Archive for stick fighting
My dad is struggling right now. He just got out of the hospital following a severe reaction to chemotherapy. He’s at the point where standing is an effort, and getting in and out of the bathtub is more than he’s capable of –even with my mom’s help.
I remember GM Giron as an old man. “I want to work out,” he said, “but my body fights me.”
I realize my own mortality. All of us need to come to terms with the fact that someday we will look back wistfully on the days when we could pick up the stick and strike with power. We’ll long for the days when we could “play,” enjoying the challenge of sparring with friends.
I don’t want to look back some day and regret the times that I was “too tired” to get up off the couch. I don’t want to find myself hardly able to stand and think, “If only I’d worked out, I might not be in this shape today.”
I’ve lost all my excuses not to work out. I’m going to exercise and thrill to pounding the bag as hard as I can, and try to master the challenge of controlling the big stick and taking my art to the next level.
Now is the time to do it, before it’s too late.
I was riffling through the pages of a magazine at the local Wal-Mart the other day, when I was surprised to see a new knife design. Just when you think it’s all been done, a special forces operator, Brent Beshara, invented a new knife design, which he calls the Besh Wedge.
Beshara was interested in the Fairbairn-Sykes dagger, a classic double-edged dagger from WWII, but found that the tip was fragile and tended to break. For a soldier in the field, a knife is more of a tool used to pry things open or cut cords than a fighting weapon. As a result, the tip of a dagger designed as a weapon had the tendency to break when employed as a tool.
One day while grinding the edge on a blade, Beshara has a sudden insight: he beveled one edge on
top of the blade, and beveled the edge on the other side underneath. The two beveled edges, one on the top and one on the bottom, met at a chisel point. It can be hard to grasp the concept from just a written description, so study the pictures here.
These factors create a knife that keeps its edge longer and has a much stronger thrusting point, much more resistant to breakage.
Pete Gray was a professional baseball play despite the fact that he only had one arm! In the minor leagues Pete stole
63 bases and had a .333 batting average, which earned him an MVP award.
Pete is amazing for overcoming the disadvantage of batting with just one arm. Think how hard it would be to bat with just one arm. How many Filipino martial artists are handicapping themselves by swinging the stick with just one arm?
One unexpected difficulty Pete had in batting was an inability to hit a breaking ball. Because he only had one arm, Pete could not check his swing. One of my discoveries as I explored the two-handed method of stick wielding, holding the stick like a baseball bat, is that the second hand adds an extra element of control. Having a second hand on the stick helps you to redirect the stick, to brake it, and to exert greater control on trick strikes that change direction. The second hand helps you to control the opponent’s stick at contact, like a live hand.
“Gray also proved himself an accomplished bunter. In order to bunt, he would plant the knob of the bat against his side, and would then slide his hand about one-third of the way up the shaft of the bat.” This ability to move from stick grip at the end of the bat to carry grip at the middle of the bat just might come in handy against a closing opponent.
Above all else, Pete Gray is a great example of what all of us are capable of if we push ourselves to overcome our limitations.
Check this out from Cold Steel:
This webpage also has a video of the machete in action.
According to GM Giron, this weapon (which although it’s billed as African, has counterparts in the Philippines) is the inspiration behind the “kabaroan,” or “new” styles.
This is basically a machete on a stick. Given the weapon’s greater length, new techniques had to be originated to adapt to the weapon. Remember, you adapt to the weapon, you become an extension of the weapon, not vice versa.
This is simply the bladed form of Big Stick Combat. For the person who cannot own a firearm, I don’t see how you could do better than to have one of these for self-defense in the home. If nothing else, the deterrence factor (Do you really want to mess with that blade?) would be formidable.
Check out this video from the “Human Weapon” series. This shows the devastating power of the butt stroke.
Josh Morales wondered why I grip the stick at the very end, rather than choke up, which is conducive to butt strikes. My preference is always for greater reach. The idea is that by using a bat, with a pommel at the end, I can still get power from the butt strike without choking up on the stick.
If we look at this sequence in the video, how could it be used against an opponent with a short stick or similar weapon?
Check out the following video, featuring Master Shaun Porter of Lightning Scientific Arnis. Master Porter prefaces
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.