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Over the years I have seen FMA evolve into many different forms, methodology and principles.  I currently trying to refine by skill sets to ensure that I train at maximum effectiveness.  One of the things that I see now with some FMA practioners is that they always overkill a counter and occasionally step back to execute.

My Question is, which is more effective to strike someone at 25% power 100 times or strike someone at 85% power 5-10 times.  Of course, that is not say we neglect angles, speed or fluidity.  What i'm saying is it better to finish strongly or tap the guy to death.  In Japanese arts, they have a concept of ippon (sorry if I reference wrongly), where 1 hit 1 kill concept.

It would be great to hear from veteran stick fighters and champs on their point of view. 

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A big No# 1 strike to the noggin usually does it for me!

same here....

I like the hit him hard and often, until you don't need to anymore philosophy :-)

What would interesting to see point of views from concept of 1 hit or multiple hit finishes.  Of course if your component comes back after one, then hit again.  But I'm referring to is the concept of finishing quick or making mince meat?  Or another way is wear the guy down or go for the stop hit?

You pose a very interesting question and I think that in the context of what you may have in your hand (stick, knife, long blade, broken beer bottle, etc...) may determine on how you decided to finish your opponent.  Notice how I used the word 'finish' as opposed to the word 'fighting'.  In fighting, its usually but not always consensual amoung the participates.  I may (or may not) be able to take a hit or two and then proceed to launch a multitude of several strikes, but when I'm in the mindset of finishing my opponent, I don't want to waste time and energy (and thats deterimined by a whole different set of factors which can be explored in another discussion post...) so my focus will be to input the minimal amount of energy to get the maximum amount of result.  So if I can do a quick, powerful, and effective 3-count (or 5-count) striking pattern then perhaps I would have met my goal.  I guess the important thing is that you determine what would be the most effective for the given situation.  If I'm walking home from the bar on one late night and all I have is my folder or my pocket stick (kubaton) then those factors along with several others are going to determine how much time and energy you want to invest in doing multiple strike hit combinations, or if your in no mood to screw around then a quick 2 or 3 strikes to the head or any other vital area may be the path you decide is best for you at that moment in time given the circumstances.  And of course, if we choose that path (or any action for that matter) we also need to plan on how one wants to deal with the legal consequences as well (again, a whole different topic as well for another time).

     In the end, I personally like to keep is short and sweet.  Besides if their are witnesses, I don't need them testifing in court saying that I was pounding the guy for like 10 minutes with a stick (or any other item I had in my hand at the time).

Totally agree with you on this point.  I'm old school and believe fights should end quickly.  But what I see practice and promoted today is more focus on multiple strikes (or fancy moves).

True true.  And alot of the fancy moves i believe, in the appropriate context and utilized in a particular fashion can help one develop the 'ground work' movement, coordiantion, ambidextrious skills, and the like.  Yet when you step into the ring or combat on the streets (or if in a combat zone) then sadly, all those fancy move drills go out the window.  I heard from other practioners and having tested it myself in the ring, that when your in the adrenal state (high adrenaline, stressed, exhausted, etc) all those drill movements and fancy-flare type striking doesn't translate as well as one might believe.  I remember when I went to a tournament in Mayland several years ago they used minimal padding (helmet, gloves, and foam-encased rattan) and let me tell you, whatever basic movement/striking pattern is easist for your body to do, thats what you're are going to do.  Those 1000 repetitions of the angle 1 or angle 2 strikes, or those 500 jab & cross punches that you trained with (which I sometimes loathe doing), thats what your going to do in the adrenal state.

     Am I saying that the fancy moves don't have a place within the FMA fighting arts, sure they do.  They serve a great many purposes and hold 'secrets' within the movements, striking, body mechanics, and the footwork (the most important I believe!) but when you truly wish to KNOW if the FMA works on the streets or in a life-or-death situation, the only way I believe to test that is by putting yourself in the 'meat grinder' and see what comes out!  Do the tournament circuits, do minimal padding full-contact sparring with fellow FMA players who aren't of your particular style or school.  If you feel you reached a point where you really want to go big, then check out the Dog Brothers tournament that they hold every year. 

       Better yet, don't take on a FMA practioner but rather someone of a different fighting style altogether!  Challange yourself as much as possible to distill the fighting methods that you trained and discard that which was not useful to you.   

