recommend an FMA
Over my forum travels its hasn't been uncommon for me to find guys looking for recommendations on a filipino Martial Art to train. Often these guys have at least done minimal research and decided FMA is the art they want to train. When finding a school I'm an advocate of "see what's near you, and what you can afford, and attend schedule wise" and narrow it down from there. Style is usually one of the last things to consider unless you live in a populated area. That being said maybe we could learn a little about the other FMA out there by recommending an FMA school for a fictional potential student. However, in the exercise of recommending a school i'd like to see if everyone can actually give three recommendations relating to the following criteria:
1) your system, naturally many of us will recommend our own style if it has multiple branches, briefly mention why it's worth seeking out.
2) an FMA other than your own you've personally trained or witnessed. Again briefly mention why its worth checking out.
3)an FMA you haven't trained. Briefly discuss an FMA you may have read about or seen on video that you think is worth checking out. This will likely be one of the bigger name FMAs that someone looking for an FMA school is apt to find in their town that gives you a postitive general impression.
In summary, this is kind of an exercise to see what people think about different systems and what image those systems give other FMA practitioners. The goal is to recommend schools to potential students seeking FMA training that may or may not have a martial arts background. Try to list your biases or disclosures if you have any. For example for #2 you may have trained in it for a few years before finding your current system, or #3 may be a system your good friend trains. Hope this isn't to lame. I'm taking a Practical research class right now so maybe this thread is just some bleed through from the stuff i've been reading but it might be interesting.
1) I train Balintawak and i'd recommend it because of the systems simplistic approach to combat. At the most basic level Balintawak is a system designed to train reflexes and body/head movement. Balintawak uses a small number of techniques and adapts them to as many situations as possible much like boxing. The art revolves around a randomized training, feeder based method that later transitions to a more dynamic form of sparring. there aren't numerous complicated sequences and drills to learn, from nearly day one the student defends random attacks in real time. Find a group with an instructor that displays good, fluid, body movement.
2) Garimot Arnis is a system I trained for around six months, I had to leave due to my school schedule and family life but it's worth checking out. This is a complete system that trains all ranges of stick corto,medio, and specializes in largo. However, the Garimot definition and application of largo is different than other largo approaches i've seen, the approach is more combative and favors fight ending head shots over hand and limb attack although they are present within the system. In addition to stick, ample time is devoted to double stick, knife, stick and knife, extensive grappling, flexible weapons, and depending on the school healot (healing, shiatsu, massage may be available, i didn't witness this personally though).
3) I haven't personally trained Pekiti Tirsia (PTK) but I have met some of the systems practitioners and it seems like a strong system worth checking out. All the guys i've met and seen in videos online seem to be in good shape. In the videos i've seen with Tim Wade I like a lot of what he has to say about martial arts and his explanations on what constitutes effective training. The art has a strong combative component that is very to-the-point in application. It seems to be a no frills system that emphasizes practicality over appearance which is always a solid bet when looking for a fighting art.
Good idea for a thread.
1) I train Pekiti Tirsia Kali and enjoy the system a great deal. I like the combative focus of the system and the focus on footwork and striking mechanics. I have trained other FMA systems in the past (more on that later) and both footwork and the mechanics of an actual strike were rarely discussed, foot work on occasion, but never striking. The level of attention to detail on those issues which exists in Pekiti Tirsia is way above what I have experienced or seen in other systems of FMA. The striking mechanics of PTK with the long weapon allow for the generation of power in the strike that I have not seen in any other FMA system.
In addition to that, I like the focus on multiple attackers, and the reality of firearms which is understood to a level in PTK that I have encountered in other systems. Furthermore, I like the focus on counter-offense versus defense/blocking, which I know some practitioners from other FMA systems quibble about. What I can say about that is that there is indeed a difference, and it alters to a large degree the manner in which you strike and move.
