Lightning Scientific Arnis,A True Stick Art

Discussion in 'Lightning Scientific Arnis' started by Shaun, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    In Lightning Scientific Arnis the Baston (stick) is king.

    Many FMA systems would consider themselves to be blade styles that use yantok(rattan) sticks as training tools and edged weapons as their choice for real combat.
    This is not the case for many L.S.A.I. practitionrs.Lightning Grandmaster Benjamin Luna Lema often favored a tapered Bahi(hardwood)fighting stick.
    These sticks are taperd for balance and speed which makes them far easier to handle than an unbalanced/untapered hardwood stick.
    There is a very,very strong emphasis on body mechanics and footwork, which makes Lightning a natural stick system.
    Whist Lightning does share similarities with many FMA systems,the whole ethos is that of a true stick art.
  2. Ryno

    Ryno New Member

    Good points, Shaun. This goes in conjunction with what Maestro Elmer taught us as he always emphasized power very heavily to us. Especially since most of us here in the Seattle club are pretty big guys (we probably average 6'2, 210) he was very insistent that we chamber aggressively, get good body twist, and really try to make our strikes decisive. This makes perfect sense to me, since in a stickfight, the window of opportunity to land a hit can be quite small. If you've got a chance to hit someone, why not hit them hard?

    Sometimes when visitors from other (bladed) systems come by, they tend to question why we twist/pre-torque so aggressively. It pretty much all comes down to power mechanics. When we're dealing with an impact-based art, power is king. Short slashing motions that are totally valid with and edged weapon are not too effective when used with a stick. They tend to just slap, and are also easy to defend or even ignored for that matter.

    Dealing with this extreme amount of power also demands very stout and aggressive defense. I must say that many other FMA stylists that I've met and played with had some pretty severe trouble dealing with the aggressive power that we tend to play with on a regular basis. Hard hits just plow through their blocks, and they are forced to evade in desparation.

    In summary, I think that it's not too difficult for someone with power to shorten up their strokes and play a slashing blade style. But it is very difficult for someone who has never developed good power mechanics to change their short and slashing style to a hard-hitting power stickfighting style.
  3. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    You are 100% correct about everything you mentioned.
    We have a coomon thread running through Lightning?LESKAS in that we train to defend against full power strikes and I do mean 100% power.

    This is a gradual process in that by the time a student reaches an advanced level he or she must be able to control a full powered attack.If one cannot stop a full power strike then there really is no point in anything else.

    It was inspiring to watch Mang Ben up close really neutralizing a full power blow and initiating a series of counter strikes-and I remember well how hard Master Elmer would carry(feed the strikes) for Bigay Tama.
  4. chamber

    chamber New Member

    thank you both for your insights ad sharing!
  5. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Yep! I totally agree that in LSAI... BASTON IS KING! But mind you Mang Ben also had "bladed" tachniques. The only difference is as Ryno mentioned, which I also always tell my people... It is a lot easier to translate stick to blade than blade to stick. Blade to stick, you end up with little power since you're used to slashes which rely on the blade edge. Stick to blade... with a few minor adjustments in ranging, angling, timing, etc... you get a fully functional blade repertoire PLUS the POWER.

    I think this is the main reason why the stick was emphasized before the blade so much... it naturally leads to the other, but with extra perks (defense, aggressiveness, power generation) as compared to having it the other way around (blade emphasis-starting with blade).

    I personally think many of those new groups who emphasize "we are all blade, always blade, etc." do so for "commercial" purposes since being a "badass killer" seems to be the "in-thing" today. I mean, most of the FMA greats and old timers weren't "eager to kill"... they probably had more challenge fights with sticks rather than blades ( with a few exceptions of course)... but this it not to say the didn't have bladed techniques. And, you usually see them practicing with "sticks" almost all the time. At best I personally believe the old people had more of a balanced approach towards either stick or blade since these were the 2 most common weapons to which they had easy access. Simply put... the old timers had a very simplistic approach to things... "I'll deal with it... whether with a stick or a blade!" I think it was all the same to them... a weapon is a weapon and I'll adjust my play according to it's qualities.

    I can remember just one lesson on bladed fighting with Mang Ben... it basically emphasized direct strikes to the arm, followed by full-powered strikes which were meant to chop the arm off before moving to the body and neck area. Then there were the disarms.... no fancy stuff... just block and grab the arm, followed by a simple slash to the wrist area. That's basically it! All his priciples for using the bolo was there, condensed into that one "blade session." Other than these principles mentioned, everything else stemmed out of the stick training!
  6. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    Carrying on from what Banakun and Ryno said about bladed techniques.Even the Itaks(Ilongo name for short swords used by Mang Ben)that Mang Ben used were very balanced and easy to handle.

    It was fantastic to get a weapon(whether bladed or bahi) from Mang Ben because you knew it was going to be a great weapon.

    So the point being(no pun intended,ha,ha)that even the cutting weapons Mang ben used were really easy to handle and baston like in nature,which goes back to the point Banakun made about being able to cut a limb off with a secondary strike.For even with a good cutting edge power is essential.
  7. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Hahahaha... yes Shaun! I remember seeing and handling those Bahi sticks you mentioned. Master Elmer also had one. They were great! Beautiful balance. They handle even better than a rattan stick! It was hard to believe they were made of Bahi. I've been wanting to have a second look at one of those for a long time just to see how he did it and replicate it. I love the steel tips... ouch!!!!

    Hey one of these days come visit us in Davao! It would be great to see and train with you again. You too Ryno! How are the Seattle guys doing? I'm looking forward to meeting you guys whether here or in the US one of these days.
  8. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    Hey Nols.I will bring one of the bahi Sticks that Mang Ben made when I return this year.Yep, it has the steel on both the tip and and butt.

