This is the last thing taught in the 5×5 system not because it is least important or most important it is in my opinion better to have the empty hand and knife skills first then use the stick for attributes it can give you regarding range and conditioning.
First we learn the 5 basic angles of attack, then drill them against an opponent attacking him with them not blocking stick, but maybe attacking his arm or body depending on strike. Then we learn some standard drills, Pakgang, Hubud, Punio Sombrada and the 3 and 5 hit Sombrada. This will give us some training in different ranges and by moving from drill to drill smoothly helping us move in and out of the three ranges.
After competency is gained stick grappling can be added or disarms, chokes and locks depending on what level the student wishes to go into the art.
We are developing a system meant to be relatively simple to learn, apply and still retain some elements of being a martial art not just a hybrid system of mish-mash techniques. So with that in mind, after the basics have all been learned, it is hoped the practitioner will go on to explore other elements with us, such as Knife offence, stick and dagger, double stick, staff etc or will inspire them to seek out other instruction, having gained a good grounding from us.
I think with the stringent law on edged weapons that operates with the UK it is important to look at effective empty hand striking to include more emphasis on the knife defence element and the use of effective disarms, then use appropriate immobilisation of opponent. I feel the empty hands should be taught first along with knife defence, then weapons.
Within the 5×5 system we use western boxing as a catalyst learning jab, cross, hooks and uppercuts throwing in a variation hook from Muay Chaiya Nawarrat that gives us our base 5 techniques these are drilled in combinations using pads and then in sparring once competency is gained.
We can also use empty hand drills like Higot Hubud and Pakgang to gain sensitivity and variety.
For the knife defence we can use hubud again or themed sparring working up to doing blocks, disarms and counter techniques to near full speed and power to add realism.
Even though we are learning to deal with life threatening situations we should still train safe with regards to our partner and try to work with as many different shapes and sizes of opponent.
The last element is being prepared mentally to deal with the threat of injury and having the right mindset to go with the physical tools you have developed, recognising adrenalin dump how to avoid it, pressure testing what you learn regularly in a safe environment, environment awareness is also important and switching on the alert if you are in strange places, trust the instincts you have developed if you feel like running then run away don’t let ego rule your natural instincts, only fight when you have no choice.
Practicinga martial art is a fun and rewarding experience and so you should enjoy your practice but that does not mean you are not serious when it comes down to the wire.
We start off learning the 5 basic angles using normal grip slashing, then we progress to doing the same with a reverse grip. After competency we do a full sequence slashing normal and reverse grip both hands. We then introduce stabbing and eventually this is all combined in a slashing / stabbing drill so that with familiarity, you have lots of options. We work sensitivity using Higot Hubud and Tapi Tapi drills.
We then start to look at the defence part of the system as we now have an understanding of angles and flow, we can easily adapt the empty hand techniques. Disarms, locks, feed backs and chokes are then introduced keeping it to the simple 5 techniques we use as our model throughout the system.
Free sparring is encouraged but really it is better to do themed type sparring to prepare for multiple opponents or long range weapons.
Anyone interested in learning this system contact me and I will put you in touch with the people teaching in the UK.
The idea behind this system is simplicity so we only have five basic strikes and blocks, the footwork is with strong hand and leg forward and full stepping or following stepping can be used depending on what weapon and opponent you are facing.
To supplement the striking and blocking we have some drills with Higot Hubud at the heart of them as this drill teaches listening skills with coordination and also it can be utilised at medium and close range using a sword/stick or knife and empty hands. Disarms, locks, chokes etc can also be drilled in a controlled manner as can trips and sweeps as well as takedowns.
The knife is taught as a defensive weapon only at first and is mainly utilised in drill and technique format until competency is reached then it can be sparred in a controlled way utilising themes to enhance the skills and understanding.
Unlike most other FMA we teach empty hand and knife skills first then the stick/sword later as this is more practical for a martial arst based in the UK, if in Thailand I would also teach firearms and more live blade training along with environment awareness.
Those of you who can be bothered reading this blog maybe think I have jumped from one art to another but I can assure you that I have not started to learn an art unless I had a competency and was teaching the other other art I was practising. So that is my first rule if you get a good grounding in one style before moving on, this does not mean getting a black belt but maybe getting some teaching experience as it helps and really learning the basics of whatever style you choose.
There is no secrets in martial arts, the only secret is practise and you must practise everyday to reap the rewards, I was lucky in that my first teacher Chu Sifu frightened me so that if he gave me something to practise I did it till he said stop not because I was scared physically but I was worried he would tell me to leave and I wanted so much to learn from him, that work ethic as helped me over the years and I am sure if you contacted any of the teachers I have mentioned and asked about me they would say I am a hard worker. Many people have said I am a natural at Martial arts, I don’t believe that as I have worked long and hard to get the skills I have and I am still working everyday to improve. My teacher in China paid me a great compliment, he said I was worth teaching because I worked hard. My friends teacher Wen Laoshi commented I was a good student, as even when it was snowing I was in the park at 7.30am.
My enthusiasm has waned like everybody else over the years and I have had bad times, but I have never stopped training it is this that builds your character and gives you the mental attitude to face and deal with problems, in my darkest days I could practise and feel better, remember you practise for your benefit not others! So get out there and prove to yourself, you are who you think, be positive! Learn, teach and more important enjoy your chosen art or arts after all this is just the rantings of a martial arts anorak who will never stop training and sharing what he knows as long as there are people who want to learn.
If anyone reading this wants any help or advice they think I can give please get in touch.
I stopped training in Warriors around 2003 and concentrated on the Sun Style but still had some unfinished business I felt within the FMA so I contacted Pete Lewis an old friend from Warriors who had traveled to the Philippines and trained with Yuli Romo in Ba had Zubu and he also had began studying the famous Bakbakan under Rey Galang.
I trained with Pete privately and after teaching me all the Ba had Zubu he made me an instructor so I could open a group in Blackpool which I did, and we then all traveled to a seminar by Rey Galang in Worcester which was a great experience for me and my guys.
I have been to Pete off and on over the last 5 years often when the mood took me to try again at FMA, to his credit Pete always welcomed me with open arms and has since trained a couple of my guys to a high level he is a good friend and a great ambassador for FMA in the UK.
I was encouraged by two of my students Kev and Dave to organise what I had learned over the years into a simple system of Filipino Martial Arts. So I set about synthesising all I had learned and came up with the 5×5.
It is basically what it says 5 techniques or strikes or blocks or disarms, I think 5 is a good number as it gives you range but does not overload the student with too much information. The system does not have any main influence it is devised from my training with Krishna and Pete Lewis along with the many seminars I have attended with main emphasis on the blade and empty hand utilising the stick for range and the attributes it can give.
We have some drills both weapon and empty hand but everything adheres to 5×5. It is not meant to be an all encompassing system like Warriors or Bakbakan but more a basic grounding allowing the student to delve deeper in the FMA or just take it for what it is and train the basics giving in my opinion a good level of self defence and fitness.
Anybody interested please get in touch and the guys will arrange to meet you.