Learning figure-8 strikes before stabbing attacks. Latosa Concepts FMA Terminology

Learning figure-8 strikes before stabbing attacks. Latosa Concepts FMA Terminology.

eskrima free sparring latosa concepts escrimaI was training with J the other day and working on / refreshing some of my tools / abilities while he was working on some new tools. That’s going to be the starting point for this posts. Where it goes from there … who knows!

Before that, I like to ask you if you … if you have done anything for your general mobility, strength and conditioning? I’ll tell you what I did today after sleeping late. Had some coffee and coconut milk, kisses a purity lady then worked out. It was a pull day. That ment deadlifts, bend over row with a rotation, 2 core exercises, a calf exercise and lat pulls. Get off your butt tomorrow morning and do something. 

Getting back to what we worked on when we were training. Timing is a strange thing if you don’t understand the doors it open for you. When you do, it’s just fun. To refresh, the basic timing variations are: preempting, same time variations, and late timing. When we start to mix the timing variations in an attack sequence we get things like half beat attacks. These can be  joint locks, takedowns, strikes, stabs , cuts and more. I did a leg sweep and took J’s second stick from him at one time. Of course, I had one stick at the time.

Any Hoo! At some point in time, I felt the urge to start using my second stick to stab with ( espada y daga style. ) J’s first response was to say … what was that? Jokingly I told him is was an old man cheating! On a serious note, J noticed that it was harder to see, ergo he was caught off guard by it ever time. That’s very true! Stabs are harder to read when we look at the ability to read attacks (baring the ability to read the attackers body movement.) Just the fact that the tip of the weapon may be all you see is enough to scare people. Add to that the fact that a stab with a knife goes deep without much force and you get a new respect. This is one reason that GM Rene Latosa talks a lot about zones and students of his, like myself preach about zones of attack from every mountain we find. It was the same, when I was with Master Lind at WCS. Regardless of what we doing the most effective way to protect your self is to look at attack zones. This could be with the array of FMA weapons / tools, it could be true of the general British type of sword training (sword and buckler is great fun!), and it could be true of the German type sword training.

Back to the order of learning. When we start with the figure-8 system of basic blunt weapon strikes, we learn about reading what the attacker / assailant is attacking us with. With time we learn to read the attacker and move from same time strikes to preemptive strike. Once that ability is bettered to a suitable point, we can start learning to read the stabs. This means we start to understand that stab can stop and start in the same little bitty segment of space and still be just as dangerous.  It’s all about taking baby steps before we walk then run.

You might be thinking that the old man has forgotten about the half beat! He’s gotta be getting old. Nope, I’m not that far gone yet! As we progress from same time strikes, we learn to step on the gas with an extra strike between the beat. Stabs or #5 strikes are an easy way to do that.  With time, we can learn to act and react on one third beats, one quarter beats and so on. It’s all about the flow drills and the speed that are performed to build this ability. This gets back to my last post about flow and so on. Flow is a tool, to learn about and better, your half beat strikes and more.

All this gets into energy and short power and everything starts to interlock, intersect and become universal when we look at FMA and GM Latosa teachings. I’ll let you think about that one for a while. Can you say nexus? We’ll call it the LC Nexus just for kicks! Remember learning to do is becoming aware of what you have learned to do! In this case, learning to use the #5 is learning to be aware of that same attack if an attacker uses it on you.

That’s it, the red meat and green stuff I ate after training is almost gone. It’s time for some more food!

Make sure you see where GM Rene will be teaching while on his travels.

Stay proactive and enjoy life!


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