Practicality of FMA systems

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

  1. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Gotcha. I've found that linear footwork works best for me also for single opponent, and I (and FFS in general) make use of some similar steps to what I saw in that video. I'd note though that there are FMAs who believe triangular footwork should always be used. Watch the Dog Bros, they are doing triangular footwork always, from what I can tell. Particularly apparent in Crafty's fights on video.
  2. RenegadeMonk


    Jul 28, 2005
    True. Triangular footwork can and, when possible, should be used, especially when facing a highly aggressive opponent who tries to blitz you. I myself have used triangular footwork successfully as of late when sparring with my training partners.

    And speaking of the Dog Brothers, I've read numerous times what a great influence Lameco Eskrima is on the Dog Brothers' fighting system.

  3. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    Hmmm, I don't think so. I'll say it again:

    FMA is what you make it.

    If you want it to be a dead art for you, it is dead. If, however, you want it to be alive, make it alive. Some just don't know how.

    I think others have reiterated this in their posts.

    A point about focus mits:
    Try full speed defang the snake. Break out of drills and be spontaneous. If you don't want to destroy your partner's hands, use LAMECO hand and forearm gaurds. Those are true FMA focus mits.

    Ben Liu - Exactly! Many instructors have done this very thing for years and years.
  4. kukri2


    Jul 28, 2007
    Hey, whatever works for you. I can't say I disagree with anyone's posts here; I got what I came for.

    I'll try one more time. I came across an article from straightblast that appeared to deride FMAs. I respect the opinion of the blogger, so I wanted to throw the idea out for discussion. It's not a style issue. It is a "does this work issue?"

    What are the alternatives? Knife and stick combatives, for one. In other words, no traditional FMAs.

    It could have been Ray Floro, in a article, who said "it doesn't take years to learn to fight. Most [of my] students are sparring after 6 weeks of instruction". This is a far cry some studios that wouldn't let students mix it up after 52 weeks.

    My personal analysis for my situation is that if I want to practice aliveness , I'll continue receiving PT instruction -- it is very good, -- and seek out like-minded individuals who want to spar and do the sort of work discussed here. Learning to grip, footwork, delivery, useable techniques are more easily gained from an existing body of knowledge than to have to make them up. Take what is useful, etc...

    At any rate, I appreciate the convictions. I'll remember that Lameco makes that kind of equipment,


  5. Norm'sTrainingBlades


    Mar 25, 2007
    The one thing I do feel compelled to say is that you have to take what anyone says about something with a grain of salt. I've seen clips where people said that FMA doesn't work. You can't stop a full powered strike coming in at you. And they even had a video clip showing that they couldn't do it.
    If you're running away/backing up from the attack, of course you can't stop it. There's an old saying. "To seek safety, you must go to the heart of danger." This is a perfect example of it. This applies to trying to stop that full powered strike. You have to face it and actually meet it head on. (Stepping into the strike while you use your stick to stop it helps cut down on the attacks momentum and therefore reduces it's power. Just don't forget body structure and alignment.)
    FMA has been used in WAR. (The military had the GI's learn one of the styles available to them in the Philipines during WW2.) Actually it's been used in warfare for a very long time. Most of Kali's roots are in jungle warfare. If it didn't work, then it wouldn't be around today.

    I was talking to one of my instructors about a week ago and he gave me an eye opener. He was saying that he's starting to see a lot more FMA styles starting to water down their curriculum. I personally can't understand that concept. I know it's a marketing thing, but you train to survive. You can't water down what works in order to achieve the desired goals. If a school wouldn't let the students spar in the first year, then it's time to get a new school. Just make sure the more aggressive seniors play nice until the newer people can handle it.
  6. Hetman


    May 22, 2006
    I have to agree. after all, that's why they came up with the "defanging the snake" tactics in FMA. You actually attack the attack if you wanna stop it. This brings me back to Guro Agbulos and his training approach. He favors the long range because that is where the defanging stuff works best, and it is also to evade the attack by using your footwork to get out of harm's way. Besides Lameco he did a lot of De Campo 1-2-3 Orihinal, hence the emphasis on the linear footwork. However, if you had the opportunity to see him doing knife sparring you would be able to see the triangular footwork and "get in and finish it" approach.
  7. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    Someone questions whether or not your FMA works?

    Tell them to bring it.

    I believe this is the part of the online article you are talking about. It's written by Matt Thornton.
    Those same moves the guys who try to bad mouth FMAs use are found in FMAs.

