American Bowie vs FMA

I don't want anyone to think that Bowie Fighting as stated to be taught by the old Bowie Schools wasn't deadly..for it certainly was / is..not sure? Watch Keating with a Bagwell Bowie...
want to see intense slice n dice with Filipino Martial Art? watch Raffi Pambuan, or Chris Sayoc..Keating and some of the rest us aren't too bad either!
Unconventional serious blade work comes from Bob Taylor as well..
Any guy can cut any other guy on any given out for the stereo typing of who uses what blade in what style..
have a great day!
That's the old Spyderman vs. Batman question. Batman wins, of course, because bats eat arachnids.

Mr. Frank beat me to it. I was going to add that in Inayan Eskrima we train with weapons of all lengths, but our primary core style is Serrada, based on a 21" to 24" oal weapon, be it a stick or a bolo/machete.

In addition to Sal's astute observation that lunges leave the attacker extremely committed and exposed, lunges are slower than arcing strikes because they don't take advantage of the velocity magnification of the weapon. The tip of a bolo that roughly doubles your reach is moving roughly twice as fast as the hand that swings it.

Someone who is aiming for the chest and throat has to close more than if he were aiming at his opponent's weapon hand too.

What about predictability? I don't know much about fencing, but in Serrada, the weapon comes at you from all angles. If I see three or four 5,6, and 7 angle thrusts in a row, I might get the timing down to where I could safely pass it.

Do fencers do a lot of road work? How far and fast can they chase you?

But, maybe Spiderman wins, 'cuz spiders can catch bats in their webs.

Boy! You guys are lost!

First off, fencing, as I said early does not mean what you think it means. In context, it means hitting without being hit. Secondly, the idea that Bowie styles are distilled from Philipino arts is down right silly. The flow of info here is West to East, not East to West. Third, Western doen't mean America's Old West, or even American(though we ARE discussing the Bowie at present), Western means the Western world, as opposed to Oriental. 4th fighting gaurds and Spanish notches, and a wide variety of bladecatchers have long been in use on Western blades, and yes, they even show up on 19th century Bowies from time to time.

Where you're completely right is that not every roughneck in the early 19th century was a proficient and trained knife fighter. Just like how not everybody from Japan is a samurai. Martial arts in any society are not typicaly taught or learned by all of it's members. Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying or trying to sell you something. Contemporary example, does everyone in America train in U.S. Army combatives? While you can nit pick over their inclusion as a valid martial art, it is certainly a combat system, and it's certainly martial.

Yup. A barong is longer that your typical bowie. This thread says "FMA vs. Bowie", while I doubt this was the originators intention, the implication is one Western weapon and it's associated skill vs. all other weapons and skills from a similar class of martial arts. Well, I for one would be comfortable taking a Western blade, bowie or otherwise, with the attendant trapping gaurd and strong defensive profile against a glorified machete. But don't forget, if we level the playing field to all Western weapons and systems vs. all Philipino weapons and systems, well we got Western tools that will see, and raise, a barong or bolo.

The thrust and the lunge, while related, are manifestly different. Irregardless, lunges do NOT leave you over-committed, if you know how to follow them up, i.e. you actualy train in these arts. Oh yeah, and a straight line is the shortest distance between any two points(we'll ignore the Great Circle route since we're not talking about flying airplanes), though the Englishman, George Silver, argued the cut is faster than the thrust, this is demonstrably false. Yeah, you can build up more speed in an arc due to the greater distance you have to cover allowing you to build up speed, but by then a thrust will have already hit home. You went real fast the long way, the other guy went just about as fast, but he took a shortcut.

I have no particular fascination with the backcut. You're right, it appears in nearly ALL blade arts. It's kinda a natural, common sense thing. I feel that both the backcut fixation and Bowie preoccupation is a result of ComTech being the only people out there at present with knife-related materials. No disrespect for Mr. Keating or the ComTech staff, it's just that the backcut and the bowie are not the alpha and omega of Western weapons and arts. If even a sportfencer came at you with several thrusts in a row, this would be called a "beat". By the time you recognize the pattern and figure how to counter it, he will switch to another form of attack, leaving you dead or struggling to overcome short-term muscle memory in time to defeat this next attack. In reality, edged weapons have a blade, one or two edges, a gaurd, a handle and a pommel, Western combatives make use of all of them. Not even a sportfencer will come at you with the same attack over and over to the exclusion of all other forms of attack. Somebody's been watching too much chop-socky.

