Maryland Open?

Discussion in 'Tournaments' started by ryangruhn, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Exactly, they are looking for a clean technical stick brawl =) I get what you are saying.:)

    Yes, in fact our school does this on a weekly basis which is exatly my problem. I am not going to drive four hours there and back and pay $150.00 just to do somthing I do every week anyways. I would rather be able to present all my skills in one event as was done last year.

    Thanks for the thoughts,

  2. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    I'm surpised at such a low number. The Ladra's sp. have brought thier team to both Master Galang's and PG Hufana's each time numbering around 14 players.
  3. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Here is a review of the event from James:

    "Maryland Open Kali Report
    April 9th 2006: James LaFond’s Impressions of the Event

    Since early 2005 Master Apolo Ladra has been inviting Modern Agonistics fighters to his Kali World Council sanctioned events. Most of our people have been suspicious of getting involved with anything run by a commercial karate school. So, until Apolo and I entered into a formal dialog in September 2005 MA fighters had not attended his events.

    Apolo’s KWC Fall Event
    On the first Sunday of November 2005 I attended Apolo’s kali event at his school as a spectator. The affair was witnessed by 50 spectators who paid $5 a head and was fought by 9 of Bobby Ladra’s home team, 2 of John’s FMA practitioners from Columbia, and 1 western style fighter from a Northern Virginia school called Universal Martial Arts.
    The tournament was honorably conducted and well officiated under reasonable rules. I was particularly pleased with their stick & dagger format, which is something that MA and DBMA have had trouble doing well. However, I was disappointed that there were no stick fights. All the bouts were with safety wands –which are called soft sticks, but are, in fact, plastic tubes covered in synthetic padding and a nylon fabric sleeve. After seeing and enjoyed this event as a noncombatant, it looked too much like a pillow fight for me to engage in, so I decided that I would not fight soft “stick” in the future.
    After the event I spoke with Apolo about live stick events and he assured me that KWC events would all be governed by the rules I had witnessed with the wands; a purely weapon-based combat with the empty hand used for defense and checking only, and no kicks, grappling, etc. permitted.

    Armed with this information I made Apolo’s pitch for the 2006 MD Open to most of our fighters. All agreed that they had no interest in the soft “stick” and roughly half of our people –particularly David and Damien—expressed suspicions that their MMA stick style would not convert well to pure weapon scoring and that I –being our best pure weapon fighter and worst MMA fighter-- should be our natural participatory ambassador to the KWC live stick event.
    Aware that I was representing a group of fighters, many of whom were better than myself, I decided to pay for stick fighting lessons from Aaron, attended Gabriel’s escrima seminar, sparred exclusively under KWC rules with Robert, Charles & Brett, and lost weight so I would qualify for all three weight classes. Apolo agreed by phone that if I wanted to do double stick and stick & dagger we could do that also.

    Overall Impressions of The April 9th Event
    Amid the disorganization and chaos of the actual event [I haven’t been to many karate tournaments] I found the officials to be honorable and polite and the assembled stick fighters to be friendly and sportsmanlike in character. As I had paid to fight in all three weight classes I was disappointed that so few fighters showed up, and that there would not only be no weight classes, but if Rico, John and I didn’t agree to fight soft stick, there would not be enough fighters to have a tournament at all!

    The Fighters
    Rich, Anthony, and his even better built brother whose name escapes me –Adam or Alan I think, represented Bobby Ladra’s soft stick team. John, an MMA guy [with no stick experience or gear] from Virginia, Rico [Aaron’s monstrous sparring partner], Ryan [a Dog Brothers rep.], and myself showed for live stick. I was the only live stick fighter who came with the knowledge that this was not going to be MMA stick! Ryan didn’t want to point fight and left; John decided he’d hang with Rico and me, and we decided that since Bobby’s boys were so nice, that we would give the padded stick a try before Rico slaughtered me with the live stick. We advised John not to do live stick as he had no experience.

