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                                                           Combat vs Art

                   In the Filipino martial arts you have the translation of techniques from weapon to empty hand. This is one of the unique qualities we have, and one that sets the Filipino systems apart from others. You use the same techniques, weapon vs weapon, empty hand vs weapon, empty hand vs empty hand, with little or no modifications. What a beautiful, compact, effective fighting system.

                    The better one sees the translations, the more one sees. The simpler it gets. The more efficient, thus more effective. Simplicity is one of the keys for effective combat. The more complicated the moves, the less likely it will work. You must stay focused on the end result, maximum damage, with the least amount of effort. Damage incorporated!

                    And then there is the most important translation of all. Translating the "Art" to the "Combat"! What came first, the Art or the Combat! There is no debate here!

                   If you were to pay attention to the Grand Master himself, you would here him say, " If it were for REAL, you would STRIKE him here! But I want you to learn the "ART" !!!

                   The art came after and for a many reasons. One being that instructors wanted to teach for a living, and wanted to appeal to the masses. The people would not be going into combat, they would be just training for recreation. If the training was to hard and intense, with contact and risk of injury, only few would be willing and able to continue with the training. Thus the "Art" was born. Make no mistake about it, there IS a difference from the "Art" and the "Combat".

                   The art is a more passive way of expressing technique and training. It is where you will see the more complicated moves and techniques put together in sophisticated drills and forms. Being practiced stick to stick, no contact. Beautiful to look at when expressed by one proficient in the "Art". Oh you would be amazed at what some can do with the stick. Like a chess match, you do this, then i'll do this, and punish you with this, counter for counter, and so forth. Like an intricate puzzle. Amazing to watch! And it draws many people, they want the same proficiency with the stick, and after all, theres no intimidation of getting hit! The emphasis is on the "Art".

                               But how do you know you can fight, if you never fight!

                    The "Combat" on the other hand is ALOT different. You cant prepare for combat by training the art. This will become apparent very fast, when one steps up and fights with minimal equipment, fencing mask, gloves and real sticks and experiences the adrenaline rush, when the opponent in front of you is trying to take your head off for REAL! Or when you take a full power shot to the body......... Thats gonna leave a mark!

                    This is where you discover alot about yourself, and the realalities of combat. Its only a part of the training, but an important part. The realalities you learn from these experiences flow back to your other training, and you make proper adjustments so that even your basic fundamentals can be more realisticly and effectively practiced. From your basic body dynamics of striking, blocking and footwork, to your flow drills and your Tapi-Tapi and Visidario. The way you train is the way you will react.

                    Some may say that to train like this is barbaric at best, and lacks technique. I say it is the REAL arnis, more pure. Real fighting isnt pretty, and executed with perfect technique. Oh theres technique involed, most importantly the real and combative application of technique.

"Dedication. Determination, Destruction" Guro Andrew "Tattoo" Filardo M.F.A. Academy, New York

Views: 1206

Comment by Guro David Battaglia on March 27, 2012 at 7:30pm

Also, well said.

Comment by GM Anthony Kleeman on March 27, 2012 at 7:36pm
Also in the realm of earning extra dollars I have worked as a "bouncer" from time to time, now the conflicts that you generally come across in pubs and clubs are related to booze and other "reality" altering substances, peoples normal sociable well adjusted selves get bypassed and when these folks feel dissed, pissed or ignored by the girl or guy they fancy then the fireworks begin.
I've never seen a "Bruce Lee" style show down but I've seen plenty of guys take swings at eachother, girls in cat fights, three guys kicking the cxxp out of some poor bastard.
Combat/ self defense and reality definately are to be found in spades in these circumstances, and simple quick and commanding words and actions are what work best, not an awesome kick, punch or slash with my $500-00 fighting knife. Anyway, it's food for thought.
Comment by totoh hassan on March 28, 2012 at 1:28am

Combat vs Art is really an interesting read. Most, if not, all of us consider that we practice the art to ready ourselves for its application in combat or actual self defense. To say what is functional or not in a definitive view is like saying that "what I practice is a fool proof" or "what you practice is an ineffective system" or technique---may it be perceived consciously or unconsciously. Foremost, in my humble opinion, one can not shape his skills without first knowing the art and immersing in it. The human mind has been very dynamic in a sense that it is what makes an art form work and not SOLELY on practicing the art. I have seen people who are skilled martial artists being knocked out by common street tough guys. These street fighters did not and can not afford to enroll themselves in a dojo but without a doubt, living in the seedy parts of the streets, they have harnessed their skill through countless experiences of being involved in numerous actual fights. So what does it signify? In my opinion, they have developed a skill set through their experiences and thus creating an art form borne out of actual experiences. Again, their minds have perceived on what they can do effectively and not out of their actual fights. JKD, for instance, a revelation that has been absorbed, created and disseminated by the late great Bruce Lee, has been created out of his actual experimentations of what works and not in a real fight. He has stated that, " If you want to learn how to swim, then practice swimming in water for no mindset or training can prepare you for it when you train for it on land". Combat comes first before the art. The founders of the systems like Kali, JKD, TKD, MT and others have invented these martial arts out of their experiences from actual fights and battles. For the later generations, including myself, it has been the art before combat. But does this latter reality mean that it will not work for us as it has had with the founders? It will all boil down to the kind of mindset that one has. We are affected by our moods, by our hours of sleep, by our concerns of daily living so when a time comes that one would need to defend himself/herself or loved ones in an actual scenario, could you overcome your doubts brought about by these factors and just execute what you've learned? Awareness that the mind is the key to your chances of success is crucial. Awareness that a clear mind on an actual fight is a better form of having the ability to execute what you have learned. In my opinion, nothing is useless whether you train on drills, shadow fighting, solo or with buddy. It will only come to be useless when you do not have that awareness that how you think limits or frees your mind as well as the passion to overcome odds.

