Kali Empty Hand - Ever Seen it Used?

stonewall1350

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Just wondering if anyone has ever seen it used in a real fight? We've all seen boxing videos and the silly school yard brawls with no form. I'm just curious if anyone has seen or had experience with empty hand to empty hand Kali.

I know it seems silly, but there was a recent discussion amongst friends who were from 2 different schools. One was MMA(well MCMMAP to some MMA school) and the other did Kali. The discussion came to, of course, how effective the respective arts would be in different situations. And so we got to thinking about if we had ever seen empty hand Kali used against empty hands.

What changes? What doesn't? What are the focuses? Got any videos? I'm just curious. They teach it at my dojo, but I don't think over ever seen them working empty hand due to schedule (sticks and sometimes knives on the days I'm there).


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Juany118

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Just wondering if anyone has ever seen it used in a real fight? We've all seen boxing videos and the silly school yard brawls with no form. I'm just curious if anyone has seen or had experience with empty hand to empty hand Kali.

I know it seems silly, but there was a recent discussion amongst friends who were from 2 different schools. One was MMA(well MCMMAP to some MMA school) and the other did Kali. The discussion came to, of course, how effective the respective arts would be in different situations. And so we got to thinking about if we had ever seen empty hand Kali used against empty hands.

What changes? What doesn't? What are the focuses? Got any videos? I'm just curious. They teach it at my dojo, but I don't think over ever seen them working empty hand due to schedule (sticks and sometimes knives on the days I'm there).


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In my experience Kali empty hands isn't much different than other methods. I have punches, finger strikes, kicks, elbow strikes, knees etc. The difference is in the application/purpose. First, if I have a knife or see something around I can use as a weapon (and it is legally permissible) I am using those techniques to open a window to get the force multiplier in question. Second, if a weapon is not available (or is not legally permissible) I would not simply be focusing on creating an opening to strike the center. While making the opening I am actively attacking the "offending" limbs of my opponent.

I will link a few videos below, just remember that different styles of FMA have different styles of empty hand so they may not reflect what your school does.



 
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stonewall1350

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In my experience Kali empty hands isn't much different than other methods. I have punches, finger strikes, kicks, elbow strikes, knees etc. The difference is in the application/purpose. First, if I have a knife or see something around I can use as a weapon (and it is legally permissible) I am using those techniques to open a window to get the force multiplier in question. Second, if a weapon is not available (or is not legally permissible) I would not simply be focusing on creating an opening to strike the center. While making the opening I am actively attacking the "offending" limbs of my opponent.

I will link a few videos below, just remember that different styles of FMA have different styles of empty hand so they may not reflect what your school does.




Here you bring up 2 things and 1 question have lol. Plus the use of the headbutts. I love headbutts lol. Can't say why.

Anyway.

I love the entry and parrying. My first experience with any kind of martial art was boxing, and like any human...I'm not a fan of getting hit. I also like parrying to controlling someone...my primary art being Brazilian jiu-jitsu- judo(instructor is black belt In both and mixed a lot of judo stand up strengths into bjj ground game. Those seem really useful.

Now.

The one question I have is about "offending limb" strikes. Is the idea to cause damage to the limbs? Or is it to make a stronger parry? I understand it when someone is using a knife or a stick. A stick or knife can seriously injure a limb. I don't know if I feel the same can be said for a strike to a limb. A joint for sure, and certainly anything that involves a lock (that is basically all my sport is lol). Or did I complete miss something?




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Juany118

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Here you bring up 2 things and 1 question have lol. Plus the use of the headbutts. I love headbutts lol. Can't say why.

Anyway.

I love the entry and parrying. My first experience with any kind of martial art was boxing, and like any human...I'm not a fan of getting hit. I also like parrying to controlling someone...my primary art being Brazilian jiu-jitsu- judo(instructor is black belt In both and mixed a lot of judo stand up strengths into bjj ground game. Those seem really useful.

Now.

The one question I have is about "offending limb" strikes. Is the idea to cause damage to the limbs? Or is it to make a stronger parry? I understand it when someone is using a knife or a stick. A stick or knife can seriously injure a limb. I don't know if I feel the same can be said for a strike to a limb. A joint for sure, and certainly anything that involves a lock (that is basically all my sport is lol). Or did I complete miss something?




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Here is the thing with the limbs. With a simple hand strike you won't break anything sure BUT if you really wail on the top of a fist while passing it, all those ligaments and tendons? It HURTS and even if they are so hopped up they don't notice the pain, it can still weaken the structure of their fist for a bit. Simply because he doesn't feel the pain part doesn't mean the ligaments and tendons will function optimally. It's not about breaking it but making it less effective either via pain, damage or numbing. I once punched/raked my fist over the funny bone of a sparring partner as an experiment. He knew I was going to try it so was even prepared but when I finally managed to connect, the effect was noticeable. Now we continued and a few moments later that limb was 100% again but for those moments it wasn't that side of his body was basically mine to play with. I think some people get wrapped up in the term "limb destruction" and assume it means the same in empty hand as it does when armed with a weapon, it doesn't.