Oh yeah, sport fencers do a LOT of leg work. Endurance will get you farther in a fight than strength. As will speed. But, sportfighting has never been a serious intrest of mine. Remember, fencing in the modern sense is a different animal than fencing in the historic sense. Fencing, as mentioned several times now, meant "hitting without being hit", it was used then in the same manner as we use "martial art".

When it's all said and done, the only way to resolve this thread is to have a bowie man square off against a FMA man, then throw away the results because it'd be too small a sample and have too many variables to control for to yield accurate scientific data. Again, they are evenly matched, it comes down to the fighters, their gear, or luck.

[This message has been edited by Snickersnee (edited 27 May 1999).]

Your arguments are getting a little thin. My main point, and I think Mr. Frank's as well, was just that the notion that all FMA styles are based on smaller blades than the typical bowie is erroneous. From there, I would not even begin to say how any one of the hundreds of different FMA styles might stack up against a western style bowie fighter, there are just too many variables. But it is equally shakey ground to say a western bowie style is better too, because, as a few of us have pointed out, it has its weaknesses too, the same as any other fighting style.

And I will still go with a longer blade as long as it's balanced for speed. My sword is a Black Cloud Knives new generation Short Sword I (wish Ernie would just call it a model 10, or something easy like that), with blade catcher guards, side quillions, and a 17" blade. It is as perfectly balanced and as fast in your hand as my 9" fighting bowie. It is a far cry from a glorified machete.

But do you think a western bowie fighter could outrun an Eskrimador, that's my question?

I'd sure hate to get caught.




I agree about throwing out the sample.
I won't talk about the barong being an overglorified machete. I will just disagree with that and leave it at that.

We haven't even talked about the cheap shots sport fencers take at each other

Again, battlefield vs. the duel. 2 different things.

The mindsets are different.

The other we can crosstrain. We can intellectualize later.

Understand we covered 2-3 groups really. The sport fencers, ancient fencers comprising of Euro and Asian arts.

I give credit to both sides. Combatwise, I give credit to both the Euro and Asian sides.

I don't expect all FMA schools to bow in front of Spain and say "Oh thank you, thank you." I would hope that this post opens up good discussion and exploring which it has.

I've said it before, it comes back to the person. Counter thrust, foot trap, shield slap, coupe'. All these are moves, possible problems that a soldier or such would have to deal w/ in less than a second.

Smoke, there's a little less harshness in my "glorified machete" comment then there seems to be. A machete is a real mean slasher, especialy a well made one. Barongs and bolos tend to have deeper belly than the machete, so they should be quite good at chopping/slashing. I couldn't find a better word to sum up "praised perhaps a bit excessively for the sake that it is forgein, therefore exotic and not a familiar tool". ALL the English words I know that roughly express that sentiment are a good bit harsher than I would desire.

Still, I would not choose a barong, bolo, OR machete as my edged weapon of choice. I feel there are other such weapons from many different cultures that are better suited. Now, as double duty weapon/utility, any of the above would suit me fine.

So far as all FMA schools kissing Spain's butt goes, I have seen Arnis and Escrima. They are for the most part preservations of earlier Spanish arts. Can't speak for any other styles. Does this mean butt kissing should ensue? Not really. They all but died out in Spain. Another culture preserved them. Certainly credit is due. At the same time, the fact is worthy of note, in the same way as it's good policy to remember that the U.S. of A. is really just an English colony that managed to break away from the empire. It's a point of historical fact that has bearing in this situation because often in these discusions we discuss wether or not the hypothetical combatants would have any familiarity with the other's form. In this case the two would have an understanding of what their oponent is doing.

Perhaps we have a misunderstanding as to what is meant by combat and duel. I am thinking of the duel in the traditional sense of two men having it out over an affair of honor with all the pomp and cirumstance vs. just two guys fighting. I'm reading combat as a streetfight, as opposed to a warzone, as I'd wager most of us are not soldiers. The streetfight and the duel are similar in many ways, there is likely only 2 combatants involved, and in both cases they are trying to kill eachother(though prima sangre was not unheard of), and in either case it is not likely that third parties will come to attack one or the other participents(unless you count police). Irregardless of any "tactical street survival" fantasies of fending off entire gangs, these are just not the more common altercations you'll get into. Even if there are spectators, they seldom get involved. Now a war is different. You have armies fighting armies, at any moment a soldier uninvolved in the fight may intervene, not to mention you've got all sorts of small arms fire and artillery rattling everybody's nerves. There the combatants would most likely seek to bowl their opponent over and stick him full of knives as fast as possible in order to get out of the way of any incoming fire. The goal is still the same, kill the other guy fast as possible without getting killed, the difference would be what's practical under heavy fire and of course shellshock and shattered nerves. They are quite different scenarios that require different answers. Sentry removal is another one to throw into the stewpot. I prefer streetfight vs. affair of honor. I think it fits our discusions in these forums better.

