Why doesn't sparring resemble training?

Discussion in 'General' started by cfr, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    you should be resourceful since you need to unscrew something.

    you are so gung ho to drop balagtas' name every chance you get.

    seek it if you need a revelation.
  2. Raul

    Raul Mananandata

    What? Was that a sudoku-inspired haiku or you just wanna get close?
  3. Bobbe

    Bobbe Member

    As for the "Don't call it Filipino Martial Arts unless you include ALL Filipino Martial Arts"...Come Bloody ON.

    Who are you trying to kid here?

    Do you practice with a Lantankan? Where can one get such training? The creation of Witwit, Anting-Anting and Orascyon? Do you honestly believe the arts taught at the long-dead Bothoan can be resurrected? What about the problematic village-education Vs. global education? (By that I mean, the masters who never left their village and have only one viewpoint...Ask any five Filipino masters the same question and you will get five DIFFERENT, and wildly varying views, depending on region, religion, education, experience, blah, blah, blah. Put them in a room and you will have a BLOODBATH.)

    For that matter, are you speaking of pre-SPanish or post-Spanish regime-influenced arts? Do we do that without counting the Tagalog or no?

    Bonus question: What does Tagalog mean, and who were they?

    Go further: Translate the Laguna Copperplate inscription.

    See, I can do that too, create a non-reality based scenario to reflect my righteous indignation over what this scattered, fragmented, beautiful art is or isn't, with evidence to reflect how I'M right and you're not.

    You aren't posing a very impressive figure by denigrating your brothers and sisters in FMA. This art has evolved, and for the better I think. Exposure to different arts, styles and masters has given FMA a spot as a top contender among the world of martial arts, ans many other systems are incorporating techniques from Eskrima (or whatever) into their respective systems.

    Also, there is no "pure" art, let's get that the hell out of the way and be done with it. Everyone seems to think Kali was a higher thing 200 years ago. This is funny to me. Do you suppose that it was dropped from the sky, like manna from heaven? Someone saw something that started it. Someone else had a different technique. Yet a THIRD person saw both and developed something new from the two. Thus this so-called "Bastardization" began, and if you're honest, you'll see where YOUR OWN TEACHER took something from somewhere and made it into something else. I don't have to know who he (or she) was to know this. The art would not have survived otherwise.

    Now, to answer the first question posted: I wrote an in-depth article for those who care to read it some months ago on this forum HERE.

    There is a section about the need of such drills as Sumbrada, Hubad, etc, and I have quoted it below.

    Sparring isn’t a streetfight, and it’s important to know the difference. Although you can go “hard rock” in sparring and really ring each other’s bell, the intent is still quite different than the real thing. The emotional and psychological elements bring a characteristic that elevates sparring into an actual FIGHT. The mental and physical commitment of a person who has decided to kill you can be overwhelming to someone who has only done point fighting, using a certain set of rules. To be blunt, the heart isn’t there, and by heart I mean “Will to destroy”. This is a critical distinction, and any good instructor will point this out and train for the eventuality of real life. That being said, although experience is really the only teacher, sparring is the only way to achieve real flow, because it's the only controlled training atmosphere that's TOTALLY spontaneous. You can go at different speeds, and different focus of intent, use different weapons or empty hands, mix and match how you want. Every session will build skill in a way that premeditated exercises beginning with "Okay, attack me like THIS" never will.

    There are three methods of sparring in the Edmonds Academy: Point Sparring, Flow Sparring and Unpadded Sparring. Flow sparring is where you perfect your timing, flow and attributes in a spontaneous environment, point sparring is where you bring it to the table. Full speed point sparring is not developmental, it’s not the place to work on your weak points in fighting. It’s the presentation of technique, and often used as a measure for your progress in whatever martial art you are training. This in itself is not a bad thing, because it gives us a good criteria for our skills. The downside is that it steers away from attribute development and leans toward competition, focusing on “beating the other guy” instead of “self development”. Point sparring moves too quick to really analyze what is happening, and any gain you acquire from it will either be incidental or realized after many matches.

