Pick your arena!

John J

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Sparring or better yet “stick-fighting” is an integral part of Filipino Martial Arts training. For some it’s combat application with a combat mindset but for others it’s a sport with competition in mind. Both have pros & cons but IMO...it is a player’s responsibility to approach stick-fighting in a realistic manner utilizing strategy, footwork, effective defense etc…

What are your thoughts on the various arenas? Why do/don't you participate in a particular arena? I would like to hear about your personal experience not only observations.

In short, here is what IÂ’ve experienced firsthand:

Unarmored Largo Mano - Heightens your awareness but strikes are controlled and targets are limited.

WEKAF / Sport - Can help develop oneÂ’s conditioning and focus but build a false sense of security for others.

Limited Armor - Introduces an array of combat weaponry and empty-hand techniques including grappling. However, those who lack Eskrima skills revert to the sacrifice clinch or grapple.


John J
BAKBAKAN International

“It’s not the conditions in which you play, it’s how you engage” – John J
 
John,

I have participated in all three types of play.

My least favorite would be WEKAF/sport. However, I do beleive it is a valuable training tool and can be a good sport (with some rules reduction), and it is unfairly maligned.

I often believe people who do not, have not or will not participate in this type of sparring often use the excuse that it doesn't reflect reality or some other BS. Really its that they have no real skill or worse there method/style is useless.

WEKAF/sport is great for developing timing, distance, and power without fear of getting hurt. However, you are right, to many people rely on the protection of the armour to 'score'.

The reason it is my least favorite, I just don''t like the jacket. I find especially with smaller people you are often fighting the jacket as much as you opponent. But the main reason is it is damn hot under that thing. You would think in our day and age they could produce something a little less cumbersome.

Also I would like to see a reduction in the rules in WEKAF. For example, I like to see thrusts allowed agained, punyos to helmet, a sticks be heavier,punches witht the live hand...

Just my 1.34 cents Canadian,

Vince
 
Hey Vince!

I too would have to say that WEKAF is my least favorite. However, if thrusting and punyos were allowed it would definitely move up in ranks. The last time I saw thrusts allowed in a WEKAF event was in 96'. There are so many concerns with thrusts entering under the bib of the headgear or even worse splintering through the mask.

Regardless of what path you choose, the benefits from each one is essential in your development as a stickfighter. It is important to experiment under the various conditions.

John J
BAKBAKAN International
 
>There are so many concerns with thrusts entering under the bib of the headgear or even worse splintering through the mask.

I don't like the bib any way can't keep your chin down also I think if they used bigger sticks then the threat of splintering through the mask is reduced.

The idea i think with WEKAF is that by making it as safe as possible more people will participate which I commend. However, I believe the rules are so restrictive now that many are turned off. By reducing the rules (at least at the adult) level many more would participate.

Vince
 
1 Rule Be Friends at the End=-)


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WEKAF / Sport - Can help develop oneÂ’s conditioning and focus but build a false sense of security for others.

I would have to say that my preferred way is the WEKAF style and I don't think that it offers any "false sense of security" any more than the other methods. Whenever your point is not to absolutely kill the other person you must have rules. These rules decrease the reality of a fight to a point where emphasis can be placed on the learning of specific skills. WEKAF sparring emphasizes flow and multiple hits and it trains those skills like no other method.

When it comes to conditioning, I don't really think you have to be in that great shape to do well at WEKAF sparring. What you have to be is efficient in your motions. Being in shape can make up for many things. Often when I see people spar, regardless of what method, they depend on being in shape in the beginning of their learning. As the practitioner progresses, they become more seasoned and more efficient in their technique. And thus much less energy is needed in order to fight.

Also I would like to see a reduction in the rules in WEKAF. For example, I like to see thrusts allowed agained, punyos to helmet, a sticks be heavier,punches witht the live hand...

I agree. I would like to see that as well in a limited manner. I have to say that it would force some fighters to work at a distance and not so close. But again, WEKAF style training is a training tool and those particular items are not emphasized in that exercise. Although within Doce Pares those skills (punyo, thrust, punch, etc) are dealt with in the Controlled Sparring exercise and are trained extensively.

