Balintawak Footwork

Discussion in 'Balintawak' started by Mono, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Mono

    Mono Member

    Hi everyone…

    This is a matter wich has been toched only very briefly on the Forums so far and I would like to bring it up to get some further Information from different Instructors, Studnets and Practitoners of various Balintawak Lineages.

    Its all about Footwork.

    Basically I guess it is agreed that Balintawak uses mainly “Linear” Footwork in a Walking like method (one can argue and say sometimes the Stepping is based on the V with a very narrow opening… - kind of Like they say in the Inosanto System that the Stepping Back and Forward follows the “Lateral Triangle Pattern”…

    Anyways. Having this said, my main question is targeted towards WHEN do you step Where and how to you Teach the Stepping?

    My previous Experiences include the Following two basic “Methods” of Teaching:

    a)As the Student, you only Step back whenever your Instructor steps forward and vice versa. Thereby you always maintain a Left-Lead to Left-Lead or Right Lead to Right Lead Position. Basically it’s a tool that teaches Maintaining proper Distance towards the Attacker and also teaches that stepping and Striking or Defending work independent from each other.

    The Lineages I encountered this Method in were with Bobby Tabimina ans Ising Atillo(also The Remy Presas Line, if you count the Tapi Tapi as the pendant to the Palakaw/Padagan/Cuentada Play…)

    Some Examples:

    Atillo Line (Demosntrated by Guro Dieter Roser from Germany):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IAZgx7vsu4 (here with almost no Stepping)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6roCUlMBpo&NR=1 (Students Adjustment to the Stepping is rather poor (only a beginning Student), but I guess my Point is coming across…)

    Bobby Tabimina:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T44tVODvNU (legs are barely seen but you can see when a step is taken),
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37gLT5_Jc9Y (very clean Stepping shown)

    Modern Arnis:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVU7ojsxoBg (TapiTapi is shown here using rather few oft he standart 1-12 strikes but more oft he Butting, Trapping and changing Distances – but you can see that the Stepping is same as above)

    b) Second method I learned was the one where – as Student – you always step to Face the Stick on Defense (Strike coming from your left, left foot back, strike coming from your right, right foot back.) Later on this rule is diluted and broken. A nice description from a different discussion on this Forum I found was from Rich Parson:

    To me this Method is more focused on proper Body mechanics (shifting etc) and is a great method too.
    Now I would liketo point out some of my experiences with those Methods during my Balintawak Training and Teaching and hope to read some personal experiences and thoughts, comments from all of you who are reading this as well :)

    My “Fight” with the Balintawak Footwork:

    Personally, having studied Modern Arnis several years prior to adding Balintawak to my Training, the a) Version was quite easy to do and comprehend on the Students side as well as the Instructors Side.

    Starting with the Teovels Line also was not too hard to do – the Basic Rule of “Facing the Weapon” was a common concept I was familiar with trough many different Blade Concepts / Methods I had learned in the “Classicl” Aspects of Modern Arnis and other Systems.

    Also breaking those patterns here and there was not a big deal since it meant going back to a)…

    The “Problems” or Confusion to me began doing Agak Training.

    Teaching the 1-12 was easy – it was all “prearranged”. I first “stumbled” when going “Random”.

    Every now and then I started falling back into my “Free Play” Method I was / am used to from MA Training – so for example I was feeding “1, 5, 6” having right Foot forward WITHOUT Stepping on the “6” (as taught in the Basic Application) – now that causes a Problem / Conflict if you tell your Student to a) always face the Stick with his Steps and b) always maintain the same distance to the Instructor…

    A Similar problem came up when doing the Groupings. Group one starts in the Position Stundent in right- Agak in Left lead. So all of a sudden you (as agak) are supposed to be in opposite lead to your Student but have o maintain the distance…

    So what happens is, you start applying “shuffle” Steps (hope this is the corret English word for it – you step forward with the lead leg and drag the rear leg behind, keeping the same lead and vice versa). You can see this being used a lot and even in the 1-12 already by Teofilo Velez here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ykr9OSIbH0

    What this did was, it created a Situation that was not achieved by the Footwork application as described in a) above – Suddenly Student and Agak are opposite foot in lead (legs on the same side).