2) Prior to Pekiti Tirsia, I trained Modern Arnis with some Sayoc Kali thrown in as well. I enjoyed my time in Modern Arnis a great deal, and believe that it can be an effective system. What often lets the system down is that manner in which it is trained, e.g. little to no sparring or actual intent to fight. Our training group did live stick, empty hand, and knife sparring with aluminum trainers. We didn't do it all the time, but it was definitely a testing requirement and used in training from time to time to validate what we were learning. The other thing which lets Modern Arnis down is that way too many people were given rank and they couldn't use their art if their lives depended on it, let alone teach others to do so. Finally, while Modern Arnis has very solid stick work, their blade work is minimal at best and is not nearly enough to be a comprehensive long blade, knife, or knife defense system by itself.
Following my time in Modern Arnis and Sayoc, I trained in Lacoste-inosanto Kali. I also enjoyed this a great deal, but the same problems were noted in the manner in which it is often trained. My head instructor was Pat Tray, who was a SEAL and used to spar with the Dog Brothers back in the day (he's on some of the early DB videos), so he believed in live training. The problem was that we were a commercial gym, and we never ended up sparring. In addition, there was almost no focus on striking mechanics and some occasional footwork practice, but it was minimal as well. My other major concern was the lack of a curriculum and overall training plan. It is pretty common among Lacoste-Inosanto Kali instructors to not have a curriculum, or much in the way of a training plan at all. This is probably mostly because Guro Dan does not seem to have one himself. Unfortunately, this leads to little in the way of uniformity among teachers, and makes it hard to understand where you are, and where you are going. Some guys, like Rick Faye for example, have developed their own curriculum and seem to be doing a better job, but that is rare. What I will say is that the system itself, particularly the empty hand work as well as the knife system, is incredibly good. I have zero doubt that the skills one would learn in that training could definitely save someone's live. I would personally have zero qualms in trust what I was taught, particularly in those areas.
3) The other systems which have always piqued my interest are Illustrisimo/Bakbakan Kali, Villabrile-Largusa Kali, and Giron Arnis-Eskrima (Bahala Na). The Illustrisimo system has a well deserved reputation for their work with long weapons, they are blade focused, and no one can accuse them of not doing live training. Their knife work is harder to get a handle on, but what I have seen to date looks solid. Villabrile-Largusa Kali is harder for me to explain. There is something of a mystique surrounding Floro Villabrile in FMA, and that may contribute to my interest. They are a reclusive group and it is rare to see any video of them online. Heck, it is hard for potential students to even get in touch with them from what I can tell. Regardless, the system has a good reputation, Guro Dan certainly speaks incredibly high of both Villabrile and Largusa, as well as the system. Finally, when it comes to the Giron system, what is there to say? What that system represents is the teachings of a true bladed warrior who actually put his skills to real live use in WWII, and was also a total pioneer of FMA in the United States. Plus, you can see from their training vids that they are not afraid of hard contact.
So, there you have it.
Last edited by jwinch2; 8/22/2014 11:01pm at .
I lack experience in other FMAs but I'll give this a go.
1) I train the Doce Pares Multi-Style system (SGM Diony Canete's Doce Pares). I would recommend it if you are:
a) Looking to compete in sport Eskrima. (Doce Pares dominates WEKAF and GSBA).
b) Looking for a large community worldwide.
c) Looking for a highly structured curriculum. (GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN!)
I would be wary of it because:
a) The organisation is rife with politics (not unique to Doce Pares or even FMA)
b) Like any big organisation, quality control of instructors is difficult.
c) If you stick purely to the syllabus there is a distinct lack of aliveness before brown/black belt.
All of the above can be counteracted by a good instructor.
2) This one is a bit hard for me as I've only done a few seminars worth of other FMAs. I was at one point sparring and training regularly with a gentleman from Lightning Scientific Arnis who had joined our Doce Pares club and I found his techniques to be very strong. Lightning Scientific focusses (and I'm open to correction here) on using angles and footwork to set up power strikes/finishing blows. A good choice if you like a more intellectual game.
