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Dog Brothers Training Groups: Hawaii  Hawaii

Rising 32,000 feet (9.7 km) from the ocean floor, the Hawaiian islands are among the remotest, and the most beautiful places on this earth. A paradise of beaches and palm trees, of sea and sun. This is Hawaii, and this is the story of the Hawaiian clan of the Dog Brothers tribe - and of its founder - Mike "DogZilla" Tibbitts - one of the twelve original Dog Brothers!

Coat of Arms of Hawaii Dog Brothers Hawaiian Clan

Dog Brothers Hawaii began with a dream – a dream that became reality through the power of Mana. That dream, was to be one of the original Dog Brothers and to spend twelve years experiencing Real-Contact stick fighting and Dog Brothers Martial Arts (DBMA). My instructor Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny and my trainer Lester "Surf Dog" Griffin helped me to hone my skills to organize and manage a new team.

Dog Brothers HawaiiThe Hawaiian Clan was born from a merger of my Dog Brothers training group, with Full Contact Hawaii (FCH). Out of the latter came Roan "Poi Dog" Grimm, and the Paki Park fights/training. Full Contact Hawaii came across a Dog Brothers video and began to mimic what they saw there, and what they learned from Datu Nittalama. Stick fights were held weekly in a park next to the Honolulu zoo, where the giraffes watched over us.

It was through this group that over time, Poi Dog began getting ready to fight at a Dog Brothers Gathering, while others simply vanished. Through such preparations, we were able to incorporate a new concept of training: Drills one week, fighting the next. The "Los Triques" and the "Attacking Blocks" material both went down very well. Yet though its "open field" game was coming along nicely, the group was reluctant to do much clinch and ground work – until Poi Dog returned from the Gathering with experience in this. The situation eventually worked itself out.

We also looked around for some straightforward no-nonsense knife, and the group got into AMOK - which worked better for us than Sayoc Kali. Our concept was to create a circle of weapons with one of them be a point of focus, yet not isolated from the others. The "Power Staff" was a big hit as was Krabi Krabong.

Next, would be our Muay Thai Tom addition as Poi Dog left Hawaii and moved to the mainland. To this day, the "Sticks and Kicks" program through Muay Thai continues to flow. Most of us have a Jeet Kune Do concept philosophy.

Group Leader Michael TibbittsThe Kapolei Dogs began a quest, and fought on the big island of Hawaii during the Chinese New Year's celebrations. However, the promoters did not want us back, once they realized we really do hit and fight each other with the sticks. James Demile and the Big Island folks enjoyed our fights.

Team Mixed Breed flowed through the group as some ventured off into WEKAF-style tournaments and began to form a new group of Pulahans. Others got into submission grappling tournaments and training. The fancy stuff went out the window during three solid years of assisting and fighting on a professional MMA team. It was challenging to keep both the Dog Brothers and the MMA flowing – a bit like burning a candle at both ends. Time to choose – and we decided that the Dog Brothers training was more relevant to us than the MMA.

We switched to Waipio park where we did hills sprints with tree-to-tree Krabi Krabong drills. In addition, we took our stick fighting team to Schofield army base with our "Ranger Dog" and "Work Dog" games with a wall and mats. Our "clinch and knee" game expanded, and the Muay Thai flowed well with our Krabi Krabong. Bilateralism became a focus to work independence and ambidexterity. Lots of knife dueling and as always, sticks and striking in both leads.

DogZilla HonoredThere were also several traditional Eskrima tournaments with interesting results, and we helped the Pulahans with a documentary on Eskrima in Hawaii. This covered two years of filming and four series. The first series covers single stick bilaterally, utilizing a map of footwork and a clock of striking movements. The second is on Filipino staff and power stroking into combinations. The third looks at opposite eights and their applications. The fourth is on Island Dog play games. All of these ran on OLELO Public Television. After which Kahuna Dog wondered, "How does one train to film and to fight at the same time?"

The twenty-year reunion of the Dog Brothers woke us up to that and we renewed our quest to flow with all rattan weapon fighting. Which led us to follow the TORO clan into "Beat The Crap Out of Cancer". Unfortunately, it was postponed due to Big Rob’s mom getting cancer and passing away. The cancer project is an awesome idea. It has helped us with our island way to direct our resources in "Beating the Crap out of Hunger" and giving the Hawaiian food bank non-perishable food, instead of asking folks for money. Motivated by the example of our Canadian brothers, we in Hawaii added a beneficial side to our stick fighting. Our hunger drive will involve padded stick and NOK knives to build the group up for Real-Contact fights with rattan. The Hawaiian Clan’s newest merger of ideas is to help the Wounded Warrior Project by having a benefit with  all-rattan weapons fighting called "Wounded Tree", where we will donate clothing and apparel to our veterans.

Facebook has changed us, after years of relying on the Dog Brother web site to connect us. We are able to get involved with Dog Brother clans spanning the globe. This last 2013 tribal Gathering had four of us from Hawaii taking part. We all had such an awesome experience, that we feel motivated and determined to return and fight our brothers again. Being on an island has limited opportunities to interact with other animal types. Thus, spontaneity is rare, and we often need to rely on memory.

There are also visitors now and then, who come to share with us. Our first was Loki "Tricky Dog" Jorgenson in 2003,  who helped us to understand that we should strive to make our movements more elegant. Crafty Dog came to the Islands and shared the Kali Tudo (our group appears in the Kali Tudo 2 DVD) as well as the Die Less Often material. Crafty also helped us with our posture, and in integrating into our arsenal the footwork from the "Dos Triques" material.

In return, I was able to share with Crafty some "prison disturbance control techniques" and less-than-lethal options. That, combined with US Marine Corps tactics, form that part of the material that he shares today with appropriate men.

We keep a curriculum to flow so we may have visitors at any time. We have military personnel visiting often - some frequently, others less so. Navy Sea Bees, Army Rangers, Navy pilots and public relations officers all enjoy training and/or fighting with us while being deployed to Hawaii. These influences have led us into a stripped-down approach to combatives and to Real-Contact stick fighting. By utilizing a base lead, then moving to another lead, yet finding different tools to discard and to apply.

In the Islands, we harvest in the forest a wood called Vie Vie, which is a strawberry Guava. The wild pigs eat its fruit. Thus, Hawaii provides the world with a hard wood full of Mana, which will last a lifetime (available through Kombat Intsruments Limited ).

Some of us Islanders have a dream to travel and to fight in Gatherings around the world. Yet we also love to be at home with our brothers with whom we train. If you ever make your way to Hawaii, visit us Hawaiian Dog Brothers . The Aloha spirit is alive and well. We await the return of those of our brothers who "hopped the fence". We are based on Oahu.  The outer islands have potential. The trade winds carry the seeds of growth. We are Island Warriors running AMOK as a Dog Brothers family.

(click on photos to enlarge)