Advice on FMA clinchwork?
In my FMA sparring I occasionally find myself in a sort of "clinch" scenerio. We spar using a single stick and eventually when I enter the clinch range i'll find myself grabbing my opponents stick or stick arm, usually i'll rain a few blows then my stick or stick arm gets grabbed too, kind of resulting in a mexican stand off. So to clarify i'm holding my opponents stick and he's holding mine as well. Depending on the training space we'll sometimes include takedowns which is an easy transition from the mexican standoff position I just described. The problem arises if want to stay standing and free me stick hand. usually we'll wrestle around a little and eventually someone has to let go of the others hand to accomplish anything. Occasionaly, I can wrench my stick arm free or use a weaving motion to break the grip.
My main question is do you ever find yourself in this mexican standoff position and if so how do you handle it? Does anyone know of any video demonstrating this scenario that shows any technique?
Felix Valencia has some videos on fighting from the standoff you described, but I think they just address the knife. In my experience, if someone is only able to grab your forearm you can tap them with some abanicos to make them let go. If they're coming in with lots of forward pressure, you might want to play around with abandoning your stick and using that split second confusion/distraction to do a throw like a hip toss or fireman's carry. Sometimes it's better to abandon your own weapon, but this is hard to do since mentally, you want to hang on to it even when it might be better to stop struggling over it. The Dog Brothers call this being "monkeyfisted"; imagine a monkey that's put its' hand in a jar to grab a piece of fruit, but the fruit plus the hand can't be pulled out of it. All the monkey has to do is let go to escape. I've also played around a little with the idea of approaching a stalemate like this- when they grab the arm, toss your weapon (perhaps at their face; it won't have much force) and immediately use your two free hands to take their weapon instead. This was towards the end of my fencing masks in the park stickstravaganza, so I didn't get to explore this much.
Valencia's material is pretty good as it approaches things in a situational manner rather than the conceptual one. The problem is that someone who is only learning the material through the DVD often has difficulty seeing the underlying concepts and applying them outside of the given scenarios presented in the DVD. Having said that, I also have enjoyed my exposure to the Sayoc stick grappling material. I was at a seminar where Tom Kier taught some of that material and I found it to be quite good. We do a fair amount of it in Inosanto-LaCoste and we did it in Modern Arnis as well when I used to study that sytem. The basic "I got yours and you got mine" is a common stalemate in stick work and I have even seen it a fair amount of times in knife training as well. I would be surprised if your FMA system did not address it as most of them I have encountered have had a good deal of stick grappling material.
Anyone who spars realistically will have this happen regularly when both fighters have a little forward momentum. If things get grabby, I'll either try to break free, go with alternative/non-stick striking, or throw him. If you're savvy, you can sometimes head off the double clinch.
First off, some basic stance stuff. If he's in range to grab your stick, assuming you're right-handed, switch to a left lead so that you can grab/control/shield/punch with your left, and it's not dragging along behind you out of range. This is obvious, but really critical.
If things have collapsed to close or semi-close range, I've brought my left hand into play by switching to a left lead or at least not a sideways right-forward stance. Now, if I get grabbed, I must immediately yank my stick back to my side as best as I am able. If he grabs then tugs me off-balance I'm done for. So, detect grab, yank it back, and punch him with a left cross.
If you connect well, this might free your stick. If not, it will at least distract him. In addition, if he's already launched an attack, this will at least give him something to think about, and should help to cover your head. (tuck your chin behind your shoulder). After the punch lands (or is parried or whatever), immediately grab your own stick to get a two-on-one. Ideally grab it at the end, with either his hand or armpit in the middle.
If his hand is in the middle, just begin rowing like it's a double-ended boat paddle. Ideally with a little downward snap. If he is trying to strike you, just raise the stick to shield (putting his own hand at risk). The rowing motion should break his grip. Immediately counter.
If he's got an overwrap on your stick, punch, reach over his shoulder, and grab the end of your stick. If necessary, just jam it in a little deeper. (Your fist and punyo may be stuck). Immediately step to your right, swivel, and pull down on the end of your stick to break his posture and prevent him from lighting you up with his free stick. If he's really determined to still hang on here, he might be able to, but you should be safe and can make him pay with knees. There are also some further locks, throws and pain-compliance holds that you can apply here.
If you both have ahold of one another's stick with only your hands, see option A above. Release his stick, yank yours, punch, two-handed row break. But if you're in a proper overwrap clinch, with both sticks in there good and deep, it's pretty close to a grapple.
I will sometimes try a headbutt, release, then go for option B. Headbutts are always good here, and I use them to set up a ton of stuff. If option B is to precarious, I'll usually go for a takedown. There are a few that I use regularly.
I like a stick-assisted pickup. Just drop your weight, and get your stick horizontal behind his back. Reach through, grab the end, and just make sure you get the whole stickdown below his ass, ideally to his thighs. Lift him up and dump. Or if he's too big, just keep him from stepping backwards, and just push forward (get low) and/or headbutt him to get him leaning back.
A lot of basic judo throws work as well. Driving leg trips, hip throws, uchimata, etc.
Once you're in a deep clinch with sticks, it's tough to get out clean. Hence the throws. The alternative is to obviously drop your stick, strike him empty-handed, and scramble to recover your weapon if desired.
Last edited by Ryno; 8/31/2010 3:42pm at .
thanks Ryno, I'm gonna play around with some of the things you mentioned.
Thanks for the replies guys. Sounds like you have some good strategies and suggestions for me to play around with.
The trouble I have with using option A strategy. As soon as I let go of the opponents stick and grab my stick with 2 hands to beat his 1, the close range abanicos and flicks start flying. I haven't tried to use both hands to execute a block while doing this though, those close range strikes come so fast it seems like it would be hard to keep up if the opponent refuses to let go. still, the close range strikes do little damage.
I like the option B and have practiced it in drills but uit always slips my mind when sparing i'll work on it.
My favorite strategy if we're not on concrete and doing takedowns are reaps and sweeps, they seem pretty easy when all the focus is up on the sticks.
Yah, if you just release and go for option A, you can have trouble with bullshit abanico hits and such. That's why I always punch first. Release, yank my stick and punch, get two-handed control. To be honest, a good cross/stiff jab should do a lot more damage than some little whippy strikes with a light stick. (can't do much abanico work with a heavy stick anyway).
I alway try to cover my reach for the two-handed grip by punching first. Incidentally, if you both have each other's stick in hand, and are still at medio, a front push kick does wonders.
I like mixing in the punch there and I would also suggest a stomp kick, oblique kick, or shin rake right before you release his stick. In addition to that, I would think about throwing his stick to the side and as you do so, step to the opposite side as you are popping him in the face. The combination of multiple sticks, forcing his stick away from you, and good footwork can really increase the chances of that plan working.
My suggestion is lots of time playing "Whose Stick Is It Anyway" - one stick between two partners, both of you start with both hands gripping the stick, and you fight for control. Spend too much time worrying about the stick, and your partner will punch you. Spend too much time punching, and your partner will wrest the stick away from you.
My fave option is to start by pulling the stick towards me with both hands, which allows me to drive a head-butt forwards.
I actually recall doing this before. The kick made them let go of the stick so I ended up with two. Rather than continuing sparring with the new dynamics (unarmed vs double stick), I think I did a kung fu pose, we had a laugh, and then reset.
Originally Posted by Ryno