The Wrong End Of the Stick

I often find that peoples view of the Filipino Martial Arts is somewhat inaccurate. I hope here to put it right.

FMA otherwise known as Eskrima, Kali or Arnis are the fighting arts native to the Philippines, and are a complete combat method. Unfortunately the popular view of these arts is that it’s just “Stick Fighting”.

This was illustrated most clearly by the owner of the Martial Arts Academy when he offered to make up posters to advertise our class. Guess what we got.

Yep, you guessed it. “Learn Stick Fighting”

Now while we do train with sticks, no argument there, we also fight with sticks. This is the start point for any new FMAer, learn to swing a stick. But that’s just the beginning.

As I said it’s a complete fighting system used throughout the ages to fight off rival tribes and invasions (including Magellan and the Spanish and later the Japanese in world war 2), would stick fighting cover this.

No. Most people fail to see the unarmed combat, the knife/machete use and defence. The Filipino method is to teach you to instinctively use any weapon that comes to hand to fight against any weapon that comes at you. Be it a punch, kick, blade or blunt instrument. It is this versatility that attracted notable martial artists like Ed Parker, Bruce Lee and Dan Innosanto to add elements taken from Kali/Arnis and add it into their respective styles.

Within FMA there are many areas to cover and masters do specialise, Momoy Canete specialised in longer range Espada y Daga, Cacoy Canete specialised in close range stick fighting. Antonio Illustrisimo specialised in the blade, Joe Borces uses “eskrido” a combination of traditional FMA and Aikido/Judo methods.
But these are the masters. Any student must be able to defend themselves against unarmed and armed attacks while they themselves may or may not be armed.

I have my students fighting 1 on 1, 2 on 1, 2 on 2, every man for themselves and many other combo’s.
I have an unarmed guy fighting against a knife man, or a single stick fighting against double stick. We allow disarms but expect the fight to continue so a fight er becomes used to loosing a weapon but carrying on unarmed, or to suddenly find a weapon and instantly use it.

The competitions may be about “stick fighting” but FMA is about surviving by using whatever comes to hand. It’s about assuming the other guy is armed. It’s about adapting to any scenario.

We are lucky to have had coverage on the recent TV shows. Our own Doce Pares HQ in Cebu was visited in the BBC’s Mind, Body & Kick ass Moves and the History Channels Human Weapon. While Fight Quest remained in Manila showing Pekiti Tirsia and Modern Arnis. Where different aspects of our arts are being shown. But for more info come and visit us, look on you tube (Rapid Arnis have some good clips).

We are also hosting FMA master and Security Expert Steve Tappin in May. Expect to see how FMA is truly effective on the streets of Europe as Steve regularly travel to the worst spots in Europe to train their respective police and security forces.
I almost feel sorry for the criminals, almost.

Come to Steve’s seminar and see how your own training can be enhanced by the Filipino martial arts.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

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