaching assistant the past 5 years. Doug also enjoys martial arts and holds a shodan rank in Ninjutsu where he has studied with Stephen Hayes, Dr Richard McCall and Jonathan Kingsley. Doug has been brain tanning for 10 years and has tanned hundreds of hides.  

 

Jason Hovatter

Jason Hovatter

As far back as Jason can remember, and in nearly every situation, he would stop and wonder, “How did folks do this before our modern age of convenience and forgetfulness?” More importantly perhaps, he wondered "How will we do it after!?"
In his early 20’s Jason traveled around the United Staes on foot and by hopping the occasional freight train, from forest to town and back again. He visited skills gatherings doing leatherwork along the way, through which he met and apprenticed with a master shoe maker in southern Oregon.
Jason then started his own custom shoemaking business and, further deepening his love of ancient footwear styles, traveled to medieval re-enactments all over the western U.S. where he made many styles of period shoes from antiquity. For the past several years he has found great satisfaction in teaching both period and modern shoe making techniques to a growing army of new cobblers and cordwainers, and he is looking forward to expanding that group to include a new batch of East Coasters!
(For more information on Jason and his West Coast workshops, check out his website).

 

Juan Sanchez

Juan Sanchez

Over the past eight years Juan Sanchez has had the privilege to learn martial arts and weapon defense from some of the best instructors in the world. He is a former World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) Stick Fighting Regional Champion, and holds a brown belt, under Grand Master Dong Questa, within the Doce Pares Filipino Martial Arts system. He is also a former high-level apprentice instructor of the Sayoc Kali knife fighting system and has studied numerous other arts, including Atienza Kali and Aikikai Akido. Juan is currently studying Ip Man Wing Chun, Lameco Kali, Jeet Kun Do and Brazilian Jujitsu, under Sifu Cesar Olavarria. 
Juan is a firm believer in Practical Primitive's "Guardian" mentality ("Protect, Provide, Persevere & Prevail, Keeping others safe who surround you.") and believes that no one needs to be afraid for their personal safety. To that end, he has spent his years of training in multiple arts pulling the best from each fighting system he has studied, and bringing them together into simple concepts and techniques that the average person can learn and use for their own personal safety in almost any type of threatening situation.
When not studying how to defend and protect, Juan is a professional storyboard artist and concept designer, as well as an assistant art director within the television and film industry. Juan is also an avid hiker and outdoorsman with his Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification through the SOLO Wilderness Medicine School, and has studied primitive skills and wilderness survival under Practical Primitive since 2008. 

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