Practicality of FMA systems

Discussion in 'Filipino Combat Arts Forum' started by kukri2, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Roodog

    Roodog

    466
    Apr 9, 2004
    Dont be fooled by some of these guys that look to be very out of shape. There are many guys that look overweight but are very fast and have stamina. Look at some MMA heavyweight who have big ass beer guts but could kick you in the head.

    I do hear what you are saying in many cases. Alot of guys tend to get so caught up in the "knife fighter" mentality that they are not very good "fighters" to begin with. You do have to train with the empty hand to be effective. You cant train with a knife or stick and then just magically translate it to empty hand when the need arises.
     
  2. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    I don't do any stickwork, but for knifework, the most trivial (and first) drill I use is often knife against a focus mitt. Set up someone with the knife and someone with the mitt at the right distance, no footwork allowed. The person with the knife has to hit the focus mitt, the guy with the mitt tries to pull it away first. So the person with the knife learns non-telegraphed fast strikes and feedback on how he's doing in the form of a hit or miss against someone trying as hard as he can to cause a miss. The person holding the mitt learns to get good at looking for telegraphing cues, and reaction time against a random (not on-rhythm) strike. If there's a big skill mis-match, I just adjust the distance accordingly. Again, this is as trivial a drill as you get, with complete isolation from footwork, no feints allowed, only a single target, only one type of strike used, etc. But even this simple drill teaches non-telegraphed strikes on offense and detection of telegraphs and reaction time improvement on defense, better than any flow drill I've done.

    But we also use these types of non-cooperative drills (most stolen from Ray Floro) to teach a wide variety of concepts, including a great one for learning how to judge and control distance, and a simple progression that leads up to teaching the skill of how to evade and counterstrike (defense) and attack without overcommitting (offense)... all in a way that feels combative and easily translates directly into sparring.

    I think the danger of armor is that it can cause a sense of complacency, which you need to fight by staying serious in the drill, and mixing armored and unarmored drills. That said, I feel my real education in knifework began when I switched from solely training all unarmored with a metal trainer, to adding in work with gloves and helmets with a padded trainer. The dynamics totally changed once the head became a viable hard-strike target, and changed even more so as the implications of hard-power striking sunk in. I have one partner who is much bigger than me, but I'm more skilled than him, and I'd always handled him easily in sparring. Shortly after we moved to the helmets/padded-trainers setup, one day he stopped holding back and winged a full-power shot at my head, throwing his entire body behind it. I blocked it with one hand as usual, but his momentum was so strong it knocked me backwards and slightly off balance, which he took advantage of by immediately winging and connecting with a second hard head shot. The addition of the safety gear was the only thing that safely allowed me to face a huge guy winging full-power knock-your-head-off shots (which is reality!), and forced me to re-structure my entire strategy. Before that, I handled this guy easily enough that I was sure I had things down; instead, I found out my game was badly flawed in an important way. I've found many others go through this learning cycle as well, if they'd previously only worked with metal trainers before.
     
  3. RenegadeMonk

    RenegadeMonk

    254
    Jul 28, 2005
    One drill I picked up from my childhood days in Karate (wow that was a LONG time ago) that I have applied in my Kali training is called the Mongoose-Snake Drill. You need to wear gloves and a helmet, and you need a weapon (sword, stick, knife) as well as a partner for this drill. Have either one of you back-up against a wall, get in your fighting stance, and place your rear foot against the wall. Your rear foot is not allowed to move from the wall at all during the during the duration of the drill. The other person will face the man against the wall, and get in their fighting stance. The person against the wall cannot attack...only work on "defanging the snake" and counterattacking, while the other person is free to move around as much as they please using any techniques they wish. This is great because you can either spar using the drill or you can simply isolate an individual technique. For example, the person against the wall can only execute diagonal Angle 1 and 2 strikes while the other person can only deliver thrusting strikes. I find that this drill really involves a greater deal of timing than just sparring because of the lack of space. It tightens up your techniques really well. It also simulates the effect of fighting in an enclosed space (hallway, bathroom stall, telephone booth, etc.) and forces a lot of quick non-telegraphic movement.

