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#410155 - 10/24/08 01:55 PM Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts?
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2577
Can I ask all those who have trained in Philipio stick arts:

How much contact was there in your system? Did you work mostly on drills, or did you do a lot of sparring? If so, was it with or without pads?

I remember a debate about full contact martial arts and escrima came up. One side of the arguement was that full contact sparring in escrima was good as it taught in a "live" manner.

The argument against was that full contact in stick arts didn't offer as much benefit as people might think, as a lot of material might be difficult to do due to the padded gloves often used in such fencing.

Any thoughts?
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#410156 - 10/24/08 06:49 PM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: Prizewriter]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
It’s a no-brainer I believe. Contact is critical for ANY art, stick arts included. Modern technology makes it easier than ever (street hockey protective gear, etc) to train stick arts live, safely. And I think you have to in order to gain any benefit.

I have worn hockey gloves while sparring and I can tell you that they don't limit movement in any significant manner. But you take a few shots to the bare hand and you won't be training for very long. Street hockey shoulder pads and functional helmets allow for more contact and protection. Because of this you have to maintain respect for the shots that would ordinarily take you out.

One big reason why drills in stick arts exist is because they were a substitute for live training. These drills were developed in days when people didn't have access to the same technology and materials for safety equipment that we have today. They drilled because it was simply safer to do so. Today with the better equipment, there's no excuse for not engaging in live training.

Personally I don't see how one could make the argument that live training would be less beneficial than drilling. Live training and sparring allows you to see what you can actually do under pressure. The complex movements and techniques people do with sticks during drilling are virtually impossible when sparring at full speed. Many of these techniques would never work under duress and live training enables folks to discover what actually works and what doesn’t.

#410157 - 10/25/08 08:58 AM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: JKogas]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Also, I should have mentioned that continuous drilling without any live pressure sometimes lets people get "creative". Of course this alone is responsible for the majority of the world's martial arts "BS". It's no different with stick arts.

And people love to get creative. I've seen a lot of stuff in the Filipino martial arts that leaves me shaking my head. Wrist locks, shoulder locks, fancy disarms. All garbage. Training with live pressure/contact is where the rubber hits the road. What you obtain from that is what you keep. The rest is fantasy, imo.

#410158 - 10/26/08 06:29 AM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: JKogas]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2577
Thanks that is pretty helpful and some points well made.

In your experience, is there much head contact?

I am recovering from a mild brain injury (concussion) and I am trying to weigh up what I can safely train in until I am 100%.

"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#410159 - 10/26/08 08:10 AM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: Prizewriter]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina

In your experience, is there much head contact?

Very little without a helmet. Depends on what kind of equipment you have. IMO it's simple; you should avoid contact to any area of the body that isn't protected by gear. Thus if you're allowing head contact, you should be wearing a helmet.

Personally, I'm not into losing IQ points because I want to train functionally. I gotta hang onto the few brain cells that I have left, lol! Seriously, protective equipment should be used except on very rare occasions. I know the Dog Brothers fight twice a year using minimal equipment but the rest of the time, they're training with sanity and safety in mind.

While it may sometimes be viewed as "soft" to train with a lot of equipment, for me, it's not a matter of how "tough" you are, but how functional the training is. So if I'm doing full contact stick sparring, I'm wearing gear. Street hockey gear is perfect. I'd wear a helmet, shoulder pads, gloves, elbow and knee guard, and a cup. Always wear a cup.

That said, I don't want to go out looking like "Bib the Michelin Man". So not every area of the body is protected. Just use common sense. I'd probably only wear elbow and knee guards on my lead side if I'm doing single stick.

Naturally, training with equipment has a potential down-side, because of the tendency to become brave. You do things you wouldn't ordinarily do because you can take the shot and keep going. So with equipment, IMO, you have to always respect the shots.

Of course the other option is to spar with "soft sticks", which are great. You can spar with moderate contact and come away as smart a guy as you went in, lol. These represent a great option when protective equipment is limited (that stuff's expensive!). The drawback to soft sticks are the same in that it's easy to disrespect the shot. Also, you can't easily grapple with soft sticks as you can with rattan because they will break.

What I'd do is get a soft stick (or two) and begin with that. Wear boxing headgear for added protection and you won't have any problems whatsoever. Then I'd start collecting the equipment, starting with the helmet, then the chest/shoulder harness, etc.

Here's a link for examples

Once you start doing that sort of stuff, it's pretty damn fun. IMO, the equipment makes it so. Plus I want to be able to crash, clinch and take my opponent down as well. It's just hard to do without going live and using real sticks. You just have to approach it with some level of sanity and safety.

Then once you have enough training experience and timing, you could slowly, gradually, begin taking pieces of equipment OFF as you feel comfortable. But that isn't necessary of course. I just wouldn't start without equipment. No point in that at all.



#410160 - 10/31/08 01:45 PM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: Prizewriter]
KJ63 Offline

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 128
Loc: Midwestern U.S.
I guess it really depends on why you are training and how you view your training... I will explain.