    So what happened was, I learned that doing Agak using the b) Method was/is much harder for me in the beginning since I have to actively think about when I am “allowed” to step or “which leg do I have forward so which strikes am I allowed to do?” in order to not confuse the Student… (From the Students point of view it feels so easy since you only react to the strikes as you have learned and the Instructor “miraculously” is in the right Positio or distance when you do your stepping)

    For my personal Teachings I have found the following Progression to work for me (as Agak):

    1.Standart 1-12, 1-12 going forward ony, 1-12 going back only, random 1-12 always using the Basic Rule “Student and Instructor always same leg forward
    2.Same as aboce using opposite Footwork (student and instructor opposite legs forward
    3.Combining one and two by adding shuffle steps and extensive body shifting
    4.Using Stationary Footwork (Student left and right lead, Agak same or opposite leg forward)
    5.Combining all of the above and going completely “free”

    When Teaching, I feel that the Students especially have problems when you ad the “unconventional Strikes” such as Abanico and or Curvada Strikes since you suddenly “change” sides with you attack but basically maintaining your Distance. How do you Teach this?

    From my Point of view it feels quite hard to smoothly progress from the “Prearranged” Method into the complete Freeplay. (One of theusual questions is: Why use the rules at first when they don’t workif the Attacker doenst move like this anyways?)

    -How do you teach the Balintawak Footwork?
    -Which of the above methods do you use? A) Maintaing same leg forward as Instructor or B) “Facing the Stick” Method?
    -How and when do you start “braking away” from the basic rules?
    -How do you set up or go into the “same leg Forward” Position and maintain correct distance (without confusing the Student!?)
    -How and when do you start applying Abanico or Curvada Strikes and what Method of Stepping do you use/teach (for the Student and on the Agak’s side)
    -How do you work the Footwork in the “Groupings”? Do you always maintain the “Prearranged” Footwork or do you also apply them using (for ex.) opposite footwork If so, when do you start doing so?
    -What Problema do/did you encounter during Learning or teahing Balintawak Footwork?
    -How do you Progress from “preset” Method to Free Stepping?

    Etc etc etc

    I would be VERY interested in any thoughts, comments, advise, further questions or anything else that concers the Topic of Balintawk Footwork – basically a very active Discussion about Balintawak Footwork.

    There are so many Senior Students, Instructors, Teachers or very long time practitioners out here and I am hoping to get some Insights and new Ideas to further develop my own Game as well as Teachings in Balintawak!

    Thank you very much already!!

    Greetings from Germany!

    Philipp “Mono” Wolf

    P.S. Sorry for making you read this long Text – I hope some of the “Problems” and “Confusions” I came across during my Training and / or learning to Teach Balintawak I was trying to point out are understandable (Since English is not my native language its sometimes hard to express what I am thinking – not even considering that putting complex motions into writing is quite hard to start with – if anything I described or asked is not understandable or too confusing, please let me know and I ll try to Re-Write what is meant…)
     
  2. malcolmk

    malcolmk Member

    Hello Philipp, yes I agree that it can be confusing for the student at first and even more so for the one just starting to learn to be agak. The thing is as agak, you have the freedom to step anyhow you want, you no longer have to obey the rules so to speak, just as when you block / counter a #12 strike as agak you just palm it away and don't use the same method as the student. Personaly I think that once the student is proficent at the basic stepping (facing the blow with stepping ) then I would introduce the student to shuffle stepping and just leaning back and twisting to face the blow, don't forget that as agak you can shuffle too, you can see a lot of shuffling going on in my youtube vids from both students and agak (inc. GM Nick). Personally I like to also perform the palakaw stationary sometimes, no stepping on either part. As for the abanico well blocking abanico strikes does not always require twisting of the body just placement of the blocking stick. Why not try standing the student (or yourself) in a corner and allowing no stepping as you perform the palakaw.
     