    Maybe you know someone that can do an exact copy of it.This stick handles so well that it would be great to have some more made.

    It would be great to see you.Two guys from Germany that have been learning Lightning from me will be coming also.I will send you a let you know when.
  9. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    I think I understand what you guys are talking about. I mean, recently I have seen vidos of mang Bert Labaniego, and what struck me is that he is actually using the blade in the same manner as he would the stick, and not the other way around, like in so many other cases.
  10. Ryno

    Ryno New Member

    Yeah, Gagimilo, exactly. It looks just like our stickfighting, but everything is a bit more compact. It just shortens up a little, but the integrity of the original technique is still there.

    Nols and Shaun, Maestro Elmer would bring in his bahi fighting stick now and then, and it really was a nice weapon. He'd let us play around with it to get the feel, and it was surprisingly fast for a hardwood stick. It was ovalized and tapered down toward the tip. That taper really made the balance nice, and in conjunction with the oval profile, it was very fast.

    Nols, we are doing well here. We've got some new folks who are really coming along. Bob has been doing an excellent job with them, and is really focused on improving their footwork, which is usually one of the tougher things to get down. His drills and exercises are really showing and impact in this regard.
  11. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    Just as a side not, BTW, I guess that another style that might be considered predominantly stick oriented is De Campo 1-2-3/De Campo JDC-IO...
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  12. bangkil

    bangkil New Member

    My first Arnis Training was with Helacrio Sulite,Jr. And he taught us a lot about the de campo system(this was in Ozamis City). The way de campo as i was exposed to it, was more of on direct hand hits (i am not generalizing it since Tuhon Sulite is not entirely de campo). To my humble opinion..i have not sen a system as comfortable with the "baston" and as devastating in it's applications than LSAI/LESKAS/ two cents.
  13. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    I have this personal criteria for what is stick oriented only, what is a combination, and what is purely blade oriented.

    Styles which emphasize a close range with a lot of grabbing and wetiks like Balintawak I consider stick oriented. They have strikes the feature the inside edge in their repertoire. This also involves a lot of direct force-to-force blocks as against deflections, indirect blocks.

    Long range wetik styles which feature less slashing/chopping motions are predominantly also stick (IMHO) such as De Campo JDC-IO.

    Styles/Systems which emphasize body movement/power with slashing motions (knuckles out) are a good balance of stick and blade. LSAI falls into this category along with Lapunti perhaps among others. Pekiti Tirsia would also probably fall into this category given the fact they chamber their strikes over their shoulders for power generation. Blocks are usually a combination of weapon-to-weapon at an angle (weapon-to-weapon with an amount of deflection involved) as well as direct arm hits as well.

    Systems which emphasize less power/wind-up and rely on fast slashing motion without wind-up, arm-only weapon manipulation and long range footwork I would consider purely blade. An example of this is probably Kalis Ilustrisimo. This also features direct hand strikes and pre-emptive attacks which are done with minimal force in lieu of blocking weapon-to-weapon. Blocking is minimal.

    In general, I think the predominant orientation among the many systems/styles of FMA I've seen based on the aforementioned criteria is still a balance between bladed and blunt. Few are exclusively stick, and few are exclusively blade. Even Sayoc Kali which claims all blade all the time chamber their weapon for power generation (based on what I've seen), unlike Kalis Ilustrisimo who have their weapons at the front all the time and launch their strikes from this position with minimum or no wind-up, totally relying on the blade edge to do the work.

    This is not to say these particular systems don't have a repertoire for the other. They probably do, although not as sophisticated as those who practice a particular format exclusively. The predominance of the balanced approach has led me to believe that in the end, our forefathers did not really practice their art with exclusive formats in mind (bladed or blunt). They probably had this practical view that a weapon was a weapon regardless of characteristic and that they would use it adjusting their techniques and strategies to the weapon on hand.

    My 2 cents worth...


    Ryno... glad to hear you guys are doing good! BTW, MK is celebrating it's 10th year anniversary this coming Oct 31-Nov 3. We would like to invite you guys to join us then if it's possible. We actually plan to try to raise funding so we can bring Ate Maribel over for this event. It's a landmark year for us! So we're planning a big bang! Hope to hear from you soon. I know Joseph will be coming over this August for some training time.
  14. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Kaw Luck, maka-uli ka ana?

  15. bangkil

    bangkil New Member

    sensya na Nols..di ko kauli ana..musta na diha?
  16. chamber

    chamber New Member

    thanks for the insights Banakun!
  17. PSonntag

    PSonntag New Member

    A guy I used to train with--Ryno, you know the creep I mean--actually had a set of these sticks that I think he got from Elmer when Elmer first came to Seattle. They were a wonder to behold.

    It would be hard to match the craftsmanship, but replicating them dimensionally would be short work with a wood lathe. Could anyone provide dimensions? (length, length at taper, starting diameter, end diameter)?
  18. DonKey

    DonKey New Member

    If anyone is planning on doing a run of copies you can count me in for a pair.
  19. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Brit with a stick

    I am have a copy of this stick which I got made back in 92/93, I had always been in my bag and is an excellent stick to use and I am getting one of my guys this week to run a few off for me from hardwood, I may well take it to the PI with me this July and get some more made from traditional Kamagong and Bahi.

    I will keep you posted

    Best regards

  20. Makata

    Makata New Member

    This is a GREAT POST! I've been kind of thinking (wondering about, really) the same things, but with far, far less eloquence, and with far less access to seeing first-hand the wide variety of FMA styles practiced in the P.I.... Maraming salamat!

    Lester S.

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