Eskrima is impractical?
Your Stick Fighting Sucks....
Don’t Waste Your time with Escrima
Not too long ago I was teaching a private lesson in a L.A. Boxing club. Now as I was teaching I heard the guy up front, working the reception desk, say something to the effect of “It’s not like you’ll carry a stick around everywhere you go”. Not such a shocker really. I can’t say how many times I have heard similar sentiment, I lost count years ago. “When would you have a stick in a fight anyway?” Such sentiments scream that Escrima is ineffective, that the Filipino Martial Arts is an anachronism, antiquated. As if it was a ritual combat tradition bereft of any combative efficacy. These are the same people that ask me, after hearing that I teach knife skills, “so when do you ever have a knife really”. My answer, “always :)” This pervading thought in those tiny minds of the uninitiated propagate the idea: “Don’t Waste Your time with Arnis or Kali, learn something real like boxing, or Krav Maga, or MMA” Seriously?
It is up to the FMA community to present it’s absolute best face and educate the rest of the Martial Art Community of the error in such erroneous notions.
The practicality of learning FMA skills should be easily proven by doing a few simple searches on google or any other search engine. Some keyword phrases that might open both eyes and minds are:
“assault with deadly weapon, club”
A student of mine and my father’s recently recounted a lesson given by my father. He went up to the student and with a training knife, in a controlled yet forceful manner, stabbed him in the gut. He then said something to the effect of “In Eskrima, we can’t take a hit, not even one. This is how we differ from most other combat arts/sports” Covering like a boxer is not the most ideal way to deal with a broken beer bottle, or worse, a used hypodermic needle. “You don’t know where I’ve been Lou” ~ Tyler Durden, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The stick is merely a symbol for the possible tools an enemy can employ upon us. Looking into the various news articles that report assaults and incidents involving violence and taking special note of a weapons part to play in such every day drama, and you might find yourself convinced. “The knife is the ultimate equalizer”, as my father used to say. Convinced, convinced that if your martial art, combat sport, or other hand to hand training does not adequately address the many considerations of physical combat and the involvement of such tools, you might just want to stay in the land of weight categories, time limits, and score keeping.
Fact, a stick moves faster than a hand or foot. Training with the use of swords and sticks, both in offense and defense, has the added advantage of speeding up your reaction time. Being able to quickly and deftly maneuver in response to an object moving in excess of 100 mph can have a very positive experience on your defensive skills. The heightened adrenalin and focus that is inherent when training with impact and edged weapons poses many benefits as opposed to training only in unarmed arenas.
You could only hope it’s only a stick, and not a mass weapon such as a bat or golf club. Both items, having more mass at the end, will have a much more lethal potential than the silly 1” diameter sticks most FMA practitioners foolishly dub “weapon”. Heaven help you if it’s a tire iron or some other heavier everyday item. Hell, Mr. King endured over 80 seconds of continuous beating by our boys in blue and suffered no more than some bruises and a cut over one of his eyes, and they are supposed to be trained. Of course if you see some of the footage on YouTube where some of the Dog Brothers demonstrated the impact results with slow motion cameras, you might have a better understanding of what a simple stick could do in a trained hand or at least a hand with intent.
So is Eskrima practical, you better F!ing believe it. Even if you don’t use a stick or other implement yourself, the effect of training with tools is immense. However, there are some caveats to consider.
Your FMA is effective if, IF you simulate combative conditions. Drills and techniques are ultimately a waste of time at advanced levels.
Your FMA is effective if, IF you work from a scenario basis as well as simple skill development.
Your FMA is effective if, IF your instructor understands the nature of fighting and how humans behave physically and physiologically under duress.
Your FMA is effective if, IF you go beyond choreography and contrivance.
Your FMA is effective if, IF it’s your FMA, IF you are not merely a practitioner but truly an Eskrimador at the very core of your being.
“All arts are viable within their own environment” - Jason Inay
I truly believe my quote, I have been saying this for a long time now, and always mean it. There is no better style or way. There is no better school or club. There is only superior training, and that is a result of effort, a keen disciplined mind, utilizing scientific method, and valuing empirical knowledge. The sum of this equation is efficacy, elegance, and aesthetics only an experienced fighter can appreciate, to all others it should look like magic.
“Walk softly, and carry a big stick”- T. Roosevelt. It was good enough for an American president, good enough to be done on the White House lawn, perhaps it’s good enough for a boxer, whether in LA or otherwise. “Keep Training” - Inay