Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sumbrada with the Big Stick

Before I begin this...  as long-time readers of this blog know, I am very, very wary of people trying to learn martial arts techniques via video only.  Therefore, please do not attempt to copy what you see here unless you are already pretty well versed in the concepts and weapons.  What is shown here can be very dangerous if performed by people who do not have some experience already.

Sumbrada (sometimes called a box drill) is a drill in the FMA's where two people trade off a set of strikes and blocks.  Each partner "shadows" the other, back and forth, and eventually, each partner will end up trading the same set of strikes and blocks.

Here's the guys at the Kali Center explaining the basics of sumbrada.

Click here if you can't see the video.

There are tons of variations of sumbrada, including free-flow where the strikes aren't necessarily pre-determined and aren't perfectly shadowed.

It's a fun and useful drill.  In fact, it was one of the first drills I ever learned, and we play it often. I was playing sumbrada when I had the worst injury I've ever sustained in the martial arts - a torn calf muscle - and ended up sitting on my butt reading books by Professor on the sidelines for six weeks.  It's a fast moving drill, and you can play it so many ways - long range, short range, inserts, variants on the strikes...
I'm trying to trap his elbow just enough to slow him down so he can't defend
against the #12 strike (top of the head) that's coming.  I'm mean that way

My teacher, +Mark Lynn, has adapted the sumbrada patterns to the Kobudo weapons.  Thus far, we've been focused on bo and tonfa (because the current crop of Kobudo white belts - of which I am one -  are studying bo and will be starting tonfa in the fall, and the Kobudo black belts are working on tonfa vs. bo material now).

I wanted to share with you some clips of this work, as I think you guys will enjoy it - especially those of you who are Kobudo students.

The first one is what FMA players will recognize as a standard #1-#3-#12 sumbrada.  This is what we'd call the basic, #1 sumbrada with the bo.

Click here if you can't see the video.

I've removed the audio, by the way, because we were doing a lot of talking that isn't really relevant outside our training group.

You may have noticed that there are a bunch of "holes" in this drill set - that is, lots of openings for attack and counter attack.  This is partly by design of this drill - eventually, while playing the drill, you "see" the holes and take advantage of them.  We have deliberately kept our thinking in line with the one-steps and forms we've learned - our Bo Ichi, Shuji No Kon Sho, and a form called Shihon No Bo - in order to support the forms and to show how they are, in fact, applicable in flow.

The #2 sumbrada with the bo takes a move out of our Bo Ichi and inserts it at the #12 strike - a "high low high" strike/blocking pattern.

Click here if you can't see the video.

As you can see, you really need to be on the ball with this one, as a mistake could end up with you getting a bo strike to the chin!

The #3 sumbrada we came up with takes a move directly from Shuji No Kon Sho.  We've actually found another variant (not on video) that works as well, but the targets are slightly different.

Click here if you can't see the video.

I came up with this variant, and Mark, being the kind of teacher he is, incorporated it into what he's teaching.  This one, as you can see, has the potential to disarm your partner (as Mark does to me, and as we've verified playing this a bunch of times).  We actually have a second variant that we haven't filmed that involves a pass versus a block, but it's still the same exact set of moves out of Shuji No Kon Sho.

One more thing on the bo sumbrada - we were working another time on trying to incorporate other moves, specifically a poking strike.  This is where we were looking at one of the more obvious holes in the sumbrada and were speculating on ways to "fill" it.

Click here if you can't see the video.

This is another one where you really better be paying attention or you'll eat the bo.

Finally, I'd like to share with you Mark's really awesome bo vs. tonfa sumbrada.  What's cool about this is that it's not strictly mirrored, because it can't be!  The bo is a very different beast than tonfa, in terms of range, power and strategy.  Thus, it's not truly "shadowed" as a basic, traditional sumbrada drill typically is.

I left the audio because Mark is explaining the tonfa side (for the most part) and I think you'll find that interesting.

Click here if you can't see the video.

If you think that there's a little bit of a pucker factor when he flips that tonfa at my head - you would be correct.

So, these are the ways that Mark has adapted the sumbrada drill to Kobudo weapons.  If you know sumbrada, and know other weapons - you can do it too!  This is one huge benefit of cross training - discovering where a different point of view might actually help you to learn what you already know a little better than you did.

Have you adopted the training methodology of one art to the weapons (or other principles) of another art?  I'd love to know your experiences!