So far as respecting other cultures/arts goes; you've been with me from the start. I'm sure you remember what I said upfront, "no disrespect or ill will towards Easterners, Eastern arts or Eastern stylists", still holds true. (Though I confess I have no stomach for the katana. It is in conflict with nearly everything I look for in a sword. I'm sure it works for some, more power to ya, but they don't do anything for me.) However, here I am not arguing the case for admiring all martial arts, I am merely asserting my position on this one topic. Though like I said before, study or train with others who study arts different from yours. There are things to be learned there. I have two words for people who don't; "stagnant" and "pigheaded", though one person doesn't have to be both.

Steve, I fail to see how my arguements are wearing thin. A few comments were made that were not really based on fact. I corrected them, if impolitely, so be it. But fact remains fact.

Again, considering the originator of this post is inexperienced in this area so is seeking knowledge through this post, I think it's fair to assume that he is assuming the most commonly thought of weapon and arts of the FMA vs. the most commonly thought of weapon and art of the Western world, the bowie. Somehow I don't think he really meant to compare one weapon and it's art to an entire world of other weapons and arts collectively called FMA. At the same time, my confidence in my tools and techniques is not diminished, and I would be willing to go up against a shortsword with a fighting
bowie. By point of fact, I have sparred this scenario. There is also a whole world of Western weapons and styles is you want to take this in the broader interpretation. If Root's still reading this perhaps he could clarify what he means to compare.

If we're still talking who would win, I think I, and many many others pretty well said it'd be a toss-up, like most of these pissing matches. While in this case I have been discussing Western arts, nowhere have I tried to assert that they are wholy superior to FMA. In fact, I though I made my feeling of them being on parity with anything else quite clear. Note, parity. That means equal footing. I fail to see where I said that I thought the bowie and it's arts as taught by James Keating to be anything but equal. Actauly, I do remember mentioning the bowie isn't even my favorite of the Western fighting knives.

And now you're bringing in a sword that's not even really a barong or bolo, I doubt Black Cloud was even in buisness when the FMA's were founded. Even then, I'll see you and raise you; I'll take a Powel pistol knife, the bowie in .38 caliber. Pistol/knife combinations have a long history in the West. They are a traditional weapon, oh, and they work a LOT better than most would have you believe. I know, even built one myself, blackpowder in .50 caliber to make it easy. Turns you into a one-man Highlander charge(in the Scottish sense, not the immortal sense). That bullet packs quite a wallop and is faster than any thrust, lunge, or slash. So you can either try to catch my high-speed wad'o'lead in your Black Wind's trapping gaurd, or we can figure out what exactly the question being asked by this thread is.

If I am a rude *******, forgive me. As I have said before, I get easily riled. At the same time, I don't feel anger, enmity or malice towards anyone, so don't think I've particularly got it in for you. In fact, I've never been one to get angry at someone during an argument, or hold a grudge afterward. Vocal, yes. Hateful, no.

Oh, why would a bowie man run from an escrimador? As Napolean pointed out, it's often better to engage an enemy than to retreat. That way you are giving as good as you get. Besides, I'd just dance and doodle and stick my bowie between his second and third ribs and carve my intitials into his pancreas.

"One of God`s Prototypes. A powerful mutant, never even considered for mass-production.
Too weird to live. Too tough to die."

[This message has been edited by Snickersnee (edited 28 May 1999).]

I believe we have the same definition of combat & duel. I thought the title of this thread was funny. No offense meant to Root.

I came into the thread thinking that old style fencing and all tested sword arts were equal and again comes back to the person. But you knew I'd say that

What is funnier still is that of the practice. Two individuals w/ real blades opposing each other can be friends but intent of mind and moves imply they are not.

