Combative Development and Training Drills… “We have a drill for that” seems to be the moniker of far too many amongst our own fraternal family of warriors in training these days. A staunch reliance on static compliant drill form can quickly prove ineffective in combat as this misperception in training will not produce fierce warriors being guided only by instinct and intuition dictated by the necessity of the situation. Rather in its stead any compliant training environment where challenge has been excluded will only yield a weak polished response and come across as being too rehearsed or worse yet overly choreographed which grossly under scores the practitioner’s true combative effect in street combat. Worse yet when adhered too as the held "standard" in combative development a sole reliance on compliant drill form creates a false sense of combative effect as a direct result of neglect found in a weakened compliant training environment, compounded by misguided and confused training goals. In Lameco Eskrima any drill is only as good as the function which the drill was designed to package and convey to the warrior in training. Once the function, concept or principle has been learned and assimilated into ones combative movement the drill ceases to have value as it has served its purpose. At which point the warrior will embrace not the drill but rather the technique, concept or principle gained and assimilated into combative movement as was first derived from the drill. Once learned and assimilated to further enhance the technique, concept or principle we do not continue to practice the drill in its former limited configuration. Rather we introduce random change to the technique, concept or principle and allow reality to shape and hone our response as dictated by dire necessity based on a case by case basis, from one distinct opponent to the next. Combat is not about “speculating” what your opponent will do but rather it is about “reacting” to what your opponent actually does do unexpectedly, and how you react to the most immediate threat on your life at this time will dictate if you will live or be left for dead. When a person attacks you with the intent to lift your head from your shoulders in combat it is not a “Drill” or a “choreographed sequence of events” that you need. Rather an effective functional combative “response” is what will be required, one that will stop your opponent in his tracks before he has a chance to spill your life’s blood on the cold hard ground beneath you. Drills are extremely limited and stifle growth and with it realistic response if the practitioner solely adheres to the drill verbatim. Where as any combative technique, concept or principle successfully assimilated and readied for combat will be released with positive effect as the most immediate threat is perceived and reacted upon in a random constant changing structure found only in an unexpected arena of combat such as the street. Having said this in Lameco Eskrima the recovery of a failed technique, concept or principle is more important than any technique performed in a compliant training environment successfully but uncontested. To truly understand and value how effective any technique, concept or principle is you have to throw it up against reality and see how it plays against random chaos, mayhem and destruction in a realistic training environment where everyone is held accountable for their actions or failure to act, just to see how things fare. Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite used to tell us that we have to investigate not only the strength of any combative technique, concept or principle but also the weakness. Unless we know the weakest and most vulnerable part of the technique, concept or principle we can not value or assess the strength itself. For every “strength” in nature there is "weakness" attached on the opposite side of the equation. Unless we know how weak a technique, concept or principle can be we can not fully attach value to the strength as the vulnerability may be greater than the strength when under fire and placed in harms way… or not. The only way to be sure is to allow any technique, concept or principle to be tested in an environment where everyone is held accountable and where there are consequences for ones actions, or failure to act. A choreographed sequence of techniques dependent upon your opponents total compliance is not adequate for street combat so why do we waste so much time entertaining this unrealistic approach to falsely develop what is believed to be true combative effect in our own training environment. Combative truth bends to no mans will and should your skills suddenly be called upon in a dance of life or death the only question that will be relevant at the time will be can you kill your opponent? Or will he kill you? When we train with weakness and compromise both will follow us into combat. Train realistically with intent and you will have a better chance of surviving crisis situations as they naturally unfold around you being governed only by chaos, mayhem and destruction. Train your drills in order to learn relevant techniques, concepts or principles but once assimilated test your skills do not relearn on the same sliding scale that the drill will confine you to. Spar it out or fight it out! But in order to grow and mature know that you have to separate from the drill at some point in time and the sooner the better. It is similar to the caterpillar preparing to go into the cocoon and over a period of time it metamorphoses into a butterfly. After the Caterpillar has transformed into the Butterfly it does not go back through the cocoon to become a Caterpillar again. Training drills should be seen as training cocoons, once you go through them and transcend from “warrior in training” to “warrior” you do not keep going back through the same drills again and again allowing the same limited drills to continue to govern and stagnate your growth and ability to expand in skill. Once the drill has served its purpose and releases us to our own we are charged to do as the butterfly does and leave the cocoon behind and fly into unconfined free space. When we train as if our lives depend on it we will fight as if they do as well. Go well, ciao. Guro Dave Gould.