Full contact Balintawak?

Discussion in 'Balintawak' started by jspeedy, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. jspeedy

    jspeedy Member

    Does anyone here have any video of Balintawak being used in a full contact setting(drills/sparring/competition/street)? Has anyone here ever used Balintawak to fight full contact & what was your experience?

    I believe it is important to train my martial arts skills against resisting opponents (with necessary pads and protection).
  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I just wanna say: Ouch!
  3. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I agree 100%. When I trained Modern Arnis, we did full contact stick and empty hand sparring with fencing helmets and lacrosse gloves only for protection. It certainly opens your eyes up. Far too many practitioners of all arts, not just FMA avoid heavy contact. I certainly am not going to stick fight all the time, but once and a while I believe it to be very important.
  4. jspeedy

    jspeedy Member

    ouch is right, but by modifing the eye and knee strikes much can be learned and corrected (regarding individual performance).

    You sound like minded to me, I still like to add some elbow and knee pads in addition to the fencing mask and gloves just to avoid unnecessary blood. It will literally "open up eyes" and eliminate any bias. I still think a good amount of contact can be worked up too, to ensure everyone still learns without turning the match into a straight up brawl (as i'm sure you already also know jwinch2;). While I agree technique is of utmost importance sooner or later the technique must be tested and modified to fit the individual. I agree with jwinch2;46547 that it sometimes appears too many martial arts practitioners are happy to rely on the theory alone behind a learned technique without pressure testing and modifying each technique for the individual person using them.
  5. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I found out quickly after the first time I sparred with live sticks that I could definitely use a knee pad on my lead leg. My right knee got beat up pretty good, especially since my footwork sticks. I knew that going into the fight but a swollen up knee kinds of reinforces the concept.
  6. Twist

    Twist Junior Member

  7. darkpaperinik

    darkpaperinik Junior Member

    yepp, like my friend "twist" already pointed out - we do have some experience using balintawak in full contact fights ;-))

    balintawak (in our case the Atillo Balintawak) is a core part in the training of SWAT and other SO police units of the Police Forces of Baden-W├╝rttemberg State/Germany as well in the daily training schedule of some "normal" police units, mainly in the Stuttgart area in Germany.

    we don't understand balintawak as a stickfighting art but a complete fighting system which offers us a wide range of possibilities in stick, knife and empty hands combat.

    and so I can asure you - balintawak works more than fine in a real fight ;-)

    in training we train full contact as well - however in a progressive way. advanced students and instructors use harder contact than rookies ;-) regarding protection equipment: we don't have any...
  8. yomitche

    yomitche New Member

    I have been a student of Balintawak for a while and have participated in a number of different types of sparring/competetive events. These have ranged from point sparring with padded weapons to full contact with protective gear. All have been helpful in learning about the appropriateness of techniques, but some have been more "instructive" than others.

    For example, because Balintawak encourages a strong defensive structure, a flexible padded stick is not the best weapon to train/spar with. The opponent's flexible weapon simply bends around the vertical structure and results in contact in spite of effective blocking. Therefore, it is almost impossible to block effectively (in a competetive event) and is therefore often abandoned.

    Full contact events with protective equipment offer the most realistic test of techniques. Of course, it is a purely individual matter to decide the level of protective equipment used. I can't afford to miss work in this economy, so I choose to stay healthy and as injury free as possible... but still yearn for good contact.

    Anyway, I recently "played" at an event and was matched against a non-balintawak player who was fit, strong, capable, and eager to fight.

    I chose to stick as much as possible to a "legitimate" Balintawak structure, controlling distance, maintaining a vertical blocking structure, and seeking to get an immediate counter to each of my opponent's strikes.

    Overall, the experience was pretty good. I had a lot of issues with the protective gear (helmet was slipping and the jacket prevented me from making full swings), but I felt that I did a fairly good job of sticking to the tenats of Balintawak rather than abandoning it and swinging for the fences. I noticed afterwards, that he used a very heavy stick, and I was pretty satisfied with the effectiveness of the blocking that I used. If I had abandoned the vertical structure, he would have had some great, strong shots on me.

    I had two spots that I regretted during the match. First, we fell to the mat at one point and I was in a disadvantaged position (with him on top in a sort of side mount), but I was prepared to seek an armbar if we weren't stopped quickly. Second, he grabbed my stick and twisted it down at one point, and in order to prevent a disarm, I switched hands, but ended up being face-down for a moment while he rained some shots down on my head. I couldn't do much else, or I would risk the disarm, or if I had repositioned under the stick, touching my knee to the mat, would have been counted a takedown/knockdown - so I just kinda weathered the storm. Those were really the only completely free shots I recall from the fight that weren't outright blocked, meaningless, or countered quickly. I had some takedowns, a few disarms, pretty good counters and an effective blocking structure consistent with Balintawak.

    Here's a video of the fight:


    I think it's pretty consistent with the principles (overall) of Balintawak, albeit with some limitations due to equipment and rules limiting punching to the head and so forth. Let me know what you think! Respectfully...
  9. yomitche

    yomitche New Member

    Sorry that I didn't post this in the earlier note, but I have seen a video of GM Max Pallen with a very "balintawak-like" structure in a full contact Dog Brothers match. Notice the vertical structure, after he gets comfortable with the match, that really provides a solid defensive structure nullifying much of the aggressive attack of his opponent. Here's a link to the video:


  10. jspeedy

    jspeedy Member

    Great replies everyone just the kind of stuff I was looking for. Thanks for posting videos.
  11. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    If I am correct, he had been training with GM Atillo for quite a while at one time and even had some videos out on that style of Balintawak.
  12. yomitche

    yomitche New Member

    That is my understanding also... but I'll leave it to him or others to establish the relationship. I believe that at GM Atillo's website, which is now down for one reason or another, that there were some photos posted of Pallen and Atillo together. I can't say with certainty what amount of Balintawak experience that GM Pallen does or doesn't have. The video, however, is evidence of a balintawak like structure in a full-contact engagement.

    I was impressed with Pallen's ability to utilize a vertical defense, and tried to emulate it in the video of myself. I really, really wanted to utilize an "honest" stylized approach to the fight, if that makes any sense. However, I was relying more on the braced vertical structure because my opponent was striking with awesome power, and I was relying on an aggressive counter which required me to close the gap. This is kind of what I regard as the "spirit" of Balintawak - solid defense and a willingness or commitment to work close range. I'll point out that at each of his diagonal strikes, you can hear the clash of our sticks, though it is pretty hard to see my stick in its vertical position (partly because of motion/position and also because of the protective gear).

    I am always torn between the level of protective gear to use or not use. Though I want as authentic of an experience as possible, it is just not realistic in a friendly sparring environment. Authenticity probably can only be achieved in aggressive life or death fights. Therefore, though the protective gear doesn't reflect reality, it keeps me healthy and in one piece so I can continue to participate regularly. It also keeps me on the job, and earning an income so I can support my family.


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