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Messages - Spadaccino

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Martial Arts Topics / Article(s) on the history/origin of martial arts
« on: November 17, 2004, 09:51:13 AM »
Quote from: Tiny
Hmm...I thought that the article was only claiming that Chinese martial arts started in China...

Hey, it's all good--I was simply going by the title, "Discovering the Origin of Martial Arts: the Dunhuang Caves".

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Article(s) on the history/origin of martial arts
« on: November 17, 2004, 08:51:26 AM »
Quote from: Tiny
Couldn't find a thread that nicely contained all such references, so I thought I'd start one -- hope it's no bother.


Discovering the Origin of Martial Arts:  the Dunhuang Caves

According to Shanghai Evening Post, since the 19th century, scholars have paid great attention to, and conducted research on the historical data of the martial arts paintings in China?s famous Dunhuang cave, discovered in 1900, which holds over ten thousand Buddhist scriptures and works of art.

Wang Degong, formerly the vice-president of the Gansu Province Chinese Martial Arts Association, and several other famous martial arts experts in Gansu province believe that the Dunhuang cave paintings give clues to the evolvement of Chinese martial arts.


During the long course of history, people in the city Dunhuang, which sits near the famous cave, have passed on from generation to generation all kinds of martial arts movements. Wang Degong said, "While we were "copying" the martial arts movements, we delightedly discovered that many of the martial arts movements on the Dunhuang cave paintings resemble the martial arts styles in the local Lanzhou area." People can find traces of it in the images of martial arts from the Han and Tang dynasty up to current versions.

I dig martial arts evolution and history, I thought others might as well...

I'm confused--is the article claiming that martial arts started in China?

Martial Arts Topics / Fencing masks..... standard or sabre?
« on: October 10, 2004, 09:45:57 AM »
Quote from: Guest
Hey again,

I did read that post but it didn't really answer my question. Any further advice would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!


First off, you should be made aware that there are actually more than just "standard" and "saber" fencing masks--there are actually several different types--foil/epee masks, saber masks, and 3-weapon masks.  The best type would probably be a 3-weapon mask, as the mesh is stiff to take the thrusts from the comparatively ridgid epee, and the trim is reinforced (eg., with leather) to take the cuts from a saber.



« on: September 29, 2004, 02:13:03 PM »
Hi Rafael,

Quote from: SUN HELMET

<<Would it? Would it simply have been contrary to the tribal structure that existed prior to the arrival of the Spanish? (I'm asking because I don't know). >>

 Teaching was done by passing on techniques through practical drilling of 'mock fighting' which were ingrained in ritual. It wasn't structured in the way FMAs are taught today, which is open to non family members (for the most part) utilizing teaching methods that had diagrams and numbering etc akin to Japanese and Spanish methods.

I see.

Was the above pretty universal to most or all of the tribes in the Islands in pre-Spanish times?  Is this what the Spanish describe?  I'm just wondering, since from what I understand, the Spanish burned a great deal of native literature--who's to say there wasn't things like diagrams and the like?

Here's what I wrote in another thread on Northern mountain tribes:
Tribes describe what we would call their training as "mock fighting" so it is structured (if any structure can be attributed to the learning method) under the studies a young boy learns in their rituals. For example, tribal men learn rituals for headhunting by mock fighting. They set a time and place and take it VERY seriously. All misfortune to the tribe that is unnatural is somehow linked to headhunting. Whether they practice today or not, the rituals are very important to the society. The taking of an enemy head is called 'Chita', they have a term for the attempts to kill with a spear "Mafofongot". The "Chomallong" is the ritual trip where a husband goes into the forest with two other males and they build a straw man (tribal version of practice dummies/). The husband then takes a sharpened stick and uses it to attack the straw man and severs the head. All have a secondary purpose, beyond the arts of war. For example this ritual practice (which we could understandably call a training session) links "the decrease of the outer world (the enemy) to the increase of the inner world in general." Woman had their own rituals which can be described as being martial arts practice as ritual.. such as piercing a gaba tree with a spear with the goal of knocking it over with one blow.


Were these "Northern mountain tribes" the Igorots? (Specifics of the various Filipino tribes is hardly my forte, but I'm trying to change that! :)  I just obtained a copy of Scott's Barangay, and it is extremely interesting.  I don't mean to drift off-topic, but I used to build model ships, and I've always loved naval history.  I'm particularly a fan of low-slung Mediterranean warships--galleys, galliots, galleasses, fragatas, and so on.  The reconstruction in Scott's book of the standard Visayan warship--the karakoa--is really badass.  That ship is beautiful--part Viking longship, part outrigger canoe, and totally unique.  Such a sleek vessel.  I'd love to get more info on it.).

I referred to Robin Padilla earlier but it was another poster who oft-quoted the same exact comment on Kali named Rodger. Robin was actually on the opposite side of the discussion.

OK gotcha.  I didn't look at the whole thread (multi-page threads that have been around for a while take me forever to get thru). :)

And yes, I agree- I have also seen Maestro Martinez exhibit his methods and it is different.

Definitely different.  The civilian method of the destreza is different from the military forms of Spanish sword use, and it also is clearly different from other contemporary European civilian methods (Italian rapier, French smallsword, Italian smallsword, German smallsword, and so on).

As per the FMA being a living link- I've also stood by this very concept. Awhile back I used to post in another forum about how a living art like Kali can assist in opening up the dead or disrupted arts of WMAs. For example, when I look at some of the knife engravings and their tapping, and then I see how people interpreted them - there's whole gaps missing that only a living art can fulfill.

I TOTALLY agree, Rafael, and I had a HUGE debate on this general subject on another forum myself, where I agued that the WMA community needs as many skilled practitioners as possible, from a variety of established (and still-extant) martial arts and combat sports--people with what I call "functional backgrounds", who understand body mechanics, etc.  My own FMA training has been essential in my reconstructions of European cut-and-thrust work in general, and English singlestick systems in particular.  For example, the moulinet (circular cut from the elbow) was once a standard in European saber systems, but it has been abandoned in most schools for a long time now.  The modern Italian school still teaches these molinelli, but instruction in the Italian method is comparatively hard to come by these days (although I understand that maestro Martinez teaches it).  However, the redonda of FMA functions in the same way.  Combining what I know from modern Western fencing and FMA has been a great help, and they compliment each other nicely.  In addition, my overall BJJ training, and knowledge of FMA disarms, gives me a base from which to interpret the old European grappling methods.

Unfortunately, some of these folks are so closed off in their own world that suggesting this tends to ruffle their feathers.

The same thing happened to me, on that old thread!  An interpretation I made of some German messer (a falchion-like short sword) work, which frankly bore some obvious similarities to FMA, was heavily dismissed by many members of a particular discussion board.  It was a sore spot for quite some time, and, while I've managed to re-establish civilized discussion and debate with most of those folks, I must confess to feeling somewhat frustrated over that whole episode.  Anybody with decent training in FMA could have seen the similarity, but they really didn't want to hear about it.  I was simply cautioned about the dangers of "cross-pollenization", as they like to call it, when reconstructing ancient martial arts.  

Maybe they'll have to wait and see it in some film based on a western swordsman ;)

HAHA!  Bro, that would be AWESOME!!!  :twisted:  :D  :D



Martial Arts Topics / Saved a little kid's life today...
« on: September 29, 2004, 06:03:13 AM »
Hello Tiny,

Quote from: Tiny
I think the crux of the issue is that a great many people who shouldn't be parents, are.

Unfortunately,  that appears to be the case all too often.

Subsequently, other individuals (oddly enough I find that many of them are in the martial arts), due to an increased awareness, or possibly just level of intelligence, feel a burden of responsibility and act accordingly.  Hero archetype or complex, call it what you like, but it's there.  Not surprisingly, such efforts often go unnoticed, totally unappreciated, or in rare circumstances, cause a backlash from ineffectual so-called "people."

