Hello everybody. I hope ya’ll are doing well. In this Latosa Concepts Escrima terminology blog post we’ll look at distance. Distance is the big hidden concept for the 2nd Latosa Concepts grade.
Before we start, here’s a quick & short update on what’s going on. We had our After Easter Get Together not too long ago. I’ll be posting some pictures in the next LC Update blog entry. The weather is starting to warm up… that means the snow is gone if you don’t live in the north. We are looking forward to training outside more often as the weather really warms up. I’ll be posting some more video soon as well. If you see Jesper, tease him a little about the pink tape he found for his sticks.
Well, let’s get going. Distance is part of the trinity: speed timing and distance. This trinity comes from GM Latosa’s teachings. ( Another trinity could be intention, timing and balance. The end result is power ) I might mention the other two parts of the trinity ( that’s speed and timing) a few times, but I’ll stay away from using them too much. This is more about distance and transitioning. Many combative systems have different descriptions of the differing distances, they can govern the techniques performed in a given distance. We can look at distance and think of stiff systems that dictates the attack/ techniques and possibly the mind set performed. You can also use it as an idea, a tool, you might say. Lets say that I have a ballpoint pen in my hand. Are you thinking of Jason Born yet? If we want to use that pen to our advantage and stay away from a bad guy’s weapon, we have to figure out how to best use it. We could think of using butt strikes / hammer fist with a point added to them as well as punching, ripping and so on. Elbow strikes, kicks, and knee attacks are just the beginning of what we can start to do. In my book knees are the same as a kick just not the same distance in some cases. We’ll get into that another day. If we wanted to be very specific regarding distance, we would have to say that a punch is not the same as an elbow strike to the body. A knee strike is not the same as a full range kick. But we are not going there today, we’ll stick with the butt strike and a bike bump.
If we look at the bad guy now. Let’s say he has a long metal bike pump. He wants to bash and stay away from my “pointed butt strikes” (sounds dangerous doesn’t it!). What does he do? He stays at a longer range that suits his weapon and does not fit with my pen or arm length. I want to get inside the power arch/range of his metal bike pump without a head ache. We both have a distance we want to work at. Many people would say that we both have techniques that belong to the perspective distances. I disagree and agree. It depends on how you think. Some techniques are easier to perform and some are just ignored because of a lack of knowledge and/or training.
Pressure drills using different distance are one way to help develop the ability to optimally use an object in many situations. They also help with the ability to read and react, and later down the road, to perform preemptively strike before an attack is fully launched. The challenge starts, when we start to use the stick like it is a pen and so on. A radical thought could easily be to use the pen as a long metal bike pump. I’ll stop with that little tid bit for now though. Because the Latosa Concepts Escrima students are taught to use their fist and blunt objects of differing lengths ( in the beginner levels ), they learn to mix the different techniques into a common way of moving, which can be adjusted to benefit what ever they have in their hands or don’t have in their hands. This might require more body rotation or some other adjustment. Once you understand how to adjust the different body parts as a whole, it becomes much easier. This is why the first few grades for Latosa Concepts Escrima are important. We are working on making the students aware og angles, their own bodies, and distance among other concepts and ideas, so we can adjust and learn quickly later on.
What they are starting to work even more with, is how to control the distances that best works for them and puts the bad guy in a bad position with his weapon. In a ball point pen vs bike pump scenario, they will have to time the movement through that dangerous range where the metal bike pump is most powerful. This could be done by preempting, off-line movement in a direction, learning to wait, or some combination of the above mentioned … and with timing and the correlating speed of course.
How do they start this learning process? We can look at the sparring drill for the second grade (with single sticks). The man that is playing the bad guy (BG) is teaching himself to stand still and place the end of the stick to target. The good guy moves off-line while counter attacking or preempting. The good guy ( GG) learns to place himself geographically correctly according to time and speed to win the micro conflict. The roles reverse and the good guy (GG) becomes the bad guy (BG). They continue on switching rolls.
We can take the starting step/ attack in the drill. If the person is at a very long range they will have to close the distance with a low trigger… the feet. The stick stays ready until they are in range to perform the first attack in the drill. This is where the triggers come in folks. At one distance the movement of the feet is required to start the attack. In a closer distance the stick starts the attack as the high trigger.
What can we add to the mix now? Let’s see …. a moving man! Then another moving man, chaos, your mental state and your heart pounding it’s way out of your chest and what ever else you can think of. Maybe you are thinking of the distance between your weapon to the BG’s body and the distance between the BG’s weapon and your body. That brings in the low triggers again.
Some of the ways the guys are learning about this for the second Latosa Concepts grade is by way of the high attacks. They work with # 2 counters as attacks to the attackers head, then they use the same power to nullify the energy of the BG’s attack and then perform an attack to the man’s bicep attachment. They can do this with a butt strike or the end of the stick. This is where we as Latosa Concepts instructors are sneaky. We don’t always tell people what we are doing. Do you remember the remark about using a pen like a bike pump and the reverse? In the pictures above you can see a drill they worked on the other day. As an introduction to some aspects of a two stick figure-8, the guys are starting to use punjo technique ( butt strike technique ) with a normal length training stick. We’ll show some more punjo drills another day.
In a lot of situations, people will feel safer when they move their head and shoulders away from the line of attack that the bad guy utilizes. They are still in danger in many cases. Remember to move your feet so the entire structure stays strong and that will in turn help to maintain the distance and the focus that should go along with it. This is one reason elastico is trained late in the game. It can get us in trouble if we don’t have the skills we need.
The last little tidbit I’ll leave you with regarding distance training is the intersection of the BG and GG weapon length. The men that train with me should know that the whole of the arm is a weapon, add to that an object in the hand and you have many weapon combinations. By taking the BG’s pike pump (and arm weapon) out at the hand or wrist, less distance needs to be crossed by the GG. The trick is, of course, reading the BG movement patterns and timing the counter attack or preemptive strike. The men will start working on this as their live hand skills starts to improve. With that, other skills become better, not to mention timing and speed.
I have rattled on long enough about this subject. So I’ll let you go.
Stay Proactive in Life and Training