Sunday, August 13, 2017

Four Combat Ranges

In Eskrima we basically have 4 ranges for combat.

1. Long Range
2. Medium Range
3. Short Range
4. Ground Fighting

To understand what each range actually looks like, I'm going to simplify and give you an empty hand example.

In empty hand fighting, this is something like Point Fighting. Many people think that Point Fighting is unrealistic because it's a game of tag. Contrary to popular belief point fighting is actually very realistic and useful because it's a game of tag. With a weapon, it would look something like Fencing.

In empty hand fighting, this is something like Kickboxing. Whether it's an exotic Kung Fu hand strike or some Karate toe strike, I believe that you should be able to use your medium range techniques from whatever style it is you train in. As long as you understand that when humans fight in medium range it's going to look something like a Kickboxing match.

In empty hand fighting, this is the clinch. In Muay Thai this is where you grab a person by the head and neck to knee them. This is where the Judo and Gerco-Roman Wrestling shine.

Whether it's Kung Fu trapping hands or some Aikido wrist lock, I believe that you should be able to use your short range techniques from whatever style it is you train in. As long as you understand that when humans fight in short range it's going to look something like what you see in the clinch in a sporting match. 

The biggest problem in short range is that most people do not understand that their short range techniques applied in real life will be applied under grappling energy.

At a martial arts studio you might see an instructor demonstrate ground fighting techniques. This is a demonstration and not to be confused with real life. 

In empty hand fighting, this is something like the ground fighting that you see in MMA(sport of cage fighting). 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Street Fighting Videos

Recently I watched a ton of street fighting videos posted on Youtube. Almost all of these were tough guys duking it out man to man, to see who is tougher.

It's very easy to criticize these people and say that they are unskilled and suck at fighting.
However if you really think about it, you and your opponent are probably going to fight more like these guys than you are the current UFC stars. 

There is a lot that one can learn from these street fighting videos if your willing to learn.

I saw a lot of things some of these people did right that helped them in the fight. I'm going to list them because if they can do it, chances are we might be able to do it too. 

1. Arms up guarding the head.
2. Staying outside the pocket. The pocket is the danger zone. 
3. Staying composed and not rushing in.
4. Not throwing everything into a punch until the right moment. 
5. Grab, pull them in and knee strike.
6. Using the knee to pin their opponent on the ground.
7. Kicking the face of a downed opponent.
8. Controlling the opponent by grabbing some clothes or hair.

I also saw many things that they could improve upon. One of the main things had to do with endurance. Many of these people probably don't exercise on a regular basis, they probably have bad diets and smoke. If that's not bad enough, I didn't see them watch their breathing. Most of them didn't conserve their energy until they were already super tired. 

Endurance is a big thing. There is really no doubt in my mind why conditioning is so important in the military and in sport. 

Most of them threw wild swinging punches. As a result many of them ended up too close, losing their balance and they ended up wrestling. Most of these fights went to the ground. Nobody knew how to properly do a submission. 

So I say learn how to punch with form, and learn how to stick to the form under pressure. Learn how to keep the distance while striking. Learn submissions.

When standing 99% of the time I saw only punches. Maybe an occasional knee once there was some grabbing. On the ground punching by far was the popular choice with a few knees thrown in, and on a very rare case an elbow or kick. 

I recommend that you learn how to use all your weapons(kicks, punches, knees, elbows, headbutts) in stand up and on the ground. 

Last but not least I really didn't see much defense other than turn around and turtle up. It seemed like if you were to try and defend in these fights, you will be run over so I don't blame these people for not having defense. However I think defense is important and I recommend that you develop it enough so that it becomes usable in a street fight.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Stealing Techniques

Just the other day, I saw a Youtube video of someone saying that Bruce Lee encouraged people to steal the best techniques from any style. 

I think many people misunderstand Jeet Kune Do, and think in a similar manner.
People think that your suppose to steal techniques from any of the best styles out there, combine them together and create your own super style. 

This is not right, if this was true, Bruce Lee would not have said that: "Martial arts is a daily decrease." 

From my understanding, Bruce Lee primarily studied 32 different martial art styles trying to figure out how to defeat them. However his own core fighting method was primarily composed of 4 different styles. He could have cherry picked moves from each of those 32 different styles but instead he focused on just 4. 

1. Wing Chun Kung Fu
2. Boxing
3. Fencing
4. Savate

If you have collected a whole bunch of techniques, and your trying to figure out which techniques are the best, your going to realize this next thought.

It's not about the quantity, but the quality. 
And then we have another famous Bruce Lee quote: "I am not afraid of the person who knows 1000 kicks, but I am afraid of the person who knows one kick but practices it 1000 times."