I'll confess that I've always tried to combine my martial arts training with a distinct moral code.  I'm honestly not trying to romanticize the past; we are today often shocked and disgusted by human behavior that was frankly much more common in Ancient, Medieval, & Renaissance times, all over the world.  Modern martial artists are often keen on emulating some sort of bushido code or chivalric ideal--systems of conduct that  were in fact adhered to comparatively rarely by the majority of samurai and knights, in centuries past.  However, those ideals did exist back then, and there were some warriors who lived up to those concepts as much as possible.

So yeah, I can say that I'm a fan of folks like Marcus Aurelius (the follower of the Stoic tradition who was the last of the so-called "Good Emperors" of Rome), the Seigneur de Bayard (le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche--?the knight without fear and without reproach"), Jose Rizal (the Filipino hero who was both a man of the sword, and a man of letters), GM Leo Giron (the WWII eskrimador who became one of the first to teach FMA to the public, after the 1966 murder of 8 nursing students in Chicago), and the nameless wandering Ronin who, when offered food by frightened villagers who really had none to spare, pulled out a toothpick and claimed he had already eaten (even though he hadn't).

At any rate, I can't tell you how many times I've done something honorable only to end up swearing that it's the last time I'm ever going to help anyone.

I hear what you're saying, and I know what you mean.  

Thought some thoughtful response to this was in order given replies by "guests."

It's much appreciated.

It's an interesting question though:  how many MA-ers have a greater sense of social accountability, or feel as though no one else on the planet appears to be paying attention?

All I can say is that, in general, not enough people pay attention.  Too many folks just don't seem to care about... anything.

Is martial training psychological linked to a sense of responsibility?

I feel that, at least on the higher levels, it most definitely is.  Again, the old chivalric ideals are concerned with such things.  For example, Medieval Europeans had some rather interesting and charming notions about the elephant, which were incorporated into the knightly code.  It was believed in Medieval times that the elephant used its trunk to blow ants and other small animals out of its path, so that it would not step on them when walking.  The elephant was thus seen as the physical manifestation of "the non-abuse of great power"--a concept which the knights themselves struggled with.  Some were more successful than others, in that struggle.

Is "Tiny" just full of sh-t and a source of endless rhetorical questions?

Hardly, sir.  You bring up issues which should be of greater concern to everyone, IMO.



Martial Arts Topics / Re: kali
« on: September 29, 2004, 04:36:55 AM »
Hi Rafael,

Quote from: Sun Helmet
Not much to comment about from here David. The text seem self evident but on brief inspection - lacks source material on historical matters.

I agree--and that aspect is frustrating (like so many other things in historical MA research).

As per what the Kalis Ilustrisimo group claims are their origins, then that's their perogative- they should know.

One would think so, yes.

I have seen footage of Tatang Ilustrisimo move and it doesn't look like any WMAs I've ever seen.

I have not seen the footage in question, but I trust your opinion.

Of course there are identical or even similar techniques, because practical techniques that work are universal... like a thrust to the heart, etc.

Certainly--and I've noticed that in my own training.

However, from even the briefest of film -  it always seemed that Tatang had his own way of moving that looks different.

By all accounts, he was truly "one of a kind"...

If this wasn't true, we should be able to discount it by pulling any Spanish Maestro and they can emulate Tatang's moves (without them EVER seeing any footage of Tatang). Beyond the universal moves... there would be a stark difference in flavor and emphasis.

The problem is, that cannot be done.  There is no surviving form of military Spanish swordplay from the 16th-19th centuries that I am personally aware of.  In fact, if some styles of FMA are as profoundly influenced by those Spanish forms as is claimed by some, then those FMA styles would be the last "link" to otherwise dead arts.  

Some might point out maestro Ramon Martinez, but he only professes to teach a reconstructed form of civilian Spanish rapier (the destreza), and, from my own FMA training and delving into what little material I have found on the military swordplay, I can say that I don't think there's much of a connection with the rapier material anyway.  Maestro Martinez doesn't think so either.

So we're in a bit of a rut there.

Any fighting art that evolved in the last hundred years in the islands MUST be influenced by various cultures that inhabited the islands, or else it lacks the formula of 'use what works' evolution that FMA is known for.

I agree.

A pure indigenous fighting art would also lack a teaching structure for a multiple student body.

Would it?  Would it  simply have been contrary to the tribal structure that existed prior to the arrival of the Spanish? (I'm asking because I don't know).

I believe that Tatang didn't have a system /curriculum per se, the seniors had to develop it. So much of his movements and concepts were from what the students culled from observing him closely and filming him teach/move. So I can see how Spanish or other systems would be of influence in the development - especially if they now have a numbering system, counter for counter all systemized. Don't know for a fact if they do.

Nor do I.

The systemization of FMA falls heavily on various culture's influences... all done with a Filipino flavor.

It certainly appears that way.

On the friars etc., I've already commented on that elsewhere and I stand by my research. If these fencing friars were so famous, how come no one knows who they are? They recorded their deeds quite meticulously.

I admittedly have nothing to offer there, at this time.

<<Ilustrisimo used "kali" on the insistence of Mr. Leo Gaje who had visited with Tatang and also by an American anthropologist specializing in hoplology (which is a study of handheld, non-missile weapons), who seemed to have picked it up from Dan Inosanto's book>>

Mr. Macapagal sounds like our forum regular Robin Padilla here. Interesting.

I guess I'm not enough of a DB regular myself, since I don't know who Robin Padilla is.

[Edit:  Scratch the above--I just saw Robin Padilla's long "Kali Fight" thread...]



Martial Arts Topics / Saved a little kid's life today...
« on: September 28, 2004, 04:17:24 AM »
Quote from: ryangruhn
In all honesty,
  I can't see anything wrong with what you did; in fact you did everything you should have.


I'm well aware that I did the right thing--I have no doubt that the kid would have been clipped by that car had I not intervened--but I am personally appalled at the mother's indifference to her child, before, during, and after the incident in question.  

Like I said, I just pray that the kid gets treated better than that from now on.

Martial Arts Topics / Saved a little kid's life today...
« on: September 27, 2004, 08:20:09 PM »
So, it was a typically quiet afternoon at the strip mall GNC that I manage. I was taking a break and just hanging by the front door, to get some fresh air. A mother in her mid-30s walked by with three kids. The oldest was a girl about 8 years old, who was pushing a baby carriage with an infant in it. Following them was a little boy about 4 or 5 years old tops, who was wearing leg braces and was walking with crutches. I don't know what was wrong with him, but he looked like a smaller version of Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carroll--definitely not in good shape.

Something bugged me from the start as they all walked by--mainly the fact that neither the mother nor the 8-year-old daughter was watching the crippled kid--he was literally about 12 or 15 feet behind them. They walked at a "normal" pace, which the crippled kid obviously couldn't maintain. The gap between them widened, and nobody seemed to care.

The mother then veered off and walked into the parking lot, to get something from her mini van. The daughter kept going straight on the mall sidewalk (pushing the baby carriage), heading towards the pizza joint. The crippled kid brought up the rear.

Suddenly, the crippled boy made a beeline for his mom. I watched in horror as he aimlessly headed for the edge of the curb, like a clueless dog with no road sense. A million things went thru my head in that moment--I actually froze for a second, saying to myself, "Sh!t, that kid's just gonna walk into the street!"

He kept going.

And a car was coming.

I suddenly snapped out of the surreal state of mind I was in, and ran over to the kid shouting "WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!" The kid heard me and stopped right at the edge of the curb. At that very instant, I ran in front of him to prevent him from going any further. The car stopped, and then proceeded cautiously. I looked over at the mother who was still by her car, staring in shock. She ran back and started yelling at the poor kid, "What are you doing? Don't you know to look both ways before you cross?" and blah, blah, blah. The kid started to cry. The mother said absolutely nothing to me--not even a simple "Thank you".

