“Pangamot” literally means “Maneuvering of the hands”, and comes from the root word “Kamut”, meaning “Hand” in Cebuano dialect, and mainly used in the Mindanao & Visayan regions. Although it covers a wide spectrum of skills, In Doce Pares it is commonly noted for unarmed defense against a weapon. The Pangamot Form is the study of several different areas at once; to recognize a disarm situation by feel as opposed to sight (tactile acuity vs. visual acuity), to sense when you are in potential danger of a disarm, sensitivity to counter the disarm, opportunities for striking and locks & unbalancing methods for takedowns. The form is also the study of the disarm itself, the mechanics involved in separating weapon from hand. Combining trace elements of boxing, kung fu, silat, eskrima, joint locks, what-have-you, Pangamot is at once practical and esoteric. It embraces change, and the adaptation to new methods, while it’s roots lay in the classical style. Action patterns and neuromuscular pathways formed in stick and knife training are reproduced in the empty hand translation automatically and unconsciously. Training with weaponry gives the Kali practitioner the qualities necessary for empty hand fighting, certain body mechanics of torque and pivoting for powerful explosive empty hand striking. It gives him cat-like timing and sensitivity for fast, deceptive trapping. Your hands and body seem to know what to do and how to move, which is the direct result of drilling the simplistic patterns into muscle memory. The understanding of weaponry leads to the knowledge of leverage, evasiveness, and motions to be used for the locking, choking and throwing segments of empty hand training. The entire body us used as a striking tool in Pangamut. You can head butt, elbow, finger jab, pinch, bite, punch, kick, knee, slap, tear, & stomp. As opposed to standard blocking in a rooted stance, Pangamut favors parrying and evasions used in conjunction with footwork & body english identical to the movement found in the weapon based body english, often with limb destructions. Because Pangamut focuses on empty hands against a WEAPON, evasion skills are developed to a much higher degree, along with fast-twitch muscle use. Parry and entry tactics are employed from day one, with concentration on sensitivity & weapon awareness. The typical posture & entry methods in Pangamot draw heavily from silat, and the style of flow is complimentary to Kali. It allows for the upper body to penetrate the opponent’s defenses, and stay in a range that he will have difficulty in defending from. This is particularly important if he is armed. Most martial arts advocate a type of “proper posture” attitude, with the spine erect and the hips aligned with the shoulders. The problem with this posture is that it puts equal striking distance between you & your attacker. Even if you block the incoming attack, you still have not gained a superior advantage over your opponent, and it will still be a race to gain a line of attack. Using the silat stance and attitude, you are able to close, trap & attack your opponent comfortably, as well as break his balance. This puts your attacker in the worst possible position, he must first regain his posture & balance before he can even think about mounting a counter attack. The posture itself takes time to develop & skill to apply, because you normally must step INTO the attack to use it. Again, evasion skills and superior footwork are the key to this, since stepping into a punch or kick won’t work using conventional methods and stances. You must have the flexibility to alter your direction and intent in a second, as well as staying upright or dropping low, even kneeling or sitting on the ground. As a reminder to ourselves, we often say “If it doesn’t flow, let it go”. Limb Destruction Limb destruction is the core of Filipino empty hand combat, and can be used for an immediate entry as well as to negate an attack. Most martial arts emphasize the use of blocks to pave a road to your opponent’s body for attack, as well as blocking several strikes in succession while responding with only one of your own. You see it time and time again, katas are formed with a pattern of “block-block-block-punch”. This has given whatever attacker three attacks before you answered him. Ever hear of a little thing called fighting the way you train? Kali and Silat stress attacking WHATEVER the opponent tries to throw at you, usually on the first beat or attack. This serves a dual purpose: First, it negates the initial attack, and second, it sends a psychological response to the attacker. The first technique he sent out, he received pain in return. This discourages him from fighting further, and the attacking limbs are often easier to break, snap & crush than the standard shots to the body. Limb destruction is commonly performed with 2 tools at the upper body area, these being the hand and the elbow. Of these the elbow is by far the more potent weapon in terms of destructive impact, but the hand has the reach & greater adaptability. Common methods in which the elbow is employed is by using the point of the elbow on the fingers of the fist, or driving into the bicep or pectoral. Against a kick the point of the elbow is dropped onto various points on the leg, or the fist strikes the inside of the thigh on entry, depending upon the range. This usually renders the limb completely useless on the first shot, and stuns the opponent. The only drawback to using the elbow is that, due