WEKAF/sport is great for developing timing, distance, and power without fear of getting hurt. However, you are right, to many people rely on the protection of the armour to 'score'.

This is true of any style of sparring unfortunately. But that's what happens with sports. It's similar to the difference in game between Rugby and Football with equipment. I ran at guys in a much different fashion with my gear on than without.

Dog Brothers style
1 Rule Be Friends at the End=-)

I fought in the Dog Brothers and I have to say that I think it was a good training tool. But there were also some trouble points.

The good stuff was that you really are friends at the end of the day and the atmosphere of training and brotherhood is real. Every fight is treated like a contribution and when you're done, you really feel like you've learned something. I don't like the separation of the sexes in the sparring in any arena (talk about building a false sense of security!!) but in the DB it was palpable and that was a problem. I had the chance to fight people who had a lot of surprises in them and got to see how they dealt with surprises of my own.

But the claims of "light" gear for most people are untrue. Most of the people wear helmets that, from common impact points, have the same protective strength as a motorcycle helmet. Some people also embedded protective metal and hard plastic pieces in their gloves. One of the participants had one of those wrist pads for in front of the keyboard, the kind with the liquid padding in it, actually stuffed inside his helmet. Another guy had protective motocross or hockey plastic guards underneath his sweats. I think only the Old School DB actually spar without the added protective accoutrements, or maybe all of the actuall Dog Brothers with Dog Names, because they spar aside from that together as well. In many cases in many fights strikes that normally would have ended a fight, instead moved it to grappling. This incites a false sense of security in some ground fighters in my opinion.


Anyway, each arena has its pros and cons, but I think WEKAF gets more of the shaft than others and undeservedly so.
 
>I don't think that it offers any "false sense of security" any more than the other methods...

Maybe "confidence" is a better word than security? I've competed and officiated many WEKAF events and can assure you that the heavy armor causes the more inexperienced and sometimes experienced players to engage in a poor fashion. Lack of effective defense & footwork, to name a few. Engaging in any contact in the Martial Arts relies on the mental or psychological preparedness first. The problem is that many players participate with the understanding that it is a "sporting event" and that winning is based on points. Consequently, this mentality dictates the way they fight. I am not saying all because I have many friends who are avid WEKAF competitiors and they fight realistically. However, there are quite a bit!

>These rules decrease the reality of a fight to a point where emphasis can be placed on the learning of specific skills.

IMO...Rules are simply to govern or ensure player safety. The learning aspect is done in the training while the test or real time application is done through sparring, isolated & scenario drills.

> When it comes to conditioning, I don't really think you have to be in that great shape to do well at WEKAF sparring.

My point is that it can "DEVELOP" one's conditioning. The extra body armor & heavy helmet is exellent for building good stamina, breathing & visual focus. No, you don't have to be in outstanding shape but conditioning can affect overall performance & effective technique.

>In many cases in many fights strikes that normally would have ended a fight, instead moved it to grappling. This incites a false sense of security in some ground fighters in my opinion.

While that is true, many players also look to close the gap quickly because they lack the skills to fight in the stick ranges or feel the need to overpower someone.

For the record, I do not discredit the WEKAF appporach because there are benefits.
 
Originally posted by John J

For the record, I do not discredit the WEKAF appporach because there are benefits.

Agreed. I do feel that there are benefits of this kind of training. I also do point stickfighting. This helps me on my aim and the ability to draw first blood.
 
Renegade...you wouldn't happen to be Tim Hartman?

We do Hand Targeting to develop accuracy, range, timing and countering, players can strike only the weapon hand/forearm and are restricted to linear movement in a confined space. Either padded or light sticks are used because the only protection worn is the glove on the weapon hand. A very effective way of disarming.
 
Originally posted by John J
Renegade...you wouldn't happen to be Tim Hartman?

Yep. John, did I me you in NYC at a seminar with Remy Presas and Cocoy Canete?
 
Yes, we met there. Best of luck with the symposium and continued success with preserving & promoting Modern Arnis.
 

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