    Flow sparring is much different, and much more mutually beneficial for both participants. There is no time limit, no points, and no pressure to “score”. Flow sparring starts at the contact range, both players arms touching. In the beginning the tempo is slow and relaxed, with both players moving at the same speed, and not changing the rhythm, or “speeding up” to beat the opponent. That is really the only rule to this approach, if one participant is open, he may not accelerate his technique to close the gap or defend himself, he must maintain the same tempo as before. This prevents the game from gradually building speed and getting out of hand, where all you have is a pushing match instead of clean lines. When an opponent is trapped, locked or open, the nature of this exercise calls for him to go with his opponent’s technique, and let the scenario play out WITHOUT losing flow. Now, this doesn’t make the score “three to nothing, my lead”!! It’s important to realize this, because otherwise the pressure to retaliate will grow, and you will stop exploring technique. Soon, both players are locked down, without a clue as to how they got there. It takes a skilled, knowledgeable instructor to guide them through the beginning levels of this, because it’s a much more difficult concept to convey and grasp than standard point sparring, and overcoming the urge to blast through the other guy takes repetitive practice before moving on. This is the same theory used to begin sparring with stick and knife also, as well as empty hand vs. weapons.

    The third style is a kind of…Controlled war. We started experimenting with less and less padding a few years ago, and have now whittled our gear down to a hockey glove on the weapon hand. Everything else is game, and if you stick it out there it will get cut off. This style is for advanced practitioners only, and even then only those who can consistently demonstrate high levels of skill, focus and control in the other two methods. The injury rate at this level can be severe if you don’t know what you are doing (hence the advanced caveat) and even advanced practitioners usually incur some painful ding or another. However, the advantages and payoff of skill level are incredible, and the results I have gotten from it have changed my system of fighting altogether. There is a much deeper understanding of distance, timing and execution of technique in the advanced sparring practitioner. Footwork and defense/attack combinations are developed to a greater degree, and wild uncontrollable “power shots” aren’t simply applied without thought of injury due to the “pain penalty” you suffer if you miss and the other player hits you as you pass by him. One thing important this method has taught me is the true use of the power shot. The power shot is a finishing hit, it isn’t the opening move and it’s like sending your Queen out first before the pawns do anything. Any power shot involving a heft weapon such as a stick or machete requires time to deliver, and usually a second or two more in preparation. What the opponent achieves in power he sacrifices in speed, maneuverability and countering. If I see it coming (and you can if you train to recognize what the preparation looks like) I will be ready for him, even ahead of him. And then it’s just like laying in wait for the fly to hit the web.

    As you progress in control, technique, and overall comfort in flow, you can play at varying speeds with different focal points of intent. Some approaches to this are:

    1: Isolation
    Isolate certain techniques to stress your weak points, i.e. sparring with just your left hand, using only one type of entry or counter, kicking vs. the left lead, etc.

    2: Blocking, no Attack
    Check, parry, negate or block all incoming attacks, but do not retaliate or counter attack. This will teach you to recognize an opening when one presents itself. It will also teach you the timing critical to judge when to wait for the best time to enter, and not “rush in” on anything that you think might be there.

    3: Attack, no Blocking
    This is a simple technique, but it has fundamental value that must not be ignored. Knowing both WHAT and WHEN to strike is the whole game, and timing takes the critical issue here. You would be amazed at the openings you discover when you can time the opponent’s attack and not be afraid of it.

    4: Trapping with Footwork
    Position is the operative word when it comes to trapping, and footwork is the only way to achieve it. A common mistake in trapping is to rush in on a linear path when a trap has been achieved. Using the circular footwork, you learn to maximize your position, instead of creating the ram effect so common in the trapping game.

    5: Changing Levels
    This technique teaches sudden drops and recovery to imbalance your opponent. The principle is similar to that of many grappling schools, pull when pushed, push when pulled. Instead of continuing the motion, experiment with jinking back in the direction you dropped from, thusly creating a type of rattle in your opponent’s equilibrium.

