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

Be the Feeder

Okay, here’s a radical idea for FMAers:

Be the Feeder.

You know how FMA people like to say, “feed me a number 4 strike…” and then they do a long combination of all this stuff they’d do to you if only you’d freeze after striking them? Yeah, well instead of striving to be the guy who does all that cool stuff, you should strive to be the attacker.

I love it when FMA people pull that crap with me:  “Feed me an overhead strike to the crown…”  No, you don’t really want me to do that. What you want me to do is stop a strike that’s about medium (or even slow) speed, a few inches (or even feet) from your head. Then once I do that, you’ll try your best to make me look like a monkey in order to “show” me how deadly your choreographed art is.

Sorry, but a real fight isn’t like a Broadway show with choreographed moves; it’s more like a “Soul Train Line”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to hop over to Youtube to pull some old episodes of “Soul Train” to see how they do it on that side of the train tracks.  What I mean is this… that fighting can be rehearsed, but rarely goes down as move-by-move as those fight scenes you practice, otherwise called “abecedarios” and “drills” and “countering techniques”. Sure, you can practice them in order to force the techniques to work. After all, that’s what training is for–to make what you planned to do in a fight, happen. But fighting is not that controllable, unless you were fighting a guy using Jedi Mind tricks to get him to stand still. (Not that anyone here older than 25 would need the definition)

It would be far better to practice how you would attack your opponent, and to hell with what he’s planning to do. Controlling your opponent is advanced stuff, and you won’t learn it on some blog, so if you don’t know how, you’d probably want to look up a good experienced teacher. Other than that, you could simply change the focus of your training to attacking (feeding) and find ways that his counters won’t work. Or train your attacks and prevent him from countering.

Wow. There’s another radical idea! Preventing your opponent from countering! What does that mean?

I’m sure that by now, most of you have heard of the Filipino concept of countering the counter. In other words, you begin with a strong initial attack (or two), and then identify all of the possible counters to your attack(s). Then you must find ways to stop those counters from being successful. That’s it! Simple enough? No, not really. The idea is simple; the application and execution is not. But it would all begin with knowing the basic concept, and then trying it out. As long as you have the goal in mind, whether training or fighting or strategizing for fighting, you will be more effective. Try it!

Bottom line is that you switch roles with the guy doing the fancy-schmancy stuff, and then “feed” him stuff with the intention of not letting him make you look like a monkey. You’d be surprised at how interesting your FMA training becomes, because 99% of the stuff you’ve been taught is not going to work. At least, not in the way you thought it would. But it will certainly develop your skill into real, applicable skill. And that is the word of the day:  Applicable.  You see, there has just been too much concept injected into the FMAs that our proponents are actually making the Filipino arts look bad when they showcase what they know. Switching the roles and playing the guy who’s not going to allow your technique to work will either force the technique and its employment to change, or it will force the practitioners to force their their techniques to success. And by doing that, everyone’s skill improves. And, as always, if anyone is in the Sacramento/Stockton areas, and would like to test any theory or technique I present on this blog in person, just shoot me an email and I’d be glad to give you a match. Anyway, try this in your next workout and let me know what you discover!

Thanks for visiting my blog! Please spread the word!

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4 Responses to “Be the Feeder”

  1. It pained me, but I finally came to the very realization that you explain so well here –the typical training where the guy feeds a strike then freezes like a statue is unrealistic. Given this set of rules, any set of techniques can be made to work.

    Lock and block (feeder strikes with stick, freezes, strikes with knife, freezes) is the same way.

    “Countering the counter” advocates a higher level of thinking, which assumes an opponent is active.

  2. You hit the nail on the head in a BIG way! An attacker is not going to freeze after a strike, so you can counter, but will constantly be “feeding” you with attacks until they beat you to a pulp, or at least try to.

    When we train we do not “freeze” to give the disarm or counter. Everything’s trained dynamically as if being attacked. Maybe not full speed at first, but overtime it speeds up. I may have them “freeze” for a second to grasp the concept of said technique, but after that it’s done in motion and with random striking.

    Another great article! 🙂

  3. I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style! Not everyone will like your view, but don’t let that discourage you.

    Just leaving a message that there are those of us who appreciate what you share with the martial arts world, and I am looking forward to reading your book. Mabuhay!

  4. I’ve asked the question plenty of times-which you’ve answered here. Shouldn’t we focus on attacking? The answer is yes. My guro would not agree, but I feel your essay said it all. Thank you, and please withhold my email address/name.


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