I was wondering if anyone out there is a lefty? I would like to hear from students and Guros. It would be nice to understand their point of view and how we can teach them better.
Last year, one of Brent's student's asked, "why do we always do single stick (and Espada y Dagga) with the stick in the right hand?" The guy had a good point, he was left handed and his left hand was the dominate hand. It was a puzzle that I couldn't answer right away.
So I talked to Punong Guro Oneal Mendoza about the left handed student. Oneal told me Professor Remy Presas was a lefty. In fact, he learned all his skills right handed because that was how it was taught. He also practiced them in his left hand too.
Most fighters learn to pick a side and and avoid their non-dominate side. The logic is if you learn how to write with your right hand would you try and learn to write with your left?
The problem with many FMA drills in affects the outcome if one person goes left on you. As long as I have trained with Espada y Daga the stick is alway in the right hand and the dagger is in the left hand.
So here are some ways I thought that might help to deal with a lefty:
1. Pair him up with another lefty.
2. Everyone tries it on the left side. Why not try and learn to do Sumbrada left handed?
3. Single stick sinawali is a better set of drills to learn because it is intend is to teach us how to utilize our non-dominate side and changing stick backforth within the drill.
4. Numerada is another good drill to practice with a lefty.
5. Drop the numbering system and emphasis high-inward instead of a number one strike.
6. Practice the drill with lefty against a righty. Both can learn a lot from each other.
Please let me know how you dealt with this situation.
My best students happen to be left handed...as is GM Ernesto "Jan Jan" Presas Jr. and GM Alex(ander) Bautista Bayot France.
In Kombatan, we start with double sticks which begins the progression of learning to be ambidexterous. It's true that much of the training with single stick is taught on the right, but we also train everything with the left to be just as adept - in case of injury or if a need arises. In mano mano and dumog, right or left doesn't matter.
When I teach students to compete in Muay Thai, kickboxing, or MMA style events, I prefer to teach them to fight as a south paw - utilizing devastating left round kicks, left cross, and right hooks. As we all know, many fighters have a hard time adapting to fighting against a south paw.
Because a right side forward approach is used a lot, lefties tend to feel comfortable as their "power" weapons are loaded in the back.
I think in large part it is culture. The Middle East in particular frowns upon the use of the left hand as it is the designated hand for cleaning your ass.
I can't remember off the top of my head - but wasn't it the Danes that purposely taught their men to use their long axes on the left because everyone else carried their shields on the left. This allowed for easy hacking of the enemy.
I personally practice more right side stick for espada y daga for the same reasons we mentioned. Strong side forward - south paw thing. I teach how being adept with left side stick can be advantageous...
And to avoid confusion Ernesto Jr. is a lefty not GGM Ernesto A. Presas Sr.
Leo always made left handers switch to the right hand to learn the system first. Whether that is right or wrong..... We have many graduates that can fight left or right handed or are equally effective with either hand!
OK, I have three left hand students, I am fortunate that I have injured my right hand and had to learn to use my left hand instead. All foot work is reversed along with the live hand work. I have lefts fight other leftys and right verse left. The disarming take alittle bit to work on in reverse. I have have to teach my nephew all of because he is lefty.When you get good you can switch and totally fight with your left in sparring match. it really messes up the other fighters mind.
It's not a problem for my students because everything we do, we do with both hands. In fact, thanks to Bram Frank, we do everything from all possible perspectives, e.g. right on left, left on right, left on left, etc.When we have a new student, we use whatever is their dominant hand initially and then introduce them to the other perspectives. The numbering stays the same because it is based on angles not hands or targets.
I am right-handed and have always endeavoured to become ambidextrous in martial arts technique. Personally, I practice everything with attention to both sides of my body. After having said this, I have had left-handed students and my current subject is VERY left-handed. I have been instructing him for almost two years now and realized early on that because it was difficult for him to acquire stick skills with his right hand, that it was necessary to train his left-hand first and eventually the mechanics of the technique would develop into his right-hand. BTW, this is also his personal goal and something that I help him to achieve every session.
For the most part, I have learned how to teach these techniques left-handed and have gotten pretty good at doing a lot of those things on that side: stick drills, disarms, 12 angles, footwork from left side lead, strikes with stick and knife using primarily the left-hand, Visidario, Tapi-Tapi, etc...
I personally believe that a person should go with their natural strengths and lefties have as much a right to FMA training as anyone else. However, the goal here is ambidexterity and my lefty student's only issue is his extreme left-handed tendencies that we are trying to balance.
My personal goal in working with lefties is to be strong on that side and the best way to do it is to practice with a left-hander. There is no other way.