Saturday, September 16, 2017

KEA General Curriculum

KEA stands for Kali, Eskrima, and Arnis. All three are different names for the same thing, so I like to just say KEA rather than choosing one and leaving out the others.

I've trained with some really talented KEA practitioners and I've noticed that what they teach can be generally organized into these four sections.

General Curriculum
1. Circular Motions
2. Angles of Attack
3. Arm Weaving
4. Arm Entanglement

There is more to KEA but at least to me it seems like these four are the basic pillars of skill development. 

You might ask: What about sparring? Sparring is a more extreme version of Arm Entanglement. 

1. Circular Motions
Many times circular motions are introduced as a warm up exercise. It's so important that Professor Remy Presas said that this needs to be done everyday. It takes time to develop articulation and strength in your wrists, the circular motions help with that. The circular motions may look fancy but they are not about showing off, but instead have very practical application. Circular motions help all your weapons, including empty hand, but especially shines with the knife.

2. Angles of Attack
The forms that you learn in KEA are called the Angles of Attack. There are many numerous Angles of Attack forms. I do recommend that you learn as many as you can, but keep in mind it's not about the quantity, but the quality, meaning how much time you spend practicing and understanding the form. I encourage people to progress the forms and experience them in as many different ways as possible.

3. Arm Weaving
The most famous Arm Weaving technique is the Heaven 6. Arm weaving teaches you to handle two weapons simultaneously without getting them in each other's way. People mistakingly think that Arm weaving skills require that you have 2 weapons in a real life situation, but that's not what it's really about. Arm weaving is about fighting with both arms.

4. Arm Entanglement
This is the most difficult area in KEA because it has many things to learn. First you learn a repeated pattern which I call a Generator. The generator is practiced with a partner. Then you start adding other techniques such as a trapping strike, submission, take down, throw, and disarm. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Basic Weapons Training in FMA

The Filipino martial arts is loaded with many weapons. However there are 6 basic weapons training that is commonly done. I'm not going to include short sword or machete because the stick is meant to be the training tool for those kinds of weapons. 

1. Single Stick
2. Double Stick
3. Single Knife
4. Double Knife
5. Empty Hand
6. Single Stick and Single Knife

I also teach 2 more sections.

7. Improvised Weapons (cup, shoe, hat, shirt)
8. Specialized Weapons (Balisong, tomahawk, Karambit)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

4 Ranges of Combat part 4

Moving from one range to the next is called a transition.
A good fighter knows when they are in transition and knows how to use transitions to their advantage. 

1. Long Range to Medium Range
2. Medium Range to Close Range
3. Close Range to Ground Range
4. Ground Range to Close Range
5. Close Range to Medium Range
6. Medium Range to Long Range 

Remember this, when a person is changing range, it means they are trying to get an advantage in the next range. 

1. Long Range to Medium Range
Offense: Use feints. Use combos. 
Defense: Stop their charging in.

2. Medium Range to Close Range
Offense: Use armor or change levels.
Defense: Have your arms inside.

3. Close Range to Ground Range
Offense: Attack their balance.
Defense: Make space and get in base or pull them into your Guard. 

4. Ground Range to Close Range
Offense: Create space.
Defense: Kill space.

5. Close Range to Medium Range
Offense: Break off with strikes.

Defense: Keep you guard up.

6. Medium Range to Long Range 
Offense: Shield and move away.
Defense: Stick and move but don't chase. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

4 Ranges of Combat part 3

It's important to know how to get the advantage in each Combat Range. 

1. Long Range
Whomever controls the distance.

2. Medium Range
Whomever can cause damage first has the advantage.

3. Close Range
Whomever controls the other person.

4. Ground Range
Whomever controls the other person.

Regardless of your style, here is the general strategy for each range, so that you can make the most out of each range's characteristic.

1. Long Range
Chip away.
Mobility is the key.   

2. Medium Range
Attack hard and shield hard.
If your defending, get out of this range.

3. Close Range
Control your opponent. 
Attack their balance.

4. Ground Range
Control your opponent. 
Stick to them like glue. 

4 Ranges of Combat part 2

This is going to be controversial.
I'm going to explain what each range will actually look like in a real fight.

Many people may disagree with me, but for those of you that are willing to listen, my ideas will help make your stuff work, regardless of style or technique.

Think about that, that is huge since most people spend their time arguing about what style/technique works or doesn't work. I'm saying any style/technique can work, but you need to know how the situation is going to be like. 

You just can't go into a tough situation with the wrong idea!

Also think about this, many people will choose either sport or traditional and think that the two can't mix.

You are about to see how I mix them both together to help me become more effective. 

4 Ranges of Combat
1. Long Range
2. Medium Range
3. Close Range
4. Ground Range

So what does each range look like in real life?

1. Long Range looks like Point Fighting.
2. Medium Range looks like Muay Thai.
3. Close Range looks like the MMA clinch.
4. Ground Range looks like MMA ground fighting.

It doesn't matter if you want to use the Crane Kick, jumping spinning heel kick, or Praying Mantis fist, as long as you have an accurate idea of what the fight is going to be like.

What about illegal moves like biting and eye gouging? In Long Range, it's going to look like Point Fighting with illegal moves.

What about weapons like a knife and baseball bat In Long Range, it's going to look like Point Fighting with weapons.

What about multiple opponents? In Long Range, it's going to look like Point Fighting with multiple opponents.

What about guns? In Long Range, it's going to look like Point Fighting with guns.

For Medium Range, Close Range, and Ground Range, well, it follows the same pattern, so I think you get the idea. 

4 Ranges of Combat part 1

1. Long Range
2. Medium Range
3. Close Range
4. Ground Range

The 4 Ranges of Combat is pretty much universal so it's not just limited to FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) such as Eskrima, Kali, and Arnis. 

It's not the only method around, but it can actually be used for just about any martial arts style! 

Long Range is when you have ample distance between your opponent and yourself. This gives you enough reaction time to defend against attacks.

Medium Range is when you and your opponent are right there in each other's striking range. Contrary to popular belief there is simply not enough reaction time in Medium Range. 