"Kali, Silat, and Kickboxing here. 35 years old. No formal school affiliation and the street has been my dojo before I got married and became a father. In to solo training with my heavy bag." from Jolo, Sulu and Zamboanga City, Philippines. Glad to meet you all here and much respect to our gurus and my fellow practitioner of the arts. Good day to all.

Comment by Edward jonathan Dockrill on March 28, 2012 at 2:42am

Great topic guro Andrew, I'm ex Millitary sf recon member when I practice and train I do both thindgs as if I'm in the combat zone and I do the same when practicing FMA. As Guro Joven Mention" simplicity is the key to combat!,only you know what you are doing".

Comment by Kirsten Wiik on March 28, 2012 at 9:32am

Of course there is a connection between art and combat. It is also true that you can prepare yourself with the only technique, but a person who comes within your intimate zone will like to kiss you, whether by mouth or by hand. Your reaction in the "moment of truth" will be crucial. Only then you will know the truth of art and combat.

Comment by Paul Ingram - Kali Center on March 28, 2012 at 10:38am

Very nice!  Well put and very very true.  :)

Comment by Fayetteville Kali on March 29, 2012 at 6:14am

It is REALITY vs. ART.

They try to connect art with combat.

People been REAL fighting-dueling-war, for a thousands of years now.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the post of "Combat vs. Art"!

Comment by Henry Paz on April 3, 2012 at 6:17pm

Combat Vs. Art? In my experience I have seen people fight in the street who were pure scrappers. Could see hits coming and move and then deliver powerful or rapid blows. This works but you can't discount technique. Speaking of art as a flowery, delicate pattern or display of kata and flash seems to discount the value of the idea. The art as most Eskrimadors I've known have used that word is the intricate angles and body positioning used in our martial art. The step-by-step instruction and the flash-speed low-powered live stick sparring that sometimes takes place in training or tournaments. I don't argue for one minute that these things are not real combat. But they do help make you a more effective fighter. For instance, when my Guro would take time to correct my stance and stick angle, or check hand position that wouldn't happen in real combat. There's no time to fix your stance you run with it and get the stop and counter hard. "Poom. Pow." As I was known for saying in class. But we did train slow sometimes. Slow builds speed. Is that artsy? Is that ineffective? I wasn't a naturally good fighter. I have poor vision and bad balance naturally. I have gotten glasses and worked with a Physical Therapist to increase my ankle strength and balance matrix. Did the old Manongs have those doctors at their disposal? No probably not. So the forms and the drills at half speed and broken down into steps and going micro-slow help those that pick it up better when it's presented differently. Some can see it once and then go in there and do it full speed. Some like me can't. But with practice and drills there comes the a-ha moment. And then take that learning and put it into practice faster and faster until you're fighting full speed and you're there. Not everyone learns the same. I think those things like locking and checking and fanning and parries, all things that I've heard maligned in the past have a real mechanincal dynamic purpose and are teaching tools. we pass on a warrior art. Not all people were born warriors. Some are artists and bankers and truck drivers and electronics technicians. To pass on this art and teach our brothers how to fight and win takes more than passion and physical stamina. There is a curriculum built in to the numbers already. You just have to know how to unlock them. Now, if you want to do something that is clearly ineffective for the individual Eskrimadors' abilities that is bad but that's on a case by case basis. In general it will be obvious if you are inserting something you saw Sammo Hung do in a movie and it doesn't work in your situation or simply doesn't fit the range or scope of what you're doing. The proof is ultimately in the pudding but I'd be careful of charging in downplaying anything that isn't full speed sparring and monkey-see monkey-do execution. As far as I can tell thousands of years of development have gone into FMA systems and I have been blown away at the sheer volume of content built into the core systems that can be unlocked by advanced Eskrimadors. Beginners shouldn't discount the intricacies they are being asked to memorize. We all learned by the numbers and then reaped the rewards for our discipline. The danger of discounting the things termed the art of Eskrima is that you lose whatever was designed in there when you throw it away. Once you reach a level of mastery that you can say authoritatively that you know why that flashy thing is in there you can  test it, shake it, run it at full speed and see what doesn't fall off. Keep the good stuff and discard the rest. But then put your own name on it and don't redistribute it as the mother style you were given for now it is your interpretation of fighting style. Your expression. Your art.

Comment by terry joven on April 10, 2012 at 5:21pm

Great participation on thia blog!!!

Thanks Andrew!

Comment by Guro David Battaglia on April 10, 2012 at 9:44pm

IMO, combat and art are two different animals, with different intentions.

The "combat animal" seeks to devour. The "art animal" seeks to express itself. The two coexist. Which animal will dominate? I believe it's the animal that's fed.

Mataw Guro Dave 


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