Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The True Nature of Fighting

The true nature of fighting involves weapons. From time immemorial, wars were fought and won by men with the use of weapons. Kingdoms fell, countries torn, and nations emerged through the use of these tools for war. From pre-historic times, medieval times up until modern times, everything that man fought for involved some sort of an archetypal contraption for which would make his work easier tenfold.

Filipino indigenous warriors of the northern tribes

Why use weapons when hands and feet will do? Will a human use his bare hands against a 7-foot bear with sharp claws? Doesn't a hunter use a spear and a blade when he wanted to slay a lion roaming around his small town? Hands and feet just takes forever to finish the job especially when hundreds of armies fought in a great open battlefield. And up against someone who has a blade, depending only on your hands and feet already puts you at a disadvantage.

In times of peace, hand-to-hand competitions were organized to keep soldiers and men of battle to sharpen their skills and keep them on their toes. Thus, many sportive events even up to this day mirror these martial competitions. The sad thing is through time, many are disillusioned that these events are the end-all and be-all of fighting. To the public eye, these tests of pugilism and wrestling produce the ultimate fighters who cannot be conquered. Empty handed arts are only one aspect. Many have forgotten the true meaning of fighting.

Modern martial arts competitions may give you a false sense of security

In modern civilian times, people have waged war against the criminal elements prowling the streets in search for their next victim or source of sustenance. People have resorted to tazer guns and pepper sprays because bringing a knife is illegal in many parts of the globe. These thugs and gangs are aware of these tools as well. And they would do everything it takes to avoid falling victims when they supposedly are the aggressors.

Filipino prison gangs, a menace to society

In Pekiti-Tirsia, we believe in life not in death. If someone endangers someone’s life, it is our duty to protect that life. Endangering someone’s life breeds disrespect. If someone harms your life, he already disrespects you as a person and as a living individual. Desperate times call for desperate measures. In a situation where your life is threatened, it is only normal to get desperate and fight for your life. You cannot always ensure to protect your attackers' life if this happens. Your primary objective is to survive no matter what the cost. In an instance where weapons are concerned there are only three outcomes: (1) you die, (2) he dies, (3) either of you dies or survives.

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is not a martial art, it is a complete fighting system. We don't teach you martial arts, we save lives.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Rules of Engagement

The Philippine marines are definitely familiar with the rules of engagement.

Whenever people ask me how one should approach someone who is trying to rob you in the street, my answer is always the same. There are no rules. Unlike any legally sanctioned fight, a street attack should be approached open-mindedly with no mental reservations. No matter how hard you train in the gym or in your martial arts class, you will never apply the skills that you've learned if you do not have the proper mental attitude. There were some incidents in the past wherein some notable personalities in the martial arts world was not able to apply the techniques they have acquired from years of practice given a street situation. A muay thai fighter got stabbed after doing some shopping in a dodgy place of town. An incident involving a famed Filipino Martial Arts instructor getting slashed in the arm when he was out with his girlfriend one time even after giving away his money. All of these are professional fighters and teachers. But why have they froze during an altercation with a street element who had no martial arts training whatsoever? Why did the muay thai fighter not apply his ill-famed roundhouse kick? Why did the FMA instructor not apply his numerous disarming techniques and stick skills that he demonstrates over and over again? Have you ever asked what the difference was between the street thug and these professional fighters? It is clear and evident that it is the will to survive! Street thugs always have the proper mental attitude when they're out to rob you. They are out there starving and/or living a difficult life. The minute they try to rob an innocent civilian, they would be always convicted in whatever sort of action they resort doing. When someone threatens you with an icepick to your neck, you know they would really plunge the blade to your skin (if they haven't yet) if they do not get what they want. To a junkie's line of reasoning, he would do anything and everything to get that next fix. He has no morals. All the people that he knows, family and friends go out the window once he gets the urge to get high.

Just like in a cage match, when someone asks for your money with a knife, do you tell him wait, hold on, let me take out my knife as well so the fight would be fair, or wait, let me change to my gi first or let me take off my shirt and change to my board shorts before I fight you. In some technique oriented schools probably they even think of the different angles that his attacker may possibly make. So out of the 5 angles of attack that he already knows, once the angle does not fall in one of those 5, he is already dead. Ironic isn't it? Funny even how some people, after being presented with blood, sweat and tears training, still go back to their comfort zone form number 75 and forego any skill he has learned from you. They would rather spend hours and hours of useless movement and exercises when all they have to do is train wisely. You can learn all the techniques you like, but when someone makes an attempt at your life, will you make it look as simple as if you were just coming out of ballet class?

I would rather watch her than do a horse stance for 2 hours.

After all those years of studying different katas, becoming a black belt, shouting "kiai" or "aye" once you strike the final blow and yet you still cannot apply any of these given a real life situation, in my opinion you should stab your instructor for giving you a false sense of security or maybe just to see if his blood is red. Or maybe your instructor will do the same and freeze when presented with a blade. You maybe able to run a marathon without breaking a sweat, do a full side split and still smile or properly do all these magnificent chokes and holds with your eyes closed, but if you do not have the proper mental attitude and discipline, all of these are useless.

So what are the rules of engagement again?


Would you be the next victim?

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Illusion of Disarming

From my experience, bladed weapon disarming is something like wishful thinking. One could only disarm a bladed weapon from an opponent given three situations: (1) you posses good skill while your opponent is a beginner in fighting with bladed weapons
not familiar with handling bladed weapons; (2) the attack is telegraphed and travelling at a tremendously slow velocity; (3) you already got hit before you have performed a disarming move on your opponent. If one of these three things is not true, then I'm sorry to say that either you would lose a limb, get severely wounded, or die in battle.

People who say that as civilians, you should fight to disarm, is I think disillusioned from watching too many martial arts flicks or has either already signed your death warrant. Out in the street, against a crazed lunatic who is out to kill you and take everything you have with him, you need not be overly concerned with your assailants' welfare. The important thing is first and foremost, to survive the encounter.

If one is only concerned with disarming a bladed weapon from an assailant when attacked, he would be only fighting at half his maximum potential. An individual would be aiming to control two things here: (1) to get out unscathed and (2) not to severely harm his opponent. As a victim, you have every right to protect your life and the life of those you are protecting.

If someone successfully disarmed an opponent from his weapon, then well and good. But if the opponent is not knocked out yet, you cannot be complacent that he wouldn't still have a go at you. There are many factors to consider in weapon disarming and if one still has not honed his skills to its full potential, he shouldn't be concerned too much about disarming. As a beginner, one is stupid to spend hours and hours of fancy disarming drills and techniques in a martial arts class where the feeder is travelling in slow motion while you, the receiver, on the other hand is barely moving at blinding speed using your best effort. You are wasting your time for something that won't work. Always remember that like any other normal empty-handed attack, a bladed weapon can change direction, strike, lock/trap, and take you down if need be. The myth of bladed weapon disarming seems to be a reality with most Arnis and Eskrima classes all over the world today. If this is your cup of tea, then expect your fingers do the walking when the blade sings its tune.