Close Range is the clinch. In Close Range you are simply too close to see your opponent's attacks. Since you can't rely on sight, you must feel them. 

Ground Range is when you are fighting on the ground.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Power of Defense

I've been to many really good BJJ schools.
One was more tough and rough, while another was more technical in a sport kind of way, while another one was more street and self-defense oriented, and then the last school I went to was the Carlos Machado Academy.

Carlos Machado is the head of the Machado family, which are the cousins to the Gracie family.
The Machado family has taught BJJ to many famous legendary martial artists such as Dan Inosanto, Chuck Norris, and Steven Seagal.

At the Machado Academy, Professor Carlos Machado taught me defense like I had never seen before. We focused on defense like crazy. He said that if your confident in your defense then you won't be afraid to attack, because often times when you attack your vulnerable and can get countered. Defense was the foundation he taught me.

Pretty much all the same concepts I learned from BJJ can be applied to the other styles of martial arts that I've learned. So I have been doing that. To me my training in BJJ has been the link between traditional martial arts and combat sports.

Following the defense concept I learned from Professor Carlos Machado, I feel that it's absolutely paramount to build your foundation starting with defense. 

However many martial arts including Eskrima teaches offense first. I think the reason for this is that Eskrima is a military style. Which means offense-offense-OFFENSE! Defense is difficult to learn and it takes time to develop. Can't expect soldiers to always have time for that kind of study and training.

If you don't understand the value of defense then you have no choice but to be 100% committed to offense and you have to just force your way forward and keep marching and hope that things turn out well for you. 

Defense is what allows you to survive under the worst conditions. From a self-defense point of view that is where it's at. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

ERC Every Room Carry

As I write this, my area is under the mercy of Hurricane Harvey.
The flooding has gotten bad enough that the front road in front of the house is no longer visible, neither is our front lawn, just a river that is creeping up to our front door.

I remember at the time my BJJ training partner was a DPD Police Officer. It was right after Hurricane Katrina, and he told me of all the criminal activities that was going on despite the desperate times. So it's only smart to have a self-defense tool ready. 

EDC stands for Everyday Carry. And to tactical knife lovers it means the knife that you carry to work or just going out for your daily choirs.

If I'm going to do grocery shopping, I EDC a minimal tool that can be used for self-defense. The main word is tool, so that the judge, jury, and police do not think that I'm some nut job looking for trouble.

However during emergency times or if I know I'm going through a bad neighborhood, I will go to a more heavy duty self-defense weapon and also carry more than one if necessary.

Something I came up with when I was living in exceptionally bad neighborhoods in San Antonio was something I called ERC(Every Room Carry). This means that  I carried something for self-defense even in my own "home" which was usually at a section 8 apartment. There were times where I expected to see a burglar standing in my room.

So, don't just EDC, ERC especially during emergency/desperate times, just in case. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Heaven 6

The "Heaven 6" is the most famous Arm Weaving technique. Arm Weaving is the skill to wield two weapons simultaneously without getting your arms in each other's way. 

Examples of Arm Weaving techniques:
1. Heaven 6
2. Heaven and Earth
3. Earth 6
4. Reverse Heaven 6

People misunderstand and think that you need two weapons to do Arm Weaving, but this is not true. Arm Weaving can be applied to empty hand combat. Arm Weaving is really about being able to skillfully use both hands together during combat.

Arm Weaving was taught to me to be used in three different ways:
1. Offensively 
2. Defensively
3. Counter attacking

Offensive Heaven 6 is quite simple, just go up to somebody and just attack, hit them all over their face, neck, and body.

Defensive Heaven 6 uses the same movements as the offensive usage, but instead of striking, slap the opponent's attack out of the way. This is basically a parry on steroids.

For Countering Heaven 6 there are two possibilities, one is to strike at their attack from the side which follows the paramount concept of Filipino martial arts called Defang the Snake. The second one is to deflect their attack and immediately strike at their head or body which is the typical counter strike.

I call the Heaven 6 the Swiss Army Knife of martial arts techniques because I discovered even more ways to use it!

With total respect to the Filipino arts of Kali, Eskrima, and Arnis, I've come up with three more exciting ways to use the Heaven 6. They may not be exactly innovative because someone could have already come up with this, but nobody to my knowledge has organized and presented it, in this easy to learn way.

1. Blocking Heaven 6
2. Catching Heaven 6
3. Armored Heaven 6

To do the Blocking Heaven 6, just keep your arms close in at all times. Keep everything real tight for blocking purposes. The Blocking Heaven 6 should be linked with the Double Forearm Block from Western Boxing. So you should be able to seamlessly go from the Double Forearm Block to the Blocking Heaven 6 and vice versa.  

Remember that anytime you see an opening, you can change the way your doing your Heaven 6 from blocking to striking out or any other usage, because you can't just remain there blocking the entire time, it's just a matter of time before your opponent will figure out how to get through. 

The Blocking Heaven 6 should be your most important Arm Weaving technique, because those who do not know how to block get knocked out.
The Catching Heaven 6 uses your arms to catch the opponent's limbs. This can be very useful when done right, but you have to always remember that the opponent can strike you with the other arm. A catching technique such as the X-Block can be very effective against an opponent trying to stab you in the gut.

The precursor to the Catching techniques are the Sandwich techniques. A Sandwich technique is an attack where you literally sandwich the target by hitting it from both sides. This prevents the opponent from going with the attack to ride off the force. The Sandwich techniques are done from a distance while the Catching techniques are done from a close range.
The Armored Heaven 6 is designed to help you clinch safely. The idea is to use your arms as armor to protect you while bashing into the opponent. Your arms can cover up your vulnerable areas such as your face and neck, the arms can block or even be used as a wedge to deflect attacks. Also enter the clinch with a strike such as a palm strike, chop, or elbow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wmpyr vs Karateka

In my college years I had several challenge matches. 

In the gym there was a wrestling mat available to college students. One of the professors taught Aikido on it once a week for free.

I attended this Aikido class and there I met many martial artists from various disciplines. 