Hay Gents,
Before this gets too esoteric for Mr. Root, Et Al. I will submit an experience from my own past.
This doesn't involve my use of a blade (I've related those situations in the past). Rather, In '63 I was attempting to make the Olympic Fencing Team as a Three Weapon Fencer. The understanding of these different blade styles aided me no end while on Shore Patrol in P.I.
A young Marine was being hotly persued by several "locals" with Butterflies o'flashing.
We got him in between 4 SP's our only weapons were those cheezy issue Night Sticks. I use mine in more of a Saber technique to block and counter with a fair degree of success. Only ten stiches (three cuts) and one 1" puncture wound.
I'm sorry to say that others didn't fair as well. One of the other SP's died on the way to the hospital. None of us had been given any training in the use of those Night Sticks or any other tools. Typical Government oversight. My point after all that is: The Saber technique when unable to back up is not much different than using a Bowie knife. My opponents were doing some pretty showy stuff with their knives and using lots of fast foot work, but frankly I wasn't much impressed.
Snickersnee, You are right with reguards to what I had in mind. Just the most commonly thought of wesrern blade, I guess the Bowie since it's the blade of the moment. And for the FMA guy I don't know, a dagger or bolo his choice.

I didn't mean to imply that you are rude. I do not think so at all. It is good to have somebody who is interested in such uncommon topics to have a discussion with.

I only meant that your arguments are not persuasive to me. A couple of us state that we think a longer range weapon, of a length commonly employed in FMA, gives one an advantage over shorter weapons. I believe that is true, up to the point where the speed advantage of a lighter weapon equals the range advantage of a more massive weapon. You state that you would choose a fighting bowie over a glorified machete, but you don't say how the features of the bowie will compensate for the greater range of the larger weapon. You also stated that the thrust and lunge are different, but do not ellaborate. You say the they do not leave one exposed, when intrinsically they do, the arm is at full extension, or practically so. You say that the notion that the cut is faster than the thrust is demonstrably false when it is also demonstrably true. That is what I mean by thin.

You mentioned something about leveling the playing field. Should we reframe the discussion in terms of Western style vs. FMA (again, choose from hundreds of different styles of Eskrima and Arnis) if both fighters have a fighting bowie?

That is a tough one to tackle, which is why rec.martialarts is such a mess most of the time. It all depends on the two fighters, how good they are at compensating for the weaknesses in their style, and capitalizing on the weaknesses of the opponents style.

I think it would be better to talk about the particular differences in the two styles, than to try to pick a better one. If a Serradador with a 15" blade meets a western bowie fighter with a 10" blade who consistently tries to close for a kill shot, he will classicly attempt to stay at the edge of the opponents range and chop his hand off. How would a western bowie fighter compensate for that strategy?

If both fighters are to have identical weapons, assuming both are bowies, Serradadors make very significant use of the live, or shield hand also. If the range closes, the Serradador will attempt to check the opponents weapon hand or arm with the live hand while attacking with the weapon hand. How does the western style make use of the free hand?

Best Regards,


In your initial post you mention checking. The checking motions that we practice in Decuerdes and Serrada are what I would classify as gross motor movements. You have to have the right timing and range to employ them successfully, but they are not complicated movements at all. They are combat tested and refined, as recently as the Japanese occupation of the Phillipines. They are beyond the skills of the typical saloon brawler, certainly, and it takes years of training to be expert with them, but if you want to live consistently, you have to bring something somehow superior to the typical goon on the street. If it is just his reactions against yours, it is a genetic coin toss. You have to train, a lot, if you want to have a real advantage in combat. Distance is a useful advantage, but the opponents hand and arms are usually a closer target than his throat or heart.

Hunches are very personal things. I might have a hunch that the FMA guy stays at the edge of Jim Bowie's range until he draws an overcommitted thrust, passes the blade with the live hand and simultaneously cuts through all the tendons in Jim's wrist with a sweeping cut that was too fast for Jim's eyes to even register. Anybody can make up scenarios.

You can discuss differences in style, but it is just kinda inconclusive to talk about which is better.