    The Psychotic Pillow Fight
    The fight reviews below are based on my experience and 3 viewings of Dominick’s video.
    The pairings were done down the line by size between Bobby’s team and us outsiders. The fights were scored like boxing bouts, and 2nd, 3rd and 4th round fighters were matched according to previous scores. [This assures a lot of fighting.] Apolo let us decide on the number and length of rounds. We agreed on a single 2-minute round.
    I was matched with Anthony for the first bout. The wand felt heavy in my hand [from mass and club-like balance not from weight] and had a good grip. When Anthony entered I hit him with a kill shot to the ear, he hit me with 3 power shots [once in my broken hand and once between my un-cupped balls] and I felt nothing! Those wands sound painful but inflict a ZERO on the 1-10 medical pain scale. That is when I realized that defense would be a complete waste of time. Although most people don’t realize it, most defense in weapon fighting is based on the opponent’s fear of the weapon, and these things were less dangerous than a loaded Trojan. When I tried to stop Anthony with a stab as he charged in the wand simply bent like one of those balloon swords that my brother and I got from a carnival clown when we were kids. Because of my new hair cut the cloth cap I put on under my helmet slid down over my eyes. I fought the last 30 seconds almost completely blind, and it did not negatively affect my performance. I could see Anthony’s feet as he ran to me and I knew he would stick around for a 3-beat, so I responded in kind. I could not even imagine fighting live stick while blind and not suffering for it. Anthony and I basically killed each other 10 times. Since he was more aggressive and far better looking he got the win.
    Rico was paired with Anthony’s brother. Rico was the only fighter that attempted any defense and he did well, administering a one-sided beating to the larger brother. [It actually looked almost even to me at ringside. But on the video shot from the opposite angle Rico was really killing him. Unfortunately the knowledgeable judges were on my side of the ring and the others had the camera angle. The judges were wowed by the smaller fighter’s frantic activity and end-of-round flurry and awarded him the win. I tried to explain to Rico that the only defensive tactics that this kind of judging rewards is fast foot work –which sucked for him because he’s built like an NFL linebacker, not a lightweight boxer. Rico was pissed. That’s when we agreed to have a clean decisive live-stick fight that would lead the judges to a correct decision.
    This is where the uneven nature of the officiating came into play. Master V. and Gabriel were very knowledgeable but the other judges were people who had not been in real stick fights. In fact, it was at this point that Master V. pointed out to the junior judges that they should give more credit for defense and that their jobs would be much easier with the live stick. However, nothing would overcome the comic momentum of the wand. The wands are so much fun to fight with and so painless we just decided to have a good time.
    In the 3rd bout John put up a good fight against Rich but, after showing the only traditional style of the day, was simply overwhelmed on points.
    The next bout on the video is Rich and myself. Since I was lighter and faster I just bounced around on the outside, did some showy jumps and hit him a whole lot with no attempt at defense. He lost his stick twice –not because, as the judges thought, of a strike-disarm, but simply from having to grip the furiously vibrating thing for two minutes while hitting as hard and often as possible. The judges gave me a rematch with Anthony for doing my Japanese Comic-Hero imitation, and I promptly forfeited to him to save my arm for the live stick.
    Rico totally beat the piss out of John and Rich and some how only got third place. The very athletic brothers from Bobby’s team got 1st and 2nd place.
    After Rico gassed back up we decided that I would not hit his unprotected knees and that he would not hit my broken left hand. We agreed on a 1 minute round, with possibly a 2nd or 3rd depending on how it went. We fought with his half-inch rattan WEKAF whip-sticks which sting like hell but don’t break good bones easily.
    After our referee Johnny Vee started the bout I realized that Rico was so wide it was going to be hard to step around him. I managed to circle clean once but when I got center ring he hit my hand lightly and gave me a short powerful slash to the shoulder. I stepped out after a pretty wicked exchange and Sifu Vee reset us center ring. I circled to the outside and he followed, walking into a diagonal jaw slash and then punishing me with shoulder slashes and following me and beating me to the ground with rib and thigh shots at about 3o seconds.
    Rico and Johnny asked if I wanted to continue and I responded that I wanted to fight long enough to hit Rico with Aaron’s favorite lateral forehand to the ear. When Sifu Vee restarted us Rico stalked in and I hit him with the kill shot to the ear and back peddled like hell while he staggered me with slashes to the wrist, arm, ribs and left thigh. [The strokes to the thigh were courtesy hits to avoid mangling my injured left hand.] As I dropped to my knees from the leg shots Rico whipped the right side of my neck through the leather spinal guard with a diagonal backhand and I rolled over, recovered, and was not permitted to continue by Johnny Vee [who I think was wincing as much as me] either because the round went the distance or he didn’t see the point of me getting beat for another 5 seconds.

    Rico put 14 deep bruises and 1 cut on me in only about 55 seconds. It was so crazy partially because we had both spent five or ten minutes unlearning our stick defense with the “boffer” wands. I think, after reviewing the tape, that Rico scored three kills and I two. Also, Rico and Aaron specialize in brutalizing WEKAF fighters through those quilted fighting coats, because the WEKAF helmet is pretty good and hits to it impose no pain. When you fight these guys in a sleeveless shirt expect to feel like an Easter ham at dinner time.
    Rico was a real gentleman and brought me my 2nd place trophy. The people from the near-bye rings were kind of awestruck by the violence. Johnny Vee brought me to his Chinese medicine teacher, Hsi [John] Lee, who doctored me up and gave me a free bottle of ointment. It was a good day. But there was no kali tournament, only a grisly but honorable exhibition bout between Rico and I. I think we have found all of the freestyle live-stick fighters in Maryland. If we want Apolo to have a live stick event so we can fight in it then it looks like we will have to make it happen.