One of the guys I met there was a very nice guy named Robert. He was a Shito Ryu Karate black belt. From my understanding, his training was mostly Kata practice and he also competed in forms. One time he apparently won first place for the Bo staff. 

He was probably about 5 '11, 175 pounds. So he was a little bigger than me at the time, I was about 5'10, 140 pounds.  

Since we both had martial arts experiences, both of us were treated almost like unofficial assistant instructors there at the Aikido class. 

One day we decided to test ourselves against each other. 
Since I had a few challenge matches there and he never partook in anything like that, I figured that I had the upper hand. His skills were devoted to the study of Karate, mine were for fighting against various martial artists. I had the mind of a fighter, he was more like a strict scholar. 

I walked around like a zombie apocalypse gunslinger, anybody, anywhere, anytime. He walked around like a super disciplined head monk at some mystical temple.

He got into his Karate stance and one look at his eyes and I knew he was taking me serious. I was like bring it on, so I got into my Muay Thai stance and figured I should be able to take on just about any strategy or technique from any style, because anyone that knows anything about fighting is that Muay Thai is the best standing up, or so I thought. 

I went with the good old basic of kicking his leg. He defended and I punched for his face, attack low, attack high. He defended that too. I thought okay your fast, but I'm gonna blast you with my front kick, and then finish you with a punch to the chin, if not I got my diagonal elbow to the head as my final blow. The elbow was my secret weapon. 

He got into a deep Karate stance and began to throw low kicks that were from unusual angles for me, but I anticipated that, I had heard from a friend who fought a Karate guy in a tournament who told me that the stance hides the kicks, so I was well aware of this. Robert even threw a spinning kick which amused me, I was use to the Tae Kwon Do style of kicking which to me was the best for those kinds of kicks. 

He stopped his attacks and we stared at each other setting up for our next move. Our minds calculating like super computers, within those quick exchanges, I guess we both had experienced enough info to come up with a tactic to get the decisive victory. 

It was like an old Samurai movie, where two swordsmen stood in a windy grassy field slowly circling each other before they rushed in passing each other and one of them would fall dead.

It didn't help that this guy Robert had a ponytail and looked like a Ronin. 
When he came in, he dodged my front push kick, with a side step that used traditional Karate stance and footwork, he was on me incredibly fast as if he had elastic legs that launched him forwards while moving side to side. He barely missed his reverse punch which could have cracked my ribs, and I missed my punch but more importantly I missed my elbow which could have split his head open. At this point it dawned on me, that this guy was as good as I was. If I'm such a realist that I claim to be, then I had to admit it. Even though this guy does martial arts by doing forms, I do it by sparring. He trains with Karate people, I train with people from other styles, so that I know what I'm dealing with. Then the realization hit me, that there are other ways to climb the mountain. 

We did the traditional bow where you say Osu, I shook his hand and we called it a draw. Robert was legit, and it felt good for me to admit it. Here is a guy who devoted his time and energy to one style, not like me who school hopped. Technique wise this guy was like a BMW, where as to I was like a custom built car. I realized that it was an honor for me to go up against this traditional martial artist. 

I asked him to teach me that special footwork he used, and he happily did. It was nothing more than the basics, but the basics done by an expert. The footwork gives you a zigzag motion to dodge attacks, while each step stores energy to launch you forwards like a spring board while punching from a balanced structure.      

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Four Combat Ranges

In Eskrima we basically have 4 ranges for combat.

1. Long Range
2. Medium Range
3. Short Range
4. Ground Fighting

To understand what each range actually looks like, I'm going to simplify and give you an empty hand example.

In empty hand fighting, this is something like Point Fighting. Many people think that Point Fighting is unrealistic because it's a game of tag. Contrary to popular belief point fighting is actually very realistic and useful because it's a game of tag. With a weapon, it would look something like Fencing.

In empty hand fighting, this is something like Kickboxing. Whether it's an exotic Kung Fu hand strike or some Karate toe strike, I believe that you should be able to use your medium range techniques from whatever style it is you train in. As long as you understand that when humans fight in medium range it's going to look something like a Kickboxing match.

In empty hand fighting, this is the clinch. In Muay Thai this is where you grab a person by the head and neck to knee them. This is where the Judo and Gerco-Roman Wrestling shine.

Whether it's Kung Fu trapping hands or some Aikido wrist lock, I believe that you should be able to use your short range techniques from whatever style it is you train in. As long as you understand that when humans fight in short range it's going to look something like what you see in the clinch in a sporting match. 

The biggest problem in short range is that most people do not understand that their short range techniques applied in real life will be applied under grappling energy.

At a martial arts studio you might see an instructor demonstrate ground fighting techniques. This is a demonstration and not to be confused with real life. 

In empty hand fighting, this is something like the ground fighting that you see in MMA(sport of cage fighting). 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Street Fighting Videos

Recently I watched a ton of street fighting videos posted on Youtube. Almost all of these were tough guys duking it out man to man, to see who is tougher.

It's very easy to criticize these people and say that they are unskilled and suck at fighting.
However if you really think about it, you and your opponent are probably going to fight more like these guys than you are the current UFC stars. 

There is a lot that one can learn from these street fighting videos if your willing to learn.

I saw a lot of things some of these people did right that helped them in the fight. I'm going to list them because if they can do it, chances are we might be able to do it too. 

1. Arms up guarding the head.
2. Staying outside the pocket. The pocket is the danger zone. 
3. Staying composed and not rushing in.
4. Not throwing everything into a punch until the right moment. 
5. Grab, pull them in and knee strike.
6. Using the knee to pin their opponent on the ground.
7. Kicking the face of a downed opponent.
8. Controlling the opponent by grabbing some clothes or hair.

I also saw many things that they could improve upon. One of the main things had to do with endurance. Many of these people probably don't exercise on a regular basis, they probably have bad diets and smoke. If that's not bad enough, I didn't see them watch their breathing. Most of them didn't conserve their energy until they were already super tired. 

Endurance is a big thing. There is really no doubt in my mind why conditioning is so important in the military and in sport. 

