Travel to the Philippines

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.

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6 Responses to “Travel to the Philippines”

  1. Have a safe trip Darrin. I’m sure we’ll all “miss” you while you’re away. I hope that you are able to enjoy yourself and pick up some more valuable information as you continue to refine your system. All respect to you and your teachers in the Philippines. Bon Chance, Bon Voyage.

  2. Thanks, Tommy.

    I hope I’ll have something new to share with everybody. In fact, it was during my trip to Cebu while I was studying with GM Maranga that I had an “Aha!” moment and the pieces began to fit together.

  3. Old Dave Says:

    Happy Trails Darrin!

    And just in case you get bored (not), here’s some thoughts for you:

    Handball (court, not team) players learn very quickly to use the “off” or “weak” hand…your opponent will give you lots of practice in the game. And after some weeks/months players often end up with superior shots from the off hand, even better than the strong hand. “Handball players do it with both hands.”, and “Handball, the perfect game!”.

    I spent many hours watching the Lacrosse tournament the last three weekends…and the best players always switched hands to keep the ball and stick always from the defenders, and/or to gain a better shooting angle. My friend and I watched closely, and often the switch was so fast and smooth we didn’t actualy see it, just that the stick had changed sides and hand positions. BTW, Duke won over Notre Dame in a thriller.

    And I came up with a maybe similar activity for using a baseball bat in combat…the log chopping with an axe in Lumberjack Competition. The axes are heavier at the head, but not as much as a splitting maul. They rip through logs in about 20 seconds (if they’re good). The secret of the winners is “…for example, the lumberjacks who have a good rhythm and fluid motion to their swing invariably manage to qualify because their placement is perfect. Those who try to overpower the wood have a herky-jerky rhythm when their axes collide with the wood. The premise behind all chopping events is simple: A chopper needs to hit in exactly the same spot each time to make a smooth cut. The smoother the cut, the faster the ax goes through the block.”

    Best Regards

  4. Old Dave,

    Interesting observations. I think that if one practices for ambidexterity and precision it will come with time and reps. Those games require it to be competitive, so it must be developed in order to progress further. Perhaps the lesson here is that we too, as stick practitioners, must view this as a functional pre-requisite and prepare accordingly. I know in my own experience that the ability to switch leads in boxing was of tremendous benefit to me in the ring. I believe that it has to be practiced enough to feel smooth, natural, and be as effective but again it comes with time and reps. I too watched some of the lacrosse and it was great!

    All the best.

  5. Darrin have a great trip brother. I will be heading to the PI later this summer with the family…hope to drop down to Cebu for a bit of work as well…also Batangas area and of course Luneta for some Sunday morning Basho…lol….be safe and I look forward to hearing of your training…mabuhay kapatid

  6. Hola Darrin, espero que todo vaya bien por allí. Que envidia das, por Filipinas. Ya me contarás como te ha ido por Filipinas, llevo mucho tiempo sin contactar contigo.

    Saludos y un Abrazo desde España.

    Miguel Angel.

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