to its position (halfway up the arm) unless you are attacking the opponent’s outstretched extremity, you must clear and cover a large gap to employ it. This method demands the perfection of evasion, entry and trapping skills, as you will not be able to close the gap without them. That said, the elbow has awesome maneuverability & destructive power on the inside line, serving for attack or trapping as well, and second only to the knife at close range. The major hand attacking method used in Limb Destruction is Gunting (Scissor type motion). This is where one hand parries an attack and provides a stable base, while your other hand strikes the attacking limb. The gunting can be delivered either horizontally, vertically and in either direction, up or down. The choice of tool you use is up to you, it can be the knuckles, backfist, punch, fingers or an elbow. The gunting-style action is transferable to other situations, it can be used empty hand, double weapon (stick or knife) and is particularly useful in knife fighting. Understand that limb destruction is only half of the picture. You must develop excellent entry and checking skills to capitalize on the opening you have made with the limb destruction. This is where timing comes into play, and the concept of the single synapse theory. There are three basic standards of timing, commonly referred to as “Initiative”: 1: Supraliminal Initiative This is the preemptive strike, or “Attack the attack”. When your opponent has committed to an attack, he has usually resigned his momentum to one direction. If his intent is focused on attack, he will not be thinking of defense. You must strike at the beginning of his momentum, preferably at his face, or the attacking arm/shoulder while it is still in the “pulled back” position. 2: Simultaneous Initiative This is simply moving at relatively the same time and speed as your opponent. In Eskrima, this is known as blending, and it advocates moving with the force of your opponent, as opposed to against, to create an opening, or zoning advantage. You should try to intercept the incoming attack at least halfway between your body and his, if not closer. This allows you to manipulate the attacking limb, as well as evade and blend with the attack itself. 3: Late Initiative Late Initiative is the counter attack, it is attacking your opponent AFTER he has made his attack, and is withdrawing his weapon, or preparing for another strike. This style of initiative requires patience, you must be able to “take the heat” of an attack without losing your mental equilibrium. Late initiative is a lure, mostly used to sucker the opponent into an unrecoverable error. It is also used to strike your opponent at the END of his technique, when he has committed most of his energy and weight to the attack, and is susceptible to a counterattack. This is also an excellent opportunity for an entry, following your opponent’s initial attack back into his body & trapping his arms as you enter. Another important concept that ties in with this is perception. If you can recognize when an opponent is about to attack, and train yourself to respond BEFORE he gets his strike off the ground, you will have a clear advantage. When a fight occurs, opponents often give little telltale signs of their intentions. For example, pulling their arm back behind their shoulders before a strike, bending the knees, leaning forward, a general tensing of the body, taking a deep, sudden breath, all of these are alerts you should be aware of. At this moment, they are vulnerable, and there is tremendous advantage here, if you train to exploit it, but your awareness must be cultivated. Chain of Hands Kadena de Mano, or “Chain of Hands is the idea of unrelenting attacks, flowing from one technique to another without stopping, until the fight is over. The technique is to simply overwhelm your opponent. Many martial arts teach a series of attacks, and stop after a set number. De Kadena teaches to continue until the opponent is down, without pausing your attack. This concept is trained in a series of sensitivity drills that flow into disarms & entry techniques, and goes hand-in-hand with Tapi-Tapion skills. This is also a higher use of sensitivity, utilizing the entire body as opposed to just the hands & arms. Joint locks, foot traps & sweeps are woven seamlessly into the flow of de Kadena, and you will often discover new applications from moves you have long since learned. De Kadena opens the door for entries, and gives you a working module to practice counters and redirections from a wide variety of attacks, instead of the two or three most drills focus on. In a real encounter, you must judge the proper timing and distance, and when the attack is made, deal with it. That means avoiding or redirecting the attack and making your own response immediately, within the first couple of moves. Every time you successfully live through an attack but do nothing to your opponent is just giving him one more chance to kill you. Dealing successfully with a knife attack means either disabling your opponent, disarming him or running away, and the first two require you to grab, strike and/or close with your opponent. When dealing empty handed against a weapon, you cannot afford even the smallest of mistakes, and leaving your strategy to chance is suicidal . Joint Locking Joint locking, by definition, is the forceful hyper-flexion or hyper-extension of a limb, normally applied with an amount of striking and twisting to the