Most of them threw wild swinging punches. As a result many of them ended up too close, losing their balance and they ended up wrestling. Most of these fights went to the ground. Nobody knew how to properly do a submission. 

So I say learn how to punch with form, and learn how to stick to the form under pressure. Learn how to keep the distance while striking. Learn submissions.

When standing 99% of the time I saw only punches. Maybe an occasional knee once there was some grabbing. On the ground punching by far was the popular choice with a few knees thrown in, and on a very rare case an elbow or kick. 

I recommend that you learn how to use all your weapons(kicks, punches, knees, elbows, headbutts) in stand up and on the ground. 

Last but not least I really didn't see much defense other than turn around and turtle up. It seemed like if you were to try and defend in these fights, you will be run over so I don't blame these people for not having defense. However I think defense is important and I recommend that you develop it enough so that it becomes usable in a street fight.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Stealing Techniques

Just the other day, I saw a Youtube video of someone saying that Bruce Lee encouraged people to steal the best techniques from any style. 

I think many people misunderstand Jeet Kune Do, and think in a similar manner.
People think that your suppose to steal techniques from any of the best styles out there, combine them together and create your own super style. 

This is not right, if this was true, Bruce Lee would not have said that: "Martial arts is a daily decrease." 

From my understanding, Bruce Lee primarily studied 32 different martial art styles trying to figure out how to defeat them. However his own core fighting method was primarily composed of 4 different styles. He could have cherry picked moves from each of those 32 different styles but instead he focused on just 4. 

1. Wing Chun Kung Fu
2. Boxing
3. Fencing
4. Savate

If you have collected a whole bunch of techniques, and your trying to figure out which techniques are the best, your going to realize this next thought.

It's not about the quantity, but the quality. 
And then we have another famous Bruce Lee quote: "I am not afraid of the person who knows 1000 kicks, but I am afraid of the person who knows one kick but practices it 1000 times."

So then you realize that what makes a move good is not whether you have a good eye to pick a practical move, but instead it's about how much time and effort you put into the move. 

That means any move can be good as long as you put in the time and effort into it. 

So which one do you choose to put in the time and effort into? 
The answer is, the one that you like, the one that makes sense to you. It's just personal preference. 

So what do you do with all the other moves that you have learned? Since you know they are not bad, they are worth keeping. It's just reality that you can't practice everything, or you will end up with no quality and just quantity.

Instead of creating a super style, the natural logical solution is to come up with a system to organize all the moves that you have learned. 

And I believe this is why Bruce Lee said that Jeet Kune Do is not a style, because what he ended up with was a system. 

Does it work?

Everyone wants to know which styles really work in a real life situation.
Everyone wants to know what techniques really work in a real life situation.

My philosophy is that rather than viewing things that way,

I ask myself this very important question.

"What can I do to increase it's chance of working in a real life situation?"

With this view point, I'm the one that's responsible, it's in my hands whether something is effective or practical. It's up to me. I don't blame the style or technique, those things are just the tool.

Say you fail a calculus test in college, so you start yelling that calculus is stupid and it doesn't work. Nobody will take you seriously. They will look at you like it's not calculus that's stupid..

I would imagine that a good plumber is one that doesn't blame a tool for their failure, but one that blames their skill and knowledge. If they accept the responsibility of their failure they can also learn and improve upon their failure. 

No matter what style or technique it is, I think one can find it's effective and practical use through practice and effort. If you want to be able to use your tool in real life, then you need to have a realistic viewpoint and realistic expectations.

And never lose faith that something can indeed work, even if you can't figure it out at the moment.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Combat Sports

Example of combat sports:
Amateur Wrestling (Free style and Greco-Roman)
MMA (what you see in the UFC)
Olympic Tae Kwon Do
Sport Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Sport Sambo

There are many traditional martial artists that do not like combat sports. 
I like it. I like watching matches to study and learn from them. 
I personally do not like competing because I don't like hurting people, and I hate injuries. 

The more you train and compete in combat sports the higher chance for injury, so my advice to anyone is, while I do think it's important to experience combat sports, once you do, get out of it as fast as you can to avoid injury. Injury is the enemy. 

At home alone I train in combat sports. I enjoy how it gets me in better shape. 
I go running, sometimes I use the jump rope, I hit the bags, I jump on the tire, I do shadowboxing and so on. 

Whether we like it or not, if you take two human beings from anywhere around the world and make them fight, it looks something like what we see in MMA(the sport of cage fighting). 

If you give each person an Escrima stick and make them fight, it looks like MMA with sticks. 
If you give each person a knife and make them fight, it looks like MMA with knives.

I'm not saying that MMA or combat sports is the single whole and only truth. 
I still train in traditional martial arts to this day and will continue to do so until the day I die, but it's important to know that whatever it is that you train in, when you actually apply it in real life in a real violent situation, know that it's going to look something like MMA.

Everybody seems to value the importance of sparring, yet when it comes to sport, suddenly people are against it. Combat sports to me is nothing more than sparring taken to the extreme. So if you think sparring is important I don't understand how you can't see that combat sports is also valid. 

People often times criticize combat sports for their rules. The rules are limitations, but fighters are forced to develop specific skills within those limited rules and they become exceptionally skilled. For example Boxers are limited to only punches, however their punching skills are incredible. You get good by limiting yourself, because your focusing on something specific. 

If a Boxer fights a grappler, chances are the Boxer will get taken down and beaten on the ground fairly quickly, but that doesn't mean that the Boxer's punches are not effective. They are still dangerous and if the grappler isn't able to take the Boxer down, the match could go the other way. 

Then people criticize the Boxer for not being well balanced. A Karate practitioner may say, I will just kick the Boxer, and while that may be true, it doesn't make Boxing obsolete. If you look at the military, not all the weapons are well rounded, many of the weapons are designed to do specific tasks. So you need a good strategy to know when to use what. 

Modern military have vehicles and firearms, but soldiers to this day still carry a knife. Even though most soldiers today do not carry swords, if they were attacked in close range by someone with a sword, you bet the sword is still a formidable weapon. If you get into a road rage incident and begin yelling at some guy, and if he has Boxing training, when he throws a punch at you, that is going to be strong punch period.   