One more consideration though, with all due respect to James Keating and all fans of the western bowie, one of which I am (I own two Black Cloud Fighting Bowies), western bowie fighting was a briefly popular style among duelists. I acknowledge that it is based on very old European styles, but they were developed for completely different weapons. I wonder how much the style was actually refined in use. Many FMAs were refined over hundreds of years of combat with the Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese. While the FMAs had to adapt to the styles used by their enemies, the Moros arrived on the beach ready to fight the day Cook first landed there. None of the styles we practice in Inayan Eskrima are remotely like fencing. We do train Espada y'Daga, but it is much more an adaptation of a stick, or war-club based style to sword and dagger than it is a variation of it. The Pinoy were there, kicking Cook's ass with sticks, long before they learned anything about European styles.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of the bowie, and I plan to attend some of Keating's Riddles some day, and I am sure I will learn a lot, from both him and Ernest Mayer. Just putting forth some things to think about. Topics for discussion.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 28 May 1999).]
Steve, I know my initial question was broad in scope but that was intitional. I figured that would stir up lots of debate which it has. I too wonder how much bowie fighting was refined in use. As far as bowie techniques being based on completely different weapons I'm sure the Europian (saber?) techniques in question would have already been applied to a knife at one point before the bowie came along. All those Europians were fighting each other before they were fighting Asians.
Steve, I said I was rude cause I feel I get out of line. In an ideal world I'd like to be profesional and courteous at all times, but alas, I am a bit too passionate for my own good.(not that I'm passionate for you, don't get me wrong here!)

Here we go;

I am a proponent of length=speed. My preference for a fighting bowie over a bolo, barong, or even machete is based largely on the fact that I have worked the weapon more, so have a greater familiarity with it. What'll compensate for the disparity in length is the fact that I know how to use the gaurd, how to parry, and how to bridge. I also understand how to work at different ranges, in my art it's called "terrano", and encompasses the full reach of the extended arm and blade.

Now, in practice the difference in range is not as functionaly great as you'd figure with the length of blades in question. Specificaly how I'd handle the situation in a one-on-one fight is; wait for my opponent to launch an attack, or launch a feint or snapcut myself to draw him out. I would then parry his blade and step in, or while he deflects my pre-emptive attack, catch him on my gaurd and step in, delivering a strike to his chin with my free hand(my left arm has an uppercut that'll drop an elephant). Then we're mixing it up.

So far as thrusts and lunges are concerned, your only as open as your technique. I don't thrust in the manner you've seen James Keating do in his Crossada video. Rather than have both my arms fully extended in opposite directions at the moment of impact, my free arm is bent at the elbow and online with my extended knife hand. If someone tries to defang the snake(well known in Western arts), the weapon arm is raised and moved out of the way while the freehand deflects the strike and body turns away. It works. Then you follow it up with a suitable counter attack. Keep in mind also, the thrust is more a finishing move or a way to exploit an opening in the enemy's defenses, not neccesarily the main form of attack.

Difference between thrust and lunge; The lunge starts as a thrust, but when the arm has reached maximum extension the sameside leg steps(?) forward, lowering the body and increasing reach and force of impact. The lunge is a long range attack, and quick fast when properly executed. The thrust's footwork is much more conservative, and not neccesarily even present. There are many types of thrust, some for speed, some for close in work, some for long range work. The timing of shoulder, torso, and footwork vary according to circumstance. For instance, when going for top speed, the arm strikes out at the same time the torso twists and is followed by footwork just before the strike makes contact. That works best at medium range. For close in, you want the arm going first, followed by the torso twist, and then the footwork. That way the point is driven home without leaving you out of balance incase you are struck by your opponent during delivery. It is hard to describe technique in text, but I think you get the gist of it.

I stand by my assertion that the cut is not as fast as the thrust. You can develop greater speed in the arc of a cut because you have more distance to gain speed potentialy, but again your taking the long road instead of the shortcut. A properly developed thrust is quite explosive and will reach it's mark and be on the way home before the cut lands. Oh yeah, you withdraw the blade at high speed as soon hits it's mark. You don't dawdle there, reduces window of exposure. Okay, the SNAPCUT is as fast as a thrust, because it IS a straight line attack. But we were talking about arcing cuts here I believe. If I could show you how a thrust works and you work it to where you're proficient, you'll see how it's faster. However, the thrust is not quite so readily employed by the uninitiated as the arcing cut because the arm tends to move in arcs more than thrusts in daily life, so there is a natural preference that needs to be accounted for. However, once you learn the mechanics, the thrust is quite natural and readily employed.

The checking hand is used quite a bit in Western styles, though I prefer to parry with the blade then catch with the hand and deliver a follow up technique. We also use bucklers(I'm fond of these), hats, cloaks, jackets, sticks, a whole myriad of objects to occupy the free hand, even second weapons. I prefer an empty hand, as I feel it is more flexible. I can switch the weapon between hands(only in dire need in my case, my left hand is only good for gross motor functions), use my free hand to parry or tie up the opponents weapon hand while my knife removes it, use it to regain my footing should I fall, and am better able to respond defensively when disarmed, but this is a matter or personal preference based on my left hand's inability to wield a second weapon effectively, and the way I train.

