From The Vault Escrima videos

I did it! I found some old dvd’s with demo’s and other stuff on them. There were some with other instructors. I’ll try to get a hold of them to make sure it’s OK to post a video with them. Until then I have posted a demo we did for a shoot fighting tournament around 10 years ago (?) There is another music track added to it because I knew YouTube would ban it due to music infringements. That means no cracking sounds from the hickory sticks striking. Sorry about that.

I am still looking for the GM Rene clips I have somewhere. We’ll se if those are the next videos posted. For those of you who notice little details you will see that we have different logo’s on. There is a bit of history there.

When GM Rene stopped working with the Germans, Master Bill stayed with the German org. Steve Tappin and the Scandinavian org. went it’s own way. That is the logo you can see on the tee shirts. Just to finish the story, politics and ego’s got in the way again and there was another split. The Scandinavian org and Tappin stopped working together. That is where Weapons Combat System came into the picture.

After 15+ years of politics I finally came home to where I belong by following the teachings of GM Rene Latosa again. Now I just want to train, teach a little and hopefully get to the states from time to time to get more feed back from GM Rene. OOH and post a few old videos from time to time. What can I say, I must be getting old.

Any HOO! Here’s the video. I’m just tired of all the heavy metal music with the videos right now. Live with it.

Be Proactive in Training and Life


Thoughts on real life self-defense.

Master Bill Newman liked to say that he was very happy with the escrimadors here in Copenhagen many years ago when GM Rene, Master Bill and many others were still part of the same organization. He would also say that we were good because we did not know defeat, you could see that in the nature of our attacks / counter attacks and we never gave up. We refused to accept defeat in any form. That is the essence of real life self-defense. The minute you focus on the possibility of defeat in a given situation, it affects the nature of your responses and actions.

For me it’s about self-defense and combative training. Because of this I have run into the mentality that martial arts is bla bla bla. When I trained at a local karate club there were two factions. There was a sports and “art” side/group and there was a a group that was pretty hardcore. The hardcore types drifted away with time, which made me do the same. I like the idea of discipline and many other things about what people “call” the art today. With that said we have to look at the real life applications and ask our selves if they would work if just one of a variety of factors changed.  Adrenaline and it’s effects on motor skills alone is one of the factors.

When we go back in time to when we were kids, we were tought to use this technique or that one to defend our selves so no one got hurt. We have to be sure we are not controlled by this same set of rules when we learn how to really defend ourselves today. That is the reason I do not teach kids what I teach other people. With that said I do say you will learn more later. I was taught to be the man of the family, and the ugly consequences of it,  if my father never came home from work. It’s a hard burden for a young boy. I would not wish it on anybody else. There were reasons I will not get into here, but there was a reason for what was taught to me. That way of learning changed me for life. Having a girl friend that was raped at one time in her life and another that I suspected was raped reenforced this way of living. Working security has reenforced many thought once again. What I am trying to say/write is that we can hope the world was/is what we wish for, but there are some solid truths that we have to acknowledge.  Regarding this subject you can check out When is there a lethal threat.

All this ties into why the combative arts are not focused on many of the same facets of defense as martial arts. Assumptions that an attacker follows some kind of fair play code are dangerous. Assumptions that we can knock a man out with a single blow are very over stated. Just look back at the beginning of MMA when karate fighters fought  BJJ fighters. It was very hard to get that one all or nothing punch to work. The BJJ guys almost always won because of this.

Getting back to the mind set. I have taught students to train to survive first for quite a while. When they are aware of the dangers of “being nice” and how they risk their own well being, then they can train those applications of techniques if they wish. It is based on a realistic understanding of what can happen. This is also why the teachings of GM Latosa have always been so truthful for me. Good honest hits!

MA, The other instructor for the LC Group, and I can train some nerdy aspects of self-dense, with that said it is not for beginners to train. ( we trained espada y daga yesterday) There is a whole basis of reactions and knowledge that are built up over time. That basis has to be built up before being overly nice / fancy in a self-defense situation is possible. Mental strength in many situations has to be built up in some people and others just have it. Some people can see past the pain they are feeling and focus on damaging you with a vengeance.

What’s funny about this is, If we go back in time martial arts were self-defense. The term means art of war. What happened? I can’t give you all the answers without a looooong winded answer. The art of war contains the will to stop, damage, injure and/or kill an attacker and more.  We have forgotten this. To get a little peek into one western view of it go to Bullet Proof Your Mind.  We are getting back to the earlier post When is there a lethal threat.” 

When it’s all over with and done, each of us has to decide how far we are willing to take  the most realistic aspects of self-defense. If you train enough you can move between the different severities of your response to a situation, but that takes time, experience and ability to think under fire. Many people don’t have that. How many people have said “try to cave my head in to a training partner.”  Not many, I would bet. It’s not pretty, or anything else. It is effective!

As I wrote before I will look through some of the dvd’s soon to post some more From the Vault and Strength and Conditioning videos.

Be Proactive in Life and Training


Reaction triggers

Reaction and action triggers which starts a flow or movement sequence for combative sports and self-defense training.

The following is a quick article that I wrote for an Escrima newsletter. It’s old but good to read. It’s about reaction or action triggers, which starts a flow and /or movement sequence for combative sports and self-defense training. The name I coined, trigger, is meant to be descriptive of something that starts a chain reaction of event.


An instructor in Helsingborg Sweden, Jørgen Thunman, sent an email to me with some links about training. In responding to his mail, I realized that the subject would be good for the newsletter.

There was a video about using the head as a trigger to activate the body. This relationship between the trigger and the body can also be exploited and used as a target of attack.

To start with there are many ways to trigger a movement, if we learn to be aware of our movements and bodies. There are triggers that start a chain reaction in our bodies and there are triggers that start a mental reaction in us. We can also train our selves to be triggered by a movement or thought for that matter.  For those of you who have trained knives with me, we have touched on the blade angle being used as a trigger to start the movement of the feet, body, etc. For those of you who  have trained with me on Mondays and other days at the WTC, you will know about the mental triggers that I talk about from time to time.

This brings me to one reason why I use 1 hand = 1 foot as a warm up quite a lot. The foot work triggers a body movement and the correct “buffer zone” and angle according to the attacker. By working on moving our feet faster, we work on moving our bodies to the correct position faster as well. This is an unconscious reaction, if we are not that aware of our bodies.

Once we are aware of how to train our bodies and minds to react to triggers we can use this in slow motion training to cut down on wasted time. If a person hits, stab, cut, etc with one weapon stretched out in front of his body and one stretched out behind his body then he is wasting time. There is long period of time between the first strike and the second strike.

Note! The small sword stance with one hand behind the body is based on balance and the fact that the small sword is often used alone. We are not talking about swords here. Again, you should thank the instructor from Helsingborg, Jørgen Thunman, for this. He also sent a link which had to do with training alone. The information was a description of what I also do when training alone. Tai Chi looks a little strange if you think about training to move quickly in a fight situation. But if we use slow movement to analyze and train triggers and avoid wasted time then it becomes a tool and a form of training we can use to better our speed and reactions as well as proactive movements.

The trick with training triggers and slow motion movements is to look at them as a tool and another way to train as well as full contact training, the traditional training we do, etc.

Be proactive in Life and Training