Archive for August, 2010

Baston vs. Baseball Bat

Posted in Other Stick Methods, Technique, Videos, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , on August 31, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Check out the following video, featuring Master Shaun Porter of Lightning Scientific Arnis. Master Porter  prefaces

Short Stick vs. Baseball Bat

his demo by stating how baseball bats have become the weapon of choice for street thugs in the UK.

His counters to the bat are:

1) Jam with live hand and thrust to body

2) Jam/block with stick

3) Hit the bat and merge with the swing while stepping back, then move in.

4) Hit the hand while stepping back and evading the weapon.

Note also the disarms at 3:25.

Master Porter makes a couple of points that remind me of GM Estalila’s teachings. Hitting the hand is not the easy solution you think it is. In medium range momentum will carry the bat into your hand, or body, head. At long range if you hit the hand and the opponent loses his grip, you are facing a potential projectile in the form of a baseball bat.

I’m interested in your feedback on these techniques.

Baseball Bat in a Clinch

Posted in Other Stick Methods, Princples and Theory, Technique with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Let us imagine that your opponent has closed on you and the two of you are in a clinch position.

Options with the short stick are to try to whip the end into the opponent (abaniko/witik strikes) or to thrust with the tip. The Dog Bros excel at grappling, thrusting techniques.

With a long stick you can choke up and attempt the same -whip strikes or thrusting/gouging.

But the baseball bat is interesting. If you choke up on it, most of the weight is in the forward end, so now you have mass that you can whip into the opponent’s head. It’s like having a brick in your hand during a clinch.

Trying to whip the rattan stick into a clinched opponent. Not very effective.

The long stick is not much better. Abaniko/Witik is still not very effective in close.

Note how I am able to jam the heavy end of the bat into a clinched opponent. With the bat I have the advantage of weight/mass going for me.

Real Life Combat: Baseball Bat vs. Bolt Cutters

Posted in Real Life Combat, Videos with tags , , , , , , on August 26, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Check out the video.

A “deranged driver” (in the audio’s words) hijacks a dump truck and runs through red lights, evades and then tries to run over police, goes up onto the curb, etc., for 45 minutes.

Finally the dump truck is clipped as he runs through a red light, and the truck tumbles. The psycho bolts from the truck and makes a run for it. When the fugitive is confronted by a citizen, Doug, he pulls a pair of bolt cutters from under his shirt.

Fortunately, Doug is also armed with a baseball bat. Doug starts dishing out punishment to the psycho, who backpedals and dodges many of the blows.

1.  At 1:50 Doug starts swinging. Note that he is swinging one-handed, The psycho steps back, but what if he lunches forward on the offbeat? A 2-handed grip would help retain the weapon, and also help retrieve it. After a swing misses, a 2-handed grip “closes off” the body to prevent someone from closing and grappling (tackling).

2. Note that Doug never blocks the bolt cutters. The psycho is on the defensive, and he is so busy evading Doug’s strikes that he cannot launch any strikes of his own.

3. The fight comes to a clinch. Doug is in what I call “carry grip,” with the right hand halfway up the bat. In a clinch this enables Doug to land telling blows with the heavy end of the bat.

High Guard, contd.

Posted in Princples and Theory, Technique with tags , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by bigstickcombat

I’m glad to see the response generated by my last post. Anyone who agrees with me on everything I say probably isn’t thinking for himself.

Recapping, I believe in the importance of “cover,” of keeping one’s hands up to help protect the head, whether unarmed or armed.

Consider the following:

Middle Guard. Notice how the head is exposed due to the weapon's short length.

Middle Guard with the long stick. I am much more covered by virtue of the stick's length.

Kabaroan Middle Guard

My preferred High Guard Stance. Note how little of the stick is visible.

Traditional Nunchaku Stance

Are there advantages to this stance with the nunchaku? How about other flexible weapons?

The High Guard

Posted in Princples and Theory, Technique with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by bigstickcombat

I last wrote about the importance of guarding your head. Remember, if you’re hit in the body you may be hurt, but you can still defend yourself. On the other hand, if you’re hit in the head and knocked unconscious, your opponent can drive a tractor over you and there’s nothing you can do.