As far as Western arts being based on smaller blades, that's untrue. Western arts carry over principles of mechanics and flow to a myriad of weapons, from sticks and knives to axes and 5-6 foot long swords(which are MUCH more nimble than you'd think, only weight around six pounds and are well balanced). So they are based on smaller blades on in as much as a particular style may be, but the bulk of Western arts, being of a martial heritage, deal with larger weapons. If we compare comprable weapons, we will find that FMA and Western techniques associated with them are comprable. Oh yeah, and bowies got BIG. 9 inch blade with 3 inch swedge an inch and a quarter wide may be the classic dimensions, but the Confederates in our Civil War were fond of D-gaurd bowies the size of short swords. A number of which incorporated trapping gaurds. As pistols supplanted knives as primary defensive weapons, the bowie shrunk. Early ones were very big, and the style of knife reffered to as the "bowie" has existed in Europe for centuries. In fact, it's quite like some variations of the scramasax. Which makes sense, Jim Bowie likely had Saxon roots, as do men Englishmen. Scramsaxs, a common early European weapon, frequently had blades from a foot on the low end to 2 feet on the high end.

FMA and Western arts share common roots, so in this case their is not much in the way of practical differences. A few details vary, but the concepts are quite similar. I am speaking for Escrima and Arnis, which are the most popular FMA's, and are the only ones I have exposure to. Everyone speaks of hundreds of forms of FMA's, but does not elaborate. I assume the sittuation is simmilar to Europe's; a myriad of weapons tought by a myriad of masters using similar precepts accross the board but individualy tailored to suit their needs/experience, many of whom do not give their arts individual names, but refer to them with collective terms such as "fencing" in English or "escrima" in Spanish. Oh, you did know that "arnis" and "escrima" are Spanish words, and that the techniques included in those arts have Spanish names as well, didn't you? In this case "arnis" is from "arnes", which means "trap", and "escrima" is "escrima" which comes from the German word "skirmjan" which means "brandish". What a tangled mess linguistics is!

As I said, in this case our likely combatants will be familiar with eachother's arts and will be on pretty even footing.
Thanks for the info everybody. I thought of another queston. Does anybody know if the classical lunge exsist in the FMA? I've neverseen or heard of it with FMA. Just curious
Sure it does. In Inayan Serrada, angles 5-7, and 11,12 are thrusts, and if the distance is far, a step in of some length would be required. There are only two basic counters that employ the thrust though, the 5 for 7 counter and, if memory serves there is a 7 for 11 counter. In plain english, that means that a certain angle thrust is countered with a block and a different angle thrust. Almost all the rest of the 36 basic counters are angles 1-3, with a variation of the 10 angle thrown in, and the initial counters are almost always to the attacking arm. So we train quite a bit to counter the thrust, but not so much to employ it.

Um, Cpt. Cook was an Englishman who was killed by Hawaians. I'm not even sure he ever went to the Filipines. Even then, he was late 1700's. The Spanish held the Filipines since the early 1500's up to the Spanish-American war when the Americans took over. Emilio Alguinaldo, who had organized an unsuccesful revolt against Spain, backed the Americans but got pissed when America didn't give the Filipines their independence right away. So he led an unsuccesful revolt against the Americans, after which he swore an oath of loyalty to America, and the American Congress came up with a plan to give the Filipines it's independence. But then the Japanese over ran the islands, and the Americans with the help of the Filipino's ran'em off again. The Filipines are sovereign now I think, and we were still on good terms with them last I heard. Perhaps you're thinking of Magellan, who was killed when assisting one group of Filipino's in fighting another. The Spaniards offered themselves as shock troops in Central/South America to get in on the good side with the local chieftains there too. Only the Moros offered any real resistance to the Spaniards, and even they weren't able to drive them off. I'm sure there were arts native to the Filipines, I'm sure they knew how to use their sticks to best effect. But the fact remains, Escrima and Arnis at least are more Spanish than Filipino.