Man, that whole episode ticked me off. I don't mean to sound abrasive and/or judgemental, but that stupid woman should have been keeping an eye on her kid. Just the fact that she was letting him walk behind her (and quite far away at that) was just plain wrong. Maintain some sort of pace with the poor little guy! And then to just walk off to her van without looking at where he even was--what a friggin' idiot.

If I hadn't been working, I frankly would have told her off--but I didn't know what kind of ramifications would be involved, so I checked myself.

But I was SO tempted.

Stupid friggin' @#!%&.

Anyway, I said a couple of prayers afterwards--one thanking God for enabling me to save the little guy, and one asking God to make sure that the little guy gets treated better by his mom in the future.

What a crazy experience...

Martial Arts Topics / Possible Spanish influence on FMA re-revisited...
« on: September 27, 2004, 04:34:54 AM »
Rafael, Noy, & Everyone Else,

I am very curious to get your opinions on this article about Romy Macapagal (the archivist of the Ilustrisimo system)  by Roy Harris, from

Of particular pertinence to this thread are the following assertions:

On the origins of Kalis Ilustrisimo

The Ilustrisimo system is very strongly influenced by Spanish cut-and-thrust fencing. It would be the closest to what is considered martial fencing in most of Europe but which is banned today. This is the main reason why the FMAs were variously called escrima, arnis, garrote, etc. The Spaniards occupied the Philippines for about 400 years.

In addition, Mr. Macapagal seems to echo the feelings of Celestino Macachor with some of the following:

The influence of Europe

Spain Christianized most of the Philippines and used the Macabebes from Pampanga and Cebuano's against other Muslims in Mindanao. Spaniards (and other European mercenaries) were cut and thrust soldiers, they used cutlasses (among other weapons); friars too were famous for their fencing skills.

And the following claimed stats are truly intriguing:

We Filipinos were greatly influenced by Spanish and European fencing styles, 40% of Illustrisimo is European derived.

Also of interest:

About the term "Kali"
The word "kali" did not come about until about 20 years or so ago and seems to have been coined somewhere, sometime by Filipinos living in the USA. I have personally conducted a search for the word "kali" amongst old people of the major tribes and, except for "kalis" which means sword and "kali" in Ilocano, which means "a hole in the ground"; there is no other word or cognate of "kali".

Ilustrisimo used "kali" on the insistence of Mr. Leo Gaje who had visited with Tatang and also by an American anthropologist specializing in hoplology (which is a study of handheld, non-missile weapons), who seemed to have picked it up from Dan Inosanto's book. When I joined Tatang, "Kali Ilustrisimo" had been registered for about two or three years. Tony Diego (the present head of the Ilustrisimo system) and I, after the research mentioned, decided that "Kalis" is the more appropriate word because it means "sword" and would then mean the "Sword of Ilustrisimo." The name has not been formally registered except on a website but we had decided on this even when Tatang was still active and alive.




Martial Arts Topics / Re: JAMA
« on: September 25, 2004, 05:02:30 AM »
Hi Noy,

Quote from: Noy
Hello Spadaccino,

I get your point about which aspects have been influenced. The use of Spanish words in FMA is obviously in the linguistic aspect...

The use of Spanish-derived terminology is curious, to say the least.

I've been busy and it took me a while to find this discussion again because there are so many. However, where I live here in Australia it's very hard to get FMA-dedicated magazines so I have no access to these articles you are talking about. I have no idea what "JAMA" is and I'd like to read the whole thing before stating my thoughts. Hopefully I might find them in the net somewhere.

JAMA--Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

The article in question appeared in the Vol. 3--Number 2 issue, from 1994.



Martial Arts Topics / Prayers for Erin Toughill & Family
« on: September 24, 2004, 07:38:59 AM »
Meghan Toughill, the sister of NHB fighter Erin Toughill, was killed in a car accident this past weekend.  :cry:

Please keep Erin and her family in your prayers.

Martial Arts Topics / UFC Letter.
« on: September 14, 2004, 06:36:29 AM »
I don't see why such an event couldn't be done.

Dont' get me wrong--I'm as aware as anyone else of the problems NHB/MMA has had over the past decade, with things like Senator McCain's devious political machinations and the like.

Still, stickfighting has been a public sport in the past.  Look at the old British bare-knuckle pugilists, who were also cudgellers--these guys used to have bouts with stout ash basket-hilted singlesticks, using no protection.  The simple prayer, "Lord, spare our eyes" was typically uttered before a match.

Now, what's wrong with the idea of having stickfighting bouts with some basic protection (3-weapon fencing mask, gloves, etc)?  Is it still such a "taboo" idea (that is, in terms of "mainstream" acceptance)  at this point?

Martial Arts Topics / FMA perspective on an odd paradox.
« on: September 01, 2004, 07:57:59 AM »
George Silver's "True Times", which are still observed in fencing today...

A nice Spanish military bolo, circa 1890:

Martial Arts Topics / Ottoman Turkish-Filipino Moro Connection?
« on: July 25, 2004, 06:07:05 AM »
Dang it!  Forgot to login for the umpteenth millionth time... :?  :lol:

Hello Noy,

Quote from: Noy
I've tried to stay away from this topic, because i fear i will be too biased but I can't.

Fear not--and welcome to the discussion.

Yes escrima systems use many Spanish words (Dr. Ned Nepangue reckons 65% of escrima terms are Spanish, including the words 'escrima' and 'arnis'). Yes escrima uses the 'numbering system' like the Spanish schools.

However, to me these (among other points Nepangue and others point out) two are not enough proof that escrima was subjected to deep influences by Spanish swordfighting in terms of Filipino escrimador's intellectual and physical approaches to blade and stick (and empty hand) fighting, to the point where the hundreds of FMA were fundamentally altered by Spanish fighting methods. The use of Spanish words and the numbering system are superficial influences (if the numbering system was actually derived from the Spanish at all).

Given your opinion above, what are your thoughts on what Mark Wiley wrote in his JAMA article, "Classical Eskrima--The Evolution & Etymology of a Filipino Fencing Form":

"The classical arts of eskrima are characterized by their nearly exclusive use of weaponry.  Their techniques are those of kali movements which changed over time through the strong influence of Spanish fencing forms.  In fact, it would be hard to distinguish some systems of eskrima from their Spanish counterparts if it weren't for the obvious preference for blunt sticks over fencing foils, epees, and sabres."

Since Wiley mentions "fencing foils, epees, and sabres", we may assume that he is referring to a later (19th century onwards) Spanish influence, as opposed to the possible 17th century influence suggested by Macachor.  Amante P. Marinas made similar comparisons between Arnis Lanada and later fencing, in his article "Filipino Stickfighting--Its Links to Spanish Fencing", which appeared in the July '03 issue of Filipino Martial Arts.

The Spanish 'numbering system' are different from the various FMA numbering systems in structure and usage (12 angles, cinco teros, 13, 14, and ones that only use 2).

This is a tricky part of the debate, as it depends upon what specific influence we are talking about.  If we're talking about a possible 17th century influence coming from a Spanish military fencing form, then I'd say we're at a loss, since I don't know of any Spanish segno (attack angle diagram) from that period.  If we're talking about a later (18th and/or 19th century) influence, then we may be able to draw direct comparisons.  

I'll have to check up on the exact form of the Spanish numbers again, but from memory, it looked more like an asterisk, whereas FMA numbering systems are based on the body targets (eg - angle 1 is a downward diagonal forehand to the neck, and 2 a backhand to the neck, 3 is a horizontal forehand to the elbow level and so on). A friend of mine trained in aikido but his Sensei also taught them a bit of kenjutsu. He showed me their basic strikes - guess what, they used numbers (1-7).