    6: All Locks
    In this concept, incoming attacks are dealt with through parry/negation, and eventually played to a jointlock of some kind. Again, although the concept sounds simple, this will not work unless both players understand it’s not a contest. The receiver must flow WITH the feeder, go along with his locks and he flows with yours, minimal, if any, resistance. This is an especially cautious point, because clamping down on an arm that’s hyper-extended or hyper-flexed can often lead to irreparable damage, so too much care in the beginning cannot be stressed enough.

    Understand, these approaches are designed to work a specific skill, or focus on only a few attributes at a time. There are dozens more drills like these, and none of this is written in stone, there is plenty of room for invention and improvisation. Experiment with mixing a couple or a few of the above approaches, and you will find a concept that is completely unique to you.

    I would like to finish this little diatribe with a quote from my teacher, Cacoy Canete: "The only way to achieve this level of competency is to spar. Drills alone will not do it, nor will forms. if you do not spar, you are wasting your time. The only way to learn how to fight is to fight."
  4. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    I believe I am not the only one here to say: "Missed you Bobbe!"
  5. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    Good post Bobbe....long as a tape worm :) but pretty damn good..LOL.
  6. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    you can still go to other regions beside cebu, manila, and sulu to learn traditional martial arts. you haven't heard of ax fighting forms of the igorots because they have not been studied or taught. it's time to study and record them. the oldies are dying.

    FYI: FMA is not a form-- as far as i know-- it is a complete system of forms. how can your fma training be complete if you don't even know that blade fighting of the bagobos for instance is totally different to the one you learn in stick fighting. how can you call it fma when dumog is stil thought by some as judo?

    FMA should be taught as a total system because it is a complete system. you even have to learn hilot so you can do something to your own fingers in case you get hit or they get dislocated.

    it is a complete system.

    regarding kali, blade fighting in caraga (butuan) region, check my blog. it will be my next topic-- where did kali really come from? Was it stick fighting or sword fighting originally? Is it really from mindanao (non-muslim)? is it still being practiced?

    one thing i can tell you, the kali we now know did not exist (ever) in mindanao prior to its development in the 50's or 60's in visayas.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  7. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    There are many versions of the FMAs being taught, and they show a lot of variety. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all model.
  8. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    I just can't comprehend why we can't call stick fighting as stick fighting? we have a word for it "palo."

    we know arnes is sword fighting, so are esgrima and kalis. the old only omitted or changed one letter and they used sticks and claimed that it's fma because sticks are use instead of swords-- as if swordfighting is the only form of martial art in the philippines.

    i challenge you all to see a bagobo, bilaan, mandaya, or t'boli. show your arnis skills and let them demonstrate to you how they handle their swords-- huge difference. stickfighting is stickfighting-- just one of the forms.
  9. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    80/20 Principle

    I believe that this may be the source of the logical disconnect that I sometimes perceive when reading your posts, and the basis upon which some people here on this forum (and on others) become annoyed with you.

    Re. your first point ("What I learned..."): I would concur that martial arts in the Vasayas is often very different from that learned in Mindanao. (Martial arts throught the Philippines are often very different from each other.) You like the martial arts of in Minandao, and appear to imply that these arts are somehow superior to others because martial artists from this region used bladed weapons for practicing and fighting. That doesn't mean that the martial arts of the Vasayas (or other regions) aren't real or practical, irrespective of whether they practice with wooden training weapons, or the bladed weapons that have been in their hands for countless generations. Filipino people (and throughout the world) have practiced with both wooden and bladed weapons, for three reasons: (1) they understand the value of wooden weapons for both training and fighting; (2) they understand the value of training with wooden weapons as surrogates for bladed ones; (3) they understand the value of bladed weapons. I believe that these are just givens: to declaim otherwise in a public forum like this one without acknowledging that the considerable oral and written traditions that support these statements are valid makes you look a little like running into a wall with your eyes closed.

    Re. your second point ("How can we preserve..."): No one knowledgable about the Filipino martial arts believes that the stick fighing taught within the traditions of their art is the same as sword fighting. This is a straw man argument. If you wish to preserve the sword fighting techniques of the katawhang Lumad then go to it: I am looking forward to hearing accounts of your next public class, and await news of your next article, book, or video clip on youtube, etc. Harranging us here on the forum with declamations about "what the FMA's ought to be" without providing evidence that you actually practice what you preach is baseless and irritating.

