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

Key Points for Hand to Hand Combat

My building has been undergoing some renovation on the exterior, and slowly I am starting to emerge from the dungeon attitude that matched the look of my school. So, while the contractors work on the outside, I have been working on fixing up the inside. Yesterday afternoon, while I waited for a prospective student, I cleaned behind my file cabinets and found some notes a student took during one of my lectures about hand to hand fighting. Reading it brought me back to the class I spoke to that day; it’s funny how I can’t remember what I did a few days ago in class, but I remembered the lecture from some notes.

These were random notes, and I thought I would share with you some of the things we talked about.

We have a patriotic duty to train in the martial arts/A country’s (family, school, etc) strengths or weaknesses can be seen in the attributes of their people>>their physical prowess/Some countries/families/ma schools place emphasis only on achieving material gains/Some give importance to physical indominatability/No military, no physical presence = emphasis on manipulation, deceit, lack of morals/All warriors have moral code>>money isn’t everything/No self-preservation if no military, so they use people and manipulate hearts and minds in order to remain strong/Father’s duty to protect family, not just provide

The above notes should be self-explanatory. Every society has a military and a warrior class. Well, almost every society; some use their resources to get other people to do their bidding for them. While others (who have no warrior class) will dominate you with other-than-physical warfare. Men respect prowess. What they don’t respect is a man who will not fight you face-to-face. This is the method of snakes, who stab you in the back–your coworkers who are secretly trying to climb the ladder; businessmen who trade under the table; fighters who pull out weapons during a fist fight. When you arm yourself with only what God gave you–your physical skills, your talents, those things that men can see or are aware of–you are then “fighting fair”, and can call yourself truly strong.

Now, I know what the so-called “streetfighting/armchair experts” are thinking:  streetfighting isn’t fair! it’s me or him on the street and we do whatever it takes to win!

Come on. This is the talk of 12 year old boys who bring guns to school to deal with a playground bully; true talk of cowards will make someone use too much or bring inappropriate measures to the fight. If you truly don’t want to fight, walk away. Rarely will you actually get forced into a fight, unless the attacker is attempting to rob you or kill you. The question is, are you preparing yourself for mutual combat? Or just the life-or-death fight? Any asshole with a knife can kill a man, you don’t need training to do that. But we study the martial arts so that we have options. I would think more highly of a martial artist who brings down an attacker with simply injuring him, than one who kills or seriously maims him “because he attacked”. You are not scared Bernard Goetz’s, or are you? If your attacker was a 13 year old girl determined to kick your ass, would you stab her in the neck? Do you have the skills to put her down without seriously hurting her? May I suggest, that the warrior who is training to truly become a warrior develop his physical skills to the level that the average man on the street is no more a threat than that 13 year-old girl. A 24 year old rape victim has justification to kill her opponent; not most of you who are reading this blog. Unjustified killing–constant talk of killing opponents–is not only the behavior of scared men; it is the talk of cowards, if they are training to fight.

Hand-to-hand combat training has three basic goals:  to kill; to subdue or injure; to intimidate possible attackers.

When training you may choose to specialize in one of these goals, or you may touch on all of them. Unless you are a military man, a true fighting man, the first is not best for you. If your only option is to kill, you have not prepared yourself for the life of an urban warrior. I would say that most men on the street need only #s 2 or 3, because most likely they will never be in a real fight. But knowing how to fight and how to defend yourself will give you an aura of someone that is not to be fucked with. Most trouble-makers will recognize you immediately and will choose someone else to mess with. But the guy who is only training to kill or maim is more likely to invite trouble, as the personality that accompanies this kind of training looks for an opportunity to fight. He is also the one who is the most scared to fight, because he has fought the least. Men who fight with the intention to kill rarely fight, and when they do, they end up in prison or injured themselves.

Men who train for mutual combat engage in combat more, and usually are more skillful/Men who train for killing live in fantasy worlds (Walter Mitty) and shun sparring, so they are less skillful at anything but talk and demonstrations/You can’t “kill” in practice.

This one needs no explanation. It means exactly what I said.

There are three types of Filipino martial arts:  striking arts, grappling arts, weapons arts/People try to do them all, but they rarely do them all well/When they try them all, they usually do poorly at all

This needs no explanation as well. I’ve spent a lot of time bringing this point home on this blog, let’s go to other things.

Along with skills training, techniques practice, study of strategy, and live practice, we must devote our time to study of fighting philosophy and learning the mentality of a fighter/Missing element in most fighting arts:  development of the ability to hurt a man, fearlessness, pain tolerance, determining when the fight is necessary, and studying fear and courage

Few teachers–few masters–address this. Can you bring yourself to put an attacker’s eye out? Can you handle the task of striking first, when you have seen that a confrontation is unavoidable? Can you face the possibility of danger–afraid–and act as if you were not? Are you willing to admit to yourself (and others) that you experience fear? If not, how will you deal with it when you actually suffer its paralysis?

These are questions you must ponder and consider as martial warriors–even those of you who do not engage in regular combat–live or simulated.

This article is getting long, so I will close here, and continue in a second segment. Thank you for visiting my blog.

By the way, make sure you get over to my “Offerings” page and order my book, Mustafa Gatdula’s How to Build a Dominant Fighter in 12 Months!

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4 Responses to “Key Points for Hand to Hand Combat”

  1. Thanks for an awesome post and interesting comments. Very enlightening! Thanks for sharing this article!

  2. Another great post, great to see some common sense interjected with the whole realm of “self defense”. As a lawyer it frightens me to see what some “self defense” instructors teach/tell their students. It is good to see there are at least some out there who are grounded in reality, and not fantasy.

    • thank you.FMA martial artists think too much of fighting as a skill of coordination. they do this so much simple things like attitude and power and sparring, which mean everything, means nothing to them.

  3. I wanna learn how to control my fear idk wat holds me bak from fightin my girl thinks im scary bt im not i jus to b honest idk wats goin on wit me cuz ill fite if i realli hav to nt if sumone eggs me on to do it


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