I agree there are obvious differences regarding the angles of attack, and, FWIW, I've argued your same point with WMA/HEMA practitioners.  The European segno--regardless of whether its Spanish, Italian, German, etc.--simply shows the direction of a blow, as opposed to the specific targets categorized in FMA.

Nepangue and others writes that the words 'escrima' and 'kali' were not used pre-Spanish times (of course, they were corruptions of borrowed Spanish words).

Well, "kali" isn't Spanish.  "Eskrima" and "arnis", OTOH, clearly are derived from the Spanish terms esgrima and arnes.

Nepangue also notes that the current popular weapons sets of FMA do not include sword and shield, and spear and shield, bow and arrows, and so on. He seem to suggest therefore that escrima/arnis could not possibly have been indigenous because popular weapons sets today include single bolo, single stick, double stick, sword and dagger and so on. Of course sword and shield and shield and spear would not be used in escrima/arnis today with the spread of firearms, or during the Spanish and American times, when swords (and probably spears too) were illegalized.

I don't think that either Nepangue or Macachor were suggesting that eskrima isn't "indigenous"--Macachor even correctly says that it's "a product of Filipino genius"--they were simply describing what you state below:

Escrima and arnis evolve and are constantly adapted according to the times.

It appears that Spanish fencing forms played a part in that evolution.

Times suggests that such weapons sets are impractical therefore FMA practitioners have to adapt to use more sensible ones (ie, stick, bolo, butterfly knives, fists).

All practical MAs evolve.  No one is questioning that.

The actual weapons characteristics aside, how can we possibly tell that the hand to hand combat principles (the intellectual approach and conceptualisation of hand to hand combat) taught in good FMA schools were not passed on from warriors and hunters, to the Katipuneros, and to the elders of our times?

Indeed, how can we?

If people are going to claim that the hundreds of escrima/arnis schools were fundamentally influenced by Spanish - and perhaps Italian? - sword fighting schools, they should look deep into those supposed root arts and search for anything that may have somehow altered the intellectual and physical approaches of arnis/escrima schools. I think you'll find that what Spanish influence there are in arnis/escrima would be superficial.

Then again, how do you explain the findings of Wiley and Marinas?

This response is not finished.

I look forward to more debate. :)



Sorry--forgot to login yet again!  :?

Below is a link to a couple of articles concerning the origins of the Filipino martial arts of arnis, eskrima, and "kali":

Both articles on this link are very good (and Dr. Nepangue's piece first appeared in Mark V. Wiley's tremendous essay compilation, Arnis--Reflections on the History and Development of the Filipino Martial Arts), but it is primarily Celestino Macachor's "New Theories on the Origins of Eskrima", which really impacted me. This essay offers what I feel is the most plausible explanation for the much-talked-about (but little understood) Spanish influence on FMA--the form that influence took, when it started, etc.  The details concerning the Spanish "warrior priests" is something I wasn't previously aware of, though it makes sense--for example, the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola, was a soldier himself.  IMO, Mr. Macachor is to be commended, for piecing this all together.




Martial Arts Topics / Ottoman Turkish-Filipino Moro Connection?
« on: June 27, 2004, 10:05:43 AM »
Does anyone know if there was ANY kind of contact between the Ottoman Turks and the Moros of the Southern Philippines in the 16th and 17th centuries?

I ask this for a couple of reasons:

1.  The Ottomans were big on consolidating all Muslim countries against the European Christian powers--and Spain was of course a major opponent.

2.  The Spanish in the PI sometimes compared the fighting ability of the Filipinos in general to that of Moors and Turks.

3.  The word kalis has been said to be derived from the Turkish term kilij, which simply means "sword", though it most often refers to a comparatively short and heavy saber (as opposed to the longer, thinner, and more elegant Persian shamshir).

Any input would be appreciated, as I've never been clear on this issue.



Martial Arts Topics / say a prayer
« on: June 06, 2004, 04:43:26 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog
The prayers must have worked-- he's back!!!  :D  :D  :D  8)  8)  8)

Praise God! :D

Martial Arts Topics / Sadness...
« on: June 02, 2004, 10:20:27 AM »
My condolences go out to Marc and Cindy.

RIP Moro...  :cry:

Martial Arts Topics / say a prayer
« on: June 02, 2004, 10:15:52 AM »
Just said a prayer for Myke Willis and his team...

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Solomon Kane
« on: June 02, 2004, 07:18:21 AM »
Quote from: SunHelmet

Haven't heard a peep on the Solomon Kane film... I did see VH and saw the resemblance right away. Beyond that it's rather lots of flash with no substance.

Yeah, I saw it too--the 1st half-hour was interesting (especially the cross-cultural, secret base under the Vatican, where Catholic priests worked side-by-side with Buddhist monks, Sikhs, etc., in order to fight Evil), but after that, it just got bogged down in a lot of action that went... nowhere.

They should have made the SK film instead.


However, I do have some film related info  on another legendary swordsman.... (which unfortunately I can't divulge ...yet)


I eagerly await the time when you can divulge said info!  :D




Martial Arts Topics / I can no longer stickfight... :(
« on: June 02, 2004, 07:12:37 AM »
Woof Guro Crafty, Tuhon Rafael, et al.,

Hello folks!

I haven't been on this Forum in a while, but here's the latest news.

I saw a retina specialist, and my condition is known as "lattice degeneration".  They do not know what causes it.

However, I have some good news--this condition can be corrected (or minimized) with laser sugery--they basically use the laser to cause scar tissue to form, so that the retina is reinforced.

My doctor tells me that, if I get both eyes done, I should be able to resume stickfighting! :D  :lol:  :D

I'm getting the left eye zapped at 2 P.M. today--please keep me in your prayers (as there is some margin for complications)!

I'll keep ya's posted of my progress.

Thanks again for the input and moral support,


P.S.  Rafael--the firearms bit wouldn't be good for me--at least not yet--guys that shoot in indoor ranges often suffer from detached retinas, due to the concussion of the gun going off, I guess.  FWIW.

Martial Arts Topics / Attn: Sun_Helmet--Solomon Kane movie status?
« on: May 05, 2004, 07:34:46 AM »

I remember way back when, you had mentioned that a SOLOMON KANE flick was in the works.

I recently saw a poster for the new Van Helsing movie, and I couldn't help but notice that they have apparently "borrowed" SK's "look", and it got me to thinking...

What's up with the Solomon Kane movie project?  Will our Puritan Swashbuckler ever see the light of day, cinematically speaking?



Martial Arts Topics / Passing of Maestro Elmer Ybanez
« on: May 05, 2004, 07:31:23 AM »
RIP Maestro Ybanez...

Martial Arts Topics / Bahala Na system
« on: March 31, 2004, 03:46:44 PM »
Memories Ride the Ebb of Tide was also available thru Kris Cutlery--still might be...

Martial Arts Topics / I can no longer stickfight... :(
« on: March 24, 2004, 08:07:46 PM »
Guro Crafty, Arkangel, et al.,

Thanks for the moral support, folks--it's definitely appreciated.

I know it's a rough deal--what do you tell someone who just told you something along the lines of what I posted?  There's apparently little recourse at this point.

In any case, I'll keep you all posted in regards to my condition.

Perhaps I can no longer take the "harder contact" (to the head, at least;)), but I want to at least maintain the "higher conciousness" aspect, to the best of my ability.  

Thanks again,


Martial Arts Topics / I can no longer stickfight... :(
« on: March 18, 2004, 02:46:40 AM »
Quote from: Anonymous
Whate kind of gear are you using when stick/sword fighting?

Protective gear?  For FMA we use WEKAF-style headgear, body armor, & street hockey gloves.  For English singlestick, we use modified (padded) 3-weapon fencing masks, fencing jackets, & fencing gloves (though we were gonna add medical neck braces to the panoply, as we currently pull our thrusts).

