Is your FMA for the specialist or the generalist?

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts - General' started by geezer, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Some FMA groups focus primarily on a particular weapon and range where as other groups are generalists and include a bit of everything.

    The "specialists" often have very complex and highly evolved methods for addressing their chosen specialty, be that blade work, close-range single-stick, longer range, heavy stick, etc. where as the "generalists" seek to apply a more conceptual approach accross a wide range of weapons, from empty hands to the improvised use of ordinary objects for defensive purposes.

    What is your system like? Does it tend more towards one or the other of these two approaches?
     
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  2. Rat

    Rat 2nd Black Belt

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    Just for interest i think the one i am going to eventually go and do, focuses on sword and dagger. At least thats what i think you would call its specialism.

    obvious single and double stick is still used before you get a dagger and the like and unarmed is still taught.
     
  3. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Mostly generalist. We use a knife and stick for the most part, and learn how to adapt it to other weapons (my favorite combination from my own experimentation based on tbe general principles is hammer and scissor).

    That said, we also always treat stick as if its a machete, focusing on where the blade is, and sparring with the mindset that its an actual blade we're either trying to hit with or avoiding getting hit with. Which from what i can tell ends up transferring to good structure with blunt weapons, but might be unnecessary.
     
  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    eventually ?
     
  5. Rat

    Rat 2nd Black Belt

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    Eventually. Thats just what i got from reading up on the style and looking at videos and what the person has told me.
     
  6. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    We 'specialize' in 3 ranges vs 3 opponent's utilizing all categories of weapons. Sooo...we are specialized generalists.
     
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  7. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Jeez the amount of time you've spent reading you could've already had loads of real experience by now and actually learned something
     
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  8. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    He's got to complete his YouTube training first lol
     
  9. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Generalist.
    My goal is to produce fighters that can pick up any weapon and hopefully any combination of weapons and be competent with them. (Except flexible weapons, f'in nunchaku and 3 section staffs are just stupid. ;D )
     
  10. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    yea of course , that's a five year course of study.
     
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  11. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    For the most part I agree. Grasping and using a stick with an awareness of "blade orientation" as though it were a machete does produce a stronger structure. But unlike some blade wielders, I don't worry about not blocking "edge to edge" when using a stick. That issue makes no sense, especially when the edge-on orientation is the stronger structure.

    Also, when using a stick there are some situations where you may strike very powerfully with what would translate to the flat of the blade if you were holding a machete or short sword.

    Interestingly, a well informed HEMA practitioner showed me that under similar circumstances the old treatises often show a blade being used this same way, either blocking edge on edge, or sometimes striking with the flat, if that is what is available, then perhaps following-up with a proper cut or thrust.

    Apparently that old proscription against edge on edge contact you hear so often in FMA circles was not of equal concern in the European tradition, at least it was not held to be nearly as important as winning the day and staying alive.
     
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  12. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    We started with a blade, then went to sticks, then open hands, then back to a blade. Generalist?
     
  13. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    ^^^^ Sounds like it to me.

    We, by contrast, start with a stick, then typically go to two sticks, then mix in longer weapons like a staff and long-ish single stick or cane, then work with either doubled-up sticks (held together) or a single heavy stick, and then scaling down to little palm sticks, and so forth. Blade work is seen as more specialized, so machete is handled as an advanced form of single stick with special concerns, just as knife work is adapted from the palm stick training. And everything is continually tied back to empty hands. So we're definitely generalists.

    Honestly though, our club doesn't emphasize blade work as much as some branches. I personally view knives as better suited as offensive than defensive weapons ...which becomes problematic applying them as a self defense tool. Defending against a knife attack with a knife is, IMO, less than ideal and likely to result in a "double kill" or at least both parties sustaining significant injuries. But perhaps this is a topic for a different thread?
     
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  14. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    BTW our limited emphasis on blades has definitely cost us students. An awful lot of people come to FMA wanting "to learn how to knife fight" ...or at least use a knife for self defense. Not my cup of tea.

    Our approach vis a vis self defense is focused mainly on awareness, avoidance, de-escalation, and escape. And if you ever have to resort to physical defense using a weapon, I'm all about improvised weapons rather than carrying. But that's just me.
     
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  15. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I too think situational awareness is the best type of self defense.
     
  16. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    I have only trained in two arts, both of them FMA.
    The First is a generalist. Starts with Stick and empty hand, with some basic blade self defense to get people moving.
    Works multiple ranges and multiple weapons. While many after a period of time can see that some of the techniques may be better with a single stick or a single blade or a stick and short blade or two blades one longer , or two sticks or empty hand , or ...
    ...
    The other I learned is a specialty. is it optimized for Stick Dueling. Stick , all stick all the time. It is for two people who are mad at each other and want to cause harm to the other, and not just dance around on the outside and play the largo (Long) sniping game. One manages, monitors and delays the opponents weapon, with your hand. I like them both for different reasons. I teach them both for different reasons.
    ...
    And yes, those looking for knife killing get frustrated as they want to be super uber cool and way out there so no one can touch them. So even "Challenge" and continue to disrupt until they get the demo they are looking for. Overwhelm them with an aluminum blade so they feel the cold metal and they also feel the pokes / stabs and get bruised from it. This leads them ether opening their mind and going back to mechanics we are teaching of awareness, body movement and timing, or they realize they cannot stop an assassination . I even give them a blue hard plastic training pistol of enough time to prepare a squirt gun. And ask them to clear their weapon and get it on side when they do not know which person in the crowd has the knife and will attack. Then add in the prison pin and multiple stabbing like a sewing machine and they either realize their best bet is to avoid ti all together or start training for the rest of their lives for the possibility of that violence, when most could reduce it by making better decisions.

    treat the half mark of your gas tank as empty. Do not stop in bad neighborhoods to get gas or pop or directions. Avoid conflict. Be aware.

    Geezer, good thread.
     
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  17. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    You don't even have to go to the older treatises, the last functional European swordsmanship manuals (sabre, spadroon, small sword, highland broadsword) used edge to edge blocking regularly.
     
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  18. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Blue Belt

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    generalist
     
  19. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Ok. Could you elaborate....just a bit?
     
  20. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Blue Belt

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    Empty hand destruction techniques
    Dumog grappling
    Footwork
    Knife, karambit, stick, short sword/machette, kubotan, short axe, sarong
    Knife and stick we lean more towards
     
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