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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: 1210

Comment by Kalijas1 on March 27, 2012 at 11:41am



Comment by Guro David Battaglia on March 27, 2012 at 11:54am

Well said.

Comment by Jerome Barber, Ed.D. on March 27, 2012 at 11:59am

Hello Guro Filardo,

Very nice seperation on the art and combat split.  It is true that Professor Presas taught arnis as an "art", however, he did not emasculate the combat component.  He did tell us what and where to hit "in real..."  It was never difficult to see and understand what he was doing as both an art and a combat orientation within Modern Arnis.  I trained with a combat orientation and not for the padded competitions - that is a different animal.  My students are trained for the combat orientation and with the notion that they are involved in self defense not aggression and ass-kicking.  I taught my students the NYS Penal Code Article 35, 'Justification' for the Use of Physical Force and the Use of Deadly Physical Force.

We trained hard, but always with the knowledge that we were responsible for our actions, therefore it was and still is impoerative that we act in a reasonable and prudent manner to avoid aconfrontation if possible.  Modern Arnis is a combat system with the principal tool being a blade, the bolo; it is practiced as an art with primary taining tool being the rattan stick(s).

By training as realisticly as possible in a civilian setting and orientation, we can retain the combat aspects of Modern Arnis, without the harsh, intensive training of the military orientatiion.  The goal of the art format is to keep peole focused and sharpe while removing the more dangous elements from training for safety reasons.

I love your presentation and it really was very enjoyable reading.


Jerome Barber, Ed. D.

GM & Mataw Guro, Independent Escrima-Kenpo-Arnis Associates




Comment by Ron Kosakowski on March 27, 2012 at 12:12pm

I say the art is what you practice if you are at peace. The side benefit is it prepares you for the self defense aspect. I like your post here. usual. :)

Comment by terry joven on March 27, 2012 at 12:52pm

Great Blog!

Mike Tyson said " Everyone has a plan until their hit in the mouth"

Leo Giron said " You don't have to be a master.... if you know what your doing!

and simplicity is the key to real combat!

Train for the truth, and if thats "barbaric" than so be it.

Comment by Al S on March 27, 2012 at 1:10pm

As others have said, a very good discourse on Combat vs. Art.

“But how do you know you can fight, if you never fight!” – a truthful statement.

However regarding “Make no mistake about it, there IS a difference from the "Art" and the "Combat", I contend that it all depends on the system being taught. In my experience, there are some FMA systems that emphasize and teach only techniques that will work in combat. Useless, flashy techniques are not taught. Therefore, Combat = Art!


Comment by Daniel Mendoza on March 27, 2012 at 2:51pm

I believe that KALI-is a way of life. Its a vital part of christian living. Its not only combat fighting or art, its purpose is not to destroy. Its a combination of hard and soft, so don't waste your time on combat vs art. Get to know JESUS our LORD and if that unfortunate time ever comes up, put the whole armor of God on. But please,think first,you know what your capeable of,and what you can do to this person.Only bring out the beast for your family,friends,and those who can't protect themselves.Train hard,and be safe

Comment by GM Anthony Kleeman on March 27, 2012 at 3:52pm
Combat vs art could also be combat vs cinema I, like many of my generation was initially drawn into the Martial Arts by Bruce Lee movies and "Kung Fu" the TV show.
Any Martial Art system here in the 21st century should also be viewed through the lens of the modern world, I would tend to say that all systems have a side that is oriented to sport a side that is oriented to exhibition/demonstration and a side that is oriented to practical application (combat/self defense).
Underneath the banner of "Art" you will find all of these pieces. The challenge as I see it, is to be able to differentiate between the elements practiced in any system that are for demo/exhibition, sport and combat.
As we age, Sport will become less of a centerpiece in our practice and the need to find practical solutions to real world combat/self defense scenarios will become paramount.
I remember seeing an article written by GM Dan Inosanto probable 20+ years ago where he related that techniques that are often spectacular (cinematic) are probably not real world practical, but real world practical (combat techniques) will tend to be simple direct non-spectacular (non cinematic) I have to say that on balance I would agree with this observation, Combat involves mastery of mind, spirit and emotion combined with a solid command of distancing, timing and delivery of power. Exhibition and Demos (cinematic) can be more about perfection of form and spectacle - neither of which are nesessary in combat.
Comment by terry joven on March 27, 2012 at 4:20pm

Good stuff!


tend to be simple direct non-spectacular (non cinematic) I have to say that on balance I would agree with this observation, Combat involves mastery of mind, spirit and emotion combined with a solid command of distancing, timing and delivery of power.


Comment by GM Anthony Kleeman on March 27, 2012 at 7:16pm
Another point to consider would be, I (I would even say most of you) have never been involved in a "real" knife fight, a real (no headgear, no equipment) full contact stick fight, but I have had many full contact Kickboxing, Eskrima and Boxing and Freestyle wrestling matches, Now even though they are "sport" I would argue that full contact sport is about as close as most people will ever get to "real".
I think that there are a tremendous number of "crossover" beinifits from competing in "full contact" Martial Arts.
Control of adrenaline (or the effects of adrenaline), control of emotion (fight, flight or freeze), pain tolerance and control to name a few, now if in the course of your training you have never experienced impact then to paraphrase the brown bomber (Joe Lewis) "everybody's got a plan till they get hit", another way of stating this would be to say you will react under pressure the way that you train. Training drills is cool and it does develop timing, distancing, skill, memorization, coordination etc....BUT.... it doesn't teach too much about you or how you react when the going gets tough.
Combat can be prepared for, but is an unknown till it is experienced. GMAK.


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