Martial Arts Topics / I can no longer stickfight... :(
« on: March 17, 2004, 03:34:48 PM »
For the past couple of years, I've been dealing with a thinning retina in my right eye--apparently, it's something that can happen with age (though I'm trying to find out more about this).  The eye doctor had told me that a heavy blow to the head could possibly detach it, but, like with so many things, doctors tend to be rather vague...

Anyway, I recently had my yearly exam, and now I have a thinning retina in my left eye too, and the doctors at my eyecare center are recommending that I give up stickfighting, and everything else that may cause a hard blow to the head.

This has come as quite a depressing shock to me.

This means that I should not engage in:

1.  FMA full-contact stick/sword sparring.  :(

2.  My experimental English singlestick sparring.  :(

3.  Any standing grappling involving high-amplitude throws.  :(

In addition, I had wanted to someday try my hand at jukendo (Japanese bayonet fencing), but I suspect that the thrusts from a ridgid dummy rifle/bayonet could be very jarring, and should likewise be avoided.     :(  :cry:

This leaves me with conventional Western fencing, and BJJ groundwork (both of which are good, albeit limited on some level).  

What I want to know is, given my situation, what are my current FMA options, if any?  Would I just be limited to drills, or maybe sparring with hard rubber knives?

Any input would be appreciated.

Don't get me wrong--no activity is worth risking my vision, but I really love stickfighting in all it's incarnations, and so this news has understandably bummed me out.




Martial Arts Topics / Medieval German version of the rooftop/umbrella?
« on: March 17, 2004, 03:23:07 PM »
Attn Guro Crafty & Everyone Else,

There is a German fechtbuch ("fight book") that was written by a famous 15th century master named Hans Talhoffer.  Among the many weapons shown is the fechtmesser ("fighting knife"), a type of falchion (sorta like a precursor to the cutlass, and similiar in size and function to the ubiquitous bolo).  The following sequence, comprising of Plates 224 and 225 from the 1467 edition of Talhoffer's work, looks like a European variant on the umbrella/rooftop parry, followed by a deep snake of the opponent's weapon arm and a blow to the head (but note how the defender instinctively tries to shield himself with his free arm, but only succeeds in getting said arm severed).

Here's the "rooftop":

And here's the riposte that follows the "rooftop":

Guro Crafty, in your professional opinion, does Plate 224 show a rooftop/umbrella parry, or something similar?  I welcome you analysis, as well as that of any other very knowledgable folks here.

Much obliged,


Martial Arts Topics / Catch wrestling armbar
« on: February 08, 2004, 08:20:04 PM »
Here's a cool pic of catch wrestler Nat Pendleton performing an armbar in assistance to a pin (top pic):

This link was recently posted on by good ol' Scuffler, our resident wrestling historian.

It shows the submission approach that was often favored by catch wrestlers--ie., using subs to coerce a guy into a pin.  Scuffler pointed out how Pendleton is on his side, so as not to have his own shoulders touch the mat, while his opponent is bridging to attempt to avoid the pin.

Martial Arts Topics / GREAT FIGHTS!
« on: January 31, 2004, 11:55:41 PM »
Okay, the situation regarding the cut on Couture's eye sucked--I'm not bummed about stopping the fight, as it was the right thing to do, but I think it should have been ruled a "No Contest", as opposed to giving the belt to Vitor (and you could tell that Vitor himself was not happy with the way he "won").

Anyway, the rest of the fights were generally really good.

That Lee Murray fellow made short work of "El Conquistadore".

Frank Mir looked a bit sloppy against the tall lanky dude--Mir's got good technique, but he got winded really quickly.

BJ Penn KICKED ASS!  That was a tremendous bout, and Penn showed Hughes the power of jiu-jitsu!  Great stuff.

BJ's jiu-jitsu teacher Renato did very well against Carlos Newton--he dominated the action throughout, and Newton look really frustrated.

Also, I'd like to congratulate Matt Serra (from Renzo Gracie's Academy) on winning his bout. :D

And finally, I feel that we should all offer our prayers--to Randy Couture, for a speedy and full recovery from his eye injury, and to Vitor Belfort, in reference to his missing sister.



Martial Arts Topics / Re: UFC/MMA Thread
« on: January 30, 2004, 06:21:34 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog
Woof All:

Like it says, this thread is for discussing the UFC and similar events.

I just saw last night an advertisment for the UFC on Saturday night: Coutoure versus Belfort, sponsored by Miller Lite-- certainly a fight I want to see.  I hope my hosts this weekend in Toronto will be getting the fight. (BTW I see that I will be missing, and competing with, the Superbowl on Sunday :cry: )

Like most people I have high regard for Coutoure (unappreciatedly smart in his training methods) but suspect that Belfort may not be as overloaded with steroids this time as he appeared to be at their first meeting.  Could be a very good fight.


Crafty Dog

PS:  The sponsorship by a big name like Miller Lite is a promising sign for this sport becoming a bigger thing.

Belfort seems to be back to his old, formidable self as of late--though this weird deal with his sister could certainly have an impact.

Like others here, I really like both of these guys, so I don't even know who I want to win.  As to who will win, I am equally at a loss.

Randy is a master of the "ground-and-pound" in a way that is different from many of his other wrestling comrades.  His very high-level background in Greco-Roman is what gives him an edge there.  As Renzo Gracie black belt and Mastering Jujutsu author John Danher once wrote, no martial art pays more attention to clinch work than Greco-Roman wrestling--and Couture is supreme with clinch work.  This allows him more options in terms of how to control a fight.  His overall striking skills are nothing to sneeze at either, as his bouts with Liddell and Ortiz graphically revealed.

Still, Vitor is certainly no slouch in the striking department himself--remember the short work he made of guys like Vanderlei Silva?  Plus, he's clearly got the edge in submissions, due to his BJJ background.

Whoever ends up the winner, it should indeed be a good fight.

Martial Arts Topics / FEEDBACK PLEASE
« on: January 29, 2004, 04:53:52 AM »
1.  I would have to concur with others on this thread that the whole "Guest" posting thing is at once annoying, confusing, and rude.  Everyone should have an identifiable username.

2.  There doesn't seem to be too many limitations on posting--I've never had a problem in that regard.

In terms of other website/forum features, I'd say it would be nice if we could use avatars that could simply be uploaded into the site's database, instead of linked from another site.

Just my 2 cents...



Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?
« on: January 28, 2004, 06:18:56 AM »
Once again, I've been away for a bit, but it looks as if I have returned at a good time--Krishna's article is really good.

I'll offer more thoughts soon...



Martial Arts Topics / Happy Year of the Monkey!
« on: January 28, 2004, 05:54:15 AM »
Hehe, I was born in the Year of the Monkey back in '68...

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Shakespeare and Kali
« on: January 28, 2004, 04:56:47 AM »
Quote from: Danny Boy
This may seem funny but I wanted to run it by you guy's to see what you think.  I will be playing Brutus in Shakespeares "Julius Caesar" this semester.  Durring one of my monologues I plan on concealing two blades in my sleeve and drawing them while I perform my monologe.  My idea was to incorporate some kind of movement to go with text, I think it would look kind of cool.  I was thinking about critisim from people saying there wouldn't be that kind of combative influence on these particular characters, but I think it would be neat none the less.  I will leave my monologue here for you guy's to check out.  What do you all think?

I say go for it.

To those that would criticize by claiming that "there wouldn't be that kind of combative influence" on Brutus, I would remind them that Shakespeare himself was absolutely fascinated with martial arts--there are plenty of references to fencing in his work (Romeo & Juliet immediately comes to mind).  He touched upon such topics as the debate over the rapier that was going on in his day (G. Silver vs. the London Italian Masters), the fencing move known as the passata soto (corrupted to "passado" by the English), and even the famous London Italian Master, Vincentio Saviolo (I forget the precise Saviolo reference, but I'm pretty sure it was made by Shakespeare).