Even though martial arts can be practiced for many different reasons, strictly combat wise, I divide martial arts into three general categories. 

1. Traditional Martial Arts
2. Combat Sports
3. Modern Tactical (includes military styles and urban self-defense)

I highly recommend that you experience all three types so that you get a better more well rounded point of view of combat methods. One isn't better than the other, each one has pros and cons. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Punching Bag

For the longest time I've lived from apartment to apartment so it wasn't really convenient to have a punching bag. 

Now that I live in a home, I have the Everlast punching bag stand in my garage. I also have a small Everlast punching bag that I can hang from it. When I want to do Eskrima stick and knife training, I hang a small tire from the punching bag stand via chain. 

After each session, I take off the bag and stand it upside down so that the stuffing doesn't settle too much on the bottom. 

Right now I have two pairs of gloves, one is a 14 oz Boxing glove and the other is a smaller open finger single foam padded bag glove. The 14 oz one in great because I can hit the bag harder and really use the weight of the glove to help me punch more efficiently. The open finger foam feels better as in more natural and the stuffing doesn't move around because it's a single layer of foam inside. I'm using both and making the best out of both but if I had to keep just one it would be the foam padded bag glove, neither are quality, but the bag glove was a better deal, more bang for the buck. 

If you don't have room for the punching bag stand, you can always just buy the bag and lay that thing down on the floor and work on ground punches. You can also put it in your BJJ Guard and work strikes from there as well. 

I also have the Everlast Reflex bag and between the punching bag stand plus punching bag, I would just go with the Reflex bag. The punching bag is more versatile but it doesn't teach you how to hit, move, and defend unlike the reflex bag.

1. Throw light punches just let the weight of the glove do the work for you.
2. Weak Point Punching, working on specific techniques targeting live, solar plexus, floating ribs, etc.
3. Cardio Punching, non stop punching for cardio.
4. Brawling, working on haymakers, non stop with power and explosiveness.
5. Combos, working on 2 punch, 3 punch, and 4 punch combos.
6. Working on going in to strike the bag and then going out, out of range.
7. Finishing Brawling, repeatedly using the same punch over and over again.
8. Hit the bag and then trace the bag's movement with your hands. 
9. Mix punching with other tools like elbows, knees, and kicks. 
10. Bare handed strikes, including palm strikes, spinning back fist, and hammer fist strikes.  


Monday, July 31, 2017

My Martial Arts Philosophy

The most important thing in my martial arts philosophy is "The Way".

Martial arts training is like an adventure you will go on. This adventure is your very own journey. Your journey and mine won't be the same. Imagine this journey as a path going up a mountain. Everybody wants to get to the top of the mountain. Getting to the top signifies accomplishing your goal.

The philosophy of "The Way" states that how you walk your path is more important than accomplishing your goal.

Take for example someone who gets to the top by cheating, breaking rules, and by being cut throat. This is no good, same with someone who gets to the top by being a bully.

Even if you don't make it to the top, if you helped others along the way, and you made some good friends, then this is great!

I cross train in the martial arts, this simply means that I train in more than one style of martial arts. This is not to be confused with a convert. A convert is someone who trained in one style and then completely switched over to another, abandoning the old usually because of a bad experience. Cross training is different because you train in various styles, with the intention to use all the styles you have trained in.

I cross train because I enjoy variety, I like different cultures, different perspectives, different strategies and techniques. Even though I enjoy cross training, and that's what I do, I still do not think it's the best way to practice martial arts. I believe there are many ways to climb to the top of the mountain and cross training is just one of those ways.

I firmly believe in this after one time I had a challenge match against an Okinawan Karate black belt named Robert. At the time I was cross training in many disciplines and he was mainly a Karate guy. I thought I would destroy him easily but to my surprise we ended in a draw. That's when I realized my method wasn't better than his. Staying in one style for many years and competing in Kata(forms) tournaments works for him, and that day I learned to respect that.

To me a good martial artist is professional. 
A professional upholds certain standards of behavior.
A professional always puts safety as priority. 
A professional always makes sure that the training environment is suitable for learning. 
If there is a bully, a professional will do something about it.
If people are fooling around, a professional will do something about it.
There is a difference between fooling around and having fun. 
There is negative fun and positive fun, we want to have positive fun.
Negative fun interferes with the learning, while positive fun helps with the learning.    

In martial arts it is mighty important to seek out the truth. We don't want to live in a fantasy world. To use martial arts in real life you need to have a realistic view or it's not going to work well. 

The truth can be harsh and not what we want it to be, that's why we must make ourselves into warriors. We must become strong so that we can handle the truth.

Keep in mind that the pursuit of truth must be done professionally. I see so many people online use the pursuit of truth as an excuse to be rude and cruel. They display tyrant like behavior all in the name of truth. This is not right and they don't deserve attention no matter how correct they are. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's wrong with Aikido?

What's wrong with Aikido?

First let me briefly mention my background so that I don't sound like a total keyboard warrior.
I have about 4 years worth of Aikido training on and off. I also have about 10 years of Muay Thai, BJJ, and MMA training. 

That being said, I don't think there is anything wrong with Aikido. 
You might be thinking, if Wmpyr really has MMA training how could Wmpyr possibly think that Aikido is as good/legit as MMA?

If your a tough guy and can handle MMA training, great, go do it man. However not everyone can handle that. Maybe after a few years of traditional martial arts training they might become strong enough to move up to MMA training. 
However the average person may find combat sports way too rough. 
For the average person Aikido maybe a much better answer. 

Aikido has it's place, and I would rather train in Aikido than go to a BJJ or MMA gym right now. I'm over 40 years old and have nothing to prove. Last thing I need is for some young whipper snapper to make me his nemesis and heel hook my knee to a crippled life. 

The only problem with Aikido are the practitioners who think they can fight when they can't. BUT that is true of any style including MMA. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Martial Arts vs Sport

Based on the comments I get from Youtube, people seem to think that martial art and sport are 2 different things.