@ Walter Vorhauer...

great reply!!!!!


As others have stated, it is situational.  We try to separate sport from street.  Many schools train specifically to fight in continuous, padded competition where the fighter who hits the most times wins.  Power, targeting, defense, effectiveness all give way in these contests to shear volume of hits.  Other schools train for live stick, minimal pad competitions (as well noted by Mr. Vorhauer) where targeting, attrition, fatigue and power play a significant role.  All these forms are valid and can be a lot of fun.  In the street, it's a little different.  Obtaining positional control, utilizing a force multiplier, eliminating a threat and gaining rapid escape from a bad situation are the goals you are seeking.  Intention plays a large role as well.  I teach my students to be mindful of their intentions.  If your intention is to duel with someone to show off your martial skill and impress an audience, you might want to trade blows, slowly dissecting his defenses and displaying your mastery.  If your intention is to save your family from a psycho intruder and get them to safety, you will eliminate the threat as quickly as possible.  This is our particular preference.  Having said that, I will state that it I think it is foolish to rely on a single stroke to stop an assailant.  Students should train follow ups and multiple debilitating blows (they should also learn to fight from the ground - but that's another subject).  I have written before about my experiences hunting that have taught me to be prepared for your opponent to continue to fight after suffering a mortal wound.  One can not rely on that single stroke to actually stop the assault and if that is indeed what a fighter expects the outcome to be, woe to him when the guy gets back up, really pissed.  So, I say, train multiple 100% hits.  Learn what happens to your weapon when it bounces off the target at 100%.  Save the 100, 10% hits for the tournament circuit so you can have some fun without leaving a wake of bodies behind.

 How hard does your strike have to be to injure someone's throat?  A nine year old was killed when a soccer ball was kicked and accidentally struck her on the throat crushing her esophagus. Do you need 100% power when you're thrusting your baston or fingers into someone's eyes? Do you need field goal kicking power to kick someone's groin?  Both my Eskrima teacher and my Silat teacher taught me a long time ago to strike the weakest targets of the human body whenever possible.  If you're going to attack a turtle why would you strike his shell? Some FMA styles are very skilled at striking joints and fingers and getting hit enough times on those areas can be very effective.

 What happens when we get old and we can't hit as hard or as fast anymore?   How can a petite woman or child overcome a grown man when they lack hitting power?  

 Some styles use feinting moves to expose vulnerable targets... With Pentjak Silat I've learned to put opponents on their knees with finger pressure on certain soft targets in order to put my opponent in a vulnerable position for a more devastating follow up technique. 

 Just a few things to consider.



You make some very good points. Sure you don't have to use 100% of your power and/or strength to attack vital or sensative areas that will cause the most damage. Getting the maximum result for the minimal amount of effort is the name of the game. I think we also have to realize that vital targets such as the ones mentioned may at times, be hard to reach or are guarded and protected. Sure the 'one-hit-wonder' moves do at times work in dropping an opponent, but we gotta realize that that may not always be the case. In fact, let’s just say flat out that is a scenario which is unlikely most of the time. And true, for those of us who no longer or lack the strength or speed to hit as hard as we would like to finish our opponents, thats where our training of timing and coordination come into play. I mean, look at the some of the old masters who were able to execute their striking and have the mobility to end the conflict quickly (i.e. Illistrisimo, Jose Mena,) and that’s where tactics and strategy come into play in this ugly game. Using feints and drawing your opponent into a false sense of security (which can be accomplished in many ways prior to an encounter, or during the conflict) should most definitely occupy a space within your ‘personal tool box’ of ideas when it comes to ending a conflict quickly. As I’ve heard said before “…pommel/punyo strike that which is hard, and stab/slash that which is soft.”

a lot of great answers here....every situation the legal ramifications should be considered.. however our goal is to end a situation in 5 seconds hit vital points... controlling weapon arm, leg, and head...if your opponent is aware try to end as quick as possible. (less chance of getting hurt). BUT we always look to the worst case scenario such as a person on drugs or drunk who may not feel or respond to your attacks. in which case continue till your opponent is no longer able to continue to attack... what about a (zombie) cant  count on the one hit stop and legally and morally we need to stop when our attack calls it quits.. great topic... but sooooo much more that could be gone into...thanks


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