  3. Mono

    Mono Member

    Hi Malcolm, thanks for your Reply!

    But is seems you have not fully read my Post above.

    I know that as agak you can do "whatever you want" and that how and when the shuffeling is used (for ex. as used by Nick ;) ).
    About your advise of doing "Stationary" Palakaw - well this is where I described my experiene as having the least Problems and If you read the way I progressively Teach:

    This is the Progression I Use as Agak - throughout 1-3 the Student still follows the Basic "Stepping to Face the Strike". In the Stationary Method this Rule for the Student gets Broken and afterwards he is Free to Aply anything as neccesary.

    The main Point of my Post was to see how others teach or have been taught the Stepping. (With or without "rules" and when or how they are/heve been starting to breake them and wich problems they encountere/ed during their learning Process and or their Teachings!)

    @Everybody
    As an Addition to my Post above it seem neccesary to add: I was not trying to ask for personal advise on "my" Footwork (even though I am thankfull for any thaughts coments and Questions about the way I progressively introduce the Footwork as outlined above etc.)

    I am far more Interested in YOUR (this means all other Users of this Forum!) personal thoughts and experiences about Balintawak Footwork in various Situations :)

    Nice Weekend to all!

    Philipp "Mono" Wolf
     
  4. Twist

    Twist Junior Member

    Hmm.. as mentioned before, the Footwork of Jose "Joe Go" Milans students is really different from the other Balintawak Lineages. Maybe someone here could write a little more about it? (gokosha / gokusa anyone?)
     
  5. guillermo taboada

    guillermo taboada New Member

     
  6. Mono

    Mono Member

    Hello GM Taboada :)

    Thanks a lot! I am very much looking forward to your Answer.

    Maybe you can give some Insights on how your various Teachers were handeling this Subject. (GM Velez, GM Villasin and maybe GM Bacon himself!?)

    As I said I am very much looking forward to your Infos - I always enjoy your wealth of Knowledge and Experience; wether during personal Training, E-Mails or reading your Posts on Forums like this...

    Thank you for sharing the Art with us!

    Greetings from Germany!

    Philipp "Mono" Wolf
     
  7. guillermo taboada

    guillermo taboada New Member


    HELLO THERE BALINTAWAK PRACTITIONERS, AND TO MONO,

    YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FOOTWORK AND ECT...THANK YOU FOR DIGGING MORE INFORMATIONS, THIS WILL MAKE YOU LEARN MORE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE ART AND I AM VERY HAPPY TO GIVE YOU ALL I KNOW SINCE I STARTED BALINTAWAK THEN AND NOW.

    STARTING FOR THE STUDENTS VIEW...WAY BACK TRAINING..FIRST,
    THE STUDENTS MUCH LEARN THE 12 BASICS STRIKES FORM IN ALL CONTROL. WHEN THE INSTRUCTOR SATISFIED YOUR CONTROL, THEN WE MOVED FORWARD FOR THE NEXT STEPS WHICH IS 12 DEFENCE AND COUNTER IN CONTROL. THEN TO THE NEXT LEVEL, 12 DEFENCE AND COUNTER WITH PAK GANG, MEANS (BANGGINGTHE STICK FROM YOUR COUNTER STIKES IN CONTROL) ALL IN ORDER FIRST. WHEN THE INSTRUCTOR SATISFIED YOUR CONTROL AND YOUR CORRECT FORM,THEN THE INSTRUCTOR START BREAKING THE 12 BASICS PATTERN IN SLOW MOVEMENT AGAK UNTIL THE STUDENTS IS BECOMING FASTER AND FASTER AND UP TO THE POINT THAT NEVER THINK ABOUT THE 12 BASICS NUMBERS ANYMORE. (FREE FLOW). REMEMBER, THE HARDEST THING TO LEARN IN MARTIAL ARTS IS HOW TO DEFEND AND THE EASIEST WAY TO LEARN IS HOW TO HIT, THAT IS WHY IN BALINTAWAK, WE EMPHASIZED THE DEFENCE FIRST AND THEN THE COUNTER.