For everything else its what you said at the end. I am a huge fan of grabbing the wrist (even if I can't apply a "proper" lock) and then using an elbow on the opponents elbow. I can make that a take down, hyper extend the elbow, whatever. I am also a fan of kicks to the knee.
 
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stonewall1350

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Here is the thing with the limbs. With a simple hand strike you won't break anything sure BUT if you really wail on the top of a fist while passing it, all those ligaments and tendons? It HURTS and even if they are so hopped up they don't notice the pain, it can still weaken the structure of their fist for a bit. Simply because he doesn't feel the pain part doesn't mean the ligaments and tendons will function optimally. It's not about breaking it but making it less effective either via pain, damage or numbing. I once punched/raked my fist over the funny bone of a sparring partner as an experiment. He knew I was going to try it so was even prepared but when I finally managed to connect, the effect was noticeable. Now we continued and a few moments later that limb was 100% again but for those moments it wasn't that side of his body was basically mine to play with. I think some people get wrapped up in the term "limb destruction" and assume it means the same in empty hand as it does when armed with a weapon, it doesn't.

For everything else its what you said at the end. I am a huge fan of grabbing the wrist (even if I can't apply a "proper" lock) and then using an elbow on the opponents elbow. I can make that a take down, hyper extend the elbow, whatever. I am also a fan of kicks to the knee.

I always forget about about knee kicks. I think it is because I'm looking to strike/sweep legs in my own sense.

But yea. I get the idea of limb destruction now. That is essentially what I didn't understand. It is essentially the same concept as a leg kick in MMA (since you can't really do a joint strike...but it opens things up and hurts like hell). I may go and talk to the Kali guys in my gym and see if they plan on doing some hands only stuff soon.


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Juany118

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Don't forget there are as many forms of Kali as there are Kung Fu and Karate. In the Phillipines different tribes, even families, developed their own versions. In the north you will have Spanish influences from the Conquistadors in the south Silat since it is close to Indonesia.

The system I study makes it even more complicated. Lacoste-Inosanto Kali is basically JKD meets FMA. It takes from FMA, not just the weapons but empty hand, Kuntao (the Kung Fu that evolved in the Chinese expat communities that popped up in the south pacific over the last couple hundred years) and Silat. So they may look at you and say "we don't do that" lol

As for the leg kick/MMA...I forgot...knee someone, or toe kick them with shoes on, in the common poreneal nerve in the thigh. I have literally collapsed people with that one. It not only hurts but disrupts the nerve impulses in the leg and makes it give out temporarily.
 
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stonewall1350

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Don't forget there are as many forms of Kali as there are Kung Fu and Karate. In the Phillipines different tribes, even families, developed their own versions. In the north you will have Spanish influences from the Conquistadors in the south Silat since it is close to Indonesia.

The system I study makes it even more complicated. Lacoste-Inosanto Kali is basically JKD meets FMA. It takes from FMA, not just the weapons but empty hand, Kuntao (the Kung Fu that evolved in the Chinese expat communities that popped up in the south pacific over the last couple hundred years) and Silat. So they may look at you and say "we don't do that" lol

As for the leg kick/MMA...I forgot...knee someone, or toe kick them with shoes on, in the common poreneal nerve in the thigh. I have literally collapsed people with that one. It not only hurts but disrupts the nerve impulses in the leg and makes it give out temporarily.

I actually found a video of some sparring. I don't know why I hadn't thought to watch more sparring videos. But it helped me learn a little more:

[VIDEO]

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Juany118

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Something broke your video link. I would love to see however.
 

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As already noted, there are so many different systems, that this becomes hard to analyze. Many FMA systems have empty hand components that look pretty much like boxing and/or kickboxing. Look at Kali Illustrisimo sometime for an example.

Lacoste-Inosanto's mano y mano material looks quite a bit like this as well, albeit with other things mixed in. Balintawak does empty hand pretty much like boxing (see Bobby Taboada for an example).

Pekiti Tirsia, depending on which organization you are part of, does not look like others, but the tactic is much different. Our empty hand really does come out of the knife system, and our thought of empty hands is to do enough damage or protect oneself long enough to get to a weapon. We are not going to stand there and trade shots. Having said that, if I had my personal preference as well as much more time on my hands, I would supplement PTK with Thai Boxing. I would not replace PTK's empty hand with MT, but I would supplement it.

