5x5x5 Empty Hands System

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.

5x5x5 blade system

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.

Dog Brothers Seminar

This seminar organised by Krishna was the first DBMA in UK and Mark Denny was  the instructor. It was not that well attended for someone of this quality and considering the interest in this type of training it surprised me but I can only assume people thought it would be a gathering and so stayed away but it was a great seminar.

Mark was very technical and explained everything step by step and we then paired off and he came around to check at one point he used me as an example and stick grappled me to the ground and into half guard the applied a punch and choke combination really good stuff.

After the break Mark showed some stuff from Bando and utilising empty hand which was a great experience. Mark was full of anecdotes throughout the seminar and it was really good to hear about the gatherings first hand and about the others who founded DBMA.

The second seminar I attended with Mark was about a year later again organised by Krishna, this seminar would concentrate on the staff and double sticks, a lot of time was spent on the correct way to strike with the staff but again my training in Gung Fu helped and it showed as Mark made a video of us doing the techniques and was impressed with my skill level, I also demonstrated with him some double stick as he was checking everyone and it was a great experience to learn from him.

Though I never pursued DBMA I really liked Mark and his approach to teaching his art. It was a very good experience and helped me look at what I was doing in a new light.

Leo Gaje Seminar

This two day seminar was held in Newcastle and was to be an introduction to the Pekiti Tersia system. The seminar was hosted by Bill Lowery and after the introductions we got right down to an hour of full power strikes in the air in very low stances. Grand Tuhon Gaje was assisted by Uli Weidle who is the European representative for Pekiti Tersia. The first day was all about basic techniques and drilling them. On the evening of the first day Bill had organised a Filipino banquet and as I had gone with Rob Campion and Krishna was there also it was a great experience.

The second day was more about the knife and again after about 45 minutes of power stick work we got down to some great techniques, Tuhon Gaje did a great demo of arrest techniques and it was a fantastic experience. We all received a certificate of attendance and it was a brilliant weekend.

Sayoc Kali

I was very lucky to be asked by Krishna to the first Sayoc Kali seminar in the UK. All the Tuhons from Sayoc Kali were in attendance including the newly promoted Ray Dionaldo.

We covered the 3 of 9 template and added a lot of other stuff including breaking down the techniques and covering damage limitation when fighting against another knife. All the Tuhons were good but the highlight for me was Ray Dionaldo demonstrating the Kerambit and Tuhon Felix Cortes who did double extendable batons. I got on really well with Tuhon Felix and he said I had very fast hands for a big guy. I attended the seminar with a few of my warriors guys and we got a lot out of the seminar.

The second Sayoc seminar I attended was with Tuhon Tom Kier, his speed and power are awesome to behold and for a big guy he moves really well it was a real privilege to be given access to this level of instruction, overall I enjoyed the seminars and practicing the Sayoc Kali system but for me I wanted to work with Felix Cortes more but it was Tuhon Tom Kier who was to visit the UK more and teach the seminars.

Abner Pasa Seminar

Abner Pasa is the grandmaster of the Warriors Eskrima system and Krishna’s teacher. It was to be a great experience for me as meeting him and the way he explained how the system worked was eye opening he moved so fluently in any range and with any weapon and it was a really great seminar.

A lot of time was spent getting the flow of the techniques and being flexible so you can change range or respond to the opponent quickly it was not a seminar that had a lot of content but was full of quality and concepts that you could use immediately.

The time passed quickly and it was too short for such a good teacher and I know logistics were against him staying longer but it would have been nice to have got maybe a private session with him.

Mark Wiley Seminars

I attended Mark’s first seminar in the UK organised by Krishna in Warwick where he taught Kali Ilustrisimo. It was fantastic to be doing a lot of blade work and the techniques he showed were really excellent. Unfortunately Mark also did some Kung Fu which went down like a lead balloon with most people but as I had previous experience I loved it and Mark noticed this and after being introduced properly by Krishna we got on really well exchanging email and keeping in contact afterwards.

The second seminar I attended was also organised by Krishna and was covering the art of Cabales Serrada Eskrima, I loved this seminar and had taken some guys along as well which was great for our club, again Mark spent a lot of time with me and I was one of only a few guys who understood and could do the stuff he was showing. After attending these seminars and keeping in contact with Mark he asked if I would be interested in becoming an apprentice instructor under him and though it was tempting I preferred to stay with Krishna as Mark was teaching his integrated Eskrima and I was more interested in studying the Ilustrisimo and the cabales as separate arts. I think this was a missed opportunity on my part but I have no regrets we make our own choices and walk our own path based on those choices.