    INSTRUCTORS VIEW....
    IT IS THE INSTRUCTORS JOB TO LET THE STUDENTS UNDERSTAND IN EVERY LITTLE DETAILS ON THIS BASICS, OTHERWISE IT WILL BE A BIG MISTAKES LATER. JUST DONT BE HURRY. I KNOW SOMETIMES YOU LIKE TO MAKE IT FAST TO SHOW THE SPEED MOSTLY TO THE PUBLIC BUT, THAT IS IT. IT WILL BE LOOKS LIKE A PRE ARRANGE LIKE HOLLYWOOD. THAT IS GOOD FOR CONVENCING PEOPLE.I LIKE HOLLYWOOD SOMETIMES, FELLS BETTER WHEN PEOPLE APPLAUSE.

    FEEDING TRAINING THE BASICS, (AGAK A, B, C, DARYO).
    WHEN FEEDING NUMBER 1,2,3,4,5,UP TO 12, MAKE IT SURE THAT THE STUDENTS WILL BLOCK THE MIDDLE OF THE STICK AND THE MIDDLE OF HIS STICK OR EVEN NUMER 3, 8 AND 9 DEFENCE AND STRIKING THE INSTRUCTORS MIDDLE OF THE FOREARM USING THE MIDDLE OF HIS STICK. ALSO IN PAK GANG, ALWAYS IN THE MIDDLE OF BOTH STICKS. REMEMBER, THIS IS NOT A FIGHT YET. THIS IS ALL FOR DECIPLINE AND CONTROLS.

    NOW, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF YOUR QUESTION FOR THE FOOTWORK.
    BASICS DECIPLINE,
    INSTRUCTORS FEEDING, ALWAYS REMIND YOUR STUDENT THAT IF YOUR STICK IS IN HIS LEFT SIDE, HIS LEFT FOOT IS AT THE BACK, AND WHEN YOUR STICK IS IN HIS RIGHT SIDE, HIS RIGHT FOOT IS AT THE BACK. AS I SAID, DONT BE HURRY. INSTRUCTORS PART IS VERY HARD. MAKE THE STUDENT USED TO IT. AND WHILE TEACHING THE FOOTWORK, THE MOST IMPORTANT IS HOWTO USE YOUR LEFT HAND ALIVE TO GUIDE YOUR STUDENT TO MAKE HIM BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS. WHEN THE STUDENTS USED TO IT, THEN START PLAYING ANYWHERE (RANDOM).THIS IS ALL IN THE BEGINNING OF BASIC DEFENCE AND COUNTER.

    YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT WHEN TO STEP BACK AND TO STEP FORWARD WHILE IN A STICK FIGHTING MOTION. THIS IS WHERE THE CONFUSIONS START MOSTLY IN THE GROUPING SYSTEM.

    FIVE GROUPING SYSTEMS.
    GROUP ONE..... TEACHING THE STUDENT LEFTTING AND CLEARING AND THE VARIATIONS. REMEMBER THAT BLOCKINGS AND STRICKINGS IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STICKS ALSO, FOOTWORKS THAT I MENTIONED, LEFT FOOT BACK OR RIGHT FOOT BACK WHEN YOUR STICK IS IN HIS RIGHT OR IN HIS LEFT SIDES.
    GROUP TWO ....IS TEACHING STUDENTS LEFTTING AND CLEARING WITH HEAD MOVEMENTS. MEANS HEAD WAVING SIDE TO SIDE WHEN APPLYING THE BUTT OR POK POK TO THE HEAD. AND THE VARIATIONS. REMEMBER AGAIN, VERY IMPORTANT, THE FOOT WORK THAT I MENTIONED.
    GROUP THREE,, TEACHING THE STUDENT THE PREPARATIONS FOR BODY FLEXIBILITY, THREE TRUST AND THE VARATIONS. DONT FORGET THE FOOTWORK AGAIN THAT I MENTIONED. WHEN THE INSTRUCTOR SATISFIED THE STUDENTS CONTROL THEN, COMBINED THIS THREE GROUPS AND BREAK THE PATTERN, AS I SAID BEFORE, PLAY SLOWLY UNTIL THE STUDENT WILL USED TO IT.

