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W. Hock Hochheim's

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Author Topic: The Difference Between...  (Read 2377 times)


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The Difference Between...
« on: April 26, 2007, 04:12:59 PM »

The Difference Between Tactical Stick Fighting and Filipino Stick Fighting
by W. Hock Hochheim

I would like to clear up what I believe is the main difference between tactical, stick-combatives and Filipino-stick fighting.

In most countries of the world, it is statistically unlikely that two people will square off and fight with very similar, rattan sticks, or for that matter any impact weapons both similar in size and weight. Of course, it could happen, but we live in a mixed weapon world, where other combinations of weapons are way more likely. Even in the Philippines, the rattan stick often symbolizes the machett.

Tactical baton and/or stick fighting is about blocking and striking and grappling and ground fighting against a person who is:

- without a weapon, or

- with any kind of weapon, be they a makeshift one, or a chair, a pistol, a shotgun, a knife, a broken beer mug, or

- even another impact weapon such as a tire iron, a baseball bat or cricket bat.

Filipino stick fighting is largely about fighting against someone with another Filipino stick, both about 28 inches or so. Largely. Or the next FMA category, it becomes about stick fighting against a defined list of Filipino weapons. In this environment, doctrine is created and techniques rehearsed that works directly and purposefully against the stick fighter.

A tactical student is aware that a system of fighting strategies constructed for and working against the mirror fighter- one holding the same weapon, is just not a competent doctrine in today's mied weapons world. The moder, tactical doctrine must completely support the exact circumstance of the anticipated combat.

Stick vs. Stick Training Partners.
Will a football player perform well in a baseball game? Will an ice hockey star do well in a basketball game? To some extent yes they will as these performances all share some fundamental skills, like balance, strength and speed. But there can be no doubt that a football player needs to practice football to excel in a football game. A reality fighter, such as a soldier, police officer or citizen must do the same. Groups such as these will only glean abstract results when studying Filipino martial art stick fighting.

Now, in terms of training methodologies, it is not a complete fault to train at times with stick-versus-stick, work-out partners. It is sometimes energetic and enhancing to practice tactical, stick work against a stick-wielding partner. This develops footwork, body maneuvering and other skills. But, reality fighters must take care not to become accustomed to fighting only the stick fighter and only in this stand-off, showdown/duel situation! In tactical stick/baton training classes, it is also faster when exchanging trainer/trainee positions for workouts, when both parties hold sticks. fast switch of roles. But, a tactical practitioner cannot be confused about the many other tools the enemy may attack him with. these tools must also be brought into the practice.

The Myth of the Duel
Real world, tactical, baton fighting is about you holding the stick! You blocking, striking and grappling with your baton, against anyone with anything, not squaring off against another 28” stick fighter, or weapons as identified as Filipino training weapon.
As soon as FMA practitioner has to justify and explain away, “well, well…this stick is really like "that," or "this" is symbolic of "that:…” we start to lose our way.

Reality people don't have the time for abstracts or symbols. Why not train with the real “this” or “that” instead? But when you do this, you break the mold and tear the thin tissue of what Filipino martial arts is. Take a simple survey of your FMA training time. What do you do more of?

Stick versus stick training?
Stick versus knife training?
stick versus anything training?
Most likely the common answer for FMA practitioner is stick versus stick. And this is a reality, training mistake. Not an FMA mistake, a reality training mistake.

As I have said time and time again. I hope people have fun and exercise doing karate and FMA or submission fighting or whatever. Just understand where these things fit in the big picture, and that the skills acquired may well be abstract and even unsafe and distracting to reality fighting. It may take you five or more years of abstract work to accomplish what you really want and need to do, in just a year-and-half or so of using a doctrine of modern fighting.