(A note to any Filipinos out there: I'm neither White nor Spanish, and my people long have been on the wrong side of the native Europeans. In fact, several countries are actively trying to stamp out our culture. I know it's no fun to get mixed up in this conquered/conquerer $hit. But somebody is misrepresenting facts, so I'm setting it straight. I hope I don't get anybody too angry with me. I hope my words weren't too harsh.)

The techniques used in employing the bowie were not duel oriented, they were self defense/fight oriented(bowie dueling WAS a short-lived fad). They are carried over from techniques used for centuries with other sorts of knives, and they weren't derived from saber technique. Almost all Western arts share certain aspects of movement and mechanics, that's why there is a similarity between boxing and sport fencing. Your recognizing patterns, not derivations.

Keating's tapes do NOT represent the only technique of bowie use, let alone the entire scope of European knifework. While they are authentic, Western styles varied from teacher to teacher, student to student, and fighter to fighter. The bowie was in use as a weapon of defense and back up in battle for 100 years, and earlier weapons even longer. Rest assured, their methods of use are well refined. There has not been a time in history that the Europeans haven't been fighting, in war with outsiders, amongst themselves, or on the streets. They know how to use their weapons to the best effect.

Steve Harvey, I see you're a proponent of the "years to use a technique in a fight" training doctrine. Is this because you haven't been in many scraps, or because you put martial arts up on a pedestal? Taken that you feel the average streetfighter is an incompetent nincompoop incapable of fighting his way out of a wet paper bag, I'm thinking the most you've seen is a few schoolyard scraps. You may have military or police experience that I am unaware of, but neither of those include enhanced understanding of streetfights inherently. Cops train to arrest. Soldiers train to shoot. Generalization yes, but the specifics would be a thread unto themselves. Anyway, trust me in the fact that streetfighters are dangerous, some actualy do train in established martial arts, and I have seen them, even ones who don't train in established arts, use the checking hand effectively. Trust me, it does not take years to put techniques into use.

I'm taking a break from typing now. Maybe I'll be back later...

[This message has been edited by Snickersnee (edited 28 May 1999).]
Sorry, better brush up on my history. I knew Cook was killed in the HI, but had it in my head that he explored the PI as well.

Oh, well, back to the books.

As to the streetfighting nincompoops...what have you been smoking?

Root seemed to think that checking might require too much finesse to employ in a fight. I was trying to say that it does take some skill, but unless you want to get whacked by everyone younger and stronger than you, skill is a good thing to acquire.

If you think you could watch a tape, or go to a seminar and check the stick of an expert Serradador, I want to watch.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 30 May 1999).]
Nah, I wouldn't think that you could just watch a video and then succesfuly employ a technique. I would say you could practice for a week and then use it. Of course, you get better with practice, but I wouldn't say it takes years. As a point of fact, streetfighters use the checking hand quite a bit. It's a no-brainer, logical outgrowth of blocking and parrying. I can't think of a martial culture that doesn't use it. Anyway, sorry if I mis-interpretted you.

Streetfighters DO practice. In my angry youth I used to be one. It's not something I'm neccesarily PROUD of, it has caused problems and closed doors for me, but it still IS a part of who I am and is a good resovoir of practical experience I can draw on. Now, there are streetfighters who actualy do train in traditional martial arts, it's hard to get an accurate figure, but I'd say a third. As for the rest of them, mostly stuff that has been learned from use and passed down by the old guys. Their actual routine is typicaly lots and lots of sparring combined with lots and lots of actual fighting. Streetfighters aren't neccesarily thieves, muggers, robbers, rapists, or any other class of individual who preys upon the unsuspecting/innocent. A pure streetfighter fights amongst other streetfighters, sometimes for profit, sometimes for fun, sometimes as a way to "prove" himself, sometimes over territory or personal grievance, sometimes for his life. That's not to say there aren't streetfighters who do illegal/immoral things, but it's not a pre-requisite.

I am officialy bowing out of these Godzilla vs. King Kong pissing matches. While I'm still up for the discusion of Western and Eastern arts, let's quit these "vs." threads. They don't resolve issues. I spar people who practice arts I don't to make me a better fighter. This is a legacy of my previous career. It's shown me that for the most part, it comes down to the two fighters involved. Skill isn't even neccesarily the decisive factor, just as often in agressiveness, attitude, or luck. If anybody has further questions about these sort of things, I say spar it out. Just because you lose doesn't neccesarily mean your art sucks, maybe it was chance or maybe you just have to work it more. Either way, you'll get more from sparring it out than a fuster cluck in an internet forum.