extremity. It is literally, a study of what the joints DON’T do. Although this method will usually allow for a broken appendage, it is mostly used to shock the opponent’s body into submission or compliance, and set him up for a coup de grace finishing move. The ability to alter your lock, radically change direction, or even release it when facing imminent danger, is important. Many styles of grappling (i.e. judo, aikido, jiu jitsu) advocate hanging on for dear life to whatever lock you manage to get, and not letting go no matter what. To be honest, this can often be more of a hindrance than anything else. If your opponent has a high tolerance for pain, or your lock isn’t very secure, he will fight back stronger than you can apply pressure. If you hang on in the hopes of overcoming the situation through brute force, you are going to get nailed in the worst way possible. Pangamut advocates adaptability to the changing combat situation, to flow from one lock to another, or into a different technique altogether. This not only serves to aid in your defense, but it throws the attacker off-balance as well. You will discover that many of the skills from weapons play translate well into empty hands. Sinawalli drills and flow drills are just as destructive empty handed as they are with a weapon. The pattern is already ingrained into muscle memory. Understand, although the principle of motion is much the same, the application is enormously different. Because Pangamut conforms to the practitioner, instead of vice-versa, the PRINCIPLE of the technique is more important than the technique itself. Examine the motion alone, & substitute various targets for the end result. Ask the crucial questions: What attack would put that target in my reach? What footwork could I use to enhance the technique? What strategy would maneuver my opponent to attack with that limb? Could I lure him into committing to a mistake? Don’t become locked in to one single way of doing ANYTHING, there is always another variation that works better for somebody else. Miscellaneous points, theories and strategies of Pangamot Balance: This is the most important factor in ANY martial art. Simply put, the basic strategy is to keep your balance while attempting to force your opponent to lose his. Thusly, you will have maximum power while your opponent must use half (if not more) of his energy trying to recover his balance. The more off-balance your opponent is, the more energy needed to recover. Humans have an inbred fear of falling, and we go into a type of high-alert mode that prohibits us from doing anything effectively whenever our equilibrium is threatened, or suddenly and unexpectedly taken from us. An attacker is reduced to the rank of pedestrian when he is imbalanced. Mobility Vs Stability: The lower your center of gravity is, the greater your stability will be. The higher your center of gravity, the greater your mobility will be. As you apply one element, you will gradually lose another. Stability is essential for hitting or throwing, whereas mobility is crucial for evasion and entries. These points are emphasized in the various footwork patterns & ABCdarios. The hub of your motion is your waist/midsection, as it will determine your balance. Avoid head-on collision of forces: Learning to utilize angles and circular footwork away from the incoming line of force is key. You want to evade and blend with your attacker, not ram into him. Colliding with an opponent impairs your ability to react to an attack, as well as severely limiting your options for defending. Ignoring this will cost you mobility of your weapon or feet when you most need it, and if your opponent is larger than you he will have the advantage of mass & momentum in the clash. Target Denial: This is the method of drawing your body away from the opponent’s weapon. Most martial arts fight “squared up”, with the entire body facing the opponent. Turn your body 15 to 45 degrees away from the action, so it’s not such an easy target to hit, at the same time maximize your footwork by shifting and twisting your body, so your opponent can’t draw a clear bead on any one flush target. If you have a weapon, utilize it in your defense as a barrier between you & your opponent. The more target surface you present to your opponent, the more chances he has to hit you. Create/Control Space (Know Your Distance): This point refers to the use of the spatial relationship between you and your opponent, as well as you & your opponent’s weapon. Advanced use of footwork, combined with sensitivity & trapping skills are what brings this element into play. The first principle is to Create Space. In the broad sense, you want to be the one who defines the combat distance between you & your opponent. This means one of two options: 1: Closing the gap between you & the attacker, eliminating space in order to establish contact, or entry. 