I hope that all are well and that everyone is keeping quite challenged by their daily training... it is the way Gentlemen. I just wanted to bring up the topic of striking with the garote, more specifically the point of contact on impact in concert with proper target acquisition. De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orehenal is very specific concerning the proper usage of the garote ranging in terms of "what" to strike and "where" to make contact on the garote in an effort to produce both "lethal" and "less-than-lethal" outcomes in combat, depending solely on the circumstances and dire necessity of each unique situation faced. Manong Jose D. Caballero of De campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orehenal had two primary targets which he seeked out in combat; the head and the hand. These essential targets are both simplistic and effective as one or the other will always be available to you in your time of need. Having stated this I have to admit that it is the secondary targets of Manong Jose D. Caballero which peak my interest the most which in my opinion are nothing short of being absolutely brilliant! As I stated above that when Manong Caballero was not targeting the weapon hand he would target the head or vice-versa, yet there were other times when he would, out of necessity, choose to target less than ideal targets in order to manufacture opportunity. In utilizing these more painful secondary targets a distraction would be produced and once a reaction was commited from his opponent Manong Caballero could then easily break the head of his opponent with finality and claim victory. In utilizing these secondary targets the intent is to strike as to "maim" or "injure" the opponent. In doing this Manong Caballero would use the first inch or so of the tip of his garote on impact to inflict adequate yet "less-than-lethal" results in combat. By using the first inch or so of the garote (the tip) he could choose to produce a distraction by breaking the smaller bones of the hand, the fingers, the thumb, the wrist, the tip of the elbow, knock out the knee cap, break the bridge of the nose, tear off a piece of an ear, tear off a lip or tear chunks of tissue from either the forearm or bicep. You want to talk about pain distraction I think that any of these secondary targets more than qualify! In feeling the ill effects from any of them would certainly distract me from the obvious such as to see a piece of my bicep glued to and dangling from the tip of my opponents garote as he stands before me awaiting an opportunity, such as that, where he would be able to break my head and bring me to the ground in agonizing pain while securing my defeat. PG Edgar Sulite once told me of a story where he and Manong Caballero had gone into Ozamis City in Mindanao to buy some milk and poultry at one of the local markets. Manong Caballero had noticed a hand and arm reaching in over his own attempting to grab a piece of fruit and right away Manong Caballero noticed something out of the ordinary and shouted at Edgar "hey! Thats one of mine!" He was pointing at the mans arm and Edgar saw that there was a chunk missing from the extended bicep. When Manong Caballero saw this he looked at the mans face and recognized him as someone with whom he had previously fought a match and had struck him with the tip of the garote and as a result had torn a piece of his bicep from the mans arm. As it dangled from Manong Caballero`s garote the man sensing defeat and fearing for his life ran away. As soon as the man recognized that this "Old Man" at the local market was Manong Caballero and remembering him quite well he chose to run away again and did so as Manong was recanting the story to Edgar. If a more serious outcome were sought with an intent to produce "lethal" results Manong Caballero would utilize and sight the first 6 inches of the tip of the garote on impact while targeting the temple area of the head of his opponent, or as Manong Caballero would say "strike across the eyes". As well by striking this far up the garote any attempt even to the hand or wrist would have a devastating effect which could be more than enough to detract and manufacture opportunity to break the head. Regardless of whether one chooses to use the tip or upper 6 inches of the garote on impact with the intended target, precision and intent are required and as Manong Caballero would often say: "Every strike that you throw has to be able to break the head of your opponent or you should not throw a strike at all". As a strike thrown weak without intent can only invite defeat from a skilled and determined enemy. In sparring unprotected with light rattan I have experimented a great deal in utilizing the first inch of the tip to loosely target some of these secondary targets and let me say that the results gained are amazing. Although I was not striking with the intent to tear tissue from the body or to break individual fingers or strike through the bridge of the nose the response gained from various opponents on whom I experimented is fascinating. Just how quickly I was able to distract an opponent by using such measures is surprising and enlightening to say the least. It is amazing that something as simple as by pressing the very tip of the garote deep into the wrist or the back of the hand on impact is beyond painful and it is noticed right away. How much more if my malice was with intent and full power for realistic effect. As well I notice that even while training with someone adorned with protective equipment such as forearm gaurds and hand armor while utilizing the upper 6 inches can be used to great effect on impact and even through the protective equipment you can inflict great pain and produce nice results. Having brought up protective equipment I feel the need to state that there is a distinct difference between how you will fight while adorned with protective equipment and how you would fight without it. Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite used to tell us that in sparring or in fighting the goal was the same; survival. We were always instructed to hit our opponent with intention and attempt to break his head as soon as possible while minimizing collateral damage to self in turn, be it sparring or fighting. He used to tell us that in sparring just as in fighting we were to count not how many times that we hit our opponent but rather how many times that we were hit in turn. He felt that if you hit your opponent 10 times and you were hit 3 times that there was no clear winner because you too were hit 3 times! and in a real fight whose to say what damage was inflicted and to what degree, honestly both of you would probably be left for dead or at the very least maimed. From years of training, sparring and fighting I am convinced that the solution to properly training and developing true combative effect will always be found in minimizing protective equipment. In ones training environment protective equipment may assist your daily development which is encouraged but when it comes to sparring one must minimize protective equipment if only to align the training environment with the actual environment and thereby sharing equal risk and consequences for ones actions or failure to act in combat. The fact is that when you get hit in the hands or the head while not wearing protective equipment to protect you there will be realistic consequences faced and how well you are able to tolerate any pain or damage and how quickly you will be able to recover and fight back will dictate if you will live or be left for dead. As opposed to when hitting someone with protective equipment you can hit them in the hands or head for a considerable amount of time with very little reaction from them as they will not be faced with actual consequences of being hit for real because the equipment does not allow ones strikes to be felt thereby removing you from cause and effect which will not be offered you for real when you are accosted in the street and forced to fight for your life without protective equipment. With no protective equipment that one hit to the hand or the head could very quickly signal the end of the match. The way that I see it there are two separate and distinct personalities that train our indigenous Pilipino Warrior Arts; the warrior in training and the martial artist. The former trains for combative effect and the latter for titles, trophies and accolades. One only has interest in what actually works in combat and the other tends to want to socialize and keep up appearances albeit while feinting genuine interest in combative effect. To each his own I suppose... So in accordance with some of the more basic principles of Lameco Eskrima as influenced from De campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orehenal when we strike it always must be with intention. This means that when we strike we are able to hit what we are striking at and we strike with power and intent enough to break what ever it is that we are striking with positive effect and when we hit our opponent we bring him to the ground post haste. I as do my brothers in Lameco Eskrima train for no other reason than combative effect and I always will as titles, trophies and accolades mean very little to me as I choose to subscribe to combative truth and in as much I dedicate myself to a realistic training environment while adequately developing combatively in this realm of reality. It does come down to individual perspective and although I welcome all willing to walk along my chosen path I recognize and respect the path that others have chosen to walk along as well. After all this combative journey is about the destination and not just the landmarks that we pass along the way. Eventually we are all destined to congregate at the same point of self discovery. Some walk, some run and then there are those that simply meander, but as long as we all keep moving we will all reach our destination... some quicker or slower than others. In closing i would like to remind everyone reading my words that the Indigenous Pilipino Warrior Arts were first and foremost a combative solution long before they were prostituted into sport and castrated of their true effect in that environment. What these Warrior Arts are to become during and beyond our own generation comes down to how this generation first perceives these Warrior Arts true effect to be and how we will allow them to be trained under our watch. The future of these Indigenous Pilipino Warrior Arts lie in this generation of practitioners hands and we will collectively be responsible in allowing them to remain combative or to allow them to be prostituted as sport by our actions and the mindset by which we train these Warrior Arts and pass this knowledge to the next generation in waiting. Train well, ciao. Guro Dave Gould.