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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Same But Different

The longer you train and cross-train, especially with people who aren't in your specific martial arts style, lineage or school, the more you realize that there truly is very little that's absolutely "wrong" in the martial arts, and it's more like "just different".

I mean, sure, there's techniques and strategies out there that I suspect most of us would agree is, well, problematic at best.

Doing karate with a katana in your hand and calling yourself a "swordsman".

Doing arnis with your hands empty and using Okinawan terminology and calling it "karate".

Boxing with a knife in reverse grip in one hand and calling yourself a "knife fighter".

Whatever the hell this is:

Y'know, stuff like that.

Once you get past the super obvious... then things become a lot more shades of gray.

Take a bread-and-butter technique in my particular lineage and style of Presas Arnis.

That'd be a punyo sweep or strike.

We use it, generally, in two fundamental ways:

1) To literally punch a guy in the face if we can.

Mr. Chick fades back and passes the punyo. He could also have stepped back with his right foot, of course, but he stays in to make me pay for the aggression (don't worry, I have a plan for it).

The goal here is to end this fight as quickly as we can, and we hope the opponent isn't prepared, and he gets his free bite adjustment.

2) To sweep the weapon/weapon arm out of the way for something else:

Note the range difference and the difference in pressure my teacher applies to me (he could have taken the abanico corto strike as he wrapped but he didn't because that wasn't the point here).

Ugh, ignore the ravages of time & injury & disease & medications on me, though, y'all. Yikes.


I'm not saying we don't have other uses, but generally speaking, if I hook punch you with my punyo to your face... you want to be prepared with a counter or a block or something, because I'm often trying to hit you in your face.

Since that's the strategy, we coach moving in and really laying that strike exactly where it needs to go. The defender (aka the "punchee") must react with a counter, usually involving footwork, body positioning and passing/blocking the punyo with the live hand.

Note, we also check/control the opponent's stick as we come in with the punch when we can (obviously, above with double-stick my teacher couldn't do that). We don't want them getting all squirrelly on us, and we expect them to do just that (why would they just keep their stick there, after all)?

Those are our basic assumptions.

Now, other FMA players in other styles (and even in different lineages of Modern Arnis & Kombatan & Presas Arnis) have other assumptions and habits.

I have often seen the clearing/passing movement as the primary use, and they'd rarely, if ever, try the punyo punch (especially not as the hooking motion you see me using up there). Plus, they aren't concerned about the opponent's stick not being there as they come in (because they do it faster and shorter than we do which helps solve that problem).

Or maybe that motion means something else entirely to you.

Either way, we're all "correct".

If your punyo entry is shallow and at longer range... that's fine. You aren't training the punyo punch to the face like I am, so all the things we nitpick about at our school aren't applicable to what you're doing.

If you want to punyo strike to the face but do it differently, that's cool, there's a bunch of different ways to do it that are legit and work well.

My advice is learn your own style's method and assumptions well.

Then cross-train with others, keep an open mind, and learn other peoples' assumptions.

Not everyone has the same assumptions, skills, or worldview that you do.

Add more tools to your toolbox.

Tell us about a time you discovered YOUR way wasn't the ONLY way, and how that changed your perspective!

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