2: Turning around & running like all hell, thusly creating GREATER space. The first option (closing the gap) requires advanced timing and entry skills, as well as exceptional abilities in sensitivity & footwork. Ironically, the second option’s only requirement is basic motor skills, and the ability to put one foot in front of the other, at an accelerated rate of speed! The second principle is to Control Space. Once you have established your operating distance, your next priority is to dictate the use of that range, as well as gaining as much control over the weapon hand as possible. When you are dealing with empty hands vs. a weapon, you must take a mixed-range into consideration: You are at the boxing range, while your opponent can stay at a safer distance with his weapon. To understand how to control the weapon hand, consider the hand itself as an elbow, and begin control from there. This can help to remind you of an extra length of weapon sticking out, and not to let it get too close to your body, especially if it’s a knife. Believe it or not, this point often gets lost in the pattern of passing & checking the hands. Single Synapse Theory: This is a common theme in martial arts, usually covered in something like “To think and to act in the same breath”. A more in-depth explanation would be to fully respond, or act without reserve, doubt or hesitation the instant you have an opening or an attack in combat. The use of muscle memory training helps to develop this to a point of action or reaction without thinking. You need this abstract skill so much more so when facing a weapon than a barehanded attacker. The knife can move at blinding speeds, you have no time to think & consider all your options. In fighting, you have only one chance, learn to make the most of it. Attack the Closest Target: This is a very flexible rule, because the nearest target will change instantaneously since your opponent will most likely be in constant motion. Also, not every target should be attacked. Some attacks leave you hopelessly vulnerable to a counter, or a simultaneous attack that you will end up receiving the worst of. Pick & choose your targets wisely, and learn to respond without thought to a moment’s hesitation or open target from your opponent. Elements of the Checking Hand The checking hand is just as important as the weapon hand, yet it is seldom developed as much as needed. Few styles really pay attention to it, but its flexibility & usefulness make it a valuable tool in your arsenal. The checking hand serves a dual purpose: It deflects incoming attacks missed by the weapon hand, but it also monitors & repositions the attacker’s weapon. At the Corto range, this skill is essential. You don’t have the time to both visually monitor your opponent’s attack & assess the proper counter. The checking hand supports this by using a type of “muscle-read” of your opponent’s intentions, allowing you to shift & counter appropriately. You can trap your opponent’s hands, clear a path for a strike, or twist his arms into a jointlock. It also aids you in setting up for disarms & counters to disarms. It is understood that striking is always an option. There are three major points to the Checking Hand: Monitor, Tapi-Tapion, and Trapping. Monitor The checking hand is never forceful, you want it to envelope your opponent’s weapon hand without alerting him to an imminent threat. If he feels threatened, he will try to disengage from you, thus breaking contact. To avoid this, you must develop sensitivity to a high degree, and the ability to call upon it in a fluid environment. Train with the mindset of “Washcloth Hands”, cover & cling, gently guide, but do not force. If the opponent pushes back, yield to his energy & direct him away from you. Don’t meet his energy head-on, or you will be giving him the same signals he is giving you, and if he is skilled he will capitalize on it. Never let your opponent know he is in danger, keep him relaxed, all the time positioning his weapon for a disarm, or his body for a strike. If he is maneuvering your weapon hand as well, try to set your trajectory up for a strike en passant. The position most sought after is the oblique side of the body, checking the weapon hand upward at the elbow & striking toward the back. There are various drills to achieve this level of sensitivity, and the skill is often likened to that of Wing Chun’s famous “Sticky Hands” exercise. You must develop the ability to muscle-read your opponent’s body without looking at him. Tapi –Tapion Tapi-Tapion is the close-range game, it is the elements of block, check, parry, trap & monitor all at once, in a fluid, relaxed motion. The literal translation is “Check & Parry”, but the idea behind this is to clear a path with your empty hand for an attack. Tapi-Tapion is really the skill of moving between any or all of the aforementioned elements at will, against an opponent. But these definitions are only the broadest sense of the word. Tapi-Tapion is a living concept, a dynamic principle. The mechanics will differ depending on body size, skill & reflex/sensitivity. This can only be learned in a class, a book really can’t come close to describing it. Remember, at close range the checking hand is equally important as the weapon hand, working in a tandem together, the empty hand opening the door for the weapon. There are several skill-specific drills that focus on this, and many more that encompass it peripherally. Tapi-Tapion is probably one of the most transferable skills in Kali. Weapon-and-checking hand skill will have immediate benefits in other areas, such as dagger, sinawalli & Espada y Daga. Trapping Trapping is another abstract concept has been given many labels in an attempt to easily categorize it. These have included “Trapping is a range” “Trapping is a technique” “Trapping only works for Wing Chun” “Trapping doesn’t work at all”. Trapping has far too many faces for it to casually fall into any one category, it is a multi-functional tool with several parts that can be interchanged at will, or used simultaneously. A simple definition of trapping could be “The act of