Archive for June, 2010

Travel to the Philippines

Posted in Princples and Theory with tags , on June 2, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Malapascua Island, Northern Cebu, Philippines

Tomorrow I’m leaving for the Philippines. I’ll be gone until August, and I don’t know how regularly I’ll be able to post. I am hoping to do some studying and improve as a martial artist.

I was thinking about my new video, and I was reminded of the time I first picked up a baseball glove. Like most people, my instinct was to put the glove on my right hand. After all, the right hand felt natural. The problem was that even though wearing a baseball glove on the left hand felt awkward, there was another piece of the picture –after I caught the ball, I had to throw it. Although my left hand was not as dexterous as my right hand, I needed to field the ball with the left hand in order to throw with my dominant right hand. Similarly, my stick style is a matter of fitting pieces together. I could go with a right hand over left grip, or a left foot forward stance, but other pieces wouldn’t fit.

As I see it, these are the pieces that must fit together:

  • The ability to hit with a one-handed right hand grip.

  • In order to maximize reach, I should be in a right forward stance, and grip the stick at its very end (not choked up).

  • The ability to hit two-handed for maximum power in bat grip

  • The ability to go into a two-handed rifle grip

  • The ability to change from single grip, to bat grip, and rifle grip almost instantly

  • There should be as little shuffling of the hands as possible to aid in weapon retention and for simplicity’s sake.

  • The ability to hit non-telegraphically

When I try to put these pieces together, Big Stick Combat is what I come up with.

I experimented with the right over left grip, but I encountered several dead ends, where techniques didn’t work (such as the underleft strike) or didn’t fit into the whole, such as “How do I swing with just the right hand , and go immediately into a right over left bat grip?) Such a system could be worked out, but in my eyes there were too many “glitches,” or rough spots that had to be glossed over.

When to Use Rifle Grip?

Posted in Commentary, Princples and Theory, Technique with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Reader Arnold asks: “But I do have a question. Suppose you only have access to a “heavy-ended” object, like a mop or push broom…would you try to use the high guard or go back into the rifle grip to use it?”

A common strategy in stick fighting is to move in close and use two-handed techniques, either in staff grip (both hands palm down) or in rifle/bayonet grip (with one hand palm down and the other hand palm up). The close range staff technique is Sifu Doyle’s (of Irish stick fighting) preferred strategy, and GM Estalilla of Kabaroan uses it as well.

When training with GM Maranga I started to reappraise the effectiveness of the close range big stick techniques, particularly against the short stick and the knife. The problem as I see it is that the long stick in rifle or staff grip moves too slowly, and is too easy for the opponent to grab. In close, the short stick and the knife move very quickly. Now while I may be forced into a close range rifle grip defense, I try to avoid it.

When to use rifle grip? Of course, when the opponent closes I am forced into rifle grip. But if I am using a mop or a push broom, I would move into rifle grip with the left foot forward. Why? Because these impromptu weapons can’t really be swung like a stick. Another possibility would be to break of the head of the broom, mop, or rake, to make it a less cumbersome weapon.

A similar weapon would be an umbrella. An umbrella is not really effective as an impact weapon. I would move into a left forward stance and use the bayonet thrust, which is the most effective method of using an umbrella.