Wednesday, August 31, 2011

History Repeats Itself

The first Filipino badass, Datu Lapu-Lapu

Everyone wants to be a badass. I just watched a video wherein one instructor was criticizing some Filipino Martial Art saying not to worry about techniques that worked 400 years ago in the Philippines and worry about what works today in the railroad station. They were even making fun about students making a fuss on the continuity and flow of movements. And what are the "better" techniques they would like to show? I watched more. I saw pushing, slapping and more pushing. I say go to any place in the Philippines and apply that and you will find yourself at the receiving end of the blade. After reading this, to some, the Philippines appears to be such a deranged country, but in reality it is quite the opposite. It just so happened that people here are a bit more passionate in everything they do especially when it comes to love and war.

It is easy to say to not worry about techniques that worked before. How many ways is there to inflict damage on another? Even on the physical sense, just like a triangle, there are three: strikes, submissions and weapons. Little do they know, that history repeats itself. People are programmable beings and rarely diverse from tradition and comfort zones. Just take a look at music, fashion trends, and news. What do they want us to forget, how someone could chop your head off in a single swing? Or how your hand can fly if you try to block a machete? Or maybe how your belly can be punctured like a pig's if you constantly push and shove your attacker to a corner? Okay, I won't worry about my next move but just stand and wait for what my opponent gives me. What does that spell? Defense. In a sport fight, you can apply defense why not. Attack and defend and wait what your opponent gives you. But in street survival, once a threat is seen, you should already be able to assess and execute freely your available options. Hitting your assailant only provokes him from doing you more harm. No need to reinvent the wheel for it has already been invented. Simply improve and make it better. Those that do reinvent or try to may just discover a square wheel and end up right where they started.

The Manila Pitbulls circa 2003 teaching at the Balikatan Exercises together with
Kuya Doug Marcaida, Guro Jun De Leon, Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje and Tuhon Rommel Tortal

People should learn history. As the saying goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Be very careful about what martial arts or systems you learn for the purpose of survival. Some people may be teaching you to die faster without you knowing it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting back on the horse

Everyone of us experience downtime, time of inactivity, a loss or defeat, sickness, injury. Though we believe in good health and not in sickness, there are times when we do not control the elements. In training, when you push yourself too much, you reach a point where you eventually breakdown. How do you get back from a slump? How do you get back that drive and be motivated enough to get back on the same stupid horse from which you just fell from?

Here are some simple tips for the everyday Joe:

1) Get proper nutrition
Doing this doesn't require eating gourmet meals with expensive ingredients all the time. Your food may be simple, may not taste great, but very good for your body. Our forefathers just picked fruits and vegetables from trees and on the ground, washed them and shoved them in their mouths to survive. They sometimes even ate animals which were not fully cooked. Just like fighting, you need to get down and dirty sometimes.

2) Get enough sleep
Your body should be able to recuperate well in order for it to be loaded with heavy work again. Without the proper rest, even if you are that skilled, you would not be able to reach your full potential. Rest builds strength more than working out. It is when you rest that you get stronger.

3) Meditate
Think about how you got into your slump in the first place. What events triggered this. Reflect on it, set it aside, and put it away. It is day 1 again and you will be building a new you. The sun is up, the birds are chirping, time for some action!

4) Leave your ego at the door
You maybe good before, but what good is having a full cup and still wanting to be served more? You might not be as good as you once were. There will always be someone better, stronger, faster, more good looking and who has a better personality than you. Accept it. You are doing these things for a higher purpose.

5) Find your motivation
It can be a bully in school, a rumor monger, an annoying coworker, the government, a thorn on your side, or just simply food stuck between your teeth. Find a way to get mad and channel your energy towards training.

6) Train slowly but surely
During your first few days of getting back, your movements should not be executed fast at once. Your body is still recovering from being sedentary and may not respond like it used to. Start slow, get the proper form into movement. Execute it once then repeat it. Keep repeating until the movement is memorized by your body. Once you nail the form down, add a little speed. Execute it with proper precision and accuracy. Repeat til you get tired. Add a little power. Power follows speed. A bullet maybe small but with speed, it is powerful. Repeat until tired.

7) Get a training partner
Training by yourself can be boring at times. You have to be extra crazy to be training by yourself for a long time without having a third eye checking your movements. Training with a partner enhances your sensitivity and trains your timing in execution. You can get a lot of useful feedback from a knowledgeable training partner.

8) Train with intent
Going through the motions may be fun, but if it is not purposeful, you are just wasting time. Visualize. You need a very vivid imagination especially if you are training by yourself. What good is a movement or routine if you keep going at it at 50% all the time. Come crunch time, you might still deliver it at 50%. Train like you fight and fight like you train. Enough of the fancy work, kill the enemy already!

We all forget about the basics all the time: we need to have them repeated to us our entire lives. These are just a few sure fire tips that I have and still put into practice. I hope these have helped you too. If you’ve been away for a while and are intimidated about coming back in, do it anyway. Do it today even if you get frustrated at yourself for not doing it correctly. Do it anyway. Get yourself back in the game. Think about the saying, “The slowest person in class is still lapping everyone who’s home on the couch.” Now get out and hit that tire!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Were You?

After over a year long hiatus, the writing bug has bit me again. So let me bore you with my thoughts while you sip a cup of coffee.

It has been ages since I've posted on this blog and at times it seems that life has taken over. The last 20 months since I've moved back to Philippines has been truly colorful and interesting bustling with numerous events and challenges. People come and go, some remain, but everyone fights the good fight. This year of 2011, we were able to successfully host several events under PTK Sandatahan which is the group I have formed since moving back in January 2010.

January - Kali Clinic: Baptism of Fire

This 3-day clinic focused on the following activities:
  • Body conditioning
  • Mental conditioning
  • Maneuvering and Mobility
  • Strategising
  • Drills
  • Sparring
This occurred every Sunday of January 2011 which served as a supplementary training to the regular Tuesday and Thursday group classes.

Trainer: Agalon Ritch Soriano

Psalms 144:1 [Of David] Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle

January -
Kasangga Mo Ang Langit TV feature

Aired on January 22, 2011 @ IBC TV 13 5:30 PM. Kasangga Mo Ang Langit featured the "Baptism of Fire" training event conducted by Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan at the Sunken Garden, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, Philippines.

The weekly TV documentary is hosted by father and son tandem Rey and JR Langit.

April - A Close-Quarter Affair To Remember with Tuhon Rommel Tortal

A Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan seminar with Tuhon Rommel Tortal

Coverage was: Knife counters, Stick grappling and Dumpag

With this seminar, one expected to:
  • Develop skills and instinctive reaction to close quarter combat
  • Learn to how to grapple with or without a weapon in a combative mindset
  • Confidently maneuver in and out of edged and impact weapons
Trainer: Tuhon Rommel Tortal

July - Wood and Steel 7/11: Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Philippines Cross Training event

The long awaited second part of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Philippines Cross Training.

A cross training between PTK clubs in Metro Manila which was hosted by the Pekiti-Tirsia Sandatahan group under Agalon Ritch Soriano.

Trainers: Mandala Jasper De Ocampo, Mandala Mikey Alcaraz, Mandala Eric Laulagnet, Agalon Ritch Soriano, Agalon Buddy Acenas

October - Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Street Survival Seminar in Dubai, UAE

To be hosted by Pekiti-Tirsia Kali UAE Dubai Sicas Famosus. The event which is long overdue is finally here! The seminar objective is to equip regular civilians and young professionals self-preservation skills to use during crisis situations.

I was maybe out of this blog, but I was surely there during these events. Where were you?