    Sometimes these guys seem to still be in the vacuum of folks who think FMAs don't do anything but play with stick drills.

    They forget that FMAs include kicking, punching, grappling, joint manipulations, submissions, impact weapons, blades, projectiles, flexibles... they are speaking from a limited point of view.
  8. RenegadeMonk


    Jul 28, 2005
    That's one thing I notice about people who bad mouth FMAs. They overgeneralize ALL FMAs as being non-alive and non-functional and that they consist of nothing but pattern-drills and stick twirling. I feel that these individuals should stop placing all FMAers under the "non-functional" umbrella and instead of bad mouthing them, they ought to do the research and find FMA instructors and systems that are very much into alive training and realistic pressure testing of their techniques and skills.

  9. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    Thanks RenegadeMonk, I'm glad we feel the same way about that issue. :thumbup:

    Here is a picture from a workout we did today:

    It was a cool 92 degrees so we decided to practice outside. ;) Actually, this was more like environment training.

    The picture shown is the practical application of one seguida (an FMA solo form). This is a picture of 2 guys new to the seguida. Because it was an introduction to this seguida we only went up to a level 3 in the progressive resistance scale.

    Out of this single seguida, we extrapolated empty hand strikes, knife movements, stick movements, various arm locks, various head controls , take downs, knife defenses, and stick defenses.

    I spent about 5 minutes showing them the actual seguida as it is practiced is solo drill form. The rest of the time was practical application. So when someone thinks that FMA solo forms hold no value, I have to chuckle. I have used the very moves from this single seguida numerous times in real time and in real life.

    Here is a good Progressive Resistance scale for MA training:
    Phase 1
    No resistance to your partner’s technique.
    Assist your partner in carrying out the technique.

    Phase 2
    No resistance to your partner’s technique.
    Do not assist your partner in doing the technique.

    Phase 3
    Resist your partner’s technique.
    You do not have your own attack agenda.

    Phase 4
    Both partners resist each other’s technique.
    Both partners attempt to complete a specified technique.

    Phase 5
    Gradually intensifying sparring matches.
    Both partners are free to apply any technique they want.

    Phase 6
    Both partners fight each other in all out sparring or competition.
    Mutual benefit may/may not be the goal.
  10. Benjamin Liu

    Benjamin Liu

    Jan 26, 2000

    That is missing their point. They say that drills or whatever people work on is "non-alive" and that their own training is "alive." (BTW, shouldn't it be "live" rather than "alive?")* Of course we know that just because someone does drills it does not mean that they don't spar or otherwise work against resisting opponenets because it is possible to do both. What they do is say "Drills are not alive!" and then say "FMA does drills, so FMA is not alive!" They start with the intention of badmouthing FMA because it is competition to their product, whatever they teach. Of course they will badmouth FMA so people will buy their videos and go to their classes and seminars rather do business with FMA instructors.

    Maybe some FMA schools just do drills all day and never spar. I've not seen it and I wouldn't go to a class like that. IMO the "problem" is more that the marketers are looking for/creating a "problem" so customers will need their product to solve the "problem."

    *I don't even use the word "alive" in this context outside of this thread because all it is is using someone's marketing words/memes. This is a new one I started seeing in the past year or two. After reading multiple marketing books it is easy to see how it is used in the martial arts and most people fall for marketing as if it were "The Truth tm." Much of the supposed "new" concepts in martial arts have been there for years just under other terms.
  11. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Benjamin, of course it is, you're right. I can't speak for the writer, but my guess has been that his experience has been similar to mine. I've personally trained in or observed a number of FMAs, and have spoken and cross-trained plenty with guys representing a broad range of others, and my impression is solidly that many FMAs spend an enormous amount of time doing non-alive drills. Obviously, the remaining training time was alive. If it were typically 5% non-alive and 95% alive, there'd be nothing to complain about

    Okay, important note here. No one, certainly not the writer of that article, say either of those things. It's not that "drills" are bad ... drills are good, and should be a part of your training. But drills can be alive or non-alive, and the author is saying that the alive kind is more applicable to functional combatives. Non-alive drills are more applicable to getting good at non-alive drills. That's a hugely important distinction that you seem to be missing in your statement above ... "drills are not alive!" is not something you'll ever hear.

