LSA, Disarms, and Full Power Strikes

Discussion in 'Lightning Scientific Arnis' started by BayaniWarrior, May 24, 2008.

  1. BayaniWarrior

    BayaniWarrior New Member

    Hey everyone. I have a question regarding LSA and the disarms it teaches. I was reading one of the older posts on this forum "Lightning Scientific Arnis: A True Stick Art", which discussed how LSA focused on true power in its stick strikes.

    I studied LSA several years ago over the course of 8 months intensively with Master Romy Santos. Since I moved back to the US however, there are no LSA schools near me (which I hope changes). After looking at my LSA notes recently, I noticed a section on disarms. Now, when I was studying LSA, emphasis was always on full power, full speed strikes from the beginning up to the time I left. Power, speed, and technique were emphasised. I feel this is one of the reasons why LSA so devastating. However, I learned the disarms in LSA, which were against half-power strikes. I think this video can demonstrate this:

    Please keep in mind that I am not criticizing LSA. I want to study it again myself. It's just that, during my LSA days, I learned these disarms, yet when I began sparring I realized I couldn't pull off any of them in real time against full power strikes from a committed opponent. Are there any videos that demonstrate these disarms in real time so I can understand their application better? I assume I'd have to crash in and close the gap, I was just wondering if any of you LSA guys and girls could help me with this.


    Mike Pana
  2. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    L.S.A.I disarms

    Hi Mike,what the video actually "demonstrates" is as it says on the title:
    "L.S.A.I. Instructional Video",meaning that in order to impart knowledge to students in a manner that is easy to understand ,it is best to do this slowly or at "half-speed".

    I regularly practice and teach disarms at FULL power,but only to students that I know can stop full power strikes, otherwise there may be some teeth missing,or worse.

    If a student had only been training with me for 8 months,there is no way I would be feeding them full power strikes so they could practice disarms.
    This is something that is worked up to,gradual.

    There is a way to disarm against full power strikes,the secret to this is how you do the initial catch and control.If you cannot do this,do not bother to try disarms against a full power strikes, as it can be dangerous.

    So please do not confuse instructional videos or the initial learning of disarms with full on practice.
  3. BayaniWarrior

    BayaniWarrior New Member

    Thanks Guro Shaun I appreciate the response. It's been a while since I've done LSA so my question was more out of curiosity.

    Just to be clear, I wasn't implying that disarms had to be done against full power right off the bat. I was just asking if I could see any videos of disarms being done against full power in real time. During my time in LSA, I don't recall ever seeing a disarm done in sparring, especially live stick, even among advanced practitioners. I'm not implying these disarms don't work, I've just never seen them done, so I was wondering if there was anyway I could see them done on video so I can see how its done in real time. I love watching the LSA clips on Youtube (I've seen yours as well), but I haven't really seen too many sparring clips of LSA other than the Lema Cup Tournament clips...and I was hoping to see a clip of a disarm being done at full speed but I couldn't seem to locate one. Since you have a few videos on Youtube, do you plan on showing the full-contact sparring applications any time soon? I'd really be interested in seeing it so I can understand it better.

    Again, thanks for the response.

    Mike Pana
  4. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Hello Guys!

    I have several points I wanna add...

    1. Yes, a full-strike in real time (as in real or almost real fight) is ALMOST impossible to catch and dis-arm. I'm saying impossible since there were people who have been known to have pulled this off (Mang Ben being one, when he disarmed 4 escrimadors in the town of Nagcarlan). I always emphasize that it is easier to HIT and cause a disarm than to block-catch-disarm. In our group, disarming comes towards the advanced intermediate level just to emphasize the "hit first" mentality and de-emphasize catching and disarming. Maestro Elmer likewise taught it the same way.

    2. Yes it is possible to practice full power, however, practice is very different from actual fights. There are many factors which effect an effective block-catch-disarm. There is the positioning and the actual execution. LSAI blocks are not full on blocks (where power is absorbed) but rather deflections. It is this deflective movement which takes time to master (gradually I might add). Striking power is deflected/dissipated, allowing the practitioner to slow down/ catch the strike. Again, in an actual fight, the opportunity to apply this is quite limited. But it has its uses.

    3. You are right in that the techniques were desigend so that you "crash-in" or close the gap as fast as possible. Maestro Elmer always emphasized that these techniques were designed so that the catch is executed BEFORE the strike has gained momentum/power since this will be virtually impossible to execute towards the apex of the strike...well maybe not impossible but, MAN THAT WOULD HURT! [​IMG] An example of this applicable scenario is when you are against a wall and your only choice is to move forward... so you do, crashing in, catching and executing your disarm with the INTENT to BREAK or DISLOCATE.

    4. LSAI disarms are prohibited in tournament formats since these are designed primarily to BREAK or DISLOCATE. Mang Ben's disarms were not just "I'll let your sticks fly" kind of disarms but rather involved locking and breaking. Most disarms were designed so that you could not escape even if you let go of your let go, he would still execute a break. Mang Ben always said "Huwag mo bitawan, baka makatakas!" (Don't let go! He might escape!). So you can imagine it would be quite dangerous to apply in real time since the potential for injury is very high.[​IMG]

    Tournament disarms are mostly limited to "stick slapping" or "clinching" while in the close range or clinch. If you notice, most disarms in tournaments were unintentional anyway...very few tournament disarms were actually intentional.

