written by Krishna Godhania
Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th May. Venue – Newman College, Birmingham, England.
Guro Marc Denny (aka Crafty Dog), the driving force behind the Dog Brothers Martial Arts Association, held a unique two day seminar on his concept of the 7 ranges of stickfighting. Hosted and organized by Pangulong Guro Krishna Godhania, the seminar gave a rare opportunity to train with a modern master of the Filipino Martial Arts. This chance was taken up by world champions and beginners alike and proved an education to all who attended.
Guro Denny has an incredible talent, beyond his obvious martial ability, to analyze a fighter and their style. He is extremely honest about his approach to training and fighting and acknowledges that as he grows older he relies more on ‘craftiness’. This ability to strip down another fighter or technique was apparent as he talked through some video footage at the start of the seminar. Using tapes of various fights he introduced some of the common mistakes made and solutions to them, thereby illustrating the topics to be explored over the coming four hours.
Starting off with his definition of the 7 ranges of stick fighting, Guro Denny explained the theory behind what DBMA is all about. As well as the more commonly understood largo, medio and corto ranges, Denny and his associates define and use four others: Snake range, Stick squared range (both these exist outside largo), Standing grapple and Ground grapple (the latter two exist inside of corto). Snake range is the range before contact is made, it is named after the sinuous fighting style of Eric ‘Top Dog’ Knaus, and is used to test your opponent, feeling for the opportunity to enter. Stick squared is the range at which your weapons can hit each other (unlike largo mano where you can hit your opponents hand). This range is more prominent when fighting with long weapons e.g.. staff. These two ranges are vital if a fighter is to be able to enter into the traditional ranges they are more versed in.
On the other side of the equation there are two stickgrappling ranges. Through the many fights held at the DB ‘Gatherings’ it has become clear that many fighters, when put under pressure, will attempt to crash and grapple. Rather than the more commonly used method of discarding your stick when grappling, the Dog Brothers working closely with Brazilian Jujitsu stylists, the Machados, developed stickgrappling techniques to fit their principles of pressure testing.
Following this introduction the first days training began, the theme for the day being stick squared range. Guro Denny took the group through a series of ‘basic’ but often neglected drills, primarily to work footwork, co-ordination and effective stick movement. Guro Denny placed a great emphasis on the things that many fighters don’t do, horizontal hits at head height, coordinated stick and footwork and application of the triangular footwork patterns, for example. By the end of the day, all present felt that they had the ability to go away and blend the drills with their existing techniques and open up an array of new possibilities.
The second day was devoted to the study of the two grappling ranges and an introduction to one of the Dog Brothers trademark techniques, the Fang Choke. Techniques working with the stick to assist takedowns, locks and chokes were the order of the day. As mentioned previously, Brazilian Jujitsu has played a major part in the stickgrappling but there is a large amount of Silat thrown in.
Throughout the weekend Guro Denny came across as a man who has studied his art, both theoretically and practically, looking into many different systems to come up with a very well rounded system of his own. Credit must also be given to Pangulong Guro Krishna Godhania for organizing the seminar and allowing so many to meet a truly innovative martial artist.
Guro Denny can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the Dog Brothers Website.
Pangulong Guro Krishna Godhania can be contacted at KGodhania@aol.com or by visiting the Warriors Eskrima Website.