From a recent thread on the Eskrima Digest:
Turning to the subject at hand, be it left or right, I misplaced the issue
with Kim's post but IIRC correctly the gist of it was that many people may
talk ambidexterity but not walk ambidexterity.
This, as far as it goes, is true.
Briefly reprising points made here over the years:
1) Whereas single lead boxing structures (e.g. a righty always having the
left foot forward) develop both sides of the body, single stick structures
as trained by most people tend to increase the difference between dominant and complimentary sides.
2) Fastest initial results may come from working single stick in standard
lead. IMO this tends to lead to physical imbalances over time. For many
people double stick takes substantially more training time before good
results are obtained in fighting.
3) People tend to avoid true ambidexterity work because it messes with the ego to work the complimentary side in the dominant function.
4) If the disparity between dominant side and complementary side has been increased by working single stick dominant side first, it becomes even less likely for most people that they will ever really go to work on the complimentary side in dominant function because it will be an even larger "ego bubble pop" to do so.
5) A common response to this ego chatter is to think that matching siniwali drills (right meets right, etc) show ambidexterity. Under pressure, such training often reveals results exactly as Kim comments. This is, I think, because in the drills that most people do, the complimentary hand is, in effect, slip streaming the coordination of the dominant hand. My sense of it however is that true skill is best achieved by the complimentary side of the body being trained in dominant side movement BEFORE the dominant side learns the movements in question. This explains why lefties who must undergo learning on the right side first in order to "fit in" over time often produce stellar ambidexterity results. Those of you familiar with Chad Stahelski, may use him as a good example of this.
My own experience was that as I began sparring in 1986, and then fighting in 1988 was that I could not really manifest double stick at all and I didn't bother trying for many years. After my serious knee injury in 1992 I had about 18 months of recuperation during which time I invested some focused time working single stick in my left hand. Around 1995 I gave fighting siniwali another go, and although the results showed things that needed work, it went well enough that I entered into several years of fighting only siniwali. I now have a strong preference for siniwali.
I have put considerable thought into this for Dog Brothers Martial Arts.
(BTW, as we define it, empty hand is a subset of siniwali) DBMA has as its mission statement "To Walk as a Warrior for all One's days." This
includes developing the physical skill sets for 360 situations, amongst them ambidexterity and bilateralism and siniwali is an important part of this work. The teaching syllabus is organized so that these skills are taken to fighting level in a lot less time than it took me to figure it out.
So far it seems to be working for several of my fighting students who are
manifesting the material very nicely
PS: QUESTION: My understanding is that monkeys do not have dominant and complimentary sides. Why is it that we do?
> From: "firstname.lastname@example.org
>> Subject: Re: [Eskrima] Lefty, Righty, Ambidextrous, Matched and
> Unmatched, and bilateralism
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> Marc, I got to say that's an inspiring post.
>, , , Sometimes you have to put your ego down. I also admire working your working to improve even while you were recuperating. I've been >wracked by one injury after another recently and that's good the hear.
Few things will mess with your ego like having your complementary side work in the dominant function-- combining stick and footwork is another.
The art and science of working around injuries is an important one,
especially the closer you play to your peresonal limits.
> A question: When you say "sinawali", do you mean the kind of sinawali
pattern that people are used to (not necessarily the drills, but the
>motions) or is 'sinawali' here used to mean 'two sticks'? Without giving
the store away, could you be more detailed about the lessons you >learned?
I am using "siniwali" here in the common and imprecise American usage of the term i.e. to mean "double stick". It is my understanding that in the
Philippines the term is used to refer to "weaving" motions. However, just
as Brazilians often use kimono to refer to a gi, in the US we often use
siniwali to mean double stick. I suspect we do it because the foreign word
sounds cooler than "double stick"
As for lessons learned, they are numerous and lengthy. Perhaps another day.
> >PS: QUESTION: My understanding is that monkeys do not have dominant and complimentary sides. Why is it that we do?
> Like you said, I'm often surprised where this list goes. I would think
that it is a development in tool handling ability. I think that hand
>dexterity goes hand-in-hand (pun intended) with the development of
intelligence, conceptual ability and speech, and that takes some rationing
>of brain reserves , , , .
> Why not develop the non-dominant hand? I'm thinking it's a conservation of effort thing. Most of us can use the non-dominant hand, just without as much dexterity. I'm picturing a cave man flintknapping a stone tool: he (or she) can hold one stone in the non-dominant hand - in a multitude of positions - and let the dominant hand do the fine-tuned work, and things work just fine. Same thing with weaving baskets, tying >knots, etc.