In other words these people do not really see Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, or MMA as a martial art. They see it as sport.

What's the difference between sport and martial arts? They will tell you that sports has rules, martial arts does not.

That definitely makes martial arts sound cooler.
It sounds like sport is not as effective.

So even if the statement is true, it's misleading.

Why? First of all combat sports is martial arts. At least the way I see it.
So Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, and MMA is martial arts in my point of view.

Why do I say this? Simply because sport to me is nothing more than sparring taken to the extreme.
And most martial arts do sparring or at the very least see the value of sparring.
So even if you insist that combat sports are not a martial art you cannot deny that it's 100% connected to martial arts.

Sport is a form of sparring. It's full contact sparring to the highest degree.

Most people who do not give sports any credit do not understand how high the level of competition is, how difficult it is to compete and do well. They have no clue.

Sport has rules for sure, but rather than looking at that as a limitation, I view it as a way to excel. Because of the rules, Boxers have amazing hands. If they were allowed to kick it would let them have an excuse to do something else and not sharpen their hand skills as much.

Sport makes you work on a specific set of skills and take it to a very high level because of those rules. The skills that you have from sport can be used in real combat.

However it may not come to play, you may not get a chance to use your Boxing skills, because let's say the bad guy took you down to the ground, or he pulled a knife or gun on you. Even though your Boxing skills never came into play, it doesn't mean that they are worthless. They were worthless in that particular moment, but in another situation who knows? If a Grappler beats a Boxer, it doesn't mean that Boxing is useless, the Boxer's punches are still dangerous.

Take a look at an Apache helicopter, it's an awesome combat helicopter, however can one say that it's better than a F-15 or a battle ship, or a tank? In certain situations the Apache shines, in others it was not meant for.

A self-defense situation can mean a lot of things, so the important thing is to understand when and how you can use your skills rather than criticize other styles.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tai Chi Master vs MMA fighter

For those that do not know, spoiler alert ahead!

The result was quick and brutal.
And in all honesty should not have been a surprise in my opinion.

Why did the Tai Chi master get demolished in a one sided violent fight?
More importantly why were so many people shocked at the outcome?

The answer to the first question is simple.
We had a teacher go up against a fighter. That's why the Tai Chi master lost.
This is what people fail to understand. If you accumulate a ton of knowledge, it doesn't automatically make you a good fighter.

In fact there are many good fighters that do not have a ton of knowledge, because fighting doesn't require knowledge.

The big difference here is knowledge versus applied knowledge.
So the Tai Chi master should have a very thorough and complete knowledge about Tai Chi.
The MMA fighter may not have a ton of knowledge about MMA which is comprised of cross training in a select couple of martial arts such as Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Boxing and Wrestling. However the main thing is can he apply what he knows against a fully resisting opponent, can he fight against another human being to create opportunities to apply his techniques? And the answer is yes, yes he can.

Why were people so shocked at the outcome?
I'm gonna blame cinema. I really think that movies have shown the fantasy side of martial arts and not the reality side. We have become so accustomed to the fantasy side that the public can't understand what is real and what is fake.

I think fantasy is fine, it can entertain and encourage us, but when there is too much of it, and people's minds are clouded in fantasy then this is bad because they are living a lie and they have false expectations. The public expects to see an 80 year old man, who is morally and ethically just, be able to defeat 10 bad guys at once with his Kung Fu skills. If this was real we would be fighting wars with highly trained Kung Fu experts armed with ancient weapons, rather than soldiers with firearms.

I believe that the Tai Chi master thought he was going to do well, why else would he have accepted the challenge match? He starts off confident with his arms raised up high. Sadly he got a dose of reality. This means that he didn't train seeking reality. In martial arts training, you should incorporate the pursuit of truth. If all we did was train martial arts for putting on a show, like a Hollywood fight scene, you can end up becoming very arrogant. And I've met people like that. I've met people who did point fighting and thought it was real fighting. You could even be a world champion Kickboxer and be an excellent fighter, but if you don't have a good sense of reality you can go into a bad neighborhood act tough and then get shot.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Author Bram Frank

Book Review by Wmpyr

If you like knives, then this book is going to make you drool like crazy. You can expect to see a ton of amazing knives designed by Professor Bram Frank. You will see many famous brands and world reknown knife makers mentioned in this book. 

Mini War Hammer

You will see that Professor Bram Frank has been awarded the highest credentials and martial arts pedigrees. But don't worry, you will also get to know the person behind the designs.  

Reading about a kid who loved knives, knights and armor, who eventually became a professor of warrior culture, and then to go on and produce the ultimate tactical knife. 

You get the sense that it was destiny for Professor Bram Frank to create his knives and win the Tactical Knife of the Year award. You will learn that the Professor didn't create just one or a handful of knives, he created an entire species. The Gunting Knives are in a very specific class of their own.   

Unlike other tactical knives that have one or two functions, the Gunting Knives have many features, each one designed for self-defense. We can go one more step further and say that the concepts utilized come from the teachings found in the Filipino Martial Arts. And yes, some of these knife techniques are demonstrated in step by step photos in this book. 

Filipino Martial Arts in the palm of your hand.

What is Filipino Martial Arts? Filipino Martial Arts specializes in sticks and blades, used by the military and Police. It has been featured in numerous Hollywood films such as The Bourne Identity, I am Frankenstein, and The Hunted starring Tommy Lee Jones. 

It's just amazing how many different versions of the Gunting Knife exist. Many of the blade shapes are modeled after famous swords from history. There are so many different blade shapes, and the knives themselves have different forms, such as the fixed blades, neck knives, Karambit/Desangut, women friendly versions, Balisong/butterfly knife, Straight razor, emergency rescue knife, short sword, spring assisted opening, trainers, and non edge self-defense versions. Over 30 years in the making, you definitely feel like no stone has been unturned. 

However this book features so much more! There are concept design sketches, showing so many knives that I wish were produced today. There are diagrams to show you exactly how the unique Puzzle Lock works. 

You'll even get a look into the factory where the latest Gunting knives are made. And after seeing all of that you start to get a glimpse to understand just how much work, blood sweat and tears has gone into the making of the Gunting style of knives available today.   