    One more thing: Our last discussion on Martialtalk.com was not very satisfying (at least to me) because you have the habit of latching onto the 1% of my posts that enables you to keep talking - and ignore the other 99% of my posts. That is not discussion - it's a thread hijack.


  10. Raul

    Raul Mananandata

    Darn.. I almost fell asleep! Its as long as a tapeworm but at least it didn't leave me scratching my butt.
  11. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    thanks steve.
  12. jjpein

    jjpein New Member

    Well in my instance as well as others I would assume we go back to what we know. I have just recently gotten into FMA after about 25 years of Karate, Judo, Kung-Fu, Hapkido, BJJ, etc. As I said while sparring if things are getting to out of hand for my liking I am always going to resort back to what I know and what has been drilling into my head from instructors and various tournaments.

    Hopefully, there will be a day that this won't happen but I don't see much change for the next couple of years.
  13. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    80/20 revisited

    Thank you. Your reply was polite and reasonable.

    One area that could use some further clarification: (and perhaps this is just a semanic issue): I agree with you that if someone says that "sticks are a substitute for swords" then you have the right to diagree (and hence to make this an issue on the forum). But I don't know anyone who understands the FMA's that actually believes this. What I hear people say is some version of "sticks are a surrogate for swords" - and some of these people have had, or go one to have, some serious sword training. "Surrogate" has a different connotation than "substitute."

    It is certainly possible to train with sticks as if they were swords if you are aware of both the benefits and limitations of this kind of training.

    That means that if you are training with a stick qua sword you should understand that although you can't actually cut with a stick, you could if it was a sword. The simple reason that you are training with a stick is that it is safer than training with a sword, but your training method should reflect your understanding that it is really a surrogate (not substitute).

    Filipino martial artists have always understood this distinction, and that's helped give rise to methods and training drills in some arts that are actually intended to help you to learn to fight with a sword. One obvious example is Kalis Illustrisimo, wherein training is done with a stick but intended for the sword. Serrada is another example, wherein a machete fills in quite nicely for a short stick, thank you very much.

    On the other hand, if you are training to fight with sticks then you can't treat them as if they are cutting weapons. You are treating them as bludgeoning weapons and your training method gives you the ability to quickly hit multiple boney targets in a row. That kind of ability can be devestating in its own right: the effect of the tip of a hardwood stick on bone has often been to powder bone.

    The kind of "duel" made notable in the '50's and '60's by the Doce Pares and Balintawak organizations in Cebu (and I would argue that oral and written traditions in these and other organizations suffice to validate the fact that these kinds of matches (substitutes for bladed matches) stretch back through countless past generations) is merely the end-result of this kind of martial tradition.

    It does not, however, invalidate the understanding that generations of eskrimadors have had, and continue to have, with respect to how to fight with bladed weapons.


  14. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    i trained all over... i heard "masters" say in tagalog-- "isipin mo na sundang ang 'yong hawak." translation: "think that you are holding a bolo."
  15. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Modern Arnis is strongly stick-oriented. It was partially the Balintawak influence and partially what Remy Presas thought was useful for self-defense in the States.
  16. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    I like how upfront remy presas was. the use of "modern" really says a lot.
  17. Raul

    Raul Mananandata

    GM Remy Presas was upfront alright. Can you do the same by admitting that you practice Modern Arnis? Doing that will say a lot about you.
  18. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    nope. I studied (analyzed) it though. I like it the way i like what my dad taught me and an old man in cebu and a soldier in manila, etc.

    Most of the systems I don't like are the ones who are gung-ho for seminars. they have funny footworks yet they are still well-received. I wonder.
  19. Raul

    Raul Mananandata

    Gung-ho for seminars? Translation please. Can you describe these funny footworks you're referring to?
  20. baganing_balyan

    baganing_balyan New Member

    be resourceful. you'll find something to laugh at. that's if you really know what a good footwork is.

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