What Do You Do When You Don’t Have Your Stick?

Q: What do you do when you don’t have your stick?

A: Thai boxing.

Some Filipino martial artists try to apply weapon techniques to bare hands. I think this is a poor idea. I don’t try to do long stick techniques with a knife. I don’t try to do long stick or knife techniques with my bare hands.

But some martial artists want to brag that their art is everything. “Stick, knife, machete, bare hands –it’s all the same techniques.”

To get a sense of how idiotic that is, try this: “Blow gun, spear, chainsaw, wrestling –it’s all the same techniques.”

I think martial artists who try to derive empty hand techniques from weapon techniques are like the Chinese, who tried to come up with fighting techniques for humans from watching animals. This doesn’t mean that all Chinese kung-fu styles are bad, but I do believe it’s a faulty premise.

Fighting like a snake would make more sense if you actually were a snake. Fighting like you were holding a machete would make more sense if you were actually holding a machete.

On the other hand, the Thais started with a different premise: What is the most effective technique an unarmed human can use? Those techniques were then tested in real combat, both in wars against neighboring countries as well as brutal full-contact matches.

I could try to invent some empty-hand fighting techniques by studying the machete, or the big stick, but why reinvent the wheel? Thai boxing is proven in combat. When Thais first fought kung-fu masters, even the Thais were shocked at how poorly the kung-fu fighters did.

Real matches serve as a laboratory to evaluate the effectiveness of the two premises: fighting techniques based on animal strengths or fighting techniques based on human strengths. The answer is clear.

When Filipino martial artists will get into the ring and compete with their techniques, we can evaluate their effectiveness. Until then, I will stick with Thai boxing.

Note: I studied Thai boxing with Khru Paul Metayo of Fresno, California, and Khru Ike Villaflores in Dumaguete, Philippines.

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2 Responses to “What Do You Do When You Don’t Have Your Stick?”

  1. Sorry but your arguement _ though is backed up by logical points_ fails to be convincing for one reason….. you contradict it.
    If muay thai has been proved effective in combat then it clearly could not have been real combat for as we know real combat resorts primarily to weopons, which are the exact things you say that the effective use of has nothing to do with the effective use of empty hands. You would have been more convincing however if you were to use that arguement to promote Karate (which includes Kobudo anyway) or wing chun (which is kung fu)
    If you refer to the muay thai as the ring sport then lets not forget it is just that _a ring sport with rules rounds and regulation…not real combat. Also needless to mention that Muay thai fighters have been downed in the ring (on severl tournaments) by Chinese sanda fighter and full contact Karate fighter too using muay thai rules…does that mean sanda, mma or kyokushin is batter than muay thai? so that invalidates that argument too. Last but not least if you refer to ancient muay thai fighting or muay boran …which style are you referring too??? they are all different from each other. Infact some muay boran is actually closer to silat and kung fu than muay thai as seen in Muay korat or Muay chaiya. In conclusion your arguments fail entirely. I would also suggest you take the following into account when discussing this topic. when training in weopons based martial arts you learn to acustom yourself to a skill level that needs far more accuracy, cordination and speed in your preperation and training. At more advance levels you learn to avoid weopon strikes when you are bare handed not to mention disarms and interceptions. are you telling me that when some one learns to go bare handed against weopns they are not ultimately also preparing themselves against empty handed opponents? PLEASE!

  2. “Some Filipino martial artists try to apply weapon techniques to bare hands. I think this is a poor idea. I don’t try to do long stick techniques with a knife. I don’t try to do long stick or knife techniques with my bare hands.”

    You speak based on your viewpoint – which is of course limited by your personal experience.

    Now let me repeat your own words… “To get a sense of how idiotic that is, try this”: my personal experience says that Filipinos have a point when they use knife and stick techniques with bare hands. That is if they’re truly trained by an authentic Arnis/Tapado/FMA master. Not just someone who claims to be one and then asks people like you to pay in dollars. I was there when you trained in Tapado… now you call it big stick… anyone who knows Tapado can fight with bare hands using Tapado principle of “one hit certain kill”.

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