    THIS IS THE FUN PART.
    GROUP FOUR... TEACHING THE STUDENT, PREPARATIONS FOR SPEED AND REFLEXES. AND LOTS OF VARATIONS. AND THIS TIME THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE STUDENTS TO STEP BACK OR STEP FORWARD UNLESS THE INTRUCTORS GUIDE TO MAKE STUDENT TO STEP BACK OR FORWARDS. DONT WORRY ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS STEPPINGS. THIS IS TRAINING FOR THE SPEED ALREADY, THERE IS NO TIME TO STEP BACK AND FORWARDS. THERE ARE NOW LOTS OF BODY MOVEMENTS FLEXIBILITY REFLEX WITHOUT MUCH STEPPING BACK AND FORWARD.

    GROUP FIVE... TEACHING THE STUDENT HOW TO DEFEND THE PUNCHES AND LOTS OF VARIATIONS. IT USED TO BE USING THE KNIVES BUT GM JOSE VILLASIN MAKE IT IN TO PUNCH FOR SAFETY. (OLD DAYS, MOST BALINTAWAK PLAYERS ALWAYS USING THE SHARP KNIVES). WHEN COMPLETED THE WHOLE FIVE GROUPPNG SYSTEM, THEN YOU CAN FEED THEM RANDOMLY UNTIL SATISFIED. REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT A FIGHT YET. THE INSTRUCTOR IS ONLY GUIDING THE STUDENT AND MINIMIZED THE SPEED UNTIL THE STUDENT CAN HAVE THE ABILITY TO BLOCK THE FULL SPEED.


    GGM ANCIONG BACON STEPS IS ONLY SHORT DISTANCE.
    ALWAYS ARM LENGHT DISTANCE OR EVEN MORE SHORTER DISTANCE EVEN BETTER. FEEL THE HANDS OF THE STUDENT OR SMELL THE STUDENT AS ANCIONG ALWAYS SAYS SMELL ME AND FEEL ME . (SIMHOTA KO DONG).
    I TEACH FOR FOOT WORK DISTANCE IS, THE WAY YOU WALK. BECAUSE SOMETIMES WHEN I TEACH THE EUOROPEAN OR AMIRICAN, MOST OF THEM ARE VERY TALL. IT IS VERY HARD FOR THEM TO DO THE SHORT STANCES AND, IF THE ARE WILLING TO DO IT THEN I WILL TEACH THEM THE WAY IT IS IN THE OLD DAYS. I JUST WANT THEM TO FELL COMFORTABLE. ANYWAY, WHEN THEY ARE IN A HIGH LEVEL, IF WILLING TO LEARN I WILL TEACH THEM.
    THE BALINTAWAK FOOTWORK IS ON FRONT TO FRONT BASIS, WHEN THE NEW COMPLETION OF THE ART INTRUCTIONAL DVD WILL FINISH, AND THE BOOK OF BALINTAWAK NEARLY DONE, THERE IS A FOOTWORK FOR MULTIPLE ATTACK. IT WILL BE PUBLISH SOON. I TAUGHT THE BOOK IS EASY TO MAKE BUT, IT IS NOT. I HAVE BEEN STARTED THIS SINCE THREE YEARS AGO. SORRY MY FRIENDS.

    REMEMBER THAT THIS IS ALL BASICS AND NOT FOR FIGHTING YET.
    IF ANY QUESTIONS I AM WILLING TO ANSWER. THANK YOU SIR MONO.

    GM BOBBY TABOADA
    www.internationalbalintawak.com
     
  8. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member

    Philipp:

    Bobby taught me and he's already described how he does it. All I can add are a few bits from my learning and teaching experience to date.

    Because it's easier for the student to learn that way. And just because the student doesn't necessarily have to step later on doesn't mean that they shouldn't step if their feet are fast enough.