    Impressions of KWC Live-Stick
    Master V., Sifu Gabriel, Sifu Johnny Vee and the other officials respected Rico and I enough to let us fight with the sticks we wanted, as long as we wanted, as many rounds as we wanted. [There were no live sticks provided by the promoter for the kali event. This strikes me as odd.] These are people that I like and respect and I am convinced that we can work with them in 2007 to bring a real high impact, honorable, brutal, safe, and news-worthy live-stick event to the next Maryland Open. Apolo was even considering letting Ryan and me fight a Dog Brothers style bout. I declined Ryan’s challenge on the grounds that I had a broken hand, was smaller, older, hadn’t trained MMA stick for months, and that I would thus be guilty of unfavorably representing Modern Agonistics fighters in Maryland. If Apolo was even thinking about letting something like that go down at a karate tournament in a Baltimore City owned facility, than he is a promoter we can work with.

    Impressions of the Padded “Sticks”?
    On the positive side foam wands offer cardio, application of power combinations against a moving target, excellent grip conditioning, and a lot of fun. I think they are excellent for mixing it up with women and children and for use with a dagger in stick and dagger, to counter the fact that stick and dagger with live stick is usually a joke because no one fears the dagger.
    For extensive sparring and preparatory competition I think the wand is a menace to the true arts of weaponry and a danger to fighters who switch between padded “stick” and live. I only support the use of the wand in competition as the stick paired with a wooden or hard plastic dagger. The wand is to the stick what the foil is to the epee and the glove is to the bare fist –a training tool. But, unlike the glove and foil [People have been killed with foils and have been killed boxing in every year of the 20th and 21st centuries] its harmless forensic profile, if over-used in training or used in competition, will warp a fighter’s form until he lacks the versatility necessary for making the most of his potential when facing the raw natural experience of combat. In soft stick at the 2006 open Rico and I easily scored clean head shots at will and spinal slashes [which I’ve never scored in over 475 live stick fights] to those fighters who actually placed above us in the competition.
    The padded stick belongs primarily in the recreation and theatrical area of martial arts."


  4. WT_ATL

    WT_ATL Member Supporting Member

    This is a very interesting review. Before I respond, let me first state that my comments are not to persuade or imply, but rather to put out some food for thought.

    This review suggest that sparring with padded sticks is analogous to pillow fighting. I guess if the competitors are allowed to wear helmets and other protective gear such as gloves or knee padds, I can understand how one could come to this conclusion. In fact, if the intent of the sparring is to swing for the fences in order to inflict as much pain as possible, then using padded sticks along with padded equipment is definitely not to correct format. However if this is the realism that is being sought, then I wonder if the following format would suffice.

    Sparring with padded sticks wearing nothing but protective eye goggles (Let's face it, hitting someone in the eyes with even a feather duster could cause some damage). I actually have clients who spar like this during their training sessions. They tell me that getting hit across the mouth, ears, cheeks, in general anywhere on the face will cause some major pain. Others tell me that getting hit across the knuckles or the knee also has the same affect. Although the imapct is less than getting hit with a live stick, you will definitely respect the hit. Especially if it's adminidtered by someone who is trained well, I can thik of a few individuals active on this forum that fit the bill. You know who you are :sword2:

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the reason people spar with padded sticks is to be able to train at 100% speed and intensity and still show up for work the next day. After all, what good is training if you spend 6 out of the 7 days healing, if you're lucky.

    Another reason why people like to spar with padded sticks is because it allows them to use far less protective gear. This provides much more mobility and speed. Like boxing, padd the weapons not the body.

    Again, my response is not about padded sticks vs live sticks, but rather to suggest keeping an open mind to different methods of training and to not discount the merits of these other training methods.

  5. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Winston brings up some good points. As he says I too consider using soft sticks "sparring." Here is a list that I go by when I am thinking of fighting vs. sparring:

    Full Contact – 100% of what you have in you.

    Real Contact – keeping the contact as real as possible, limiting the rules and pads.

    Sparring – an egoless game to better yourself and your partner. This usually contains some way of keeping track of “who is winning” and we are not meaning to intentionally hurt our partner, this is usually aided by pads.

