In the past, we’ve done training that would isolate other aspects of stick work. There is a large vacuum of stick grappling material available for Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) which was taught by FMAs. Japanese martial arts have stick grappling material in bookstores, there’s bits here and there from FMAs, but often not readily available. There’s material by the great Gene Lebell as well. However, nothing focusing entirely on the stick grappling and why stick grappling is an often ignored subject within the context of FMA stick work. The Sayoc Stick Grappling DVD introduces the stick as a viable equalizer against stick strikes utilizing many grappling concepts.
How well the FMA community embraces this opens the doors to the HUGE untapped (pardon the pun) grappling student body that have not seriously studied FMAs.
If one were to surf the net, you can see grappling instructors, even former JKD students negatively describing the drills of FMA. As ambassadors of FMA, Sayoc Kali Tuhon Thomas Kier presents material that speaks grappling and FMA language while SHOWING the effectiveness of Sayoc close range techniques and grappling material adapted to FMA.
In the history of Filipino tribal warfare, there are documented instances where observers would indicate warriors not merely hacking away at one another, but tying up their opponent and pretty much restraining them to use their edged weapon, like a Kalinga head ax.
The footage and scenarios presented are for instructional purposes and are not intended for sport or entertainment purposes. These were not “fight club” sessions but scenarios which were designed to illustrate concepts on an uncooperative training partner.
ALL Training IS Fantasy.
Why? Because it is NEVER Real.
However, in any TRAINING, one can be susceptible to serious bodily injury. Especially REAL world simulated training. This wasn’t a contest… no prize money, no audience.
How can one justify teaching a method if they don’t know for sure the possible glitches inherent therein if they haven’t even seen it happen in real time? Not even seeing it in TRAINING time?
***Read the disclaimer for more information.***
Here’s a chance to SHOW a student of yours that:
1. A disarm can work. If trained appropriately.
2. The fights don’t end when a stick is lost.
3. Other arts apply well – Sound TACTICS work better than Theories.
4. Hand hits might NOT work, and sometimes they do.
5. Projectiles can be used in a real time situation to your advantage
6. The environment can assist or handicap you, depending on your mindset.
7. Some installed Hubad drills can come in handy.
8. Size can or can not matter in a stick fight. But skill ALWAYS matters.
9. Impact Conditioning is important.
10. With light rattan, knockouts happen with repetitive shots.
11. A stick can equalize a grappler AND vice versa, a grappler can use a stick to THEIR advantage.
12. A submission can happen with a pressure point when a stick is involved.
13. A standup submission can happen with a stick.
14. Fancy twirling when done by someone who knows WHY they are doing it is effective.
15. Stick grip changes can be done in real time and effectively.
16. Some who do not practically train in the blade arts, have a huge misconception between what a blade can do and a stick. The gap is HUGE.
17. No headgear alters the way you fight. Many people think that the face is easy to strike until they realize that if you can get to the face, so can your opponent.
An opportunity to point out things to those who question your art, whether you are Sayoc or not. The DVDs material will support your training, or direct you in a path that will improve your training.
Regardless, the footage will not be the end all, but merely a point of reference for many of you. Note real time reactions and responses and EVOLVE methods from this. The footage can be studied and allay certain concerns or induce new ones. For example, the mere removal of padded gloves altered the whole dynamics of the fights. In Sayoc Kali we say that the methods evolved from the blood and sweat of those before us, perhaps so others won’t have to. In addition, it is to make sure when statements like, “Training the non dominant hand is crucial to your survival” we have evidence that support it. From there we can take the correct responses, and apply this method to REAL world scenarios.
Here’s where the MYTH busting comes in and only through actual real world experience do we come up with the TRUE data.
It takes several HARD, CLEAN shots to the head before one gets KOd by a light rattan stick. Especially, if the opponent doesn’t want to get hit. That’s a FACT. The first shot can end the fight due to a cut or just unwillingness (tolerance) to take the pain, but there were no one shot KOs from a solo stick shot. Some fights went several shots before submission, no KOs. A stick has as much power as a kick or punch – the difference is that the stick doesn’t break like a hand would from impact, but it does NOT hit the head/jaw at the angles a limb shot can induce a KO with.
For over a hundred years, the rattan stick was the universal training tool for the Filipino Martial Arts due to the properties that garner honest responses, while maintaining relative safety. Hard wood heavy sticks like Bahi or Kamagong are deadlier and often carved into flat counterparts of bladed weapons.
The Myth of Corto Range
FACT: All things equal, the most dangerous stick striking zone is CORTO.
Many people train in corto range but are misinformed in the zoning realities of utilizing corto. Corto Range is the mid range in which full power impact strikes can be exchanged within the reactionary gap of your opponent. The myth is that one stays in and finishes their opponent by exchanging counter for counter strikes as they flow beautifully.
What pushes this myth along are people wearing headgear staying within the contact zone too long and receive TOO MANY impact shots to their head than they would like if it was real. So they stay in and get clocked. In a real fight between trained combatants, they will not engage the fight this way. All things change when you KNOW your own head can get hit. No one acts like a stick robot anymore. Once they get hit hard they submit or close. They do not trade shots at full power, because the body doesn’t work that way. You need to pad up to get that type of incorrect reaction from BOTH parties.
Guess what happens? People stay at safer long or grappling range.
No one stays in the corto range.
Corto is the mutual aggressive space and can no longer guarantee you will see a shot coming in time to counter it.
