MT: Thoughts about striking and balance.

Discussion in 'FMA From Around the Web' started by balita, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. balita

    balita <B>News Bot</B>

    Thoughts about striking and balance.
    By chris arena - 05-23-2011 12:01 AM


    I have been away for the site for a while. A year ago, I decided that my art was getting stale and decided to take a break from bieng the so-called teacher and become a student again. Also, due to age and some minor knee problems, I had no choice but to internalize my art. So, with some of my reliable students, now newly labled training partners we undertook serious study in 2 other areas. We have been working hard. I have been training with a partner 3 times a week, plus lessons with my Tai Chi and Eskrima teachers. We learned the Yang Tai Chi San Shou 2 man fighting form (yes, I hsve studied Yang long form for some time). under Sifu Micheal Gilman (unlimited class moving-step Grand National Push-Hands Champion) (Took one year to learn the basic form) and also study Tacosa Serrada Eskrima under Guro Richie Ly to learn the more internal workings of the art and to tie it in with what we have learned from my original instructor in NSI Modern Arnis. Yes, It's been a wonderful and strange trip but one thing seems to stand out that is not talked about much in FMA of any style and that is the intent of this topic Striking and Balance.

    1. We practice our 12 angles of attack, Cinco Tores, or whatever style angle not always realizing that these are ATTACK lines and should never be confused with defense lines. Rather it be a guick reload Witik, or a long arm follow thru, these lines are an attackers mode of operation.

    2. Our goal in defanging the snake is to destroy this attack. As Modern Arnis is a Medio to corto range style, we should be letting the attack come to us. Some arts like the Tacosa system litterly lay the defending stick against the body and use dropping split stepping and body rotation to bleed off the power of the attack and to then attach to the opponent robbing his balance. I feel that this is the most "internal" expresion of FMA. But, if you watch the professor doing his DeQuartes drill, you will see the same thing. Note that he lets the attack come to him. The opponent reaches for him, he does not reach for the opponent. Its all in his footwork and letting the attack come to him. However, it is rare that we ever hear of anybody really discuss this aspect as it is internal and formless. But in my opinion is one of the most important habits to work on.

    3. Balance. Yang Tai Chi under an instructor that actually can teach the martial aspects (hard to find these days), but is out there if you really do some seaching has been revolutionary in teaching this old dog new tricks!

    When you step forward to initiate any of the 12 angle strikes, where do you let the weight fall on your forward foot? The answer here is to step into a spot of opportunity and sink your forward foot at a point that is a hair's length BEHIND the center point of your heel! and NOT THE BALL OF YOUR FOOT. Try this, Throw a #1 strike and hold at the end of your strike. Have a training partner pull your fist, push on you chest and push sidways to you shoulder. Do this once with the weight on the ball or center of your forward foot and then do it again with the weight very slightly behind your heel as it sinks into the ground.
    You will notice a huge differance! Try to step forward on the ball of your foot and you risk bieng pulled off your balance. Heel centering is what is meant by 60/40 weight distribution. Stepping to the ball of your foot is 80/20 distribution and is to far single weighted. You want to bait you opponent into 80/20. Let him reach for you as you attack within 60/40. 60/40 is your attaching range, Leaving the exta usable range to dislodge him. If you attach at 80/20, then you have nowhere to go. Note that I am using the word "attach". It is from there we do the real damage and initiate our attack. This is the time we flow int 70/30 distribution. The ball of the foot can be the end point, but never the attaching point.

    4. Putting this all together. This technique will allow the Largo player some margin of defence against reaching to far forward and loosing his balance and also give him supierior abililty to change his direction and change steps when needed.. As for the defender, sinking, and drop stepping, body angulation all built into this foot gravity loading becomes very explosive when used to bait the Largo strike into you. The stick wards off the attack and the live hand attaches and owns the opponents balance immediately if. (and only if) you let him come to you and position youself so that he has to reach for you. Most defensive players I see want to jump forward and to crash into the opponents attack. ( I see this about 90 % of the time).

    Take a minute and watch the Presas Dequardas tapes, watch old footing of Angel Cabales or any of the old masters. They all let the opponent come to them. In my mind, the real power of this art is in the balance and timing and not the fancy stuff.

    Anyway, this is what over one year of retraining is teaching me. FMA arts have no ending, there is no pinnicle. We take it as far as our individual abilities can take it, we can never truly master what we are trying to learn.

    Chris Arena
    Enthusiastic Intermediate.


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