Would YOU let go of your stick?

Discussion in 'General' started by geezer, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. geezer

    geezer Member

    A from time to time I've had the chance to train with a couple of guys whose system favors very close range stick fighting with a lot of free-hand stick-trapping. In addition to the FMAs, I have a long time in Wing Tsun. So when one of these guys latches onto my stick --somtimes tying up both their arms for an instant to control my weapon-- my old infighting instincts take over. Without thinking I release my stick and flow into empty hand strikes. One of these guys responded with surprise and said that my response was incorrect. That in a real fight you don't give up your stick. My suspicion is that at in a "real fight" at full power, the question would be moot, and he wouldn't be catching my stick. But if the same situation did come up, my perspective is that if what I did worked, then why not?

    How about you guys? Are there situations in which you'd voluntarily let go of your stick. Or is that a big no-no?
  2. pesilat

    pesilat Junior Member

    Same page as you.

    Back when I played on my high school chess team I played quite a few people at tournaments who would completely lose their ability to play if they lost their queen. Even if they were in a superior position before losing the queen it was almost a guarantee that they'd lose once their queen went down.

    I think some people are like this with their external weapons, too.

    One of the things I love about the FMA is the conceptual understanding that they've given me toward weapon usage (this understanding is not uncommon in the FMA but, as you point out, it's not universal either).

    There are times when holding onto my external weapon can be detrimental so I'll let go and switch weapons. There are other times when I get disarmed for one reason or another. The way I've been trained, there's no real hesitation when that happens. I'm aware that I've been disarmed so I immediately switch to another weapon (which might be empty hands).

    A funny story related to this. I competed in a stick fighting tourney in the late '90s. I had equipment issues - basically, I lost my stick a few times because I couldn't feel it well enough with the protective glove. My opponent had trained specifically for that tourney so when I lost my stick, according to the rules, we were supposed to pause while I retrieved my stick, it would be counted as a "disarm" in his favor and we would continue. I hadn't trained for that tourney. I had trained to fight. So when my stick flew from my grip I switched weapons (to empty hands) and started to close on the guy to get into a range where my weapons would be effective. The guy's eyes looked like dinner plates behind his mask and he started backpedaling - stick chambered on his shoulder and he wasn't even trying to swing. He was shocked and terrified because I wasn't playing by the rules. The ref got between us then.

    Sure, I prefer to use my external weapon - it doesn't bruise, bleed or feel pain like my body does - but if that weapon becomes a detriment I'll ditch it in a heartbeat and start using whatever other weapons I have at hand.

  3. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    Yepp..If I get balls deep on someone you betcha I will let go of the weapon and smother the ever living crap out of you...smashing elbows, head butts, rips tairs eye gouges etc..why not if it the opportunity presents itself or forced upon you.
  4. Brock

    Brock Asha'man

    My thoughts exactly.
  5. pesilat

    pesilat Junior Member

    We've been discussing people who get fixated on their own external weapon. Here's the other side of that coin.

    People who focus too much on their opponent's "weapon" (i.e.: the stick or other external weapon). I forget the exact statistic but the majority of the "stick" fights that Floro Villabrille won, he won with a left hook, not with his stick. His opponents would get so fixated on dealing with his stick that they wouldn't even see the left hook coming in to KO them.

  6. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    Ask John B what happened when I fought in his tourney back in 06.. I am used to fighting with the balintawak system that I was trained in from the Philippines.. I was fighting one of the competitors and when we had a good exchange of technique. I have a habit of wanting to drive the guy's head/body back with one of the pushing techniques that I use to deliver my follow up shot with the stick.. Well, my hand went to grab the face mask to pull my opponent in for a short stroke, but I remembered that I wasn't allowed to punch or grab, so the hand is out there caught in celluoid for all time to see as I am making a grab for the facemask and then closing my fist so it would become a punch..

    Old Habits are hard to break when it comes to combat or tourney play
  7. robertlk808

    robertlk808 Member

    I say why not, as long as you maintain contact and keep close then abandon the weapon and keep on flowing. Shoot, strike him then grab his weapon while he is trying to figure out what just happened.
  8. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member

    I say it time and again: be prepared for someone to "abandon ship" and simply let go of their weapon if you manage to grab/control it. There is absolutely nothing that says they have to try to keep it. In fact, if someone is at a complete loss as to how to deal with a grab/disarm attempt, their instinctive reaction may be to discard their weapon.

    However, if you discard your weapon you have potentially put yourself at a great disadvantage. We (Balintawak) train to counter grabs, disarms and stick controls in order to maintain our weapon and not give up that advantage. So, the textbook answer is that discarding the weapon would be incorrect.

    Please don't be lulled into the train of thought that at "full power" nobody will be able to grab or control your weapon. If you're within arm's reach, it can happen in a flash.
  9. geezer

    geezer Member

    "...it can happen in a flash." Boy, ain't that the truth! Robert, I guess you figured out that I was working with some Balintawak guys. Talk about quick and subtle infighting.