So, to include a little FMA to accentuate Brutus' knife-wielding seems entirely fine to me, personally.



Martial Arts Topics / the last samurai!
« on: December 23, 2003, 06:55:44 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I haven't been around for a bit because I was in the process of moving into my new place.  I just got my computer hooked up last night, and so here I am! :)

Quote from: Sun_Helmet
Unlike the Karate Kid- I think the film establishes early on in the battles sequences prior to his samurai training that Cruise possessed some excellent sabre skills - he was able to pull off several kills solo against multiple samurai. He was just adapting to the Japanese way of the sword.



I'm really happy that you pointed this out, because it is one of those things which doesn't even seem to be considered by most people (ie., the fact that Cruise's character could have already had some sword skills, before his intro to kenjutsu).  As you observed, Nathan Algren was able to dispatch several samurai with his saber, in the initial battle--he was clearly at least a fairly formidable equestrian escrimeur, and his previous skills would certainly have given him an advantage in learning a new sword style (as opposed to a total novice just picking up kenjutsu).

What we have to keep in mind is that genuine combative skills with the saber, backsword, broadsword, and singlestick were still valued by Westerners at this time.  These were considered to be of principle importance to cavalrymen, but were also useful for foot officers, who sometimes needed to use their skills against the bayonet:

Note the use of the so-called "hanging guard" (with the hilt up and the point down)--the swordsman is parrying with the equivalent of modern saber parry #2 (in this case, a high #2).  The "hanging guard" enabled the sabreur to deliver powerful moulinets (cuts from the elbow) from a covered position.  Note also the Western equivalent of the "alive hand".

Here, we see another parry #2, but lower.  In this case, the sabreur is keeping his free hand behind his back, instead of in front of his body.  In addition, it is worthwhile to note that the bayonet man is attacking with a slip-thrust--a technique derived from earlier methods of using the long pike and other polearms.  Slip-thrusts make it hard for the swordsman to judge proper distance (and it doesn't matter whether you refer to it as "fencing measure" or ma-ai), so any escrimeur who could defend himself properly against such things would probably not be an easy opponent.

Even by the end of the 19th century, there were Western military men that considered combative sword training important, like the British officer Cyril Matthey, who is credited with discovering George Silver's lost "how-to" sword manual, Brief Instructions Upon My Paradoxes of Defense (circa 1605).

Now, it is true that, in the case of the Americans especially, emphasis on the use of the pistol (as opposed to the sword) by cavalry occured comparatively early (almost as soon as the introduction of Samuel Colt's revolver, actually), and it was in fact fairly well-established by the Civil War--so the likelihood of Cruise's character being really good with his sword in the first place is not as likely as it would have been for a European army officer, but it certainly wasnt' impossible, either.  Officers had the option of devoting more free time to sword practice, and someone like Nathan Algren may also have had some skills with thrusting swords, like the duelling epee.  In any case, getting to nitpicky about details on this issue is a moot point, since the Western advisors to the New Imperial Japanese Army weren't Americans anyway--that part is fictional.



Martial Arts Topics / the last samurai!
« on: December 13, 2003, 07:21:45 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog

Much of the development of the Akita took place during the 200 years prior to the Mejii Reformation when the Samurai used Akitas and Tosa Mastiffs dogfights for inspiration in the ways of fighting spirit.

Crafty Dog

Guro Crafty,

Was the Tosa actually created after the Japanese saw how Pit Bulls savaged the local fighting dogs?  I've read this before, but the source was unreliable, so I'm looking for clarification there.



Martial Arts Topics / Re: the last samurai!
« on: December 13, 2003, 07:18:05 PM »
Quote from: haumana2000
The action sequences are awesome, single and double swordplay staff, bokken, traditonal japanese juijitsu, cranks, locks, throws, even an ankle lock awesome!!!!!!!

I think that was supposed to be a kneebar, actually.

In any case, Cruise should have put his "hooks" in, ala Gollum in LOTR! :)

Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?
« on: November 21, 2003, 05:40:45 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog
Woof David/Spad/TFS et al:

  With the Gathering coming up in a few days I have no time for a proper reply at this point.

  Krishna Godhania emailed me to say that he found the thread interesting but family matters and his upcoming hosting of Tuhon Chris Sayoc distract him at present from replying but that he will do so when the dust settles.  I look forward to seeing what he has to say.


Woof Guro Crafty,

Hey, it's all good--I hope the Gathering goes well!

As for Krishna--I, too, look foward to his commentary.



Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?
« on: November 18, 2003, 06:36:57 AM »
Woof Guro Crafty,

Quote from: Crafty_Dog

  Thanks for the rejoinder and fleshing out the English structure.

Anytime.  I do the best I can, with what knowledge I have.

That said, I'd like to contribute a few points for consideration:

Fire away! :)

As a preliminary matter, I note that this article is several years old.  Not only is Lucky Lucay dead, so is his son Ted far too soon.

Yes--this is most unfortunate.  I also have been informed that the author of the article (Dan Inosanto's sister) is also deceased. :(

Ted was the first man to become Full Instructor under Guro Inosanto (I may not be stating this exactly right, anyone who can clean it up please feel free to do so)

  I trained occasionally in Ted's class in the 1980s at the Inosanto Academy at Glencoe Avenue and in that context occasionally met his father Lucky, (who was one of the higher people in Villabrille Kali system BTW) who at that point was already substantially debilitated from the diabetes that would eventually take his life.  With that said, occasionally he would sometimes briefly demonstrate ideas and movement and his boxing movement was of a different nature.  Quite impressive nevertheless!  No doubt there are some treasured home videos somewhere of it, but his son Ted also had this movement.  I know he did at least one video for Unique on "stick boxing" where this idiom of movement is recorded (no dig at Guro Ted, but the vid is a bit of a snorer as a video I must confess-- he like to explain things thoroughly.)

My impression of the article was that the bit about Ali may have been a stretch, possibly for what the editor might have seen as a catchy hook for the cover of the magazine (Did Ali get his footwork from FMA? Buy this issue and find out! blah blah) but the rest of the article's premise strikes me as probably pretty sound.

I understand your point that the article may, as many do, have underappreciated English boxing, but I read the point about "no blocking" a bit differently than you.  I understood it to me that the mentality of a weapons fighter, a knife fighter, is much more exchange averse than someone who approaches things only from an empty hand perspective and that the nature of the movement that descends from it has a different quality.   I think this point IS valid and the Lucays manifested it.

Someone coming from a weapons-use background will often understandably have a different take on things, and what you suggest has been seen in Western fighting disciplines too.  For example, in Ancient Greece and Macedon, pankration often came under criticism in the military context for two main reasons:

1.  The emphasis on ground wrestling (as opposed to standing throws), which generally wasn't as applicable to battlefield conditions.

2.  The fact that it was an unarmed art meant that people were taking shots; if such a thing was done in an armed encounter, the person would be killed (ie., a fighter can take a punch, but a sword will drop him).  This was a comment made by Alexander the Great himself, who had a comparatively low opinion of pankration.

This is something that you noted in modern MA training too, in that one DB video where you (or Eric Knauss) stated that the Dog Brothers don't work too much with espada y daga, since the fighters tend to pay too much attention to the stick in sparring, when in actuality it would be the dagger that would do the most damage, in a real fight.

Yes, Lucky said "no blocking" in the English boxing but please consider that a) his English wasn't very good and b) his statement is in the context of training method-- but this is all really a tangent from the larger point, yes?

I'm not sure.

As I often so ably demonstrate, historian is not my forte, so I proffer for you, or anyone, to answer:  How, when, where, and why did boxing shift from the Sullivan structure?  Is it enough to simply say "boxing gloves"?
Why to this day do Euro fighters tend to lack head movement compared to North and South American fighters?  Less rythmic music?  :lol:

Again, it was not a matter of boxing shifting "from the Sullivan structure".  There were plenty of technical fighters long before Sullivan's time--the famous Spanish-English Jew, Daniel Mendoza; the "Swaffham Gypsy", Jem Mace; etc.

