Wednesday, July 13, 2016


The way you train is the way you will fight. I believe that a good FMA system covers the aspects of edged and impact weapons including a good stand up and a decent ground fighting skills. He or she knows the difference between a sword and a stick and to not confuse between the two. A kalista is equally adept in handling long, medium and short blades just as he or she handles different sticks including flexible and improvised weapons. A kalista also knows how to listen to what his or her guts (some call it sixth sense or esp)  feel thus avoiding any possible danger. He or she knows how to analyze and could quickly develop a plan or strategy when dealing on extreme life and death situations for the purpose of self preservation and for protecting others as well.

WITH REGARDS TO DE CAMPO (long range) AND DE SALON (short range)

While I do believe that long range is one of the most often and effectively used in duels whether for assault training or actual duel scenarios, I would not be foolish to disregard close range or labanang dikit altogether. That is why I often spar with minimal protection so as not to get careless. Or if ever I decide to put on more protective gears, my attitude towards weapons don't change. I respect its capability especially if it is a machete that would cut you up into pieces or get a thrust on the most fatal parts of your anatomy. If it is a kamagong or bahi stick then be prepared to crush every part of your bones, muscles and joints if you keep using your hand, legs, body to absorb and block it.  Try sparring without headgears and protective gears and see if you still use your arms and allow your head to be hit repeatedly. You'll be very surprised on how one solid strike could inflict real pain and disorient your senses if you get a shot right on the head.  We tried a few days ago sparring  without headgear and hand protectors using just rattan sticks (no head shots of course) and aluminum training knives and immediately saw how limbs easily would swell and fingers doubled its size from receiving a hit. Of course hematomas and black amd blue marks here and there. Now about in-fighting or close range. I still maintain that De Salon comes ( I still very much adhere to Tatang's point of view as related to me by Mang Tony that all these has its place and value when it comes to fighting) into play especially during surprise attacks or ambushes or if an assailant just starts crashing in willing to sacrifice a limb or two just to go for the kill. Its like watching a drug craze person rushing in relentlessly or a well determined assailant that would do anything to bring you six feet under. Will hand checks work? its actually difficult to tell how you or your opponent would react, deliver, counter and maneuver. It requires incidental circumstances. You don't go looking for it. Rather it just happens when an opportunity presents itself. And sometimes you might not notice it because it happens fast and not the way you would expect from a drill. But hand checks is not limited to tapping which is often the mistake many fail to realize. Hand checks also means trapping the hand either by holding or grabbing with the hand or by using the hand together with the body to fully apply the concept of leverage which is often recognized as grappling. It could either be a stand up grapple or may eventually end up on the ground. As much as most of us would not want to end up there on the ground, there are many variables in a fight that is uncontrollable such as fighting on a slippery or wet surface, fighting against someone who might be significantly bigger and heavier than you, fighting on a place with a lot of obstructions and many more scenarios. If you fail to train on how to survive in this area then you're not seriously training well. Any excuse against that is somewhat stupid. Now of course I don't advocate staying there for long especially against multiple assailants. Find a way to recover immediately and stand up. It only requires smart thinking. Nothing special.