    B

    The "rules" are more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. If you always think in terms of "rules", you're going to get stuck at some point. Remember, there is no spoon... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28kOO6qDk7s)

    If the student becomes confused, they're probably spending too much time thinking about what your're doing instead of what they're supposed to be doing. See "method B", above.

    Start with the basics (your "method B"). Once the student has mastered the basics, I do whatever I please. Sometimes I step, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I step on a students lead foot to prevent them from stepping backwards. (It's a dirty boxing trick... :boxing_sm ) Sometimes I block with the stick, other times just a hand. Sometimes I may not block at all and just move out of the way.

    See above.

    You've already referenced a textbook example: watch this video again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ykr9OSIbH0) and you'll see that Bobby's footwork stays consistent - whatever side Mr. Velez's stick moves to, that leg moves back. The first exception happens at about 1:53 where group 4 comes in fast and he does not step backwards as a strike goes to his left. His footwork catches up shortly thereafter.


    Robert
     
  9. Mono

    Mono Member

    Dear GM Taboada and Robert Klampfer,

    thanks a lot for sharing your thaughts and Methods on this Subject.

    @Robert: You are right - the word "Rule" was not a good choice - Guidline fits much better of course...
    Thats one of the Problems of having to write in a foreign Language :(

    I hope there are more/others who are willing to share their Thoughts, Knowledge and Experience with the rest of the Balintawak Comunity as well!?

    Looking forward to it! :)

    Greetings from Germany!

    Philipp "Mono" Wolf
     
  10. yomitche

    yomitche New Member

    GM Taboada and Mr. Klampfer, thank you so much for posting such comprehensive and informative responses in this thread!

    I, like probably most developing Balintawak artists, have had issues with the footwork. Thank you for clarifying and offering insights into this area of practice.

    A couple of points I think are interesting in this thread...
    First, the concept of "dirty boxing" footwork and how it plays into the Balintawak movement. I have found in sparring matches that the linear entering movement "favored" by the Balintawak style completely predisposes me to "dirty boxing" methods. When I close with others, who are intent on resisting my motion and entry, the moment I close the gap and find myself almost inherently on their feet, they freeze up and are distracted from the upper activity by what is suddenly happening on the ground. It makes the close range techniques of Balintawak fall into place for me.

    Second, GM Taboada mentioned:
    ALWAYS ARM LENGHT DISTANCE OR EVEN MORE SHORTER DISTANCE EVEN BETTER. FEEL THE HANDS OF THE STUDENT OR SMELL THE STUDENT AS ANCIONG ALWAYS SAYS SMELL ME AND FEEL ME . (SIMHOTA KO DONG).

    which really helps me to conceptualize the range and intuituve/emotional element of the movements.

    Finally, GM Taboada mentioned that the old training methods included a knife which has been subsititued with punching for safety. Just curious if this can be elaborated on a bit more.

    Thank you so much!

    Also, I look forward to the book, GM Taboada!
    Respectfully,
    Mitch
     
  11. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member

    Mitch:

    That specific reference was to what are now punches in the group five were originally also thrusts with a knife - punta y daga. There were apparently quite a few injuries while using the knife. Having played this with the knife, I can tell you that it is dangerous at full speed, even with a training blade.

    Robert
     
  12. Mono

    Mono Member

    This is all great Information here!!!

    I hope more Students and Teachers of the Art will contribute to it!

    Looking forward to more!

    Mono
     
  13. teovel'sBalintawak

    teovel'sBalintawak New Member


    Guys,

    Please see these links in youtube. This is the Teovel's Balintawak Basic Defense drills against Punta Y Daga by Monie Velez. This video was taken 8 years ago. Well emphasized and simple to make it easy for you to follow. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0P_tVUyuQ0 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NJZ326gh5s ). I hope you enjoy!!

    Thank You.
     
  14. manoy15

    manoy15 New Member

    Good day GM BOBBY
    im a practicioner of balintawak
    im from Cagayan de oro studyante ni Sir Rico Cariño
    nia ko cebu karon, aduna pa bay gym dinhi sa cebu?
     

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