Punches are a good example of where many FMA systems see things differently. For example, in PTK, it is typically thought that empty hand punches will lead to injury, making it more difficult to employ a weapon properly. There is evidence to support this. One of the most common hand fractures is referred to as a "Boxers Fracture" for a reason. Gloves, even in MMA, are not used to protect the person getting hit, but rather to protect the hand of the person doing the punching. I know some PTK instructors, even in the organization I belong to, that will teach punching to soft targets, but this is not common. Other FMA systems openly teach punching, and seem to have no problem with it at all, and no concern about injury.

Here are a few examples of different approaches to FMA empty hand.

Illustrisimo - Bruce and Brandon Ricketts sparring

Balintaway - Bobby Taboada doing some shadow boxing

PTK - Tim Waid showing some empty hand. Around the 1:27 mark you can see how this relates to the knife system and our pattern of thrusting.
 

Juany118

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Lacoste-Inosanto's mano y mano material looks quite a bit like this as well, albeit with other things mixed in. Balintawak does empty hand pretty much like boxing (see Bobby Taboada for an example).

Yeah on the L-IK part it also includes empty hand striking stuff from Kuntao systems that are similar to Wing Chun and other Southern Chinese systems. Being that my Guro is also a Sifu in WC he sticks to these techniques so the WC instruction reinforces the Kali instruction rather than the Kali confusing the WC. I do sometimes think Guro Dan went a little overboard when it came to the variety of empty handed striking techniques. He masterful enough to flow from one principle to another in the same fight, the rest of us? Not so much lol.

There is a school near me though that goes with what you do. The Guro studied Escrima under Leo M. Giron and integrates Silat and Muay Thai into one system.
 

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Yeah on the L-IK part it also includes empty hand striking stuff from Kuntao systems that are similar to Wing Chun and other Southern Chinese systems. Being that my Guro is also a Sifu in WC he sticks to these techniques so the WC instruction reinforces the Kali instruction rather than the Kali confusing the WC. I do sometimes think Guro Dan went a little overboard when it came to the variety of empty handed striking techniques. He masterful enough to flow from one principle to another in the same fight, the rest of us? Not so much lol.

Guro Dan is a machine. That being said, I have not noticed the Southern Chinese stuff so much, but I am less familiar with that stuff, which probably explains that. I noticed a solid Western Boxing structure, with a good deal of trapping, locks, etc. thrown in. My L-C instructor was one of his older students, and Guro Dan is always evolving, so that might explain of some of that. He's quite a bit different now then he was in the earlier days when his influences were primarily from the Stockton group, Illustrisimo, and Pekiti Tirsia.

Juany118 said:
There is a school near me though that goes with what you do. The Guro studied Escrima under Leo M. Giron and integrates Silat and Muay Thai into one system.
While some in PTK seem to have a good deal of Silat influence, we don't in our organization, at least not that I have seen. Our kicks, which are always delivered low and not used for bridging distance, do resemble Thai kicks in their mechanics.

I haven't seen much in the way of the Original Leo Giron system's empty hand stuff. The majority of what I have seen was from the Bahala Na Multi-Style group.
 
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Juany118

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Guro Dan is a machine. That being said, I have not noticed the Southern Chinese stuff so much, but I am less familiar with that stuff, so perhaps that is why. I noticed a solid Western Boxing structure, with a good deal of trapping, locks, etc. thrown in. My L-C instructor was one of his older students, and Guro Dan is always evolving, so that might explain of some of that.

While some in PTK seem to have a good deal of Silat influence, we don't in our organization, at least not that I have seen. Our kicks, which are always delivered low and not used for bridging distance, do resemble Thai kicks in their mechanics.

The trapping is certainly a BIG part of Southern systems especially Wing Chun. You also see it in the sequences where Guro Dan will do the quick checks of an incoming hand ( pak-sau)> moving in and to the outside to control the elbow > finisher (when the finisher is either a low kick, knee, straight punch, finger thrust or elbow.) You can also replace the elbow control with the trapping as well.

The structure he uses is different (more of a boxer's stance) but if you look simply at the limb movements you can see the Kuntao in the circumstances where the defenses are deflections vs blocks> controlling or trapping the limb vs limb destruction> and where the follow up attack is either a straight punch from the center or the other limbs I mentioned as well as the straight strikes to the biceps and such. When he starts doing the blocks and covers, the crosses and uppercuts etc is when he is applying techniques that are different from Southern Chinese arts.

tl;dr when he is deflecting attacks, controlling limbs and retaliating in a linear fashion it is consistent with Southern Chinese systems which, I assume, is from the Kuntao his Academy references as being part of the system.
 
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Juany118

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Side note, I haven't seen much of Leo Giron's empty hand system either. I have yet to speak to anyone attending the school I mentioned. I wonder however if the inclusion of Silat and Muay Thai is to compensate for a short coming in that regard?
 

