Though not normally a part of KM classes, we involve stick techniques to mix it up a little, keep it fresh and fun, and work on the most common and easily improvised self-defense weapon.
The stick set arrived to us from Eddie Diaz of San Marcos, Texas. Master Diaz has a long background in the Filipino stick fighting arts, and constructed this pattern to cover most of the basics of these systems.
Over the next three months, we'll be covering these fundamentals:
- Grip. This is very important! If you can't retain your hold on the stick, you won't be stick fighting for long!
- Strikes. Both witiks (strike and pull away) or lobtiks (strike and follow through).
- Strategy. Where are you aiming your strikes, exactly? And why?
There are two major things that interest me in this type of training.
Practicality: in the Filipino systems, stick training is seen almost as "training wheels". Culturally and historically, the arts of the Philippines gravitate toward weapons, specifically knives and machetes. Obviously, training with live blades probably wouldn't be very successful, so escrima sticks are used to learn the basics of blade fighting. The strategies, grip, targets, and movement are largely the same. Once a student advances past beginner stage, he or she begins to use bladed weapons. Here at ABD Norwich, we're not going that far at this point - but you'll quickly understand the correlation between stick and knife fighting.
Strategy: Specifically, we'll be working on stick vs. stick fighting. In other words, he has weapons and so do you (unarmed defense against stick attacks is covered in our regular Krav Maga classes). Counter-intuitively, we're not teaching how to get inside and deliver finishing shots, say, to the head. Instead, we consider the dynamics of the situation. If you get him to drop his weapons, who's winning now? For that reason, our strikes are aimed at the fingers, hands, and wrists of our opponents. Even a lightweight rattan sticks hurts when it connects. If you can target your strikes to get them to lose their weapons, they will probably run away. Or not. Either, way, you have the upper hand now.
In short, stick-on-stick training is fun, challenging, and practical. Students love our three-month stick training cycles.
Here's a video of what we won't be doing in our classes in Norwich. These are the legendary (and crazy!) Dog Brothers, a group of martial artists who meet to test each others skills with with full contact, wooden weapon fighting protected only with masks and gloves. Almost makes the UFC look like a game of tag!