Trapping for Fighting

Today I’d like to discuss the technique called trapping. In my many criticisms of the empty handed Filipino Martial Arts, I use the phrase “patty cake” to insult what many of you regard as your unique, bread-and-butter technique. Do I do this for reaction? Yes, I do. Do I really think trapping is no good? No, I don’t.

But don’t get your panties all in a bunch yet.

If you plan on selectively quoting my articles in order to discredit me on some remote blog or forum or Facebook discussion, consider this:  I am as real a martial artist as many of you will ever meet. Unlike many like me, I am on the computer—now on Facebook (thekuntawman at yahoo dot com)—and I do all the things internet warriors do. But don’t get it confused, in person, I may smile and be friendly, but I will still embarrass you on the floor. Even moreso if you decide to “compare’’ techniques. I am not an internet warrior, and doing what many of you do to martial arts characters on the net will ensure that you will be offered a match should we meet in person. I am not a very nice guy if you are bold enough to accept. By the way, of those FMA guys who bad mouth me on the internet—NONE have ever accepted an in-person challenge. Funny how my winning smile can pull the bitch out of the toughest of martial artists.

Now, trapping has its place in the martial arts. FMA people do tend to overemphasize the utility of trapping, yet they underemphasize its use in sparring, and therefore are not very good at it. I can beat most trapping artists with a jab-cross, but it isn’t because of the merit of trapping; it’s because I understand punching and most trap artists do not. Another good reason is that I use a fight-based training method and most that use trapping use a drill-based learning method. There is a big difference between the two, and if you go back and revisit some of the articles I’ve written on training versus practice, you will understand what that difference is.

First, trapping is not something beginners should be spending much time on. If I had it my way, beginners wouldn’t spend any time on it at all. Before a student can begin to even entertain the idea of using a trap on a living, breathing, combative opponent, he must first know how to punch. He should have more than simply the basics of how to punch, but he should be well-versed at it. He should know how to use his maximum speed without compromising the form of his punch, as well as how to hit full power while keeping in form. He should also understand the timing of a punch (both in executing and countering one). He should know the concepts of punching in combination, power mechanics, and movement. If punching is the cake, then trapping is the sprinkles. If you have dry, tasteless cake, adding a ton of sprinkles only gives you a cake that looks good. Hopefully you can make the connection.

In order for you to have effective trapping, you must have good command of your hands. You must be able to punch (literally) with your eyes closed. You should be able to function in the clinch, and rely on sensitivity and not your eyes. You must never be caught out of position while exchanging; otherwise you will neither have immediate access to those trapping skills—nor your access to counter-trapping skills.

You must also be able to both stop and evade a punch as well. Trapping does you no good if you do not have the ability to stop your opponent’s hands, as in the process of exchanging blows you will have to control your opponent and stop his other hand from attacking while you “do the do”. If the opponent is able to hit you at will, your hands will not have a target when you are attempting your traps. If you are lucky enough to catch a hand or forearm, you will not be able to capitalize on the opponent’s very temporary immobilized position.

Which leads me to the next point. You must understand the dynamic nature of fighting with hands. All who overemphasize trapping do so because they do not understand what fighting with hands is all about. If you did, you would know that a good majority of techniques out there that represents “in fighting”, “close quarters” and “trapping” simply won’t work. Why? Here’s a secrets:  Trapping is a temporary… no, VERY temporary… no, split-second… no, milli-second thing. Yes the trap is in the blink of an eye, and if you go to Youtube and search “Panantukan” or “trapping fighting” or one of the other buzz words, you will notice that almost all the guys out there—even those who are considered the best—think that trapping snares you all the time in the world to do what you have to do. Trapping is so temporary, that if you can trap a real jab—you are one bad mofo.

Let’s repeat this, kiddies. TRAPPING =/= JAB DEFENSE. In other words, the first indication that your Guro will get his ass whipped in a match with thekuntawman is that he attempts to convince you that you can trap a jab. A real jab.  Let’s put a “period” at the end of this point. No further explanation is necessary. Period.

Okay, coming up on a thousand words, so my bat-indicators and spidey-sense is telling me I am about to teach people for free again. Now, if you want to learn how to trap for real—and you are in Northern California, then plop down the $45 to take my Punching Seminar on Feb 19th. It’s from 2 – 4 p.m., and you will need a headgear (preferable with a face cage, people keep stealing mine), handwraps, closed-fingers gloves, and a focus mitt. Come in 30 minutes early and I will teach you to wrap your hands and how to make a fist. And be prepared to stay over about an hour, as we may go longer than two hours. Hit me on Facebook if you’d like to learn more.

Thanks for visiting my blog.