3) For this one I'm going to go ahead and recommend DBMA or the Dog Brothers Martial Arts system (not to be confused with the Dog Brothers themselves, who let anyone from anywhere fight at their events). While this style is not very traditional, the laboratory that produced it is as close to reality as we're likely to see and, provided the club attends Gatherings regularly, quality control takes care of itself. Recommended if you want to be able to fight with a stick.
Thanks for that. Out of curiosity, did you get much exposure to their solo and double daga material? If so, I would be interested in your take on it.
Originally Posted by jspeedy
I experienced some of the tres puntas knife system from GAT. Didn't do any double knife that I recall. I liked the knife work, as it fit right in with the GAT principals of maintaining proper distance in within the relatively close range of the knife. There was also a focus on getting control of the knife arm as opposed to passing several times, GAT does have passing of course but I like the emphasis of controlling the weapon arm when empty hand vs knife.
Full disclosure, I sought out systems initially with what I judged to be real world applicability, and also which participated in heavy sparring.
1) I currently train in Kali Ilustrisimo in San Diego with Guro Brandon Ricketts (son of the late Master Topher Ricketts). I began training in this style two years ago at the recommendation of one of my other teachers (Guro Dino Flores of Lameco) as I was having to commute 90 miles each way to train with Guro Dino, and he recommended I should train closer to home. Ilustrisimo bladework is heavily used in Lameco, and as such the transition was basically seamless. I really enjoy the simplicity of this style. The late Master Ricketts believed in using simple techniques and drilling them into reflexes so they could be applied in sparring. What you train in technique, you should be able to apply in full speed sparring, and his son Guro Brandon definitely is continuing with this approach. I train 3 days a week, and we usually spar all 3 sessions. The general approach is to treat the stick as a blade in both drills and sparring. Hit without being hit, and use precision and technique with your strikes. Each strike should have a target and should be thrown for a specific reason. Also a lot of emphasis is placed on footwork and hip movements to generate power while not telegraphing the strikes or announcing intent. We spar single and double stick, single and double knife, and sometimes mixed stick/knife to mix things up. Also, for the amount and quality of training it is very affordable. It is $135 a month for the "group" class, which meets 12 times a month and is usually an hour to 2 hours per session. This is a phenomenal value IMO. I have done private training with Guro Brandon as well, but I prefer the class as that is where we do the sparring. The main drawback for this art is that it is very difficult to find instruction pretty much anywhere outside the P.I.
2) Lameco eskrima was the first style I seriously trained in. I trained in this exclusively for around 2 years or so. At the time I was working in a psychiatric hospital and was looking for a good practical art to help with defending myself when we had to take down patients. A friend of mine had trained in lameco and told me to check it out. This art is very practical and systematic in its approach to training, always keeping in mind to train as you would fight and to have realistic expectations about your ability. I trained with Guro Dino Flores and Guro Dave Gould privately usually at least once or twice monthly and also attended seminars and classes whenever they were put on and then training on my own the rest of the time. It was through Lameco that I was exposed to Ilustrisimo bladework. Again, a major drawback for training in Lameco is the availability of instructors. Also, it is my understanding that a portion of proceeds from Lameco instruction are donated to the widow of the late P.G. Edgar Sulite who was the founder of Lameco. As such, the training is more expensive than other arts, but I think it is worth it. The principle difference between Lameco and Ilustrisimo that I have seen is that Lameco has separate movement patterns specific to stick fighting and others specific to blade work and also incorporates other subtle additions in disarms, knife trapping, hold up situations and such. Lameco also incorporates sparring, which is good if you like that sort of training. Both the Lameco and Ilustrisimo communities are small and very loyal, which is something I respect.
3) A Style I am interested in trying out would be De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal. From my understanding this is the basis for the stick work in Lameco, and the few patterns I learned from it have worked very well in stick sparring. I would very much like to further my knowledge, but at the present time I do not have time to do so!
Yeah, control is vital at that range for GAT; even the passing is done with the intent to gain control.
Originally Posted by jspeedy
The double knife doesn't come until later when the single knife is understood.