“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

Stone, Paper, SCISSORS!

Today, I was driving home from class and I was listening to my 8 year old girl teaching my 5 year old boy the game, “stone, paper, scissors”. I was laughing to myself because just a year ago, my 10 year old boy (then, 9) was teaching her to spar using the same terminology and hurriedness that she was using:

Kuntawman Jr:  “NONONO! You have to use the backfist! The backfist beats the front leg round house kick, but you have to use it when you step away! At the same time!”

Kuntawgirl:  “NONONO! You have to use the paper! The paper beats the rock because it covers it! But you have to try and see what I’m going to throw out so you know which one to use!”

There was a lot more, some arguing, but I think you get the point.

I laugh because I have taught my children to be calculating and plan their attack–even use “cheap shots”, like waiting a split second to see the opponent’s “hand” in a game of point fighting or “rock, paper, scissors”. In this one conversation, I can hear my big boy talking of timing, patience and a swift counter… but it’s the little girl using the same principles. And she’s teaching it to a Kindergardener. I only regret that I was not paying attention to her while she was sparring with him earlier today, so I didn’t get to see if she passed down the same lessons with fighting.

But it taught ME a lesson. Just as my son breaks down sparring to “Spin back kick is used against the back leg roundhouse kick” and “backfist versus front leg roundhouse kick”, a good fighting and training plan should at least have these basic “facts” drilled (there goes that word again!) into your fighters’ minds. My daughter was teaching my five year old to not jump the gun until you have gotten a chance to see what the opponent will do (“usually the other kid won’t put the same thing out twice, so if you lose one, throw it again and again, you will win at least one of them”… this kid–despite being spoiled rotten–is brilliant).

How do you teach fight preparation? By hitting focus mitts and bags?  Why not take a lesson from the Gatdula family planbook, and set up some basic “counter attackings” against identified common attacks:

  • the jab
  • the jab cross
  • the back hand/front hand hook
  • the skip kick
  • the back leg round kick
  • the skip side kick
  • blah blah blah…

Once you have a few good reliable counters–not any “slap block, catch, return” BS either–drill them 500 times, then spar with them, and then drill them another 500 times, but against an opponent who is really trying to hit you. I don’t like to guarantee much, but I can guarantee that your fighting ability will improve 100%. If you have questions, post them here, and I will try my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

I know it was short, but I wanted to send this off and get to bed. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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