So then you realize that what makes a move good is not whether you have a good eye to pick a practical move, but instead it's about how much time and effort you put into the move. 

That means any move can be good as long as you put in the time and effort into it. 

So which one do you choose to put in the time and effort into? 
The answer is, the one that you like, the one that makes sense to you. It's just personal preference. 

So what do you do with all the other moves that you have learned? Since you know they are not bad, they are worth keeping. It's just reality that you can't practice everything, or you will end up with no quality and just quantity.

Instead of creating a super style, the natural logical solution is to come up with a system to organize all the moves that you have learned. 

And I believe this is why Bruce Lee said that Jeet Kune Do is not a style, because what he ended up with was a system. 

Does it work?

Everyone wants to know which styles really work in a real life situation.
Everyone wants to know what techniques really work in a real life situation.

My philosophy is that rather than viewing things that way,

I ask myself this very important question.

"What can I do to increase it's chance of working in a real life situation?"

With this view point, I'm the one that's responsible, it's in my hands whether something is effective or practical. It's up to me. I don't blame the style or technique, those things are just the tool.

Say you fail a calculus test in college, so you start yelling that calculus is stupid and it doesn't work. Nobody will take you seriously. They will look at you like it's not calculus that's stupid..

I would imagine that a good plumber is one that doesn't blame a tool for their failure, but one that blames their skill and knowledge. If they accept the responsibility of their failure they can also learn and improve upon their failure. 

No matter what style or technique it is, I think one can find it's effective and practical use through practice and effort. If you want to be able to use your tool in real life, then you need to have a realistic viewpoint and realistic expectations.

And never lose faith that something can indeed work, even if you can't figure it out at the moment.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Combat Sports

Example of combat sports:
Amateur Wrestling (Free style and Greco-Roman)
MMA (what you see in the UFC)
Olympic Tae Kwon Do
Sport Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Sport Sambo

There are many traditional martial artists that do not like combat sports. 
I like it. I like watching matches to study and learn from them. 
I personally do not like competing because I don't like hurting people, and I hate injuries. 

The more you train and compete in combat sports the higher chance for injury, so my advice to anyone is, while I do think it's important to experience combat sports, once you do, get out of it as fast as you can to avoid injury. Injury is the enemy. 

At home alone I train in combat sports. I enjoy how it gets me in better shape. 
I go running, sometimes I use the jump rope, I hit the bags, I jump on the tire, I do shadowboxing and so on. 

Whether we like it or not, if you take two human beings from anywhere around the world and make them fight, it looks something like what we see in MMA(the sport of cage fighting). 

If you give each person an Escrima stick and make them fight, it looks like MMA with sticks. 
If you give each person a knife and make them fight, it looks like MMA with knives.

I'm not saying that MMA or combat sports is the single whole and only truth. 
I still train in traditional martial arts to this day and will continue to do so until the day I die, but it's important to know that whatever it is that you train in, when you actually apply it in real life in a real violent situation, know that it's going to look something like MMA.

Everybody seems to value the importance of sparring, yet when it comes to sport, suddenly people are against it. Combat sports to me is nothing more than sparring taken to the extreme. So if you think sparring is important I don't understand how you can't see that combat sports is also valid. 

People often times criticize combat sports for their rules. The rules are limitations, but fighters are forced to develop specific skills within those limited rules and they become exceptionally skilled. For example Boxers are limited to only punches, however their punching skills are incredible. You get good by limiting yourself, because your focusing on something specific. 

If a Boxer fights a grappler, chances are the Boxer will get taken down and beaten on the ground fairly quickly, but that doesn't mean that the Boxer's punches are not effective. They are still dangerous and if the grappler isn't able to take the Boxer down, the match could go the other way. 

Then people criticize the Boxer for not being well balanced. A Karate practitioner may say, I will just kick the Boxer, and while that may be true, it doesn't make Boxing obsolete. If you look at the military, not all the weapons are well rounded, many of the weapons are designed to do specific tasks. So you need a good strategy to know when to use what. 

Modern military have vehicles and firearms, but soldiers to this day still carry a knife. Even though most soldiers today do not carry swords, if they were attacked in close range by someone with a sword, you bet the sword is still a formidable weapon. If you get into a road rage incident and begin yelling at some guy, and if he has Boxing training, when he throws a punch at you, that is going to be strong punch period.   

Even though martial arts can be practiced for many different reasons, strictly combat wise, I divide martial arts into three general categories. 