    [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']5. Your request for “real time” footage I believe would be impossible since this would mean it will have to be a real fight. I’m not saying this as a cop out (like those “Our art is too dangerous for sport” crap) like those bullshido guys out there. This is just an honest assessment. Like I said most of the dis-arms involve locking up and breaking so this is where they will be effective. To even try to replicate this in real time (sparring) with full power would just be too dangerous. Yes we try to keep it real, but not to the extent where we injure one another. [​IMG][/FONT]

    [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Lastly, I wouldn’t try to disarm an LSAI guy in a real fight...even though I’m LSAI myself... hahahahaha! With the speed and power emphasis of the art, the safest strategy is to NOT BE THERE! Hahahahahaha![​IMG][/FONT]

    [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']I hope this helps![/FONT]

  5. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Some instructors teach the techniques and leave it up to the student to discover the context (with guidance of course, or sometimes, not! Hahahaha) ... like a guided discovery program. Some teach the technique as well as the context for the technique. In my experience, Mang Ben was more the former and Maestro Elmer the latter! Hahahaha...I miss them both!
  6. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    L.S.A.I. disarms

    Hi guys. I do want to add further comment on the subject of disarms, as it is close to my heart.

    I do feel that when the time is right it is important to practice all techniques with full power,not only disarms.By doing this we practice what we preach,that is we can not only dish out the power,but absorb it and if that momentary split second opportunity is there,execute a disarm.

    As Banakun pointed out when Mang Ben disarmed the four guys in Nagkarlan,Laguna - this is the skill level that we are all striving for and one of the ways to attain this is to hit your training partner or student hard,better you than someone who is intent on hurting him.

    Have confidence that once you and your training partner or students are feeding each other say full power number one strikes that you can execute a disarm.
    You do get used to someone swinging a stick full-power at your head,if you practice like this,but this has to be done with control by the person doing the striking,so if the person doing the block or disarm miss,you can check your strike and not injure.

    With regards to videos of disarms against full-power,this can be done in a teaching scenario,otherwise we are talking real combat with all the implications.
    hope this helps Mike.
  7. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Right on Shaun!

    Like we always say in MK... Hit with intent! Strike like you mean it! Hahahahaha!

    By the way... when I say "real time" in my post, I mean "sparring". Like Shaun said, it is possible to show the disarms full power in a teaching scenario but to try to actually apply it in a fight (even just a sparring match) would be dangerous as the potential for broken or dislocated limbs is quite high due to the nature and characteristics of the disarms.

    Yes, I hope this helps Sir Mike! Keep the questions coming if you have more!

  8. BayaniWarrior

    BayaniWarrior New Member

    Hey guys. I really appreciate the help. I'm just trying to learn all I can so I do have a lot of observations and questions.

    The way I personally see it, is that these disarms function best against either a rattan or hardwood (Bahi, Kamagong, Hickory) stick. I'm sure that in a stickfighting grappling scenario, these disarms would work perfectly at close-quarters.

    To digress a bit, I recall the story of one FMA master who, upon being challenged to a duel with hardwood sticks by a younger challenger, took a very "Outside-the-box" approach to disarms. When the younger challenger was warming up for the duel, the master came up to him and said, "Are you ready yet?" Upon asking this, the young man picked up the stick, looked the master in the eye and said, "Yeah, I'm ready"...and as soon as the young man said this, the master immediately smashed the young mans hand holding the stick, thus breaking it and caused him to drop his stick. The young man began to curse the master, but the master replied..."You said you were ready."

    Now thats what I call a REAL Pinoy disarm...nasty, efficient, and felt before it's seen haha :)

    Anyways, after re-watching that clip I posted earlier, I'm quite positive that in serrada/close/grappling range, those wrist breaks and disarms would work very nicely. However, I honestly feel that unless these techniques are trained in real time, against resisting opponents, then it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to execute these disarms in real time in a real situation.

    Of course, I know you guys aren't taking the "Bullshido-It-is-too-deadly-to-train approach", and I understand the honesty and dangerous nature of the movements, but I'm sure you guys can figure out a way to train these disarms in a live situation. One way I could suggest is to invest in some X-Model Smak-Stiks from The X-Model is very durable and tough and is actually designed for locks and chokes and disarms but with the reduction of serious injury. You may be able to train these disarms in real time with this type of padded stick, learn how to apply the disarm in real time, and reduce injury. Just my suggestions on the matter.

    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  9. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    Lightning is a close in system.The hardest part of Lightning to master is the very dynamic working the stick / serrada drill.
    This is the range to attempt a disarm.
    At medium to longer range in real combat,Mang Ben would often use slashing.
    As Banakun pointed out in his earlier post,by closing the gap,you can negate or diminish much of the power,thus getting in close where we can finish and possibly set up a disarm.

