Dog Brothers Training Groups: Sofia, Bulgaria
Welcome to the second in this series of articles on Dog Brothers training groups and members. Today we travel to Bulgaria to meet Dog Brothers Sofia.
Bordered by Greece and Turkey to the south and the Black Sea to the east, Bulgaria is a mountainous country which has served as a crossroads for numerous migrations, over the centuries. A predominately Slavic nation with a population of 7.4 million, Bulgaria has the highest rate of home ownership (97 per cent) in the world. The capital is Sofia - a city of 1.3 million with an extensive green belt, and well-preserved city walls dating back to before the 7th century BC.
Sofia has a thriving martial arts community, including a Dog Brothers Martial Arts (DBMA) training group. Dog Brothers Sofia was started by Pavel Velchev, a Bulgarian martial arts instructor with over twenty years experience in a variety of systems such as Tae Kwon-Do, Jeet Kune Do (in which he is a full instructor), Wing-Chun (also full instructor), and in fighting with weapons. The current group has been active for over six years, and acquired official Dog Brothers status in 2011.
Two of its members (Pavel and Konstadin) have fought at a Dog Brothers Gathering and have also attended several Dog Brothers training seminars. The group includes two female members and like everyone, they fight with minimal protection and sticks made from rattan.
The Sofia training group has six classes per week, three of which cover DBMA material. Of these, one class is for single stick, one for double stick, and the third covers either the Kali Tudo™ or the "Die Less Often" material. Extensive use is made of lightly-padded sticks, so as to reduce the number of injuries, and to fight more often.
Several times a year, Dog Brothers Sofia meets with groups from other martial arts systems, to train and to fight. Among these are: Doce Pares Escrima, Pekiti Tirsia Bulgaria, Bulgarian Sword, and an MMA group. This type of cross-training gives everyone valuable exposure in a variety of weapons and styles.
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