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

Improving Arnis Fighting Performance: Short Combos

I had an idea for a book that I never did anything with. The book was to be called “Improving Arnis Fighting Performance”, and would be for experienced Arnisadors wanting to improve their fighting ability with the single stick. I had noticed that there aren’t many good resources for people wanting to improve their Arnis fighting available. I see a lot of “Intro to___” books and DVDs, and a whole of prearranged defense videos, but there simply aren’t many good books and videos for teaching the fighting art of Arnis. You can do drills all day long and learn prearranged defense all day long, but if you don’t study how the art of fighting with your Arnis/Eskrima works, your fighting skill may never be bridged to what you’ve been doing in the classroom. Perhaps we may get to work on the book, but in the meantime, I would like to share some of my ideas here on the blog.

Short Combos

Arnisadors should have in their arsenal a small set of short, explosive combinations of strikes for attacking. We practice defense against strikes, disarmings, drills, and locks and throws with our sticks. But the most basic part of fighting–the attack–is most often not even addressed. In fact, I have seen at least 8 or so FMA video series, and only one (Dog Brothers) even addresses how to attack an opponent. At a minimum, the Arnisador should have an idea of what he would do to attack his opponent as well as have several methods of doing so.

The attack combinations should contain no more than 6 strikes in the attack, and you should be able to deliver and complete the attack less than 2 seconds. The attack is what you do to close the distance between you and your opponent, and how you will initiate the engagement. It is not necessarily the finishing technique, where you incapacitate your enemy, but how you set him up for the finishing technique. It should draw the opponent’s hands away from his guard, it should tie up his weapon, and to disrupt his readiness and concentration–as well as his balance. I say that the combination should be delivered in the blink of an eye, because we do not want the opponent to have an answer for the attack. At the same time, we must be able to leave the opponent vulnerable while preparing ourselves for the finishing blow(s).

I recommend practicing the same combinations over and over until they are second nature. It is not a good idea to have too many combinations, as you will not have immediate access to them if you have more than a few. Of course, we don’t want so few that the opponent will be able to predict our next move. But we should have these attacks so ingrained in our muscle memory that thought is not required. When the opponent give the cue, the attacks should unleash by themselves. In nutshell, you must have executed these combos thousands and thousands of times, and their use must be thoughtlessly employed.

I don’t have a lot to say about this subject, other than the fact that this rule is an extremely important one and is vital to your success as a fighter. If you would like to read about my method of creating dominant fighters, please look at our “Offerings” page off the main page and check out my book, Mustafa Gatdula’s How to Build a Dominant Fighter in 12 Months.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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One Response to “Improving Arnis Fighting Performance: Short Combos”

  1. Good stuff.

    I’ve thought of this and have tried to work it into my training. Boxing does a jab-cross, jab-cross-hook, etc. combination, so that the practitioner has an instinctive attack chain that logically builds.

    I’d be interested in that book!


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