Grouping Drills?

Discussion in 'Balintawak' started by Mark Lynn, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    I think I heard GM Taboada refer to a series of sparring type drills by the name of the "Grouping drills" can anyone shed some light on them for me.

    1) History as in how they developed, who developed them etc. etc.?

    2) Some of the attributes they develop, how those attributes are developed in the drill.

    I watched several vid. on youtube seeing people (including GM Toboada) do these types of drills so I'm not questioning their effectiveness. I would just like to hear from some Balintawak players on how they came about, their use, the purpose etc. etc.

    Thanks
     
  2. drandau

    drandau White Belt

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    There was some interesting discussion around this topic among Ted Buot's lineage in March of 2014. If you want some good answer's from our lineage, seek out Rich Parsons, or Dave Hatch. They are well versed in the subject and good teachers as well. They can give a good breakdown as to how things have gotten grouped the way they have in our area. I can't really speak for any of the other lines but it seems to be good intuitive teaching methods for Manong Ted. He knew how to make his students understand. Without a doubt he had a way of adapting to each student and teaching them in the way they needed to be taught. That seems to be what distinguishes between a good and a great teacher.
     
  3. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Mark, How are you?

    Grouping:

    Villasin / Velez Are credited with this teaching methodology. A few years ago, someone cam forward on FMATalk.com and present some data and comments and history that GM Velez came up with the idea and he shared it with his good friend GM Villasin. GM Villasin used this. His grandsons (GM's) claim it was GM Villasin who came up with the idea.

    Grouping is like a series of moves or a two man form. This allows students to learn patterns and become proficient and hopefully learn the timing as well.
    As they progress and learn more and more patterns one will see that the beginning of pattern X is the middle of Pattern M. So now one can see the that they are breaking out of the box and becoming more random.

    I have never trained this way, only had a conversation with GM Taboada and some of his students over the last decade.

    GM Buot taught it with no patterns and as close to GM Bacon as one can get.


    Of course there are discussions (Some heated) about which is better. I see no issues with any of it. As I stated before, if GM Velez or GM Taboada add something into their system because they like or thought something was different they should (* including myself as I also teach Balintawak *) document and acknowledge the differences. This way when different lineages meet they know there will be a difference and none of this "You are doing it wrong!" and more "Let me see how do you do this one?"

    Does this kind of answer your question?
     
  4. medic

    medic White Belt

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    Some good information on the history of the groupings and some descriptions can be found on Sam Buot website.

    Shaun
     
  5. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Rich

    I am well thanks and you.

    Thanks for the info. In fact after I wrote the post I read some good information on the history of Balintawak on another thread here on MT and it kind of answered my question about who made them.

    Initially what got me wondering about this, was I was watching some videos on you tube on Balintawak single stick sparring type drills, and I had previously heard of "grouped" and "un-grouped drills" and I was wondering what I was seeing. Which then lead me to ponder the Tapi Tapi drills of Modern Arnis and I was wondering if there was a connection somewhere? Which led me to ask for some more information about them. I knew that you, Tim, Paul, and some others studied Balintawak and also Modern Arnis so I hoped you might fill some info in.

    The answer to my first question, of is there a connection between the two I think is answered to a degree. Simply there is no direct correlation, from what I read on the history of Balintawak on that other thread that GM Remy had already left the school prior to the drills being grouped (created) as a teaching tool.

    Since you were taught by the un-grouped method how did GM Buot teach it if you don't mind me asking. I mean in your lessons was he showing a principle (say baiting) and then build the sparring drill around the concept, then next time maybe it would be passing, checking with the empty hand etc. etc. I know the order of techniques that I have here is probably out of order but I'm trying ask questions to give me a clearer understanding of how the drills were taught, because all I can see is the finished product so to speak.

    Ultimately I would like to discuss how/if people think that the TT drills are linked in some format, teaching methodology/format to the Balintawak drills but that thread I figured I would start over in the Modern Arnis forum. However first I wanted to in a sense understand or gain insight into the Balintawak side first.

    Thanks for you input.
     
  6. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Mark,

    I am fine. Thank you.