People think that by adding padding they can come closer to the real art, but in reality with each level of safety used you begin to distance yourself more and more from the martial aspect of the original art, if in this case, we consider that the original art was training for the use of a live blade: machete, bolo, borong… etc. It is no different than European fencers using wooden weapons for training or even using a boken or shinai for Japanese fencing, but with the wooden weapons they still trained the techniques that were effective with a sword and did not discard them as being impractical.

Using a wooden weapon and not considering it is a blade changes the art because in full contact with a stick the thrust, which is one of the most deadly and important techniques with a knife or sword, is now lost because it loses its effectiveness. If we now add padding to the hands we now make “defanging the snake” a pointless option that was even once a very effective technique fencing… it was the one reason European weapons started being made with a hand-guards, basket hilts or cage hilts. Also you might as well forget using any grabbing with your check-hand, or off-hand if you and/or the other person is wearing hockey gloves. Now we add more and more padding to the body and head… well there goes any point of entering and using the punyo to strike and the weaker abaniko strikes are not going to be at all effective against pads…

So what are you left with? Two guys who go out there and swing as hard and as fast as they can to do some blunt force trauma, or to score a point. Then when they realize that beating each other with a stick against the pads is ineffective they charge in, tackle you, and apply some submission. It becomes far removed from fencing the art was designed for, or even true a stick fighting. They often come to the conclusion or assume that many techniques don’t work. It is almost comical; give me a live blade and I’ll let anyone try to take me down to the ground. I will admit that there are some wild and showy techniques out there, but we could say that about almost every martial art. Just remember that when many of the Filipino martial art clubs were at odds with each other and open challenges were taken, they didn’t wear any padding and people were seriously injured and even killed, and some where actually done with blades. Trying to take that and turn it into a safe sport is difficult. It is the same conflict many martial arts have had to struggle with… you are often forced to remove many things, limit many things or change many thing, and with each change you make… you change the art itself.

Stick fighting with pads is no different from Kendo, which is far removed from a real sword fight… get two Kendo guys, take off there armor, and give them live blades and you will see something completely different… with a completely different outcome.

I’ve done the Doce Pares style of sparring, the Dog Brothers type of fighting, I tried the padded sticks, and I’ve done the drills, and the only thing I can tell you is that they each have there purpose. Decided what it is you want to do, and what you want to train for, and then do that.
You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.

#410161 - 10/31/08 07:52 PM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: KJ63]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
I think the only option besides live stick fighting with equipment, are dead patterns and dead drills.

When you think about the two, there is only one true option as far as I'm concerned. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a combination of the two either.

I think what must be done is what I had alluded to above; you have to respect the shot that would take you out. Sure I think it's possible for some to disrespect some of the contact. But I believe most sensible people can make the connection and keep it real enough in their minds.

#410162 - 11/11/08 04:49 PM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: JKogas]
ShikataGaNai Offline

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Bellingham, WA
I've become a big fan of Kombat Instruments Limited, the equipment company owned by Nick "Pappy Dog" Papadakis. They sell a padded rattan stick that is perfect - hurts enough to not want to get hit by, but not enough to seriously injure you. I generally use that, a WEKAF style helmet, lacrosse gloves and a cup when I think of it. That's it. I used to use fencing masks, but got sick of having to reshape it after every sparring session. I also have tinitus, so the potential for ear damage is too high - the padded helmet absorbs the shock better, but lets you know your dome got rocked.

I also believe it's important to do drills and patterns. I think basic disarms, siniwali and light knife sparring are great ways to enhance what you do in full contact sparring. That way the training works on both levels - you get the stress of dealing with hard wood coming at you AND the pressure test of actually fighting. Neither is the perfect animal, but the alternative is going out and really fighting, which sucks.

I totally agree with Kogas though - stay away from small joint manipulations and any technigue that invlolves holding a static arm while ripping a 9 hit combo on every spot on the opponent's body - that's BS.

#423416 - 11/06/09 12:40 AM Re: Levels of Contact in Philipino Stick Arts? [Re: ShikataGaNai]
bahadzubuplayer Offline

Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 6
"I think the only option besides live stick fighting with equipment, are dead patterns and dead drills"

I get where you're coming from with this but it's not true for everybody. I train Bahad Zu'bu with GM Yuli Romo in the Philippines. Despite inventing the concept of the padded sticks some years ago GM Yuli does not like to spar with them. I think he feels it breeds a loss of respect for the stick and the art. There are also some techniques that are difficult to pull off due to the diameter of the stick (like pluma "pen-hold grip" for example).

The preferred method of sparring is live stick with no equipment. We also use the padded stick with no equipment too.

Of course, there are no head shots and thrusts to the eyes, nuts, etc, etc It is down at around 5% power too (live stick). That is enough for bumps and bruises.

Beginner students also do not start with live stick sparring. Sparring in general is brought in once the student has reached a certain skill level.

Previously Master Yuli competed and trained WEKAF style tournaments but he has moved away from that now. He drills into us that you can not be in a senior in bahad Zu'bu without being proficient at live stick sparring.

Edited by bahadzubuplayer (11/06/09 12:44 AM)


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