You'll even see knives that are not part of the Gunting family of knives, more like a distant relative from a totally different maker, but the influences are there. 

So if you already own one of the Gunting Knives, this book will make you appreciate it ten fold, and if you don't, by the end you will be itching to own one of the most significant tactical knives ever made.  
Professor Bram Frank's knives Official website

Sunday, May 14, 2017


In a real life altercation, where things can be total chaos, and people are trying to make critical decisions under extreme pressure, the person with a clear mind will have an advantage. 

When you are unsure, that moment of hesitation creates an opening for your opponent to take advantage of. 

When I was in junior high school, one summer I went to a dormitory. There I got into my first real fight. The guy was a bully and had a very dark and twisted attitude about him. I punched him in the ribs with everything I had, then I grabbed his hair and proceeded to kick him repeatedly in the ribs with everything I had. I shoved him,  I was still standing and he was balled up on the ground, and I didn't know what to do, but I knew I had to do something. First thing that came to mind was soccer kick him in the face, but it seemed too extreme, second thing was to jump up in the air and double stomp him like Bruce Lee did in Enter the Dragon, which also seemed like too much. Third was to drop an elbow to the spine, but once again it seemed like too much, plus none of these moves I was familiar with, so I hesitated, instead I punched him in his back and felt like an idiot. 

I said to myself: "what in the world was that? The stupidest punch ever!" Well, he yelled out: "You win! Stop! I give up!" So I stopped and he got up extended his hand, as I reluctantly went to shake it, he punched me with the other hand, he rocked my head way back, to this day my vision do not match.

Moral of the tale, do not hesitate. In order not to hesitate, you need to know exactly what to do, you need to know what to expect, so that you can act upon a clear mind and complete your mission.

That fight took place around 1992, before the UFC. If I had known MMA, I would have been able to control him by going to the ground and wearing him down systematically. I didn't have to get the Mount and destroy his face like Pat Smith did to Scott Morris in UFC 2. However I could have had much better control. If I didn't want to commit that much at least I would have known that there was no control and I needed to leave completely or finish the job like Wanderlei Silva had done many times in PRIDE and stomped this guy, but at least I would have known, what that would be like, how far to take it, and that I wasn't going to kill the guy.     

There were many things that I could have done, but either way, the main thing was I hesitated, my mind was not where it needed to be. So I was totally vulnerable. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tai Chi vs MMA

I recently saw the infamous video that has China all stirred up.
A former MMA fighter goes up against an alleged Tai Chi master.
I also got to have a discussion about it with my long time martial arts friend.

The result is of no surprise to me.
Get any Tai Chi master and have him go up against a pro fighter and the result would probably be the same. Quick destruction of someone that clearly doesn't know how to fight.

1. So why does this happen?
2. Why is it of no surprise?
3. What good is Tai Chi?

1. Why does this happen?
The Tai Chi master loses because he doesn't know how to fight. His opponent a former MMA fighter does. It's as simple as that.

2. Why is it of no surprise?
I've said it before that the purpose of a traditional martial arts school is to pass it on. That's what a tradition is. So the Tai Chi master is a scholar who knows just about everything there is to learn about the style and passes it on. That has nothing to do with fighting.

Your asking for a curator of a museum, or a master librarian to go perform. It's not going to happen.

3. What good is Tai Chi?
So if learning Tai Chi is not going to result in defeating the MMA fighter, then what good is it? The benefits are actually too numerous to list. The only thing you can't do is to expect the Tai Chi techniques to be superior in a fight against a real fighter.

Conclusion The life of a fighter is straight forward, your going to become tough, and then your going to become an athlete. Your going to win some and lose some, you learn that fighting is tougher than you. At the end your going to realize that you've shortened your life or at the very least decreased the comfort of your life. You will however know what real fighting is like, and you will have that experience.

Traditional martial arts like Tai Chi offers so much more. But in return you won't be the fighter that you think or expect to be especially if you've seen one too many movies.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

What is a warrior?


To me a warrior is someone that may use the rules to their advantage but they don't hide behind it. When I competed in BJJ, I followed the rules, but I expected my opponent to cheat. 

To me a warrior is someone that is always ready for combat. There is a difference between paranoid and prepared. Paranoid is when you cannot function in normal society, being prepared is when your smart.  

To me a warrior is someone that can and will live in less comfort, they definitely don't demand comfort, in fact they may see the discomfort as a challenge they are willing to face and conquer. Things like ice in your drink, AC, hot showers are all not necessary to sustain life.  

To me a warrior is someone that has a code of honor. Don't expect others to follow your code, and don't force your code on others. Having a code isn't for putting yourself up on a pedestal and looking down on others, but it's just a guide you follow to help you live a better quality of life. When you meet someone that also has a code you are more likely to appreciate them and make good friends.

To me a warrior is someone that never underestimates an enemy or task. 

To me a warrior is someone that always expects the worst but hopes for the best. Never lose hope.

To me a warrior is someone that doesn't over step their boundaries. If you think you can get away with something, most people will cross the line, a warrior will not, because it's not about success or failure, it's the principal of things. 

To me a warrior is someone that only fights someone stronger than they are. A bully is someone that picks on a weaker person, the warrior is the opposite they see it cowardly to do so, but honorable to defend the weak. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lapu Lapu Corto Tanto Knife

Lapu Lapu Corto Tanto Knife

Made by DragonNails
Designed by Prof. Bram Frank

Review by Wmpyr

closed: 5 1/5"
open: 8 1/5"
blade: 3"
steel: 8Cr13MoV (Chinese AUS-8)
Hardness: HRC 56-58

The Lapu Lapu Corto Knife was designed based on Filipino Martial Arts concepts and self-defense techniques.

This knife is loaded with many unique special features! Knowing these features on the knife provides you with a complete self-defense system.

The Karambit and the Tanto are probably two of the most popular tactical knife designs today. So, it's no surprise that we now get the Lapu Lapu Corto in a Tanto blade shape.