engaging your opponent’s weapon, empty hands, or both in such a manner as he is unable to deploy them for attack or defense.” However, there is quite a leap from the definitive to the applicative. In other words, you can talk about the finer points of technique all you want, actually pulling it off requires an adaptability that few people possess, or are even aware exists. There is an entire art of timing, sensitivity, body English, balance, position and footwork that must be mastered before you will be able to flow into trapping. There is also a dastardly element of trickery and deception you must understand well to make your trapping effective. Several martial arts in existence already have unique forms of trapping that are indicative of their respective styles, as well as countless variations for each. You should not get tied down into the biased, stylistic approach, “Silat trapping is better than Wing Chun trapping because…” There are individual principles in place, and good reasons why each style uses the approach that they do. Usually, the method will support the posture and stance of the style. The point to understand is a trap is dynamic, and the objective will be different from trap to trap, depending on the current situation. Usually you are not trying to arrest your opponent’s energy completely, because that will often result in a force-against-force tug of war, complete with body tension and loss of flow. Rather, a trap will just hinder your opponent’s motion or defenses long enough to gain a purchase on the inside line for attack. However, this is still a narrow view of the art, trapping is used for much more than simply “limb incapacitation.” Trapping normally takes place at a medium to extreme close range, the further away you are from your opponent, the easier it is for him to escape. Traps serve to uproot and imbalance an opponent, they can mentally confuse him into making a beginner’s mistake in a fight, or augment your own entry into his defenses. A good trappist uses a high degree of sensitivity with relaxation, and flows with the energy of his opponent instead of against it. He realizes the opportunity that is presenting itself when the hands make contact, and will capitalize on it instead of opting for a push/shove match. He uses his traps to work around barriers in the window of combat, as opposed to trying to crash through the gate and climb over his opponent. We are born pre-programmed with an aversion to having our personal space invaded, and most martial arts cultivate the feeling even more, albeit usually it's an unconscious act. They usually don't come out and SAY "Stay at this range only", but drills are set at a standard range, use of elbows and knees are neglected, negation, redirection and entry skills aren't stressed over "block-punch-step back into a stance" kind of training. These people are the most susceptible to trapping, because their art never allows them to get close enough to actually use it, therefore they never train for the situation. At the extreme close range many primitive survival instincts kick in, and people unfamiliar with this approach often succumb to panic, tensing up their extremities & doing anything they can to push the other guy OFF or AWAY from them. Their arms fly up to shield their face, they lean back & break the precious posture they have been programmed to maintain at all costs, attack initiative goes right out the window. For a fighter who can maintain mental equilibrium no matter how close the opponent is, he will be relaxed (as much as possible in a fight), focused, and in flow, and this will give him an advantage for trapping. In this scenario, the opponent usually can't even mount a passable defense let alone attack. This is the value trapping in combat. Trapping is the province of the live hand, and is an integral element of your ability to flow. The primary goal of trapping is to clear a path for an attack. This point often gets lost in the sea of trapping styles and techniques. You must first objectify and understand what traps are. There are two basic methods of trapping: 1: Simple Traps These are 1 and 2 beat-timing traps that are executed with simplistic strategy, and clear a path for attack on the third or fourth beat. This is the most desirable, since the object is to make the attack, NOT draw out the length of the trap. Simple traps are often overlooked because of their simplicity, they are not “flashy” enough, and are often neglected for more complex traps. 2: Complex Traps These are traps that exist past the 2 beat range, and are best avoided. The longer you spend trying to trap the opponent, the closer you get to DEFENDING instead of ATTACKING. It’s easy to get lost in trying to get that perfect lockup you saw in class. Grapplers have this same syndrome, the unwillingness to let go of a failing lock or choke when the situation warrants it. Understand, I don’t mean abandon trapping altogether. However, you should be able to flow from trap to trap, as long as your focus in entering the opponent’s defenses to attack. Trying to hang on for dear life to the “perfect trap” or jointlock is tunnel vision, and will get you clobbered. You must commit to a decision in a fight, but once you do, don’t commit to it so much that you lose the fluidity of negotiation if you have to change or even abandon things midway through. You may have formed a brilliant strategy, but don’t be so in love with it that you can’t bring yourself to alter it if the need arises.