    Fighting – All out destruction and domination of your opponent.

    When we combined these we get the following:

    Full Contact Sparring – Giving 100% of what you have while still maintaining safety by wearing pads. (A MMA fighter might train this way before a fight, using only gloves and shin pads)

    Real Contact Sparring – minimizing the pads but still keeping the “game” egoless. This is a very hard combination because it is easy to move over into the realm of fighting. (Dog Brothers practitioners may train this way before a gathering using only what is needed to fight – fencing mask & street hockey gloves)

    Full Contact Fighting – All out destruction and domination of your opponent while still having the option to wear pads. (UFC, K1)

    Real Contact Fighting – minimizing the pads and going for all out destruction and domination of your opponent. (Dog Brothers gatherings – they usually only wear a fencing mask which does not offer very much protection and at some points batting gloves which offer no protection. The Sayoc group has held their version of gatherings where they only wear a cup and mouth piece. This is the closest thing to Real Contact Fighting that I know of. Obviously other examples are bare knuckle Muay Thai, street fighting and NHB matches with no gloves.)

    I am sure you can understand the misunderstanding one would have when reading "Full Contact Stick Fighting" as the head line for this event. "Full Contact Soft Stick Sparring" would have been more reasonable. In the case that they went without any protection such as last year's soft stick event they could have called it "Real Contact Soft Stick Sparring."



  6. JohnJ

    JohnJ Senior Member

    "It's not the conditions i which you's how you engage. - Keep It Combat" by John G. Jacobo

    This has been my saying for several years now. And my students and I adhere to it. It doesn't matter what venue you play in and winning at all costs (good conditioning with POOR techniques) does not mean much. Whether WEKAF, DBMA, padded, unarmored Largo Mano etc. It is the responsibility of each player to fight realistically. This means, effective blocking, counterstriking, footwork, power, combinations, set-ups, evasive movement etc. And even acknowledging a good hit.

    For many years, I have heard so much criticism from players of different realms. And my belief has always been to experience all formats of sparring for there will always be good and bad things that come out of it. A player should never allow the format to dictate how he fights. He should approach it with a sense of realism and utilize proper attributes.

    If anyone is quick to comment that training sticks such as Smakstiks, Actionsflex etc. is like pillowfighting, I suggest trying the above. I think you will quickly change your view after being hit by someone who knows how to put intent behind their strike and rips your lip wide open.

  7. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    For me it was a matter of being able to soft stick spar any day of the week with my group. I'm not about to drive four hours, pay for the gas and pay $150 to register, just to soft stick spar. I agree that it is useful but with all do respect to everyone who thinks it is, it is not a fight (refer to my post above). If I would have not been lied to up until the very end, my personal tiff with this tournament would be nonexistent.

  8. JohnJ

    JohnJ Senior Member

    Hey Gruhn,

    Thanks for your follow-up. My post was not directed at you but in general. I understand your frustration with the whole event. Have you expressed them directly with the host yet?

    Now, regarding your definition of a you really believe that these venues were established as fights? I personally don't think anyone who participates in it considers them as fights. They are competitive sparring matches with camaraderie in mind. Not even the infamous DBMA Gatherings ARE fights. Fighting would be you and I in the parking lot with a tire iron and mag light.

    If you are still looking for sparring partners to do "all out stickfighting" then let us work out something. Let's get a bunch a players from all groups including James and his group and play. Let's compare and help improve our skills.

  9. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    Good idea John.
  10. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Sorry, it was just another moment for me to vent =) In regards to contacting the host, in all honesty I don't think talking to Apolo about it would help any. While this thread is not a good example, I try and leave things in the past and look onto the future. It will simply be known that none of my group will have the MD open in their future.

    In regards to fighting:

    Everyone that was at the MD Open 2005 fights can attest, they were fights. Here was mine:

    2005 was really close in nature to the Dog Brother's gatherings I have done except there was a ref and a few other minor rules. This year was the exact opposite.

  11. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

  12. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    It works for me. If it does not open right click, save as.

  13. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

  14. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    I checked on a different pc and it still doesn't play.
  15. blindside

    blindside student

    The link works for me, opens in Windows Media Player.
  16. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Try to download it and then open it... I think the file extension is wrong. Windows Media player should play it after you download it.

  17. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    It opens a window and just sits there. I will try my aol.
  18. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    I finally got it to work. What a pain in the Ass!!
  19. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Was it worth all the trouble? The fight was less than spectacular, but seemed fairly well matched. I'm interested to see if this kind of stick fighting competition catches on. I'd be into training for it and trying it out.

  20. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Thanks Pete =) I'll try to make my next fight a little spiffier!


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