This leads me to the concept of blocking versus cover. Blocking is a  lower-level concept in which one tries to move a hand to block or intercept a blow. The problem is that when blows start coming in fast and furious, like they do in real life, it’s easy for a blocking defense to be overwhelmed. A person who blocks often must transition from blocking, which is defensive, to punching, which is offensive.

A better concept is cover, which can be found in boxing. The idea is to cover your vital areas, particularly your head, so that no matter how many punches are thrown, and whether or not you see the punch, your hands/arms form a natural barrier. Ideally, a covered position is one in which your arms are coiled to strike, so that you can hit non-telegraphically.

I have applied the concept of cover to weapons. I want to be in a stance that protects my head when the blows start raining in. Imagine that there is a second opponent that I am not aware of. Even if I am aware of a second (or more) opponent, I still prefer to be in a covered position to help shield my head against multiple attacks coming from several different angles, some of which I cannot see.

Note how I must bring up the stick to guard my head.

My head is completely exposed.

Like a boxer's guard, my hands are up near my head.

As a last ditch defense, I can defend my head with a slight movement upward.

Real Life Combat: Fatal Fistfight

Posted in Princples and Theory, Real Life Combat with tags , , , on August 18, 2010 by bigstickcombat

In the small town where I work (population 3,000), police reported to the scene of a fistfight. One man was found

A Street Thug Kicks a Man Who's Down

unconscious on the ground. He later died at the hospital.

Accounts say that the deceased started the fight, throwing the first punch. His opponent hit him, knocking him to the ground. Once the victim was on the ground, his opponent continued to kick and hit him in the head.

Lessons Learned

1). Is It Worth It?

The victim started the fight over an argument about tools. Now he’s dead. Was getting his Philips screwdriver back worth dying over?

2). Beware the Guy Who Returns to the Scene

Time after time, some guy is kicked out of a bar, or out of a party, or loses a fistfight, or backs down from a fistfight, only to return with a gun. The victim threatened to come back with a gun. I’m not condoning threatening people or returning with weapons to settle arguments, but the smart thing to do would be to return with a weapon (or weapons). The man charged with murder is lucky to be alive.

3). Protect Your Head!

My full contact teacher, Al Smith Sensei, told me an old boxing saying: “Get hit in the body and you get hurt: Get hit in the head and you die.” What this means is that if you get hit in the stomach, or groin, or chest, it may hurt like hell, but you’re still conscious and can defend yourself, but if you get hit in the head and the lights go out, it’s game over. Your assailant can start up his car and drive over you or feed you into the wood chipper. You have no defense when you’re unconscious.

The implications of this are that you must always cover your head. In boxing this means keeping your hands up. This sad fight was an unfortunate example of this lesson: by letting a punch land on his head, he was knocked either unconscious or semi-conscious to the ground, where his opponent was able to kill him.

Next I will look at the implications for stick fighting.

Move Like a Tuko

Posted in Commentary, Princples and Theory with tags , , , on August 16, 2010 by bigstickcombat


Years ago I stayed with a Filipino family in the Camotes Islands, between Cebu and Leyte. I was outside at night under a mosquito net, while my hosts slept inside. I heard a noise all night that I couldn’t figure out.

The next morning I asked Bibi, “What was that noise I heard last night, kind of like a frog croaking? But I know it’s not a frog, and it’s not a bird, either.” I imitated the sound.

He laughed. “It’s a lizard. We call it tuko.”

You can hear tuko croaking at night in the Philippines, and they’re common in many Filipino homes, where they stay in dark, hidden parts of the house during the day and emerge at night.

To see a tuko lumber clumsily up a wall at dusk, it looks like an idiot with a large head, and a slow side-to-side crawl. Then it perches motionless, preferably near a light bulb.

One night I saw a moth land not far from a tuko. The gecko slowly inched toward, and I was startled when the tuko simply exploded and snapped up the moth in the blink of an eye. I wasn’t expecting to see such blinding fast speed.

Rather than creep right up to its prey, the tuko had calculated maximum striking distance, and had burst like a whip to close the gap.

This is food for thought for the martial artist. To be calm, not frenzied or waving the stick around. Then to calculate the optimum striking distance, exploding and blasting the opponent at a range where he doesn’t perceive the danger of your pending attack, and yet it is too fast for him to do anything about it.

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