I was wondering how everyone who does FMA, what is the position you find yourself starting in?
1) Do you choke up high on the stick, or do you keep it lower?
2) How are your feet in terms of position?
3) How do you incorporate your basic footwork into movement and striking?
Every system seems to be doing different things, so I was just curious and wanted to ask some of the others here who are studying various FMA systems right now.
I've been studying Balintawak for 6 or 7 years (i'll have to look up just when I started) and Serrada for almost 6 months, just started with Garimot a little over a month ago so my FMA is in a sort of transition phase right now. In Balintawak the grip of the stick starts with an inch or so of punyo (butt), just enough to use for butt strikes and hooking the opponents limbs. In Serrada a shorter stick is used length is armpit to wrist so it varies person to person but of all the styles i've seen Serrada uses the shortest stick, as a result there is no punyo so the butt of the stick is flush with the hand the explanation for this is to maximize the reach of the weapon and to eliminate the possibility of disarms the opponent can do using your own punyo to take your weapon. In Garimot the stick is 28" so slightly longer than Balintawak, a fist of space is dedicated to punyo, this makes butt strikes possible and gives ample punyo for hooking opponent limbs.
As for starting stances: Balintawak has a basic stance, feet shoulder width apart stick arm is bent 90 degrees elbow tucked at the hip and the stick is in front defend. Balintawak also has a semi-advanced stance where the "false lead" footwork is used like in some of the dog bros stuff i've seen, right leg forward stick chambered at shoulder the body is "loaded" or chambered for a strike. There is no official advanced stance the systems master Bobby Taboada says that you must find your own advanced stance and thus the style has no advanced stance. For sparring I personally keep feet shoulder width, stick between me and the opponent, and a minimal punyo, my stance isn't as rigid as the Balintawak stances, more relaxed. This stance I kind of naturally gravitate towards is very similiar to the stance used in Garimot but i'm still new to Garimot.
In Serrada for the counter drills we start from a neutral stance feet in a straight line hands at side with weapon down at waist. I guess the idea is that if you can defend from this neutral position anything else is easy.
1) I almost always hold the stick with about a fist-width punyo.
2) I typically have my feet on a line that is roughly 45 degrees off of the line connecting me to my opponent. Usually I start with the right leg forward, but sometimes I'll start with the left forward if they look hesitant.
3) I don't move a lot. Generally I'll just take a step or two to adjust the angle of my feet when I need to, or I want to offer a different angle to the opponent. The idea of footwork in my style (Garimot) doesn't connote movement, just position of the feet and weight distribution.
Thanks for the responses. I recently began studying Balintawak myself, and up to now its been more Modern Arnis, Silat, or Dumog-oriented styles. I am also trying to make the transition to FCS Kali which is pretty well-known here.
I find myself not wanting to choke up on the stick too much, a friend of mine uses a fist and two fingers as he calls it, and I find disarms very easy on him :) A fist or less would be ideal to me. My footwork and overall position though, I find the Balintawak method of posture to fit me perfectly and integrate itself very well into the other stuff I've been doing.