Monday, February 1, 2016

Thoughts from MAPA 8: It's All The Same Thing

The eighth gathering of the +Metroplex Arnis Players Alliance was over the weekend.

The big idea that came to me in this seminar was the fact that it is, really, "all the same thing".  If you watch a lot of video of Professor Remy Presas (or lucky you, got to study with him directly), he says this a lot.  MAPA 8 showed us how it was all completely true!

Our first instructor, Bruce Jenkins of Moroland Martial Arts, covered the various single stick disarms off of the standard 12 Angles of Attack from Modern Arnis.  We covered angles #1 through #6.  What was interesting here - and how it's all connected - is that I knew most of the disarms he taught, but he showed a few that I hadn't done just that way before.

Guru Bruce shows a disarm variant off the #3 (middle forehand) strike

For example, he showed a disarm off of the #1 empty handed that we usually do when we have a stick in our hand.  I hadn't considered doing that disarm that way, and now I know that I can.  That got me thinking about the other empty hand versions of disarms I know, and wondering that if I played with them with a stick, how would those work?  How would the standard stick-on-stick disarms work empty handed?  What about double stick?  Or a knife?   Both in my own hand, and in my opponents?

It's all the same thing.

Next, my teacher +Mark Lynn of Hidden Sword Martial Arts continued the theme of disarming, this time working the double sticks.  He taught the same side block, cross body strike and punyo on top disarm, then same disarm with stick on bottom, a wedge disarm, and two disarms off of an "x" block vs. an overhand strike.  He emphasized that you have to HIT the guy to make most of these disarms work (and that is true for most disarms in general, as many of them are extremely easy to counter if you don't hit first).

Preparing to disarm that right hand strike - but hit him first!

Once we learned them double stick, he then showed them with some of the Okinawan/Japanese weapons - the sai and the tonfa specifically.  He encouraged the group to try the same disarms using these weapons (the tonfa held in various grips was pretty interesting).  He encouraged us to play around with these same ideas and concepts with other weapons we might know or use.

It's all the same thing.

Next, Jason Gutierrez of Force Necessary (Hock Hockheim's organization) taught us some espada y daga drills.  These come from GM Ernesto Presas' Kombatan.  The nice thing about learning the espada y daga drills is that they build on one another - you start off the same way each time, but finish differently, inserting different strikes (many of them "classical" arnis strikes, such as banda y banda and abanico).
Guro Jason leads the group in the drill
One cool thing is that Guro Jason showed the empty hand interpretation of some of these drills.  I hadn't done those before, and it was pretty cool how easily these drills work in an empty hand interpretation.  This was one of the "big ideas" that stuck in my head (how I want to start playing with the espada y daga drills Jason taught, and others I've learned empty handed).

Empty hand version - my interpretation of the third strike in the drill, which is a low strike

See?  Yet again - it's all the same thing.

Finally, David Beck of Beck Martial Arts showed a single stick drill from Arnis de Leon that involves starting off of single stick single sinawali that is a lot like the Modern Arnis tapi-tapi play.   His session involved teaching each step in the drill - both as the attacker (or driver) and as the defender (or passenger).

Actually it reminded me of this drill that I'd seen earlier in the day.

What Guro David showed was not this drill  - but it was similar to what they do in Arnis De Leon.  Later on in the day, I posted this video to Guro David on our MAPA discussion page on Facebook, and Datu +Dieter Kn├╝ttel said that the beginning of this video is 100% freestyle of GM Ernesto!

It is all the same thing.

There were some brand-new-to-Arnis attendees this time around, but both of them were well grounded in tae kwon do.  I got to work with them on a few of the drills, and to help them, I tried to relate what they already know in tae kwon do.  Foe example, to get them to remember to keep their sticks up, I reminded them that they don't spar with their hands low and away from their heads.

They already know some arnis, they just didn't know that they do.  Because it's all the same thing!

One of our students attended MAPA with us, and most of what we learned was WAY over what he's done thus far, and he kept up with us.  I was so proud of him!

Here's some more pictures of me from the event.  I don't have a group picture yet but I'll update this post when I get one.

My turn on the espada y daga drill.

Me providing the targets for my partner to strike.

I get to demo the abanico strike for the group.  I love abanico!

Me watching Guro David teach his section.

I work with our student on Guro David's Drill
As always, if you or someone you know is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are interested in the Filipino Martial Arts, MAPA is for you!  MAPA 9 will be scheduled soon - it will probably be in May. See you there!

Working Disarms

More disarms

Fine tuning a disarm against a middle backhand

Disarm successful!

Playing Espada y Daga

Empty hand work

We have lots of fun at MAPA!