    To the contrary, I can tell you that things happened exactly opposite for me. I started out in FMA, and spent a lot of time doing standard FMA non-alive drills. I noticed I started getting really great at those non-alive drills, but my progress in alive work seem to progress shockingly slowly (compared to, say, my progression in boxing), and I saw other disturbing things. When I finally switched to an FMA that is all-alive, my skills skyrocketed, and I do mean skyrocketed. Okay, maybe that was just me, maybe I just react better to one kind of training versus the other, but as I pulled my old training partners into the new system their skills similarly skyrocketed. It's all very consistent with what the proponents of aliveness say: a small amount of skill developed in non-alive work may carry over to combatives, but a huge amount of alive work does. I don't know how to assure you that I came at all this completely honorably, with the intention to love the arts I chose, but on my personal journey, I found my progression artificially slowed by non-alive training methods.

    Again, the important distinction I made above. Sparring is not the only thing that's alive, it really feels to me like you're misunderstanding the concept. Drills aren't the problem. Non-alive drills are the problem. If one day you spend 75% of your time doing non-alive drills and 25% of your time sparring, then I'd say you didn't waste 25% of your time that day. If you spent 95% of your time doing alive drills and 5% of your time sparring, you made good use all the way through. You should probably spend more time sparring next session, but the alive drilling will serve you well all along. Besides, reality-based work has to be done more as scenario drills rather than sparring, but can still be very alive.

    From my view, because I saw some of the same problems Thorton did (although obviously at a much more junior level), I'd guess things went more like this: guys went to a system with an open mind, found a huge percentage of time was spent doing what is essentially kata simply because it's traditional, and then came up with systems that trimmed the non-alive drillwork for alive drillwork and in the process came up with something in which most people will progress faster.

  12. AF1


    Apr 4, 2005
    Could you give some examples, Joe? What do you consider non-alive FMA drills and what do you consider alive?
  13. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    I'd say every flow drill I"ve ever done -- including variants such as lock-and-block and vital templates -- are not alive. My off-the-cuff loose definition of alive (which is probably flawed and you all will help find the flaws :) ) would be something in which the cadence, timing, footwork, in some cases initiative, etc. are not choreographed. Note that that does not exclude drills, which can meet the above easily. It does not require full intensity or contact. A drill designed to isolate certain techniques can be alive.
  14. Hetman


    May 22, 2006
    Well, according to Matt Thornton's definition of aliveness (which I like pretty much), it must include the following three components: energy, timing and motion. In other words, you need to be working with moving, resisting opponent in a non-rhythmic manner (at least not in the previously determined rhythm, or cadence), in order for your drill to be alive. now, even the pre-set techniques or combos can be done in this way. For example, you say you would only be attacking your partner with angle 1 strike, and he is to practice his defanging responses. However, you try doing it in a non-telegraphic fashion, while moving around, and not hanging you arm out there for him to hit. It does not necessarily mean doing it full speed, but as a natural, fluid motion.
  15. RenegadeMonk


    Jul 28, 2005
    By this definition, the Filipino drill known as numerado (at least the way I was taught it) is alive. It's pretty much a fluid drill that has no set techniques, pattern, or rhythm, but is mostly trained at a slower pace. It can be done with sword, stick, knife, or empty handed. It requires a great deal of footwork, spontaneous movement. and timing, and it really develops your body mechanics. You can vary the speed and intensity as much as you want as well.

    It translates to "by the numbers" or "one-side feed" and it involves one person feeding strikes while the other person uses footwork, angling, and distance to cut the opponent's weapon-bearing hand and/or body. It really helped my sparring and it's a great way to warm up before a sparring session.

  16. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    That's good. I missed energy, but that's hugely important.
  17. Offline


    Feb 9, 2007
    The main advantages of, say, stick flow drills, is that they teach accurate targeting, managing your rebound line, and getting used to feeling impact.

    There is no rule that says flow drills have to follow a fixed pattern. It's quite possible to move from one drill to another, to add or subtract moves, to grab your partner's wrist to force him to react, or to break out of the drill to practice a disarm or a finishing technique.

    Flow drills differ from kata in that a kata practitioner hits nothing, and reacts to nothing, which is OK for making your body do what you want it to do, but is the opposite of what you want to do in a fight.
  18. Copis


    Jan 31, 2000
    The majority of FMA and IMA being taught in this country comes from "seminar queen" instructors who are looking to add another class to their school. These instructors have bits and pieces of the FMA/IMA, yet promote themselves as FMA/IMA teachers......So if you are ONLY doing drills it is probably because that is all your teacher has.....:yawn:

  19. EdgeLurker


    Aug 28, 2006


  20. Hetman


    May 22, 2006
    No words ring truer than those!

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