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I wrote this when I was about 15 years younger. I'm curious about what some of our younger and older friends think. I haven't added too, or detracted from it.

The physical: I believe the main objective is to stay on my feet, and be mobile. If knocked off my feet, then I must get back up, fast. If stuck on the ground, knowing basic grappling is a must. This knowledge and skill will keep me from panicking. I will use whatever legal, and appropriate means available.

It is a bad idea for me, the little man, to be overly pugilistic, or overly grapple a bigger man. A big man has too much mass, and power for me to go head-to-head with. However, knowing pugilism, and grappling techniques are crucial for survival.

Arnis and aikido are excellent arts for self-defense. These arts are not practiced as sports, and do not pit strength-against-strength.

Arnis tends to stand alone as one of the best self-defense arts because of the blade training. It is a very effective and efficient method of using a blade defensively. A blade can be a tremendous equalizer, it is legal almost everywhere, and it does not run out of ammunition, or jam.

Aikido is excellent, because of the universal principles that are taught. Mental conditioning and spiritual development serve to cultivate a strong will.

When aikido and arnis are blended together an excellent system of self-development, and self-defense emerges.

If you are are unable to get away from an attacker feeling no pain, the following should be effective to neutralize him. The surest way is to shut down the brain, severe the spinal chord, trachea, or heart, and related blood flow. Ways of slowing him down are affecting eyesight, breathing, tendons, and joints.

A blade or a bullet should effectively accomplish the first. Certainly a blade or bullet can accomplish the second. Empty hand strikes and holds can accomplish the second, as well.

I look forward to hearing from everyone.

Guro Dave

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That sounds well thought out G. Dave. 15 years ago would be 1999.

I'll assume you are in a 'no choice but to fight situation'.

As to 'Arnis' or bladed arts, I would also add that even with 'disparity of force', I'd be reluctant to bring a blade against an unarmed man, except in the direst of circumstances. If you are known as an FMA guy, a blade against an unarmed man regardless of size does not guarantee you will have mitigating circumstances to null Pross a manslaughter charge. Once the guy knows you have cut him, he'll try to kill you, IMO. So be cautious.

As to Aikido, even with 20 years practice, I don't know of but a handful that can actually make anything in Aikido work. Think of it as a 'waste of time', perhaps not a waste of knowledge. IOW it takes too long, but if you are not naturally footwork savvy I'd do it for a year to see.

For mental conditioning and self-development, I'd suggest Adventure racing, Triathlon training (The Diaz brothers do tris), and anything that you can push against when just exhausted. Long distance swimming, or underwater swimming can improve your tolerance of going to the max anaerobically within an aerobic venue (think burst energy, recover, burst, recover).

How long can you do 'flow Sinawali'? I'd aim for AT LEAST 10 minutes, to music, no stopping with a burst each minute. Few FMA guys I know can do flow Sinawali for more than 4 minutes (not baton twirling but real striking in the air.

As to the 'sure way', hitting a specific target - it's almost impossible to have this kind of precision in the 'tunnel vision - red mist' mode. Carry a firearm, carry with an armed partner and train to back each other up. You have to be sure you do NOT shoot your partner. (there's a key way for this but I'm reluctant to say on an open forum).

Not bad for 1999. What's your update?


Hi Badger,

Thank you for your wise input. You've asked me a great question, "What's your update?"

I will reply, after a little thought on how to best express my current thoughts. 

Guro Dave

Hi Badger,

It's taken me a while to provide my update. I'm getting older, and more feeble. Arthritis seems to be my biggest enemy. I would say my aikido training did a lot for me mentally. I do agree for aikido to be effective in self-defense is a long process. However, it did help me with intent, footwork, and tactile sensitivity. 

I will not try to restrain or hold anyone. I see no feasible reason why. My main goal is going to be to escape. However, if I do try to hold someone it's likely to give my family members a chance to get to a safe place.

I will never hold back on hitting a violent, dedicated attacker again. When I've decided I need to hit, it will be first, fast, hard, and often. Personally, I don't like to rely on empty hand FMA. I'd rather fall back to my dirty muay thai, and/or dirty jujitsu, including kino mua tai, instead.

Mainly, I want to further my FMA skills, and my defensive firearms craft.

If caught empty handed, I want to be effectively attacking soft tissue targets (eyes, groin, throat, neck, back-of-head, and knee and ankle joints).

I must know the limitations of my body, and respect them.

Of course the best thing to master is the art of peaceful conflict resolution, and avoidance. I must master myself.

Guro Dave

P.S. Would anyone care to share how he modified his training, and emphasis as he aged? Especially those who have passed 50.

After 50, I have reduced my one-on-one training, kept up on solo flow work, and focused on cardio, breath-hold training (swimming underwater), elliptical burst work, and other things to improve and extend my wind, endurance, high energy burst. We go to the range once or twice a month to stay in touch with shooting.

As to being able to attack specific areas, that's only going to work if you have positional dominance. Learn how, and functionalize several simple takedowns. Double leg, single leg, whizzers, and from top control you can target areas if needed. It is not effective to do that from 'the gap'.

Good luck and stay healthy.

Gotta say I agree spot on with badger! I also like much of what Dave has to say. What I look for in training is realism, as close as I can reasonably get. If a system spends the majority of its time doing compliant drills and prescribed patterns, than the majority of time spent training won't be applicable to reality. Partners must react and training should be random when possible. Compliance has its place but if your partner gives you a move every time, the training isn't realistic. In reality an attacker will be unpredictable and react to your movement with force, one should be comfortable with aggression and force.

Can't really comment much on aging and training I'm now 30 and have only been training for 10 years. Right now I work on building strength that will hopefully last in to my old age. As a medical professional I see aging patients all day. I've met 50 year olds who look 70 and 70 year old who look 50. The patients who have maintained an active lifestyle since youth are consistently in better shape as seniors. I've treated cancer patients age 70 who swim, lift weights, and play basketball with 20 year old daily, while under treatment. I've also met those who sat on their ass after getting off work every day and watched tv and told their self they were too tired to exercise. A healthy lifestyle really does pay off and you can't play catch up as an old man. You might get an injury along the way but it's worth it, that's why we all train!

Drills are fine, but you should include 'pressure'. That means forward motion, or 'off the X' motion (i.e. ABD) and unbalancing the opponent. Static drills are fine for getting the move down, but you must go beyond the static and be dynamic.

At age 30, you should be working on plyometric type strength (pull ups, pushups, planks, tree climbing, maybe even some parkour), improving and maintaining your wind (jogging, stick flow for at least 10 min periods, cycling, swimming underwater) and above all being consistent (not missing workouts).

Good luck!

Thru my early 50's I went full bore with my training  pretty much the same as in my 40's. mid 50, slowed down a little. Did not spar as much but kept up my bag & cardio workouts, worked out with all the younger instructors to keep my timing & power my late 50's my biggest set back was keeping my 30 year old wife happy and spending time with my youngest children. Really effected my training & had to change my whole outlook on life. In my 60's...To keep in shape I run lift weights and do a lot of heavy  hitting on the  bag to keep my endurance & power up. But if not for my family situation I would be still working out with the guys staying in shape that way. I still feel pretty good but I miss working out with the boys! Nothin beats a good workout with Bahalamult-istyle players trying to take your head off to keep you in shape and your skills sharp as a knife!


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