I over heard someone say to a woman that this is a very foolish move to pull off in a street fight because it would only add up to the rage of someone under the receiving end of such attack and would eventually lead the attacker to kill you. So he recommends punching the face would seal the deal. And I took pitty on the woman who showed enthusiasm from the lesson she just got. Afterall she's just training at least once or twice a month. It's  sometimes a pain in the butt to hear people give such stupid advise. I was tempted to butt in but held my peace instead. I try not to meddle in someone's own kitchen. That is what I got from Oong Mayono.  I really don't know how they arrived into that conclusion. If the assailant wants to kill then he would kill. Punching hard, kicking hard, elbowing hard would not make him less angrier compared to gouging his eyes if the person really wanted to waste you in the first place. Now the mechanics of a proper eye gouge is to insert your finger inside the attackers eye balls with lesser effort as compared to hitting but with more devastating effect. If done with full force then it is one of the most effective means to really hurt an attacker and disorient him or may even end up worse . A far greater chance for someone who may be a regular person without much skills in martial arts to be able to run away from further engaging into deeper trouble. It's  a good offensive action provided that it is done with full intent (I'm not referring to just gently brushing with your fingers) to thwart off an attacker. I, including other competitors in combat sports have more than just on one occassion got accidentally poked with a stick or a glove with protruding leather on its edges and just thinly scratching my (their) eyes and immediately stopped in the middle of a fight due to that irritating sharp pain and uncomfortable tears clouding good vision. It's  almost like the way people jumping wild with pain or crouching in agony on the mats after receiving a kick on the balls. It's unpleasant, painful and drops all your guard down like a limped vegetable. I have experienced dropping off whatever I was doing whenever a small spec of foreign material enters my eyes after strong wind passed by carrying all sorts of dusts. It is probably a most common experience and anyone could attest to that. So how much more if someone violently and intentionally inserts his or her finger inside that eye socket and begins to dig or hooks it in as deep as possible? Well I bet no one would ever participate in such experiments. They would rather be punched hard in the face and even get knocked-out than to wake up without seeing anymore. I say this because I don't wish to discourage regular people using it as a form of self-defense especially when it is probably the only thing they could do if caught up in a very dangerous situation. But if one could train his or herself to add more into their arsenal of self-defense tools, the better!


There is no need to go Hollywood regarding this matter. Maybe you have seen me or others pose with a blade using reverse grip. Well it's good for pictorials only. How important is this issue? Well it depends on how you value your life. Never ever give up your blades advantage especially in a knife fight. Allowing him to use the full advantage of his blade by maintaining a regular grip while you on the other hand begins to reverse it is really asking for trouble. Knife fights as my mentor mang Inyong told me are dangerously fast and turns everything ugly. There is nothing glorious or fascinating about it. If you could stay away from it then by all means stay away, run away, call the cops, just get out!. Only a fool would go around looking for knife fights. There's nothing beautiful about the idea of killing with it either .  But if you really have to use it to defend yourself or someone then do it fast and get out quickly. But they say reverse holds is good for concealment. Maybe if your doing it sentry or silent attacks without facing your enemy (better leave these to the military). But against duels and against someone who knows how to fight with knives, he could easily see through your imagined concealment. Resting one's knife on the forearm may look professional and tough. But looking tough like this won't save you. When things start to get rough you are likely to get
cut first which might put you on a disadvantage. But don't totally neglect practising how to defend against it (pakal grip) because there are still many attacks from this grip position. It would be wise to know how to deal with it.


Tightly. Nothing more I wish to say.


Some hold the knife wherein the edge faces upward because they don't want their oppoment to parry it downward against the spine as they thrust. But this will just make it difficult to maneuver if one has to cut downwards because it limits mobility as opposed to having the edged pointed downwards. Holding the knife with edge face down allows more in terms of maneuverability whether cutting straight up, down, diagonal. side ways arcing with a flick of a wrist or hand.


Yes it's not the best advise but a student (working student) of mine actually saved his life after I taught a class which he was attending  and showed them how to use a pinch grip in case they have to.  He showed up in the faculty room one day very thankful while showing this ugly cut across his palm and related to me that two men went inside his taxi cab to rob him. After coming up short with just a small amount of money to give, the other assailant decided to thrust his knife directly at his sternum with full force. He reacted by grabbing the full length of the knife and the intensity by both men struggling to gain the upperhand resulted into breaking the blade (he was lucky that it turns out that the tool used was just an ordinary kitchen knife) It resulted to an immidiate scattering of the two assailants thus saving his life. Again I don't usually recommend it as a first priority in weapons disarming but I still continue to teach it because it might just come in useful in such dire situations.

All these are for true advocates of Filipino Martial Arts training. It's for those who wish to study it seriously not for the purpose of planning to hurt people. It is for matters of self-defense and life and deaths situtuations. Remember that it always comes with a heavy price. You might end up in jail using it. So be very careful and be responsible.  Spend time to train as much as you can and treat it just like any other insurance policy. It is not a 100% guarantee but it might just come in handy.

Train well and never leave any stones unturned. This is how we teach and this is how we train.

Eskrima Street Defense is now available in kindle. Order your copy at

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Philippines

#filipinomartialarts #kali #arnis

#eskrima #selfdefense #bladefighting

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