    As to a connection, between Remy and Grouping, I would no direct connection in the creation of it. One might argue that there was influence going the other way. GM Presas and GM Taboada were friends. Remy was a sponge. So one might say there might have been an influence from Grouping to Tapi Tapi.

    Tapi Tapi also called Semi Sparring had been rolled out in the 70's and early 80's. It did not do well most of the students. This could be a maturity or training level of the students or it could have been some teaching aspects. I believe Remy kept it in his back pocket and rolled it out again in the 90's when more people could comprehend it and also he had modified his teaching approach.

    That is my opinion. Some will most likely disagree with that.

    So if we assume there was no influence in either direction, then Remy who would insert techniques into a flow drill and allow them to be out of order. As he would say, " ... and he can strike me here, and we do this, and if he would have striked over here I would do this, ..."

    Students and teachers like to have consistency to know what they need to do and learn. (* Advantage to Grouping methodology *) and so a pattern came about. This pattern could be said to have been a grouping, only I believe that Remy did not intend it to be a pattern, but a serious of possible patterns. Now once there was a pattern, did he get upset? NO. Did he say "Very Good!". I bet you he did.

    Where as the Balintawak Side of Grouping starts out with an intended series of attacks and prescribed blocks for the student to learn.



    As to the Original / Un-grouped, Ted taught a technique (* Single *) and then we would go back to the mixing bowl. The Mixing Bowl is Corraidas where the isntructor will guide (Some say Agok) the student through a random series of attacks. The instructor can select any attack, and the student is expected to do the appropraite block for his timing and skill set. Usually the back up is taught first which gives the student more time to execute his block to be safe. It also usually requires the student to move lean / step to be at a safe distance, yet still in the conflict. So when the instructor feeds the attack for the new technique the student is expected to try and do his block and counter technique.


    Now based upon this, the Instructor is the driver. So in Tapi-Tapi there is a driver and I believe that this is required so people know who is doing what while they practice. So in the end there is a small influence from the Un Grouped Balintawak teaching methodology into the Tapi-Tapi as well as what I stated above where I believe there might have been some influence back from Grouped Balintawak to Tapi-Tapi.

    Does what I wrote make sense?
     
  7. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Let me clarify, I was thinking that the influence was Grouping to the TT not that TT led to the Grouping drills. After seeing the Grouping drills in 99 at a seminar with GM Taboada I thought then that there was a connection/influence between the drills, not knowing from where (which side to which side) but after looking into it, I've always thought that it was from Balintawak to Modern Arnis not the other way around.

    And thanks for your opinion because it helps clarify things for me. Looking at some old seminar footage etc. etc. of the Prof. you could see some brief flashes of what became later the TT drills. But I remembered conversations with some of the older 80's students (I came in the mid 90's) who told me that the TT was called semi stick sparring and that it was mainly R to R not the emphasis on the L to R and transitioning to the R to R that was forefront of the camps I went to (well from 95 to his passing).

    How was his teaching approach modified, he seemed to teach in the same "demo" way in the 90's as he showed on his old 80's tape series. Just wondering?

    I do believe there was an influence in the sense of the driver and student as opposed to the give and take or say shadow type of a drill like sumbrada or hubud etc. etc. Whether grouped or un-grouped there is a difference in how the drill is taught or practiced with one being a driver of the drill over the shadow type drill where one person feeds a over head, person roofs and feeds high forehand, person blocks and feeds a low or mid back hand and the roles switch but with the same strikes and blocks. Using the drill to teach flow, distancing etc. etc.

    I think Remy took the concept of the driver and used it to fit his training methodology of emphasizing the "Art within your Art" "It's all the same" etc. etc. to show how you can do this in empty hand, solo baston, etc. etc. by having a drill to teach the sparring concepts but yet also the locking trapping etc. etc.

    Yeah I have to agree with you, I think the patterns developed over time through the senior students and then they became institutionalized at the camps. Like you said students and teacher like the consistency and I think the patterns emerged. I know that we all had different names, different numbers for the patterns, but it was our way of trying to establish order to something that was quite chaotic. Fun but chaotic.

    :roflmao::roflmao:
    Did he say "Very Good!". I bet you he did. I can see him and hear him now saying that! Priceless quote.


    Which is nice to have.