However, after several shots to the hands or close calls to the head, the long range fighters realize there’s no advantage in staying out there. Conditioning and stamina become factors. If BOTH fighters stay at long range, there won’t get a KO, because it isn’t a blade. They merely get nicked here and there. Only when you get a fighter who can’t stand the hand hits anymore do you ever get a submission at long range (BOTH fighters staying outside). So they close to corto or grappling range.
When fighters engage, sometimes one decides to disengage. They get hit disengaging as they back off to guess what, the corto range. Trained stick fighters often trap the offending stick arm or weapon, they cover, or they block with their own stick to obtain a successful disengage.
Fighters know their striking arcs, etc. have to be smaller. Why? Because the opponent will get their shot in if you over commit, with harder force, because they timed your wide or overly committed attacks.
At extreme grappling range, you won’t get an impact KO, because of the power arc of the stick.
So this DVD will SHOW you how stick GRAPPLING LOCKS and Submission holds can fit into your arsenal and make you an efficient fighter. It will SHOW you that even if you don’t have a weapon there are ways to close.
Small surface – small impact surface … mostly happens in corto range where full power strikes do the MOST damage in terms of body mechanics. At long range (extended sticks tip to tip), you still have to enter corto (extended stick tip touches opponent’s limb) to make HARD contact. A big difference with the sharp tipped long blade where you can literally puncture away at your opponent from afar.
The lack of armor makes people consider this right away.
How will I make the hard contact without getting clocked on the way in or on the way out (double kill)? When we used padded sticks we saw people rush in with wild abandon – no matter what stick system. It was the ego taking hold, there’s no self awareness check. When we use light gear and padded hard sticks simulating blades and we only allow kill shots to matter, we noticed students stayed at long range longer, but would not close because the padded sticks were supposedly long blades. Then we let them play with armor and sticks, and we observed too many double kills as a result, especially for the beginners.
It is difficult to learn stick grappling with padded sticks, the way the techniques are designed the padded sticks do not offer the same ‘honesty’ as a hard stick. It is less about impact, but more about the manipulation and locks that require no give at certain points.
So when we take the training to the level of rattan, with minimum padding, we have them whittle away their tendency to stay at corto. They don’t WANT to stay in corto, but their ego wants them to stay in and get the shot as they did when they were padded up. The best reason to evade corto range, you are open to all the other limb strikes, take downs, and stick strikes at power arcs as well. The students reassess their timing and conditioned responses. So when two people good at corto range fight, the fastest way to win is to close by baiting corto and taking them down.
If the takedown fails you are BACK in corto range so do not try to stay in grappling mode and try again. Even if you think you are attempting another takedown… You cover/clear and escape to largo as FAST as possible. At any time you are in corto and you are NOT the one making the ONLY contact (before and after the strike) that means your tactic is flawed and you need to close or evade.
Body shifting is excellent for ONE counter as you make impact. If you do not make impact and maintain corto, the highest probability is that a stick fighter with grappling skills will gain guard, sweep or do a takedown. When one is swinging with power it is tougher to evade a takedown. When you reset the range away from corto, and the grappler attempts to do a takedown then THEY are in corto range.
Avoid the corto range unless you make the only impact strike, with equal corto skills you should flow to grappling or largo depending on how much better you are in those ranges against the other person.
The Sayoc stick grappling DVD will show all kinds of scenarios. Only Tuhon Tom Kier’s fight ended quickly, due to understanding stick grappling, as well as largo and corto ranges. It was a standup submission and he had BOTH sticks by then. He used guntings without over committing against a low-line kick, and siniwali movement to keep the opponent at bay, which was an opportunity to bait them into his submission stick lock.
What this specific training event focused on was how to get past that range and get a submission, Many are all still thinking like typical stick swingers. It isn’t a bad thing if you can keep range and we had some of our instructors do this successfully in their fights. Yet, the reason they stayed in that range was because they knew how to get out of the grappling stick range. You HAVE to maintain PROPER RANGE to make the next shot count. The other guy KNOWS how to cover and CLOSE … FAST. They will come in swinging as well or at least make you respond to their attack… perhaps make you block before you counter. Enough time for them to enter your half beat timing and close. In Sayoc Kali it is called, “Keeping your opponent honest”.
Ask any FMA who has ?been there and done that?, and they will tell you that students and novices will ALWAYS use the false security of a helmet to stay within their corto striking range. It builds a false muscle memory. People deliver their shots much more frequently in the mutual danger zones when they are armored. It is human nature.
This footage SHOWS that the striking range is only available on the half beat. That’s it. Unless you’re fighting a total untrained person, it very difficult to get clean hard shots longer than the half beat. Observe how an untrained person handles a stick for the first time and note the awkward, open incorrect gross motor skills.
Certain things we train in; like picking up a dropped stick or switching hands in flow make more sense here. Because no matter how strong we fashion our grip strength is, stuff happens and one has to train to answer these before they happen for real.
For example, people told us that projectiles don’t work. We in the FMA know that they do work, in the proper context. One of the scenarios illustrate this plainly.
For training purposes, we asked various fighters to agree on different ranges at the start of their matches. We even started one with both fighters laying on their backs 25 feet apart prior to engaging.
Some fights maintained largo (outside) the whole time and ended in largo but it didn’t end with a KO – the repetitive strikes to the limbs worked along with exhaustion. However, full power of these strikes were nullified because the other guy was aware of the corto danger zone. The largo guy knew he was striking at a better grappler, so he avoided the corto range where the grappler would close. Proving that in a stick to stick fight, the corto range is the MOST dangerous IMPACT space.
No one wants to stay in that zone if all things are equal. Learning Sayoc Stick Grappling adds a whole new range to your FMA arsenal.
Tuhon Rafael Kayanan