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Author Topic: Bilateralism  (Read 3406 times)
Power User
Posts: 42508

« on: June 05, 2003, 06:18:04 AM »

Woof All:

  What follows is a recent post of mine on the ED-- posted here in hopes of stimulating sharing of the perspectives of others.

Crafty Dog

> Hi
> I was just wondering how list members train their left and right hands.  I tend to work my left hand in a thrusting motion, while my right hand moves in a cutting motion. My rationale is that as a right hander I am highly unlikely to ever even think about fighting somone with a longer weapon in my left hand.  The focus of my eskrima is very much on single stick & espada y daga.
> How do other people approach this?
> Jon

This has come up a couple of times before.  To briefly summarize Dog
Brothers Martial Arts (DBMA) in this regard:

Our system has as its mission statement "To walk as a warrior for all our
days".  The Real Contact Stickfighting that the Dog Brothers are known for is seen as a testing ground for the system, not merely as young sweaty smelly psychopaths with sticks airing it out.

Outside the ritual context of our "DB Gatherings of the Pack" multiple
player situations are a part of reality and we take training for such
eventualities seriously.  The 360 degree awareness and capabilities required we feel are greatly enhanced by what we call "Bilateralism": the ability to work with either hand, foot or shoulder forward and either hand in dominant modality.  To this end we do a lot of siniwali work with an emphasis on integrating foot and triangular footwork, blending in the footwork of Krabi Krabong.

This is in the context of short term, middle term and long term training.
If I had a beginner who needed to be a man to be reckoned with in short
order, this is not the portion of the program I would emphasize.  On the
other hand, by working at this material steadily over time and acquiring the skills and coordinations necessary one can, IMHO, have a formidable and highly adaptable skill set for a wide range of situations even when the
explosiveness of youth declines.  This applies to empty had as well as

Although long & short is more of a subset of single stick in DBMA -- used
for developing the ability to really hit with the live hand-- I have high
regard for merit of long and short and was particularly impressed with the
time I saw GM Ben Luna Lema-- he readily did long & short both left and
righty-- which is a very high level of coordination indeed.

I do confess to a bias against emphasizing single stick out of concern for
its tendency to affect many people by increasing the disparity between the dominant hand and the complementary hand-- unlike a boxer who usually specializes in one side forward, but uses both hands.

Guro Crafty
Power User
Posts: 87

« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2003, 07:59:03 AM »

Hi Guro Crafty,

That was really interesting.

I'm hardly an expert, but it seems that bilateral training has more benefits in the health department, as opposed to the fighting department.  Training the weak side of the body is important in order to avoid an imbalance which might develop over the long term.  

English longbowmen, who used bows that had draw-weights of around 70-100 lbs, were often slightly deformed on one side of the body.

From the combative standpoint, however, I have to question how many folks will be able to achieve the ambidextrous ability of GM Luna Lema.  I personally subscribe to GM Angel Cabales' maxim of training the strong side to maximum potential.  It's probably not a good idea for longterm physical health, but I feel that it is the most practical, for most people, who are interested purely in fighting effectiveness.


David Black Mastro

"And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable." --Sir John Smythe, 1590
Power User
Posts: 42508

« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2003, 11:55:04 PM »

Woof David:

IMHO there are also trainings intended to give results over short, medium and long terms.  Each has its place.  In my own experience, if I had to fight single stick as an older fighter (I fought until I was 48 ) I would have had lesser results than I had with the skills accumulated over the years that allowed me to evolve into a double stick fighter.  I feel I was able to compensate for being slow of stick and foot by the acquired coordinations of years of siniwali training that allowed me to put out a volume of strikes in a given amount of time that imitated speed and by the years of work on bilateralism I could zone to either side and thus take genuine advantage of the much vaunted but rarely seen triangular footwork of the FMA because it was a matter of indifference to me which side was forward.

It is not necessary to equal a GM Luna Lema to have results in this regard.  Indeed in DBMA one of the reasons we include KK in the curriculum from the beginning is because of its cultivation of bilateralism (albeit linear) under conditions of primal power.

Time to put my son to bed-- gotta go,
Guro Crafty
Tony Torre
Power User
Posts: 164

« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 11:57:15 AM »

Here's a cool vid with Freddy Roach coaching Manny Pacquiao.  You clearly see him switching leads.

Tony Torre
Miami Arnis Group
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