    Makes sense. What is the "back up"? I mean is that the "go to" type of defense, the primary.

    Perfectly and thanks for your time and thought about the subject.
     
  8. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    I agree with the Demo mindset was pretty much the same. You metioned it yourself which I did not keep in the quote, that in the other drills there was no driver and both sides could break out at anytime. This lead to clashes. So I believe he tried it with the driver mindset later. A change, yet significant in how the student learns.



    Chaotic is what the ungrouped / original methodolgy was like. This was to represent an actual conflict. Chicken and the egg. How to you get a student to be random if they cannot get the technqiues at all. Yet if they can only do the techniques in a pattern how can they be a fighter and handle Random encounters?

    The answer as in all things we discuss, it depends upon the person and the factors for that person to learn.


    This is a topic.

    So, if I feed a middle forehand. You block and strike back at my arm/wrist. I lean/step back and twirl my cane down and back up to block your strike. This creates space and even if you are a little bit late on the twirl you are moving and trying to get out of the way and get your cane there.

    A more advanced might be that I trap your strike between my off hand and my cane. This allows for you being faster, and also for me being late. The issue is that this really needs the space, you learn in the first technique to make sure you are good and or safe. This is taught later after the student learns the concepts of the block above.

    Then the timing mindset changes and you do not wait for impact on your stick / block. I reach out and off hand checks your elbow out as I abort and strike the knee. This would be the preferred. The above two would be your backups, with the first being the fundamental for concept and proper body mechanics while the second is for being late or setting up your oppopent on purpose. The last woudl become your preferred when you learn, but the above first woudl be your preferred until you leanred this one. Why? because the second requires either better timing for the setup or for me being late. :)

    Difficult to explain in words.
     
  9. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Yeah having a driver mindset or that component added to the drills is very different from the shadow method, and one in which I think is a good thing for the drills overall.


    I agree.

    Yeah I'm going to have to ponder this for a couple of days, I'll get back to you on his one.
     
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  10. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer MCLMM

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    This is the most common misconception of the grouping system. The grouping system is not sparring or fighting.

    It's a collection of core concepts that are the same across all styles of Balintawak. They're sometimes presented differently in some clubs and the possible variations are almost limitless but, the goal and end state are the same. The most basic way to think of the groups are as a series of questions: "if I hold your stick this way, what can you do?"; "if I hold your stick this way and punch at your head, what can you do?"; "if I hold your stick this way and thrust to your body, what can you do?", and so on.

    The idea is to develop attributes such as the use of the left hand to lift and clear either your own weapon or your opponent's; defensive head movement, defensive movement of the shoulders and trunk, and general speed and reflexes. For our purposes, this is most efficiently done by first teaching a set of basic exercises that are learned in a mechanical fashion (1-2-3-4-5). Once one has a foundation to begin building upon, the sequences change (5-4-3-2-1, 1-3-5-2-4, 1-5-2-4-3, etc., etc.) until eventually the lines blur and there are no more numbers. On paper, there would still be numbers but, things are happening so fast that you're not thinking about or processing numbers; you're just reacting in real time. That's the desired end state.

    - Robert
     
  11. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Robert
    Thanks for your post, and your clarification here.

    So if you don't mind me asking, at what stage are the grouping drills taught to the student. I noticed in GM Taboada's DVD series it is on the 2nd DVD. Does this mean it is early in the student's development?

    Rich

    In your lessons with GM Buot when was the un-grouped method taught?

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  12. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer MCLMM

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    The grouping system is about the middle of the basic curriculum. All the basic striking, blocking and footwork comes first. Once a student is proficient in those, then the grouping system is introduced.

    - Robert
     
  13. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Mark,

    We have The Fundamentals which includes how to hold a cane and the striking angles and the basics for blocking and footwork. Within this there is what most call the Abecedario where the instructor does the strikes 1 thru 12 with the punyo and the student blocks and counters.

    Seguidas is where the basics learned in Abcedario are done out of order.

    Corraidas is where the random and mixing bowl occurs and this is where the student spends most of their training time. So almost from the beginning of the un-grouped or original or random methodology is the answer to your question.

    Thanks
     
  14. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Thanks Robert and Rich for your answers and insight.
     
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