Much of it had to do with rule changes.  There was no wrestling allowed in Queensbury rules, and that obviously changes the focus and dynamics of a fight (eg., Don Frye has had a pretty good MMA career, but his K-1 pursuits have not been quite so impressive).

You also have to keep in mind that, while Sullivan was never a technician to begin with, he was 34 years old and way out of shape for his bout with Corbett.  These certainly contributed to his demise that day.

Again, you still see fighters using major elements of bare-knuckle pugilism well into the Glove Era--Jack Dempsey described the vertical fist punch in minute detail in his Championship Fighting book (Bruce Lee was a fan, as I'm sure you know).  Dempsey describes such peculiarities as the "falling step" and the so-called "power line" (the latter being recognizable to WC fighters).  It is a much different manner of punching than in "modern" boxing.

Dempsey also described the various stances that existed in his day:

1) THE UPRIGHT STANCE: In that position, used by many british boxers, the body is practically "straight up and down", with the weight either evenly distributed on both feet or resting largely upon the "right" foot. It is an excellent "defensive" stance because it permits freedom of the feet for fast foot-work, and because it provides freedom for blocking and parrying. It has at least one defensive weakness, however. The user can be knocked off balance or floored much more easily than if the weight is forward. "Offensively", the position doe not stimulate explosive punching, since the weight is not forward.  

2) THE SEMI-CROUCH: That's the stance you've been using for throwing straight explosive punches. I'll explain shortly why it's the perfect stance for fist-fighting. (Note: this stance as illustrated in the book sort of resembles the Muay Thai kick boxing stance except there is slightly more flexion (bending) of the waist and knees)

3) THE FULL CROUCH, OR LOW CROUCH: That stance is used at close quarters by practically all "bobbers and weavers" - chaps who come in bobbing low and weaving from side to side. It is used by those who specialize in hooking attacks rather than straight punching. The bobbers and weavers prefers to fight at close quarters, for all hooks and uppercuts are most explosive at short range. It is an "excellent defensive stance" after the user has mastered the "art" of bobbing and weaving. That takes considerable time. Your bobbing-weaving head is and elusive target. Moverover, you are bent forward so far that your opponent has great difficulty getting at your body. It was my favorite stance. I found it invaluable in fighting bigger men.

It has these disadvantages:

1) Your weight is too far forward to permit proper "fall" in straight jolts.

2) And your weight is too far forward to permit fast retreating footwork - if you want to retreat.

"If a fellow is a southpaw - lefthanded - he can use any of the three stances; but his "right" foot and "right" hand will be "forward" and his "left" foot and "left" hand to the "rear". It is much easier for a left-handed chap to fight in the southpaw style. However, most trainers prefer to convert southpaws - to turn them round - and have them take a right-handed stance."

"The SEMI-COUCH, which you have been using, is the best for fist-fighting for the following reasons:

(a) Your weight is forward just enough to stimulate explosive straight punching.

(b) It (your weight) is forward enough to prevent you being knocked off balance or floored easily.

(c) The weight is not forward so far as to interfere with your footwork - and footwork is important in keeping you at long range in a fist fight.

(d) You are at all times in a comfortable balance position from which you can attack, counter, or defend WITHOUT PRELIMINARY MOVEMENT.

So basically, Dempsey noted the various styles in existence at his time.  It is interesting to note that he felt that the semi-crouch was the best overall stance, even though he personally preferred the full crouch.

It is even more interesting to note that Filipino prowess in the ring probably had to do with what they perfected--I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest that, since they were comparatively small, they preferred infighting (much like Dempsey)--and so that's what they concentrated on.

Apart from my years with Guro I, whose Panantukan still blows me away, I have trained with a manong in Negros who had wonderful panantukan, I have met Cebuanos with superb boxing mechanics (as a result of their trainin interplay with sticks and knives) I have seen footage from the interior of the Philippines (I will see if I can get Krishna Godhania to comment on his experiences in the Philippines in this regard).  What I have seen leads me to feel that the hypothesis that interaction with the Philippines and Filipinos led to the changes from the Sullivan structure to the modern structure, either through the crossroads of Hawaii and/or the US soldiers coming back from the Philippines at turn of the century after introducing boxing gloves there and having some hard lessons in matches in the Filipinos, seems to me to be the most plausible.

I still must disagree here.  All the dynamics of boxing were present in that sport before the Americans went to the Philippines.  In addition, Martin Burke (the resident boxing historian at told me that the full crouch that Dempsey liked so much was seen as early as 1882, when it was employed by Frank Slavin.  This likewise predates any supposed Filipino influence.

It is also frustrating that this supposedly massive Filipino influence is never mentioned anywhere else.

Dempsey gives credit to the old bare-knuckle boys for the manner of punching he was taught.

He pointed out that the upright stance was particularly preferred by English boxers.

French savateurs acknowledge that their punching likewise comes from English pugilism (Boxe Anglaise).

But no one (to the best of my knowledge) has ever mentioned this Filipino influence, aside from the Lucaylucays, in the article in question.

If it helps, we can compare this the influence of the Brazilians (Gracie-Machado et al) on grappling.  Yes there was good grappling before, but somehow it is different now.

I'm not so sure about that either.  A really good book that everyone should get is the new Mastering Jujutsu text by Renzo Gracie and John Danaher.  Danaher goes into the history of BJJ in detail, and it seems pretty clear that the BJJ syllabus comes straight from old-style judo (with some CACC thrown in here and there).  The reason BJJ seemed so revolutionary when it finally came under the public spotlight was due to the fact that the focus of judo had long ago switched from ne-waza to standing throws.  Danaher points out how Kano naturally had big Olympic plans for judo--and the ne-waza groundwork (which, incidently, was ultimately derived from a classical jujutsu school--the Fusen-ryu) was thought to look boring to spectators.  Because of this, Kano implemented rule changes, to shift the emphasis to standing throws.

So, I don't know how "different" the grappling is now--I think that the emphasis has simply shifted back to the groundwork, just as it was in the early 20th century, when judo/jujutsu exponents like Yukio Tani and Mitsuyo Maeda  went over to England and used their own very formidable ne-waza skills against all comers--boxers, catch wrestlers, etc.



Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?
« on: November 16, 2003, 09:55:30 PM »
Quote from: CJ
thanks Spad,
for balancing things out.  i thought the article was somewhat skewed, but didn't really have the info to analyze.

what do you think about the "Flash"/Ali connection regarding footwork, not sure if you're a boxing aficionado? did footwork revolutionize when "Flash" Elorde came in the picture in the 50s and 60s, or was footwork already pretty sophisticated?

p.s.--did you see the pacqiao/barrera fight saturday nite? has got to be one of the classic fights ever.  manny pacqiao too is Bisaya, but not sure if he's got any escrima background.


In regards to the article being "skewed", it hardly comes as a surprise to me, since there are plenty of misconceptions concerning British bare-knuckle pugilism even within the Western boxing community itself.  Common myths (some of which are echoed in Howe's article) include:

1.   Bob Fitzsimmons "invented" the solar plexus punch.

Actually, this punch was known much earlier; Captain John Godfrey described it in his early 18th century treatise.

2.  Gentleman Jim Corbett was the first "scientific" boxer.

In reality, Corbett was simply a technician who beat a guy who wasn't a technician.  The myth of Corbett issuing in a new "scientific" approach may have been the result of the fact that his defeat of Sullivan in 1892 was the first major fight held under the Queensbury rules.  Sullivan, on the other hand, had fought the last major contest under London Prize Ring rules in 1889, so he was associated with the end of the bareknuckle era.  Boxing histories then seem to have ultimately interpreted this as a victory of the New over the Old.

