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A question for people who have been doing Filipino arts for a while

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  • A question for people who have been doing Filipino arts for a while

    I took a few Kali/Escrima classes and they were lots of fun, but I thought to myself how can this be of any use in self-defense situations. For example, I am not carrying around sticks and knives with me to help me defend against people who may attack with sticks and knives. So if you are not carrying these weapons with you at all times, then what use will it be to learn this art? That thought prompted me to drop out and stick with my boxing, kickboxing, and BJJ classes. So I am looking for some counter-arguments to my thought process.

  • #2
    You didn't stick with the art long enough to learn empty hand. Unlike other arts, with escrima you learn weapons first. The same movements are used in empty hand combat. Same principles, nothing changes. A block for a # 1 offensive strike is the same whether the attacker has a stick, bo, or a karate chop.

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    • #3
      “The basic philosophy of the most recognized Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is that one should always opt for a weapon over empty hands in a life threatening situation, since weapons give both psychological and a physical advantage over an unarmed opponent. Should the attacker be armed, the importance of having a weapon and being able to employ it effectively is vital. If a FMA(ist) is unarmed against and armed opponent, his superior knowledge and expertise of weaponry increase his chances of survival. The empty hand is often with only slight modifications to the same movements used by the stick and bladed weapons.”

      In the old days the significance of teaching the weapon first are obvious. To quickly learn/teach how to protect ones family and land. Today, also for the above mentioned reasons, and the stick is a great training tool for timing. You learn quickly to keep from getting hit to block/deflect with a weapon and without.

      Also, you must realize the plethora of FMA styles. Arnis, Eskrima and Kali are just the most famous and one style of Arnis can be drastically different from another. Note there are styles of the FMA that are kicking styles similar to TKD, Grappling styles similar to BJJ, Boxing styles styles similar to western boxing, empty hand similar to kung fu and karate and of course weaponry styles that rival most others. I say that about the weaponry because less of the weaponry has been lost through the years or emphasized compared to other MA. One final point is 99% of the FMA are very complete systems and employ combinations of the above mentioned systems (kicking, punching grappling, etc).

      Note I have paraphrased from an article I found on the internet form Inside Kung Fu December 1985.

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      • #4
        I have used FMA's in Empty HAnd situations many times. As has been said here and elsewhere, you learn teh weapons first and then the translations to teh empty hands. The tecniques are nice, The template of learning fits some people, not all. The techniques for empty hand versus weapon, in my opinion are usually more thought out and directly applicable to self defense.

        Yet, if you do not enjoy it, then go find somethign you do enjoy

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        • #5
          dkm you mentioned that in your few Kali/esrcima classes that they were lots of fun. Could you give an example of what was fun about it?
          When you asked yourself how can this be of any use in self-defense. This is a good question for all students to ask themself (eventually) in any self-defense that they may find useful to them. I hope you didn't expect to become a real good fighter after a few classes. I don't mean to put you down but you did learn something right? About carrying weapons around with you your right. Now what if your in a confrontation with someone who knows boxing, kickboxing or BJJ but he already had a weapon and knew how to use it, Then you manage to get a weapon and now giving him more reason to crack your head open, but he then messed up and losses his weapon but at a split secound he diarms you and is able to get one heavy wack over your head were your knocked out and dieing. You see you maybe ready for someone who knows how to box and kickbox and you could handle yourself on the ground. But this guy with this heavy stick who knows how to use it is going to right through a stiff block.
          Example; I've been around people with guns and when someone pulls out a gun your gonna wish you had one to protect yourself, and know how to shoot back Iam not gonna go over there and jab him in the face or try and kick his leg or even attempt to take him down. These guys are straight killers they don't talk they shoot. So for the same reason you take Boxing, Kickboxing and BJJ I keep an open mind to what someone might use against me.

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          • #6
            Above are several great counter arguements for you too choose from. Here is my question to you. How is your Boxing/kickingboxing and BJJ going to help you in a practical situation? Situation: You are in your 60's and a gang of young thugs break into your home in the night. Do you kickbox or apply BJJ to them?

            It's really not important what you choose to do as long as your choice saves the life of those you are protecting. This is the mind set of experienced martial artist.

            FMA has boxing, kicking, and grappling. Moreover, it is an art form that you can continue to practise at late stages in life and still be a deadly threat if provoked.

            (Situation above is true and the old man didn't use boxing or grappling. He used a pipe and the thugs lock themselves in the old man's bathroom and dial 911 for help).

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            • #7
              Why study FMA

              DKM,

              Read this story: http://cassmagda.com/histmain.htm

              FMA aren`t just about weapons.

              T.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by aseepish
                DKM,

                Read this story: http://cassmagda.com/histmain.htm

                FMA aren`t just about weapons.

                T.
                aseepish, that was some good reading material.

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                • #9
                  Guys, those are some excellent counter-arguments. I was in the subway today and it was raining in NY so everyone was carrying their umbrellas in all various sizes and it suddenly clicked in my mind that their are weapon-like objects (i.e. pointed umbrellas) all around us. Like I said, I found the classes to be fun because of the coordination, footwork, and the techinical details. One of the reasons I had to discontinue was because I was told that I have to come in on consistent basis, but my schedule is non-consistent....I get off from work at different times. Hopefully, once my schedule stabilizes again, I would love to explore it again.