1. Traditional Martial Arts
2. Combat Sports
3. Modern Tactical (includes military styles and urban self-defense)

I highly recommend that you experience all three types so that you get a better more well rounded point of view of combat methods. One isn't better than the other, each one has pros and cons. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Punching Bag

For the longest time I've lived from apartment to apartment so it wasn't really convenient to have a punching bag. 

Now that I live in a home, I have the Everlast punching bag stand in my garage. I also have a small Everlast punching bag that I can hang from it. When I want to do Eskrima stick and knife training, I hang a small tire from the punching bag stand via chain. 

After each session, I take off the bag and stand it upside down so that the stuffing doesn't settle too much on the bottom. 

Right now I have two pairs of gloves, one is a 14 oz Boxing glove and the other is a smaller open finger single foam padded bag glove. The 14 oz one in great because I can hit the bag harder and really use the weight of the glove to help me punch more efficiently. The open finger foam feels better as in more natural and the stuffing doesn't move around because it's a single layer of foam inside. I'm using both and making the best out of both but if I had to keep just one it would be the foam padded bag glove, neither are quality, but the bag glove was a better deal, more bang for the buck. 

If you don't have room for the punching bag stand, you can always just buy the bag and lay that thing down on the floor and work on ground punches. You can also put it in your BJJ Guard and work strikes from there as well. 

I also have the Everlast Reflex bag and between the punching bag stand plus punching bag, I would just go with the Reflex bag. The punching bag is more versatile but it doesn't teach you how to hit, move, and defend unlike the reflex bag.

1. Throw light punches just let the weight of the glove do the work for you.
2. Weak Point Punching, working on specific techniques targeting live, solar plexus, floating ribs, etc.
3. Cardio Punching, non stop punching for cardio.
4. Brawling, working on haymakers, non stop with power and explosiveness.
5. Combos, working on 2 punch, 3 punch, and 4 punch combos.
6. Working on going in to strike the bag and then going out, out of range.
7. Finishing Brawling, repeatedly using the same punch over and over again.
8. Hit the bag and then trace the bag's movement with your hands. 
9. Mix punching with other tools like elbows, knees, and kicks. 
10. Bare handed strikes, including palm strikes, spinning back fist, and hammer fist strikes.  


Monday, July 31, 2017

My Martial Arts Philosophy

The most important thing in my martial arts philosophy is "The Way".

Martial arts training is like an adventure you will go on. This adventure is your very own journey. Your journey and mine won't be the same. Imagine this journey as a path going up a mountain. Everybody wants to get to the top of the mountain. Getting to the top signifies accomplishing your goal.

The philosophy of "The Way" states that how you walk your path is more important than accomplishing your goal.

Take for example someone who gets to the top by cheating, breaking rules, and by being cut throat. This is no good, same with someone who gets to the top by being a bully.

Even if you don't make it to the top, if you helped others along the way, and you made some good friends, then this is great!

I cross train in the martial arts, this simply means that I train in more than one style of martial arts. This is not to be confused with a convert. A convert is someone who trained in one style and then completely switched over to another, abandoning the old usually because of a bad experience. Cross training is different because you train in various styles, with the intention to use all the styles you have trained in.

I cross train because I enjoy variety, I like different cultures, different perspectives, different strategies and techniques. Even though I enjoy cross training, and that's what I do, I still do not think it's the best way to practice martial arts. I believe there are many ways to climb to the top of the mountain and cross training is just one of those ways.

I firmly believe in this after one time I had a challenge match against an Okinawan Karate black belt named Robert. At the time I was cross training in many disciplines and he was mainly a Karate guy. I thought I would destroy him easily but to my surprise we ended in a draw. That's when I realized my method wasn't better than his. Staying in one style for many years and competing in Kata(forms) tournaments works for him, and that day I learned to respect that.

To me a good martial artist is professional. 
A professional upholds certain standards of behavior.
A professional always puts safety as priority. 
A professional always makes sure that the training environment is suitable for learning. 
If there is a bully, a professional will do something about it.
If people are fooling around, a professional will do something about it.
There is a difference between fooling around and having fun. 
There is negative fun and positive fun, we want to have positive fun.
Negative fun interferes with the learning, while positive fun helps with the learning.    

In martial arts it is mighty important to seek out the truth. We don't want to live in a fantasy world. To use martial arts in real life you need to have a realistic view or it's not going to work well. 

The truth can be harsh and not what we want it to be, that's why we must make ourselves into warriors. We must become strong so that we can handle the truth.

Keep in mind that the pursuit of truth must be done professionally. I see so many people online use the pursuit of truth as an excuse to be rude and cruel. They display tyrant like behavior all in the name of truth. This is not right and they don't deserve attention no matter how correct they are.