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Side note, I haven't seen much of Leo Giron's empty hand system either. I have yet to speak to anyone attending the school I mentioned. I wonder however if the inclusion of Silat and Muay Thai is to compensate for a short coming in that regard?

Could be. Some of those Stockton guys were really well known for their empty hand stuff, like Max Sarmiento for example, and they all pretty much trained together, so it is hard to say. There are so many systems which blended aspects of what they did, like Lacoste-Inosanto, that you can't always categorize the influences. Other systems which are multi-style in nature did so according to range, and used a system for a given range, so it is a bit easier to determine source influence. Inayan Eskrima, Bahala Na Multi-Style, etc. are examples I think of for that. Lameco Eskrima, outside of the Stockton group, would be another.

And then of course you have the guys who drew from other systems without wishing to give them credit, but we don't need to get into that.
 

Juany118

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Definitely familiar with it in a Wing Chun context, but I am not a CMA guy at all, so classifying it as Northern vs. Southern is not something I have any exposure to.

I could have been overly broad with the term. My train of logic was as follows. Wing Chun is a Southern style, he directly attributes I-LK to having Kuntao elements (the Martial Arts of the Chinese community in SE Asia) but not Wing Chun so I used Southern CMA instead. However if you ever hear him talk about Jeet Kun Do he says he believes Wing Chun is the necessary foundation. He even has WC teachers come to the Academy to teach it for this purpose and has had 8 different WC teachers himself, so I suppose it is possible it is simply elements consistent with WC specirically and not Southern CMA in general.
 

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I could have been overly broad with the term. My train of logic was as follows. Wing Chun is a Southern style, he directly attributes I-LK to having Kuntao elements (the Martial Arts of the Chinese community in SE Asia) but not Wing Chun so I used Southern CMA instead. However if you ever hear him talk about Jeet Kun Do he says he believes Wing Chun is the necessary foundation. He even has WC teachers come to the Academy to teach it for this purpose and has had 8 different WC teachers himself, so I suppose it is possible it is simply elements consistent with WC specirically and not Southern CMA in general.

All true, and no worries on the term.

The one thing is, i'm not sure how much of that (WC and JKD) shows up in his FMA. It's temping to think because there is trapping that there is, but there are a number of FMA systems which have trapping also which are not (at least directly) linked to CMA. See Kadena de Mano from a number of FMA systems for an example.

Because Guro Dan is so synonomous with both, because both are blends, and even perhaps because both have a Western Boxing influence, JKD tends to creep into the discussion whenever we discuss his FMA, but I am not entirely convinced that it should. I really think it needs to be separated.

Thoughts?
 

Juany118

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Could be. Some of those Stockton guys were really well known for their empty hand stuff, like Max Sarmiento for example, and they all pretty much trained together, so it is hard to say. There are so many systems which blended aspects of what they did, like Lacoste-Inosanto, that you can't always categorize the influences. Other systems which are multi-style in nature did so according to range, and used a system for a given range, so it is a bit easier to determine source influence. Inayan Eskrima, Bahala Na Multi-Style, etc. are examples I think of for that. Lameco Eskrima, outside of the Stockton group, would be another.

And then of course you have the guys who drew from other systems without wishing to give them credit, but we don't need to get into that.

You are making me want to go talk to this guy because he appears to have formerly been part of the Stockton crew.

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Juany118

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All true, and no worries on the term.

The one thing is, i'm not sure how much of that (WC and JKD) shows up in his FMA. It's temping to think because there is trapping that there is, but there are a number of FMA systems which have trapping also which are not (at least directly) linked to CMA. See Kadena de Mano from a number of FMA systems for an example.

Because Guro Dan is so synonomous with both, because both are blends, and even perhaps because both have a Western Boxing influence, JKD tends to creep into the discussion whenever we discuss his FMA, but I am not entirely convinced that it should. I really think it needs to be separated.

Thoughts?

Well I look at it this way. First Guro Dan sees has his "JKD Concepts" vs what some call "Original JKD." As I understand it the difference is Guro Dan sees JKD via its constituent parts and that it can evolve and change vs a set cohesive MA that you eventually just take what works from.

With that in mind Lacoste-Inosanto Kali seems to have been created in the way Guro Dan describes Bruce Lee creating the JKD he was taught. They even go so far as saying that his system draws from 26 other primary sources Curriculum — Inosanto Academy. So while he specifically names Eskrima, Panatukan, and Sikaran from the Philippines he also mentions direct influence of Kuntao & Silat. Who knows what elements of Kuntao he added since that term is basically like saying Kung-fu, same with Silat and who knows what else is in there that isn't specifically names? We would probably need to sit down and ask Guro Dan himself lol.

Because of that what I do is just look and say "hey that looks like stuff from X" and knowing that Guro Dan is very familiar with Wing Chun and he specifically notes Kuntao it makes sense to apply it there. /Shrug.
 
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