    I also use another way to make freestyle sparring a bit more difficullt, and it involves throwing in a flow drill every now and then spontaneously in the midst of a sparring session. I picked this up in my teens taking JKD and Kali a-la Paul Vunak-style. What we'll do is spar all out, anything goes, and then either my partner or I will change it up (without telling the other person) and throw in a flow drill designated for that session (either Heaven-Earth, Sumbrada, Numerado, or Hubad)...and return back to sparring. You'll be surprised at how even flow drills can challenge your alive training. Spar all out, go to Numerado...then go back to sparring...then go into Heaven-Earth...then spar all out...then perform Sumbrada...etc. Do this non-stop. There are no designated times for when the flow drills get thrown in, although you can do that if things get too confusing starting out (for example, in a 15 min session, throw in a flow drill in the sparring mix every 3 minutes). This really amps up your athleticism and ability to adapt to ever-changing movements.

    Those are just two of the drills I use to make my training more alive.

    ~Mike
     
  4. AF1

    AF1

    274
    Apr 4, 2005
    Take a look at NFL training camps this time of year. A LOT of drills going on, many without helmets/padding and without going full speed. Some even without the entire team out on the field. "No touching of the quarterback" rules are in place.

    Very non-alive, yet obviously teams in one of the toughest contact sports around still see much of value there.
     
  5. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Is the concept of aliveness applicable to other sports? Even if it is, I think you're misunderstanding aliveness if you think it means full speed/contact/intensity all the time. Playing a scrimmage game without pads and at lower intensity is not even remotely non-alive, it is exactly akin to gym sparring (as opposed to a full-intensity sanctioned bout). It is unrehearsed, unscripted, at no set rhythm and no cooperation to take turns on initiative. Again, I'm not sure to what extent the concept applies to other sports, but in this case, I'm not sure you're using the term "alive" the way it's meant to be used.
     
  6. AF1

    AF1

    274
    Apr 4, 2005
    A scrimmage would be more akin to alive training, the drills going on right now are less so IMO.
     
  7. kukri2

    kukri2

    109
    Jul 28, 2007

    Thanks, Mike. I appreciate that
     
  8. RenegadeMonk

    RenegadeMonk

    254
    Jul 28, 2005
    Anytime man.

    Btw I sent you an email.

    ~Mike
     
  9. kukri2

    kukri2

    109
    Jul 28, 2007
  10. Pahtoocara

    Pahtoocara

    Feb 9, 2006
    This debate will never end. Sometimes, I think it's because of the "my style is better than your style" mindset. Still, it can be good discussion.

    I must add: FMA can be, is being, and should be practiced with aliveness. FMA is what you make it.

    Good "Aliveness" article:
    http://www.straightblastgym.com/aliveness101.html
     
  11. kukri2

    kukri2

    109
    Jul 28, 2007
    I think you miss the intent of the discussion. Go back and read the first few posts. Read the link that was included.

    That first link seems to contradict what is being said in the link you provided, incidentally.
     
  12. Hetman

    Hetman

    231
    May 22, 2006
    Hm, I believe that the problem here is to a certain point semantic in nature. for some reason when u8sing the term "drill" in within the context of boxing, wrestling, MMA... most of us have in mind alive environment, i.e. the alive way of doing the drill, with the goal of learning how to deal with certain type of energy. On the other hand, in FMA and many other eastern arts, we usually think of people doing some kind of static, predetermined exchange for the sake of "perfecting" the technique. Bottom line is that drills are as useful las you make them. I'd say that the aforementioned interpretation is to a large extent due to the fact that too many FMA, kung fu...practitioners ARE actually simply adhering to the most basically formulated drills, as if they are carved in stone, and as it would be sacrilege to alter them in any way. I guess they would say deviate...

    However, there are FMA schools doing quite a lot of sparring and other type of alive methodology in their training. a good example would be most Lameco instructors, and an excellent illustration is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJlIAetbqCg&mode=related&search=

    You will see Guro Agbulos and his students moving around in a manner that does not get developed from repeating some static drill or technique ad nauseum. It is obvious they have some serious alive training under their belts, which I believe is the case with many other good FMA people as well. After all, the Dog Brothers were doing their thing even before the arrival of the UFC on the mainstream scene, I believe.
     
