Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Viva La Resistance!

One criticism of many martial arts styles or training groups is the lack of "resistance"

Just so we're all using the same term, "resistance" means that a person is not helping you do your martial arts technique - in fact, he/she is trying to defeat it.

Resistance is a hallmark of the combative arts, as a matter of course.  It's also present in some styles of sparring in traditional martial arts, at varying degree of contact.  I do not consider no-contact sparring "resistance", personally...

The opposite of resistance.
In the Filipino Martial Arts, we get it two ways - freestyle "play" (such as freestyle tapi-tapi) and with stick sparring (be it a point-based system or just an all-out fight Dog Brothers style).   We can debate the methods and the effectiveness until the cows come home, but it's still resistance.

Training with resistance is especially difficult in various weapon arts, especially without special equipment (armor or lighter or padded weapons).  That's why Actionflex weapons are so awesome to have because we've sparred at my teacher's school with various weapons against each other (I sprained my fingers when I was fighting stick vs. nunchaku - nunchaku got me at just the wrong time!).

I am a firm believer in training with resistance, but I also think it takes a lot of attribute building to get to the point where we can freestyle play or stick spar in my art with any degree of success.

You have to work very, very hard on a lot of fundamentals with weapons before you can allow this to happen, because the risk of injury is incredibly high.

We spend lots of time attribute building in various drills.  You'll see videos of this in the Filipino Martial Arts, and some folks will say, "That's not how fights work!"

Well, no.  They don't.

Take this drill, as demonstrated by +Brian Johns at +Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts:

This drill is taught in stages, typically.  You learn it versus our standard 12 angles of attack, then you do the same drill against random strikes, then you might learn how to interrupt single stick single sinawali to find the angle you want to work with off of Block Check Counter, then you learn how to get the angle you want in Block Check Counter, then you learn additional combinations off of the base drill, and so on.

All of this is attribute building - you learn timing, you learn how to close the distance, you learn how to spot incoming angles of attack, you learn range for counter attack options (and what those options might be based on where you are)...

Take another common drill, sinawali.  Sinawali builds a lot of things, when done properly - you learn range, targeting, chambering, footwork, and you do so using both hands (in double-stick versions anyway).

All of this is attribute building, all of this takes a lot of time, and none of this is how people exactly fight.

That's where our Friday night stick sparring comes into play at our school.

Just another Friday night at Mid-Cities Arnis!

We've been working on the concept of entering into Block-Check-Counter from single stick single sinawali in its most basic level in our classes. On Friday night, we'll review this technique and then play (with our Actionflex sticks) with the idea in stick sparring, where we'll ask our students to try to execute some of this stuff (and hit) with someone who isn't just going to give it to them.

It's not hard style hard core fighting.  It's working on attributes, but with a little less accommodation than we typically do in the drill itself.

So tell me about how you work your way up into resistance in YOUR training.  Is it early in the training?  Late?  Why?  Or do you not train with resistance at all - and why?  Let us know in the comments!