The blade has a thick spine for rugged multi-use. The Tanto is practically designed for piercing through tough material. Plus the Tanto blade makes it easier to sharpen compared to other blade shapes.

***Breakdown of the System***

The Lapu Lapu Corto knife sits high on your pocket for easy access like the hilt of a sword.

In a crisis situation, you quickly draw the knife and simply use it closed as is, without worrying about deploying the blade. Keeping it simple and safe, so that one doesn't accidentally cut themselves with their own knife in a scuffle.

Let the knife do the work. In the closed position the Lapu Lapu Corto is a Kubotan/Yawara stick on steroids. You can strike with it like a mini war club. It will enhance your martial arts techniques or your brawling abilities.  

If using it closed doesn't get you out of the hairy mess, you can deploy the razor sharp blade by hooking and pulling, this is called a Kinetic Opening. Kinetic Openings are versatile because your not limited to just hooking off your pants pocket, you can Kin-Op your opponent's arms, collar bone, ankle, furniture, or even a near by tree!  

So whether you go with the original Persian blade shape or the Tanto blade shape (both are based off of swords), either way your getting all the bells and whistles of the Gunting style of self-defense knife.  

Do you want a smooth slicing and dicing machine or a rugged and crude piercing machine?

I give the Lapu Lapu Corto Tanto Knife 5 out of 5 stars! Home of the Lapu Lapu Corto Knife!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lapu Lapu Corto Knife review by Wmpyr

LLC Live Blade made by DragonNails
Desgined by Prof. Bram Frank

closed: 5 1/5"
open: 8 1/5"
blade: 3"
steel: 8Cr13MoV (Chinese AUS-8)
Hardness: HRC 56-58

*Full steel jimped liners for retention
*Post in the hole indexing for grip switching
*Post in the hole indexing for pocket retenion
*Flat spoon clip for indexing and retention
*Bramp kinetic opening 
*Bramp for tip control in fine cutting
*Bramp for trapping, hammering, joint locks
*Bramp for upside down braced cutting
*Non slip bio mechanical handle (firearm grip)
*Braille more than color coded for dim light
*Dual access pivot point
*Solid butt piece for counter weight
*Compound puzzle lock (dove tail joint lock)
*Functioning thong hole for lanyard

Review by Wmpyr

This is no ordinary knife, when you carry this with you, your not holding a knife, you have Filipino martial arts in the palm of your hand. I'm not joking, this knife is designed from Filipino martial arts concepts. Filipino martial arts are practiced by countless people around the world for practical self-defense.

This knife is a system. The many features on this knife teach you how to access the self-defense system it's based on. 

I feel comfortable with the Lapu Lapu Corto Knife system, because it's very clear for me what to do. Number one is to just access your knife as fast as you can. And since it sits high in my pocket, it's easy to access like the hilt of a sword. Plus I don't have to worry about deploying the blade at this point. 

Not worrying about the blade at this time is great for legal reasons, and also safety reasons! At the start of an altercation when things can be sudden and chaotic, I don't want to accidentally cut the wrong person or myself. 

Once the knife is in my hand, I simply use it closed like a mini war hammer. The over sized ramp and steel reinforced pommel help you with any striking needs. The Lapu Lapu Corto can do more, and it can be used as a Kubotan/Yawara Stick on steroids. 

If your a tactical knife fan, and you like the Emerson Wave function, then the Kinetic Opening should be right up your alley! However, the Kinetic Opening is not limited to just your pants pocket. You can use the ramp to hook and pull on just about anything! 

Trying to figure out different ways to do a Kinetic Opening is half the fun! You can be nice and do it on the bad guy's clothing, or you can be mean as can be and do it to their collarbone, ear, nostril, or lip!

With this knife your getting two tools in one, non-lethal self-defense impact tool and a razor sharp knife. Not only that, it has the ability to smoothly flow from one mode to the other. 

The martial arts concepts behind this knife is not complicated. Just knowing it's features will help guide you to it's intended self-defense system.    

I give this knife 5 out of 5 stars! Highest possible recommendation!

Prof Bram Frank's website:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Perspectives of Modular Instructor Guide book review

Author: Bram Frank

review by Wmpyr

After reading this book, I feel anxious, it's that nervous energy you get because you want to go out 

there and practice! After twenty years of training and teaching Filipino martial arts, I thought that my 

core foundations were built. Sure there are plenty of instructors that can teach me new techniques, new 

details, new strategies, but those are all icing on the cake, the cake is done my friends, or so I 

thought. Professor Bram Frank's book is showing me how to take my cake to the next level. Now that's 

exciting! That's why I feel this jitteriness!

This book is loaded with easy to understand illustrations, even some gory gruesome photos, step by step 

photos, and what knife nuts like to say, knife porn.  

The main ideas are repeated over and over again, so it's drilled into your mind. I swear reading this 

book feels like I'm training.

And how can you not like a martial arts book where the Black Knight from Monty Python (one of my 

favorite films of all time) is one of the main principals! 

We also have a Star Trek Deep Space 9 reference, many Bruce Lee quotes, and I also like how there are 

mucho references to other martial arts styles as well, and not in a negative light but in a positive 

light mind you. I also enjoyed that it explains how to teach.

And since my Filipino martial arts teacher's teacher was Professor Remy Presas it was awesome to read 

about Professor Bram Frank's wild yet enlightening stories with Professor Remy Presas. 

However all of that is just the frosting, the true gem is the CSSDSC (Common Sense Self-Defense Street 

Combat) program itself. 

You are logically told why a knife is the best answer to self-defense.
Not only do you learn what Biomechanical Shutdown is, but why it's the best.

And in my personal opinion, the Modular System helps a person understand the most complicated aspect of 

Filipino martial arts in the simplest of manner without leaving anything out. 
You learn in pieces that can be built and put together like Lego. 

So the idea is to adapt to the chaos that is real combat, rather than trying to forcefully make your 

fixed set of techniques happen. It makes perfect sense to me, you go against nature you lose, you go 

with it, well it's the only way. 

I think that sums up the book, it's like that saying, simple to learn, life time to master!   

Professor Bram Frank's website: