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Cor Navin commented on John R. Malmo's page School Directory
"WingTsun & Escrima Servette, Ecole du Liotard, 66 rue Liotard, 1203…"
Jul 1, 2021

So this is a bit of an off shoot from another discussion but after I thought about it for a bit, I'd like to hear what everyone thinks about the philosophical line between what is viewed as good, average and bad escrima. This is a matter of opinion so there is no right or wrong answer, I just want to know what everybody else thinks. I'm also purposely leaving out what I believe as I don't want to unintentionally influence any one else's opinions. So here's the question:

Where do you draw the line between good, average and bad escrima and where do you feel you stand in relation to it?

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Not to put too fine of a point on it, but it's not the style, it's the fighter.

If the fighter keeps his skills sharp, has a power forehand and a power backhand that whizzes similar to Top Dog Knaus, has good aerobics to keep away as needed, has conquered their fear, and has the (*)Moral Imperative, they can win every fight that is 'important'. Will they always in at sparring. Prob. not.

Will they win if they pick a stupid fight and in a stupid place - Probably not.

Will they win if their child's life is on the line and (see above) is there, I.e. they have not slacked off on training everything needed to fight to the end, then probably yes.

(*) Moral High Ground - fighting for a just cause (like your family). Moral Low ground, beating up an innocent or fighting an unjust cause where inside you know you are wrong.


I started to reply to this thread, and that reply grew into a blog post. There's a lot of really good discussion here. I expanded it beyond self defense because the responses are great and cover what I would have said. I think that once an effective school or instructor is found, there are other aspects to what makes good escrima. Assuming that the school has a good foundation in effective self defense, good escrima will also have training partners that challenge you to grow. I think good escrima will also take the necessary safety precautions, such as not training with faulty equipment or throwing newbies in with live blades. Again, my thoughts start out assuming that the primary concern of FMA - effective self defense as described by other commenters - already exists.

You can read an expanded version of my thoughts here.

I think the FMA stylist can tell, internally, what they need to be doing to train properly.

Why? Well FMA has a built in type of rhythm, it has flow, it has 'heavy hands' type of training (sticks of various weights). An FMA player knows if he has kept up, if he is tiring out at 4 minutes of stick flow and thus has not worked his cardio.

It's easy to do this, for example: Go out and jog lightly, do a little hill running (or cycle), and break a decent sweat.

Grab your sticks and the headphones and do some stick flow while you are still breathing hard.

Work to be able to breath through your nose -only- for a period (say one minute). Use a large visible timer clock to help if you need to, but I like playing a song on my MP3, because you know how long the song will be.

After a certain period, repeat - jog or cycle or swim, keep the breath going. Instead you might do pushups or pullups to pre-tire your arms. 

You want to be able to recruit extra energy and will power because in a melee fight you might be going for a while. Learn how to rapidly recover your arms.

Now, rest for a minute, but keep moving around. Go again and when you start up this time, you'll really feel the power going. Moving your hips into it, pivoting, really get some zing in your forehand and backhand. Note that this kind of training just doesn't really work with empty hands, because there's no 'over-resistance'. 

Change to different kinds of stick. Aim to have such power in your backhand to twirl that your opponent respectfully bows out.

Don't be too worried about disarms, but use a ranging battlecircle to learn distance and exactly where the tip of your stick hits the opponent (head, body, extended arm).

Also work with an opponent doing pummeling style moves so you get that sense of 'struggle' with a partner (like in wrestling). It's a 'different'  kind of energy)

Add in things like rope climb (develops grip). Like judo, FMA requires grip just to hold onto the sticks. It's built in. I used heavy iron bars, thicker than usual sticks, oddly shaped things (hand axe and sickle).

This should be your 'base art'. It includes 'burst', staying power, breath control, active recovery. Of the five zones you should train just like a cyclist - spend some time in the VO2max area, but train how to actively recover, getting your energy back when momentarily spent.

The truth is not what you train, but how you train.


Hello Guro Alex,

Actually, I haven't been hiding, I've been teaching.  I picked up a part-time job teaching Sociology at the local state college, plus my Escrima-Kenpo instructional programs at 2 local schools, add in some travel and posting on forums has to take a place near the end of the line.  I'll be popping in and out from time to time.  I'm enjoying the discussion and letting others take the point position.  My real interest these days is on character, integrity, honesty and honor.  Helping my students to hone those attributes is where my focus is these days so that they understand the importance of not going along the path taken by "Baby Anuk".   BTW, you still have my support as promised a few years ago.



Oh, I didn't mean to imply you've been hiding. I know you. You don't hide from anyone and you don't shy away from anything, lol. It's just that you sent me your impending new email address while I was on an extended offline and only recently did I respond to that. So it's good we're both here again. :-)


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