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                  • #10
                    You have to stick with any style long enough to know how to apply the concepts to self defense. FMA's teach weapons then empty hand. Because thats the way it should be in a fight you should do your best to implement something as a weapon and if you can't do that then you fight empty hand so they teach it in that order.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dkm
                      I took a few Kali/Escrima classes and they were lots of fun, but I thought to myself how can this be of any use in self-defense situations. For example, I am not carrying around sticks and knives with me to help me defend against people who may attack with sticks and knives. So if you are not carrying these weapons with you at all times, then what use will it be to learn this art? That thought prompted me to drop out and stick with my boxing, kickboxing, and BJJ classes. So I am looking for some counter-arguments to my thought process.

                      A few classes are not going to teach you anything.

                      FMA starts with weapons and teaches empty hand later. If you stuck it out long enough, you would have experienced this.

                      It's not a question of whether FMA is practical or effective. It's a question of whether you are willing to invest the time and effort to making it work for you.

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                      • #12
                        the question is not "does the philippine arts prepare me for combat", but it is "can this teacher and this style prepare me for combat". there are many styles of arnis/eskrima/silat/kuntaw/whatever, that will teach you to hurt somebody, then there are many that do not. in my opinion, most filipino styles contain the right techniques for fighting. the problem is in the teaching and martial art philosophy of the teacher. you have people who are combat oriented, then you have the ones who are drills and demonstration oriented. so the question is, does this teacher favor fighting, or doing drills.

                        i do not consider drills based teaching to be good for fighting, unless there is a lot of fighting in the class. even for beginners who have studied for 2 months, they should already sparring at this point. but then that is a teaching philosophy, since some teachers who are good fighting teachers, will make the student wait until his first year, to fight. as a beginner, i do not believe you can judge a teacher from a few classes, and thats even if you are advanced already in another styles. the filipino arts do not progress like karate or jujitsu, so you cannot use outside masuring tools to judge a filipino teacher. my advice, is find a few classes and see which one "feels" like a fighting school. if that is confusing, consider this:

                        if people are happy, and smiling and talking how "fun" the class is, probably you are not in a "fighting" school. if the people are soft and you feel like your in church, not a martial arts school, your probably not in a fighitng school. but if the teacher shakes your hand with good strength, and the students are sweating and working hard, or if they are not so "warm" and welcoming, i would say this is a good school. if your older classmates intimidate you, or they look at new students as "new meat", good for you. in a combative school, you cannot expect people to treat you like your in day care. so what, if they scare you away, you are not there to be held like a baby. good fighting arts begin with the right attitude. the first thing you want to do it separate cowards from the tough, or even better, turn the coward into a tough guy. no matter if the school is offering you judo, karate, or eskrima. a school with the wrong kind of spirit is useless.

                        to your question about sticks, and carrying them around. what you get most from a eskrima class, is learning reflex and movement. traditional popular arts like karate and tae kwon do are good, but the hand movement is to stiff. in eskrima, your eyes will learn to follow the opponents action better, and your hands will move when you tell them to. it doesnt matter if a stick is in your hand or just a fist. important part of defending an attack, is to see it coming. i dont agree that every arnis eskrima style has good empty hands. but i dont know about any arnisador who does not practice empty hands. and if he has good fighting philosophy, he will know how to teach you to fight with your hands.

                        the reason i like all filipino arts (except because i am a filipino), is that filipino styles specialize in fighting. most styles have there thing, like board breaking, forms, some special skill. but most of the time you meet a filipino martial artist, no matter if he is a karate player, aikido player or eskrimador, his specialty is fighting, and he is willing to prove his art to you. so find a teacher with that attitude.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thekuntawman
                          i do not consider drills based teaching to be good for fighting, unless there is a lot of fighting in the class. even for beginners who have studied for 2 months, they should already sparring at this point. but then that is a teaching philosophy, since some teachers who are good fighting teachers, will make the student wait until his first year, to fight.
                          I remember my first experience with the Filipino Martial Arts, a class in Arnis de Mano in Winnipeg, Canada. The first class was how to grip the stick, and the basic angles of attack. In the second class I was shown some defensive movements. By the end of the class we were sparring. It wasn`t all out - we weren`t wearing any protective gear (!) but contact was inevitably made - I remember going back from that class with a lot of welts and bruises on my hands and forearms, and with the feeling that I was starting off in something special.

                          Cheers,
                          aseepish

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                          • #14
                            Training Tools Only!

                            Originally posted by dkm
                            I took a few Kali/Escrima classes and they were lots of fun, but I thought to myself how can this be of any use in self-defense situations. For example, I am not carrying around sticks and knives with me to help me defend against people who may attack with sticks and knives. So if you are not carrying these weapons with you at all times, then what use will it be to learn this art? That thought prompted me to drop out and stick with my boxing, kickboxing, and BJJ classes. So I am looking for some counter-arguments to my thought process.

                            Sticks and knives are not just sticks and knives, they are training tools which are used to build skills, attributes, and body mechanics which in turn make you a better well rounded practitoner. To top this off they are tools which can be used to represent any object that you might find in your environment to use for personal protection. What ever you can do with those "tools" you should be able to do with empty-hands and improvised weapons.

                            On another note- boxing, kickboxing and BJJ, although good for lots of things, have little to do with "reality" self-defense.
                            Steve
                            Integrated Self-Defense Systems
                            http://www.geocities.com/combatives

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                            • #15
                              FMAs

                              This discussion will only work if the prospective student subscribes to the idea that many violent crimes are committed with bludgeoning (bats, tire irons, hammers etc.) or blade (box cutters, steak knife, shanks etc.) oriented weapons.

                              If that sounds like something that happens in the real world then the stick and knife concepts from a combative FMAs school will begin to make sense.

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