- Filipino Martial Arts Network is the premier social network for everyone interested or involved with the Filipino Martial Arts. features include photos, videos, events, forums, blogs, chat, and more.

News Feed

Thomas Macaluso updated their profile
Nov 4
Herman Kidd updated their profile
Oct 31
Dan posted a photo
Oct 22
Alberto Perez is now a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Oct 22
Dan updated their profile
Sep 25
Nick Marv posted photos
Sep 24
Profile IconAJ, Sunjaya Djaja, Guru Cian and 4 more joined - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Sep 24
random name updated their profile
Aug 28
Cor Navin commented on John R. Malmo's page School Directory
"WingTsun & Escrima Servette, Ecole du Liotard, 66 rue Liotard, 1203…"
Jul 1
Nick Marv commented on John R. Malmo's page School Directory
"Want to update the Cabales Serrada Escrima New York information: Cabales Serrada Escrima New…"
Jun 16
Niwlrae X posted a status
"I just found out how to change the settings on the activities and news feed status,"
May 19
Bradley Brock promoted John R. Malmo's group IPMAF - Kombatan
May 1

To all FMA practitioners: A need for unified sparring rules for blade-based systems?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this site, but haven't contributed much, so I thought I'd give my 2 cents. I really enjoy the different views on this site, and am comforted by the open-mindedness and realism present in many instructors and students.


I have read some great posts about sparring in general and the reality of knife "duels", and its got me wondering about how other styles spar. For me, training in a style that is really meant for blades (itak, bolo, sandata, etc), we have to constantly remain aware of the realities of a blade, that is, that fights don't last very long: first to cut is the first to kill. Consequently, when we spar, we follow a 'first-blood' approach; first hit wins.


I haven't had the chance to visit other schools too often and see how other people spar. I know some sparring methods are very popular and have been adopted by many schools (i.e. WEKAF rules). I have no problem with this, but I must admit it just doesn't make sense for our style and our principles: the WEKAF rules are more appropriate for stick-based styles where multiple rapid hits are the way to win. In the heat of the hypothetical stick fight, you could probably take a hit or two with a stick (if you're lucky), but what about a slash or stab with a pinuti? I think I'm safe in assuming most people don't think they could take more than one. I've also seen sparring tournaments (both in North America and the Philippines) where the fighters block incoming strikes with their forearms or cover their heads with a wing block in order to avoid having a point scored against them; fine for tournaments, but with a bolo? Not going to help you.


So, here's my question: Would people from this great site be willing to collaborate and define a unified set of sparring rules for blade-based combat (i.e. bolo fighting)? One that is more comprehensive than just "point sparring". This way, if people were in a tournament or just sparring at another school, there would be a system that people could reference, which acknowledges the realities of combat with a blade. No sparring system will ever mimic real combat, nor will it always be appropriate for every teaching circumstance, but I feel that there is a need for a unified effort to represent the variety of FMA styles, some of which are more geared towards the stick, and others towards the blade, and still others that like to have a nice balance between the two.


Any person from any style could contribute, and it is my hope to have a document of generally-accepted set of principles that schools can sign off on as endorsing, so that in the future, people could say "ok, we're using WEKAF rules" or "today, it's blade-based rules".


Just a thought. Tell me what you think. If enough people like it, I would be happy to get the ball rolling.



Views: 138

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Check out the USFMAF rules, points are given for defense, in the middle of the match your opponenet strikes at you and you block and counter it defense gets a point -offense didn't get in to score vice versa the srtike gets in -point for offense. Combat is attack and counters usually the one that runs out of counters loses.

http://ESKCOA Tournament rules


here are the rules we use at the Escrima Coalition in stockton!

Many of the rules were made by Leo Giron, Dentoy Revillar & Gilbert Tenio.

check them out!



thank you for your reply Guro Joven.

Or go to and click on the ESKCOA page it will take you to the rules!


You have some really great thoughts here and you are also very correct in that many of the tournament fighting systems do not address the hits in the sense of kills. While I am a big supporter of tournament stick fighting (I am the current WEKAF USA Pacific Island Director (2010-2012) I also understand your concern about the difference between stick fighting and blade fighting even if it is in tournament form. Over the years our school Ola'a-nalo Eskrima has developed a system of tournament knife fighting called SPKF (Sure Point Knife Fighting). This systems utilizes safe stiff rubber knives that have an inked edge, that way there is no doubt where a hit is recorded. We have not really pushed this tournament system to the public much, but those people that come to our classes and participate have a great time and "get the message" that there are no winners in a blade fight. For more info on SPKF please visit our website and look at the link SPKF where we have the rules posted. If anyone wants to learn more about SPKF please contact me via our website or FB page.


Master Ron England

Thank you for your reply Master England. My guro also says there are no winners in a knife fight. 30 seconds with rubber knives with lipstick make this point very obvious.


I think you have heard from the best with Master Ron's surepoint and Master Tosi with USFMAF knife with kick and punch. I know FCS has been working on some rules with chalk bolos. Some WEKAF groups have knife but it is more like boxing with a knife. As far as stick sparing goes I stongly feel that USFMAF has the best rules of all of the ones I have fought in over the years. I stongly feel that boxing with stick is not what you would do with little to no gear. I know that Master Mike Del Mar has  been developing a electric scoring system the tournaments in Hawaii. Looking forward to seeing that workout. Try and keep it real and respect the weapon.

Punong Guro Marc Lawrence

SBFMA club

Please compare the rules then think which set of rules is more like Pro Boxing rules or Olympic style rules. Do you think in a real battle a fighter would only strike offensively? One's defense stops the opponent's offense. I my observation many tournaments I've experienced all you see is guys striking wildly, many times they move so far in their footwork they're not close enough to counter strike. To me rules that cover the whole spectrum of battle close enough to real w/safety. here is the link to USFMAF -


© 2021   Created by John R. Malmo.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service