Combative Development and Training Drills...

Discussion in 'Lameco' started by Guro Dave Gould, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. Guro Dave Gould


    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.
  2. lveskrima

    lveskrima New Member

    Guro Dave,
    Thank you for this article. I needed to read this because I felt I was becoming unmotivated and stagnant in my training. What kinds of goals do set when you train?
  3. Guro Dave Gould


    Hi guys,

    I hope that everyone is well and that all are keeping challenged by their daily training.

    When I train I only have one goal and that is survival. I work more on a counter to counter basis, meaning that after I attack or am attacked I stay at the ready to counter right away with finishing strikes to end the situation post haste or perceive and react right away against any counter response that my opponent may throw in my direction as a last ditch effort to save his ass.

    Recovery measures are essential to any combative system worth its mettle in combat. In Lameco Eskrima we spend much more time developing an effective delivery system and recovery measures than we do in developing "technique" in and of itself. Even when doing a specific technique, concept or principle the greater value is attached to recovering a failed attempt on target and then remanufacture opportunity so that you can end the situation quickly to your advantage unscathed.

    The combative situation is to be mastered not "technique" in general. Any one can demonstrate what they are told in an ideal training environment where everyone complies with one another. Until there is natural resistance applied unexpectedly from a non-compliant opponent one can not expect to develop combatively. When I do any semi-compliant drill with one of my students I tell him that any time that he sees an opportunity it is demanded of him to break out of the drill and strike on that opportunity with intention. I then am responsible for countering any unexpected attack attempted against me at the most unopportune time and if my skills are up to the task I will intercept his attempts and counter right away. If they are not then I will be caught sleeping and had it been a real fight I would certainly have tasted defeat.

    When we align our training environment with the actual fighting environment the results should always be compatible with each other. The way that we train will best reflect the way that we will respond in dealing with crisis situations on the street When we train with weakness and compromise both will follow us into combat. If the street does not collaberate our results found in training we have to change our training environment to reflect or resemble more of the actual fighting environment and not the other way around which seems to be quite popular these days. If combat is the model for our training than our training environment must embrace all that may be encountered in combat. Meaning that if it is possible that you will encounter a certain type of threat or mindset on the street than we have to train against that threat or mindset in our training environment equally which will hold us fully accountable for our actions or failure to act just as it would be for real when fighting for life and limb.

    With Punong Guro Sulite it was never "what" he did specifically but rather "how" he did it that made the difference in his combative effect. He was a great fighter because he was a master of the fight and constant change not because he was a master of stagnate drills. The combative situation and all that it embraces is to be mastered, not numerous dead series of drills in there very limited configurations.

    Sparring or fighting will always be the best barometer of what actually works for you well or what does not work for you at all against a non-compliant opponent and the more that you allow actual experiences to teach you the more of an effective fighter that you will become.

    Train well, ciao.

    Guro Dave Gould.
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    This is well said. Coming to the FMA from a Karate background, I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure this out. I had a mindset wherein the drill was what I was trying to master and I felt, I don't know quite how to say it, "not authorized" to vary it (despite what my instructor said about keeping it alive). It now seems silly to have focused on the form so much over the function hidden inside, but it was too long coming for me.

    In Modern Arnis we start with set drills but then every time a student grasps a new technique he or she is expected to begin inserting the technique into the standard semi-sparring routines on occasion, to get used to doing it in a semi-predictable format before trying it in live sparring.

    Your comments on recovery measures shed a bit further light on what Mr. Agbulos taught at the WMAA camp (largo mano sparring)--I see how those principles are in his techniques.

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