    Anyway, I don't question that ideally it would be best to counter and keep your stick. I mean that, after all, it does amplify your offense. But on the other hand, in Wing Tsun we have a motto, "Never use two hands to counter one." (or something like that). Another is "Never withdraw your energy." So when I felt my opponent's two hands tying up my one (weapon) hand and pulling back, I naturally would follow the energy forward, and attack with empty hands. It was easiest to instantly free my weapon hand by releasing the stick. Now if I had more skill, of course I'd prefer to free my hand and keep my weapon. But not if it means doing a two-step counter and attack instead of a direct, one-move attack.

    Anyway, I'll certainly be looking for future opportunities to meet with these guys and learn more. Fascinating stuff!
  10. robertlk808

    robertlk808 Member

    Basically that's what I try to follow as well. I don't really have any formal training in Wing Chun, my foundation comes from training with Kelly Worden for a significant amount of time. When I find myself in the those situations, I often use the pulling motion to get the other person to react \ retract and use that energy to close the gap and strike \ attach.
  11. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member

    "...system favors very close range stick fighting with a lot of free-hand stick-trapping" and, you're in Phoenix -- kind of a clue that you've probably been around some of Sam Buot's students. :wink2:

    Depending on the control or disarming attempt, it's entirely possible to do both (yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too!) Although I can't give any specifics without seeing the particular control or disarm in question, the counter is oftentimes a segue into a trap, disarm, or straight counterstrike.

  12. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    So far, this might be one of those rare issues on which we have an absolute consensus.
    Personally, I am ready to let go on anything that becomes too much of a burden in a fight, be it a tool/weapon or a tactic...
  13. geezer

    geezer Member

    Absolutely right. And I got some pointers from Sam too. He's an outstanding practioner and a complete gentleman as well.
  14. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I have a big guy's/former karate guy's instincts to release the stick and go with what's natural, but while there's a time and place for everything, I think it's quite rare that this is the best option. (Training with Balintawak people has made me all the more reluctant to relinquish my stick.) Yet, it can happen that this is the way to go!
  15. Rapier

    Rapier RHC

    Letting go of your weapon depends on the circumstance. For instance in Derobio Escrima a system that works very close in your personal bubble, where the stick locks are bone breaking and muscle/tendon tearing you might want to let go. That is unless your versed and I mean very well versed in counter to counter locks, it would be best to let go or loose the limb. GGM Pedoy tells of how you catch monkeys in the jungle. You take a coconut and you put two holes in it. In one hole you tie a knot with rope and you secure it to a tree, the monkey then sticks his hand in to grab the sweat meat and makes a fist. When the monkey tries to get away he can’t because he made a fist, but he won’t let go of the meat so he becomes the next meal. The moral of the story don’t be a monkey.
  16. kabaroan

    kabaroan Kabaroan

    Don't you also train empty hand vs. stick?

    Holding on to the stick because you should not be allowed to be disarmed is tunnel vision waiting to happen. Go with the flow, drop it and get back into the game with empty hand (and feet and elbows and knees and ... you get the idea).
  17. malcolmk

    malcolmk Member

    Have to agree here, if I am close quarter and the guy grabs my stick then he has in effect not only taken control of my weapon but taken away one of his own weapons albeit temporarily so let go and overwhelm him with elbows and fists, get him back pedalling and don't stop till he is down.
  18. AZEskrimador

    AZEskrimador In All You Do... Be You!

    Although the ideal thing would be to keep and use your weapon for all that it's worth,the second it becomes more of a liability than an asset........
    Gotta Go, Gotta Go!!!

    Just Sayin'.....
  19. kuntawista

    kuntawista New Member

    If would let go of my stick in a heart-beat if it became a liability instead of a weapon. (Unless by dropping my stick, my 1st, 2nd or 3rd opponent could pick it up and use it against me.) It can also give you a bit more freedom to strike your opponent at close range, but I feel if you choose to let go of your stick, you must be able to:

    A) maintain that range so you won´t be left with a disadvantage if short range is broken (as it would take time to retrieve your stick)

    B) Disarm or take your opponents stick so you would have the advantage (or at the very least become equally armed with no weapons, but that would just be starting back at square one)


    C) take out/disable your opponent so they cannot fight back by any means necessary (within ethical reasoning)

    But I´m sure C is your main goal in the first place, right?
  20. stickfightersunited

    stickfightersunited New Member

    What people have to remember is that the stick is merely an extension of the hand. FMA is a weapon based system -- however if someone has both his hands on my stick why would I get into a struggling/ wrestling match just to retain it. It was my bad for letting him get close in the first place. I'd let go of my stick and respond with striking (headbutts, knees, elbows). Now if he drops my stick after I hit him with my "natural" weapons then maybe I'd pick my stick back up and make him regret for holding my stick in the first place! A stick is just a stick -- what makes the stick dangerous is the individual holding the stick. Its like an individual holding a gun.. you put the individual holding the gun in jail, not the gun alone.

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