    The smakstiks sound interesting Mike,but all my money goes on trips back to the Philippines,ha,ha.
  10. DonKey

    DonKey New Member

    We've worked disarms with the smak sticks in our group and it's almost as easy to dislocate a thumb or break things with them as it is with real rattan.

    To try to disarm right off the bat would be foolish imo, the best time for this is after a good strike to the head or two when your opponent isn't feeling as froggy.

    The best disarm is simply targeting the hand or stick close to the hand and blasting it out of the ballpark. I've done this with real sticks with no padding and it works. The power of LSAI/LESKAS strikes are excellent for this.

    just my 2 cents
  11. BayaniWarrior

    BayaniWarrior New Member

    Right on. My thoughts exactly.

    From Shaun: Lightning is a close in system.The hardest part of Lightning to master is the very dynamic working the stick / serrada drill.
    This is the range to attempt a disarm.
    At medium to longer range in real combat,Mang Ben would often use slashing.
    As Banakun pointed out in his earlier post,by closing the gap,you can negate or diminish much of the power,thus getting in close where we can finish and possibly set up a disarm.

    That's really cool. I wish there was an LSA school where I live so I could train in it again and actually view it myself.

    Again, I think along the same lines as DonKey...smash the hand or an area close to the hand to cause what is known as an impact disarm. As long as the power and accuracy are there, this approach can be done with bladed weapons as well as sticks, although to hit the area of the weapon closest to hand are better suited for sticks, whereas hitting the hand itself lends itself to both bladed long weapons and sticks as well.

    Good stuff here. Thanks again guys.

  12. Banakun

    Banakun New Member

    Yep... like I said... HIT FIRST. Drills like Bigay-Tama may look like plain stick-to-stick impact but actual application differs in that the target may be the hand holding the weapon, the delivery may be "slashing" as Shaun mentioned (please don't ask me to explain what I mean by this since Mang Ben didn't want this to be known to others...Hahahaha).

    All techniques never really work perfectly in a real fight. The idea is to be fluid enough to change tactics once a plan doesn't push through... and still achieve the same end. Like Murphy says... If something can go wrong, it will go wrong! Mang Ben, upon encountering resistance would not hesitate to shift to hitting... then back again...and so on and so forth. More important than the actual technique itself was the mindset of achieving the end by all means.

    That's the beauty of our beloved arts!
  13. Ryno

    Ryno New Member

    Disarms are techniques of opportunity, and not something that you can just decide to snatch whenever you feel like it. It takes some setup to get yourself in a good position to get them, and even then it'll be when they present themselves, and won't always be available.

    I find that if an opponenet commits heavily to an attack, throwing it at me nice and deep as if he were trying to take my head off, it is much easier to get a good jam, check, and disarm from a defensive standpoint. But against an opponent with a dueling-mentality where they hit and retract quickly without full commitment, it can be very hard to get a disarm until I press them.

    Part of the difficulty in training disarms effecively and safely is that it does take a lot of control to do so, just as Maestros Nols and Shaun have been mentioning. Since a lot of the LSA disarms use aggressive grabbing and twisting, they can be very difficult to apply if you are wearing gloves as a safety measure. It's easy for one of the partners to end up with smashed fingers. And if both people are moving aggressively with full strikes, a quick catch and twist to apply a disarm can easily wrench a wrist, elbow, or shoulder if the receiver is not aware of what is being applied.

    This is the reason that disarms are usually introduced in a very controlled manner, as Mang Ben was demonstrating on the video. People can see the technique, and understand the mechanics of exactly what is going on. From there once the student gets comfortable with the basics of applying disarms, the instructor will often introduce more variables for them to deal with.

    How we do it here in the Seattle club after a student understands the basics of the disarm is to begin having them work the serrada, and start applying the disarms when they fit in. Initially this is still pretty controlled, but gradually the feeder will increase the intensity and speed of their attacks. Once the student can handle this, and still execute disarms when they available, then we add more factors.

    We'll start them at long range either in attack and counter controlled sparring drill, or from bigay-tama, where it is there job to collapse the range to serrada, then manage to apply a disarm. So they are forced to deal with full-power strikes at long, move to close, distract their opponent, look for a good grabbing point, then apply a disarm. This is actually very tough to do. If the student seems overwhelmed, we back things off a little.

    Another point of emphasis with disarms from a combative standpoint is to make sure that you are not vulnerable to a secondary attack after you execute the disarm. This could be a punch, kick, grab and clinch, or tackle. Keeping clear of entanglement, utilizing your checking to keep space for stick strikes, and letting fly with full power counters as quickly as possible is very important here.

    Personally having a Judo/SAMBO background, I find it laughable when some FMA styles execute a disarm, but then stand there right in their opponent's gunsights. This is a grappler's dream come true. You must angle off. You must check to keep space. You must lay him out with power strikes. After a disarm you should make every effort to make use of your weapon (or weapons if you managed to strip and control your opponent's) at the range at which it is best.
  14. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

    yeah as Guro Ryan stated,with the gloves on these disarms are difficult,if not impossible.
    They are intended to be used up close in real combat,in the blink of an eye.Like Lightning.

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