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

Test Your Empty Handed FMA, pt II

A friend of mine called me and told me that he printed this article and the forum strand that inspired the article, for discussion among his advanced students. He is an FMA teacher and he does not want me to share who he is in the article, but I would like to tell you about some of the things he and I talked about concerning this subject.

One of the things we find in the martial arts–and it’s really bad in the Philippine Martial Arts–is that students tend to take their teacher’s methods as gold and then neglect to test or experiment with their theories. It isn’t necessary to challenge your teachers’ views all the time or to test them for truth/validity, but it is necessary to get a good feel for the techniques and theories. You must work on them to find out how these techniques work for you. See, the same fighting technique will work differently when applied by fighters of different skills levels, experiences, preferences and attributes. And some techniques will work for some fighters, while some techniques will not. On top of all of that, you must consider who you are fighting–and his skill level, experiences, preferences and attributes. So, when I say “test” an empty handed FMA skill set, I am not saying you must only test to see if the technique works or not…. Almost all techniques work; you just have to figure out how they work.

Secondly, you must have a full understanding of what can happen before and after the technique is applied, along with what normally happens. My friend and I often disagree on fighting techniques, and back when I was in DC, he and I would end up sparring to prove our points. Sometimes, I win. Sometimes, he wins. The funny thing is that regardless of who wins, we usually stick to our guns and consider the loss to mean that we need to work more on our theories. And that’s good! See, fighting is not an exact science. There are so many variables and possibilities, almost anything can work–or can be proven to not work. Your job, as the martial arts teacher, is to find out as much as you can about those variables and possibilities, and how you can make a technique succeed–as well as how to make a technique fail. This should be done with almost everything in your arsenal. It is also something that cannot be figured out in your head.

Well, not fully.

Once you have come up with a “possibility”–in your head, that is–it is merely a theory, and you have to do the above in order to “test” it. See if it will stand up to someone else’s idea. Now, you can do it with friends and students, but your test then becomes limiting. I would recommend doing so with friends and family in order to gain a better understanding of how the theory is applied. But once you do that, you have to find a doubtful subject to test your theory on… preferably a fighter who is a stranger to you. This test, although not “street combat”, is a bigger test of where your idea stands. And once you have perfected this idea and learned to apply it in multiple settings, you will have more confidence in what you are doing. So, the next time some bozo tells you about “the fallacy of your FMA techniques”, you won’t get your panties all in a bunch… and will simply smile and utter those words, “show me”.

Instead of asking him to post a youtube clip. (Yeah, I’m still laughing at them cry babies…)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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