Certainly the idea of conservation is plausible and accords with principles
of evolutionary biology, but I'm wondering if it is more a question of
specialization of functions-- dominant and complementary as you point out in your next paragraph:
> It could also be that one-sidedness allows one to use one handed weapons easier. Think of one of our ancestors throwing a spear. Having a dominant side "knowing" it was the popropellant fource and the non-dominant side "knowing" it was a bracing force would be an advantage in >that middle range of our development when we were walking upright using tools, but not using language too well. When you look at films of >apes attacking each other with branches, you don't have that same sophistication. And, evolutionarily speaking, it would be far easier to hard->wire that in (with little downside, since for most of our time on the planet writing has not been widely used) than to set up a caveman dojo to >churn out cromagnon black belts in spear throwing after just five years.
> I also wonder if there's something about the division of the brain into
hemispheres, although one would think the motor part would be able to >
Hmm interesting point; this had not occurred to me. Preliminary follow-up
question: Do (some or all) monkeys have hemisheres or is this distinctive to humans?
>All this is, of course, my being speculative. If you're really interested,
I think Feldenkrais writes about this in some of his books.
Anyone able to narrow this down a bit?
> From: Kes41355@aol.com
> Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 17:31:10 EST
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [Eskrima] Re: Kim's lefty repsonse
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> Hi Doc,
> The instructor I mentioned was Dan Inosanto, and yes, I was present.
> > I'm not for or against anybody on this point, just telling it from a
>lefties point of view; it is sometimes hard to relate to something unless you live it. I am left dominant (both in strength and reflexes), and would never presume to have a righty train with his left as his dominant hand just because I'm not a right-hand dominant person. I always ask a new student which hand they are most comfortable with before they begin training with me. My reasons for this are that righties often assume that it's just a matter of having the lefty put the stick in their right hand and train it this way from the beginning, and this will make a "righty" out of the person. It doesn't work that way, trust me. "Handedness" doesn't just refer to "hands"...we are also right or left dominant eyed, and this must be taken into consideration as well.
I think Guro Inosanto is left eyed BTW
> In the end, I find it's always best to let nature take it's course, which I
>believe was the cornerstone of the training, and later teaching, of one
>very famous martial artist....
> Kim Satterfield
This too makes sense.
Just in case it is necessary, a point of clarification: I am not seeking to make righties into lefties or vice versa Rather I seek to have movements learned on the complementary side. In my experience, when learned in this way they are always natural to the complementary side and transpose readily to the dominat side. Motions learned on the dominant side do NOT transpose readily to the complementary side. At any rate, our goal over time is to have the option against any one opponent, be he right or lefty, to fight matched lead or unmatched lead and in 360 situations, in that there may not be time to select the preferred side, to not require having a particular side forward
as well as being able to play for field position in any direction.
Concerning empty hand, in the 1980s I thought I was doing well with
ambidexterity because I sparred using both leads. Upon honest reflection I had to realize that this was not so. When in Jun Fan or Kali single stick modalities, I put the strong side forward, and when in Muy Thai or Savate modalities I put the strong side in the power position. I agree that the dominant side will virtually always be better than the complementary side in the dominant function, but I still want to have, for example a humdinger of a left cross when fighting out of Right Lead against a Righty in Left Lead. One of the purposes of the approach I have outlined is to develop this.
This perhaps addresses the point made in this post:
> Subject: [Eskrima] Re: lefty/righty
> Hi Crafty,
> , , , BTW, one of my major shortcomings in my training was to rely too much on my "left-side forward" stance, and carry it over to empty-hand. I boxed for years, but still put the left side forward due to a very serious shoulder dislocation early in my career. I had a helluva a left jab and hook, but had to think to get the right cross to fire. I put twenty plus years into just drilling the right cross, but it still lags a bit.
> As for why monkeys have no dominant side, who knows, maybe they have both sides of the brain working as one unit, but don't want to give up the secret...
In which case maybe they are just making monkeys out of us , , ,
> Kim Satterfield
PS: About 6 months ago I started taking Djembe Drum lessons (the Djembe is a drum from west Africa). My teacher is pleased with me progress and feels that my double stick training has been of tremendous benefit to me in this endeavor. He is a lefty and early in the process noted that I was playing as a lefty too. He asked if I was a lefty too, but I replied that no, I am a righty. So he asked me to play righty. Thinking to apply my double stick theories I resisted but he insisted, only to discover that I did better as a Lefty in 4/4 rhythms, but better as a Righty in 6/8 rhythms. Either way, it seems that I have above average abilities to play with my complementary hand in the dominant function. In the long run he feels the ability to work with either hand in the dominant function will allow for higher level drumming.