  13. RenegadeMonk

    RenegadeMonk

    254
    Jul 28, 2005
    Some of the best FMA practitioners I've been blessed enough to meet with and train with knew how to use both alive-drills and pattern-drills in their training regimens to bring out the best in their skills and abilities. Very few, if any of them, totally forsaked one form of drilling for the other.

    ~Mike
     
  14. Benjamin Liu

    Benjamin Liu

    Jan 26, 2000
    More than that, it is "my style is better than your style so you should train with me and pay me big $$$$$." Much of the debates I've seen over systems is simply marketing.
     
  15. Hetman

    Hetman

    231
    May 22, 2006
    Exactly!

    I mean, it is definitely possible to imagine tw oboxers standing in place and doing a rhythmic 1-2 combo with the other guy "drilling" his catches or parries, but the fact is thate aren't too many of them doing it that way, if any. In BJJ they also have a sort of cyclic positional drills where one partenr goes through certain positions and escapes and then comes into the position where the other does the same thing from the beginning. However, they just do not make it the main emphasis of their train9ijn session. In the same vain, so should not FMA people get stuck and be mesmerized by the repetitve rhytmic drilling. As Mike Janich put it on one of his videos - Don't get lost in the drill!
     
  16. kukri2

    kukri2

    109
    Jul 28, 2007
    Also, the reason I submitted that article is that I came across a knife fighting discussion on youtube. There was a link to the article posted at the beginning of the thread. I've never met Matt Thornton, but I think he's great: excellent attitude and outlook, and he's an accomplished martial artist and trainer.

    So when he posts on his blog that, in summary, FMA aren't functional, I became concerned. I am doing PT and I like it. I also respect this Thornton's opinion. I wanted feedback.

    At any rate, the article you posted is a good one. I like to think of the practice of all MA as being able to be applied to the mundane. I think the practice of any esoteric discipline -- meditation, yoga, etc. -- is to improve your time in the mundane world. In addition to being a lot of fun -- who doesn't want to kick ass? -- there is also the healthy benefit, just approached in a different route.
     
  17. kukri2

    kukri2

    109
    Jul 28, 2007
    Could you post that again when you have time? Youtube is reporting the link is 'malformed'. Thanks
     
  18. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    I did a search on youtube of "guro Agbulo" and found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJlIAetbqCg

    Good stuff. I notice his footwork is very linear, not the typical FMA triangle. In fact, if you covered up his upper body and looked only at his legs, I might think he was doing FFS or some variant of it from the footwork. Lameco isn't always so linear, is it?
     
  19. kukri2

    kukri2

    109
    Jul 28, 2007
    I was wondering why those guys didn't off-line more... also, I guess they were limited by technique. Not a bad idea I guess. *


    * I also want to put a disclaimer at the end of all my comments. Something like "I am not an expert martial artist. The opinions expressed are not shared by the broadcasting station." Or something like that.
     
  20. RenegadeMonk

    RenegadeMonk

    254
    Jul 28, 2005
    The triangular footwork patterns found in FMA are not designed to be used when fighting only one opponent. From my experience, I find that they work best when dealing with multiple opponents. When in a multiple opponent/gang ambush scenario, you can't move on a linear plane...you need to move diagonally and laterally in order to deal with a multitude of attackers. If you aren't training for gang ambush scenarios, then triangular footwork is not always necessary to learn. However, when facing multiple attackers, it becomes essential.

    Linear footwork in FMA is designed when dealing with a single opponent in a dueling-fashion. In Lameco, there are two kinds of linear footwork taught right away: the Riterada Caballero (a basic foward/backward shuffle) and the Riterada Illustrisimo (similar to the Caballero retreat, but this time upon shuffling backward, the lead leg crosses back to the rear position).

    Just as a sidenote, the founder of Lameco Eskrima, Edgar Sulite, was really, really big on sparring and forms of alive training while he was still alive. From what I've read and heard, most of his early students had to spar from day one. You don't see that in too many FMA systems today. Although he did emphasize pattern-drills known as Laban Laro (play fighting), he also heavily emphasized the use of realistic, unarmored sparring while training.

    ~Mike
     

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