3.  Corbett was a weak puncher.

Hogwash.  Corbett broke Sullivan's nose in the third round of their fight, and Fitzsimmons commented favorably on the power of Corbett.

4.  The bare-knuckle pugilists had no technique, compared to later boxers.

This one is particularly bizarre, considering that when we first hear of "modern" (18th century onwards) Western boxing, it is taught alongside fencing (English backsword/singlestick, and French smallsword).  Common targets included between the eyes (to cut the opponent so he could not see), under the ear (the carotid artery--a dangerous knockout punch), and the solar plexus.  Punches were executed with the vertical fist, and the straight left had more power behind it than the modern jab.  

Under London Prize Ring rules, standing grappling was allowed--throws like the "cross-buttock", found in several forms of indigenous English wrestling (a type of hip-throw variant), were popular.  This gave British pugilism a sort of san shou feel to it.  At least one famous boxer in the 1800s won a large percentage of matches due to his excellent throwing ability.

In regards to the  alleged effect that Filipino fighters had in footwork--I really can't say.  It seems that footwork was already highly developed before that--even Howe states that it was one of the key factors that enabled Corbett to defeat Sullivan.  

But one thing that is certain is that the Filipinos have produced plenty of top-notch boxers over the years.  In the 1920s, Western combat sports were actually very popular in Shanghai, and one Filipino boxer, Joe Sacramento, was very popular with the American "Shanghailanders"--he ultimately became the lightweight champion of China.

The reason for the Filipino penchant for good boxing may be twofold--many probably had FMA backgrounds, and hence they already moved dynamically.  Also, being that the Filipinos are not exactly the largest folks out there, they would naturally rely more on technique anyway.  Lightweight boxing matches are often more fun to watch in general, because of this.

Finally, I unfortunately missed the fight in question.  

I also missed Roy Jones Jr's latest match.



Martial Arts Topics / Escape from Rome
« on: November 16, 2003, 01:51:07 PM »
Guro Crafty,

Thanks so much for the input there--looks like very interesting stuff.  

I'll also check out the new thread.



Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?
« on: November 16, 2003, 01:39:49 PM »

I've read this stuff before, and, to be frank--I don't believe it.

The descriptions of English boxing are not accurate, based on what we know.  British pugilism was in fact very scientific (and shared many similarities with Wing Chun).  Even into the Glove Era, the English method of punching with the vertical fist (using the bottom three knuckles, ala Wing Chun) was still taught and used--Jack Dempsey was an advocate of it (one of his trainers also worked with the great Peter Jackson), and his demolishing of Willard's jaw in 1919 is a testament to its effectiveness.

Also, for anyone to claim that English boxing had no blocking is patently ludicrous--the very stance is in fact geared towards parrying.  Dempsey himself said that it was a great defensive stance.  The reason the pugilists fought with that Wing Chun-esque hand position was because they didn't wear gloves--it would have been too easy for punches to slip through when using a modern boxing guard.

However, I would also like to stress that my opinions are not meant in any way to be disrespectful to any Filipino masters, past or present.  



Martial Arts Topics / Eskrimadors in Jean LaFitte's pirate force?
« on: November 08, 2003, 05:32:41 AM »
Guro Steve!

How are you?

Thanks for the info--if you could find that article (at your convenience, of course) that would be great.



Martial Arts Topics / About the sword term, "kalis"...
« on: November 08, 2003, 04:46:29 AM »

I once read somewhere (I believe it was a Mark Wiley book or article) that the sword term kalis is derived from kilij, which is the Turkish word for a fairly short, heavy saber (as opposed to the longer, lighter shamshir of Persian origin).  I'm no linguist, but kalis and kilij seem to have a similar sound to them.  I'll see if I can dig up the reference.

Related to the above is the possibility of  direct or indirect contact between the Turks (and/or their allies) and the Muslim Filipinos.  We know that the Portuguese fought against the Turks and their allies in the Red Sea in the early 16th century; what about the Ottomans or people from their satellite territories assisting fellow Muslims?




Martial Arts Topics / Re: KALI
« on: November 05, 2003, 03:13:29 PM »
Quote from: Sun_Helmet
Quote from: Spadaccino

Rafael, what's your opinion on simply using the indigenous terms to describe individual systems, but referring collectively to the Filipino arts simply as "FMA"?

I feel it is up to the individual person's taste and not something worth trying to consolidate. In my previous post, I stated I have no opinion against using such terms since the arts continue to evolve and successors will most likely change terminology along the way. Just as long as the practioner respectfully acknowledges the Filipinos or instructors who preserved the art when they learned it.

On Maestro Martinez; several years ago when we were visiting Guro Inosanto at a Queens seminar he remarked how alien the double stick methods were to him. He was looking at a basic heaven count.

For others who may be interested. Here's a small compilation of quotes regarding Pre-Hispanic Filipino warfare written by Miguel Legaspi himself. he didn't call it KALI but he was impressed with what seems to be a level of expertise beyond rudimentary one two type hacking:

All Quotes from Legaspi in Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands:

On Pre-Hispanic Filipino arms and dress:

"? all the natives had put on their wooden corselets and rope armor , and had armed themselves with their lances, shields, small cutlasses, and arrows; and that many plumes and varicolored headdresses were waving;"

At the town of Cangiungo ? more evidence of Filipinos with swords:

"They made signs that we should not disembark; pulled grass, Struck trees with their cutlasses, and threateningly mocked us. Seeing that in this case cajolery could not suffice, we withdrew in order not to disturb them; "

Legaspi mentions the Filipinos always being armed:

"The weapons generally used throughout the Filipinas are cutlasses and daggers; lances with iron points, one and one-half palms in length; lenguados enclosed in cloth sheaths, and a few bows and arrows. Whenever the natives leave their houses, even if it is only to go to the house of a neighbor, they carry these weapons; for they are always on the alert, and are mistrustful of one another."

A Gunting wound?:

"A soldier who went ashore received a wound in the hand. The wound was apparently small; and indeed it was through negligence of the wounded man himself that he died within two weeks."

Use of spears:

"the Indians, when they saw him, fell upon him and in a moment with great cruelty tore him to pieces, giving him at least thirty lance thrusts through the body."

Legaspi describes another tribe that used impact weapons and comments on their expertise:

"?with their hardened clubs, stones, and slings (which comprise their weapons, and which they manage very skillfully) they took the place of those who were fighting, and those who were fighting embarked in the canoes, and came also to the ships to trade."

"The Indian campaign were not analogous. The Indian Wars were amateur melees compared with the insurrection (by Filipinos in Southern Luzon) waged in 1900?" pg. 138 Millett, The General (Robert L. Bullard, who helped track the Apache warrior, Geronimo)

Some great material there, Rafael.



Martial Arts Topics / Re: KALI
« on: November 05, 2003, 01:01:47 PM »
Quote from: Sun_Helmet
My personal research have not unearthed any term CONSOLIDATING the ancient fighting arts of the islands, therefore I haven't given the word KALI an ancient historical basis as the MOTHER ART. However, someone somewhere came up with this term and that in itself requires some extended research all its own. Perhaps from that research, a springboard will lead to other paths which have been well covered by the vines of time.

Rafael, what's your opinion on simply using the indigenous terms to describe individual systems, but referring collectively to the Filipino arts simply as "FMA"?

Here's a tangent:
Are there any Spanish manuals which describe sinawali movements and concepts?

Not that I'm personally aware of.

At a party at the salle I used to train at, I had the good fortune to meet with Maestro Ramon Martinez, and speak with him about fencing matters.  Certainly, in the destreza method at least, I don't see much that looks like what I know from FMA--certainly no sinawalli stuff.  Martinez has commented on the obvious differences, as has J. Christoph Amberger, in his essay from Mark Wiley's Arnis book.



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