Drills vs fight training in FMA. Latosa Concept, FMA and Danish FMA group terminology

Drills vs fight training in FMA. Latosa Concept, FMA and Danish FMA group terminology

dansk fma og selvforsvar gruppe i københavnI hope ya’ll are doing well. It’s time for more ranting and terminology. Before that, I’d like to remind you that we are open for new members now. You can see the guys who were at training the other day in the picture. So write to us so we can plan a training session with our club.

Now to the subject at hand. When we do drills, they are usually some counter attacks and other mixes of techniques that are related or put together for other reasons. One might be to learn how to hit with control when starting the first 2 stick drill. Most people need some time to feel that they have control of the left handed strike. I’ll put a video below to show what I mean. Drills can be put together to get use the stress level, so the students can focus on improving something like the timing of the strike and foot work with the left hand… if we stick with the given example above!

All drills are not fight training! I repeat, ALL DRILLS ARE NOT FIGHT TRAINING! If I was going to do a crash course for military, CPO ( VIP protection) etc, Then most drills would be fight training. When we teach people in a club setting, then we are looking at developing skills that we don’t have time to improve with the crash course. At least with most people, there will always be the élite learners.

Not only that, but a given drill at a beginner level would not look like the same drill for an intermediate level student or advanced level student. We post a lot of videos compared to other FMA clubs, but we don’t post everything! We have the training, we show the world via videos and we have the next level of understanding that doesn’t end up on video.

As the guys start to develop skills we turn up the stress level via different tools. this could be more honest attacks from the BG ( bad guy ), it could be via more attackers, noise, catastrophe position, other starting weapon positions, and much more.

Once a student has learned to understand the distance of a stab ( using the low counter strike to the attacking weapon hand) then he / she can go on to doing a #2 strike to the head and moving more offline, or even preempting with online footwork. Then when the live hand has been developed to a given level, we can add the live hand control to the same attack when the BG stabs low. Hopefully you see where we are going.

We can look at a drill as a stick drill or we can look at it as a bladed drill. Blades always command more respect. People can be and often are more brave when attacked by an attacker wielding a blunt weapon. Just by changing the attackers weapon, we start all over again with building the confidence of the student and thereby their ability to do more than just a basic drill. They can start more true to life fight drills. This is why people look differently when the fight really starts.

You’ll hear me yelling yes!, even though a student has reacted outside the drill parameters at times. That is because they have taken a simple drill for skills sake and started to adapt it to real fight / self-defense situations.

I hope you don’t really think the FMA videos showing a long series of counter strikes is supposed to be what it looks like when we use our training in real life ( if we are so unlucky that we have to )

You will hear GM Rene talk about keeping to the basics and those of us who have learned from him, will most likely always have our student look at the basic concepts as they progress. Are they maintaining balance as they learn new skills and learn to function under more and more pressure? Do they still command control of timing and distance when they add 2 sticks to a list of t he tools they can use?  Can that take that same cross strike with the stick and transfer the same power to the use of the live hand while they attack to the head when the attacker stabs ?

In short, the many drills for developing the skills of a warrior are not the same skills and drills that would be used to develop a soldier in a short amount of time. There are going to be extra drills and possibly slower paths of learning. And later on the ability to ascend to a higher level of understanding and skill will/can be the result. (Given the fact that the student is ready for the learning curve and more). The funny thing is things get easier later on when we take our time in the beginning! In other words the second 2 stick grade for the guys will be easier because we spent the time on the second single stick grade.

I could write about this subject for along time. There are so many combinations of timing, distance and more that it could be a book. But my old fingers are getting tired and the sun is shinning. AND it’s Friday!

Do some training this weekend and make sure you spend some time with your family. enjoy their company and remember what you do have in your life.

Stay Proactive in Life and Training


Dino Power!



Albion Swords

I saw this picture on FB and started to look through the website.

What do you think? Like! You will find a bunch of cool swords at Albion. You will find swords for collectors and swords for people who train with them. I was lucky enough to know the man that runs the Albion company here in Denmark. We used many of the different swords for demo’s when I spent a lot of time training with swords (sharp and metal trainers). The picture that I posted above has the wow factor.  To see more of the swords sold through Albion-europe.com you can click here. Albion also has a Facebook page that puts information up from time to time. For the FMA people, you will find some european swords that are close to fma versions. I’ll leave you to the links before I start to slobber with the thought of sparring with a battle sword and a buckler. Yupeeee!

Be Proactive in Life and Training … with a sword!


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


Latosa Concepts, FMA and Danish FMA & Self-Defense grp Terminology 1. The buffer zone.

Latosa Concepts, FMA and Danish FMA & Self-Defense grp Terminology 1. The buffer zone.

In this entry I will write about a few terms used when teaching Latosa Concepts, Filipino Martial Arts. The concepts that GM Rene uses quite a lot are as follows

  • Balance
  • Focus
  • Speed, timing and distance
  • Power
  • Transition

As well as these, there are terms that are used quite a lot when teaching Latosa Concepts. One is buffer zone. We will start with this today because its relevancy. During the last class at Wing Tsun Kuen, we talked about this. For anyone that has trained or keeps up with FMA, the 5 concepts are found in many systems to one degree or another. So I will wait a little with the 5 concepts. Getting back to buffer zone. I coined this term to make the understanding process easier. The buffer zone is the area between the weapon and it’s target (that being a part of you) at the point in time when the counter attack reaches it’s target. I started using this term to help people understand and remember that they are training to deal with the most commonly used weapon in attacks…. Kitchen knives. The buffer zone is a tool to improve the chances of an edged weapon attack. When working with sticks it is easier to build a respect for the power that can be generated in a strike or a sequence of strikes. Imagine now that amount of power being used by an attacker holding a normal kitchen knife. Let’s say that the blade is ca. 20 cm just to put a number on it. Now you are starting to understand why there has to be a buffer zone to function as an insurance policy. When training with sticks, I have seen time and again that people think they are strong enough to stop an attack without much effort. The result has often been a painful backlash with a persons own training weapon. Add to that, I have gone straight through many sticks. We have to have respect for what happens when two forces meet. One is stronger and one is weaker.  With an edge weapon encounter the potential danger is multiplied many times.  For beginners the buffer zone is crucial. If there is no room for  possible collapse of the counter attack then you can be in real trouble. With time and more experience, we all develop a healthy respect for the dangers and understand the trade offs. That’s it for this time. Be Proactive in Life and Training CW http://youtu.be/tHOHbgNxTUA

When is there a lethal threat?

I receive several newsletters from tactical training groups. In one of them there was a short article about the above mentioned subject. This is a subject that is a virtual minefield because of the different views, philosophies and social standards. 

We can start by looking at the thugs on the street that don’t share a common persons perspective on conflicts. If we divide a conflict into 5 levels, we can see how slowly we progress from level 1 (being a low level verbal conflict) to  level 5 (being the extreme in a physical conflict). For most people “the most serious” is no where close to my perspective or perhaps another person’s perspective of a level 5 threat. A typical example is how seriously it is taken when a 17 year old person tries to stab or actually stabs another person.  Stabbing a person repeatedly, or attempting to, is a level 5 threat in my book. It is often looked upon with a lack of seriousness. The Danish law says the defending person is allowed to use equal force to defend them self. The Danish social standard says something else completely. I’ve heard the expression, “you are built kinda big aren’t you?” and “you have training don’t you?”  Size can save you in some cases when being stabbed in certain places on the body but you have to be big and lucky. The guiding perception is training and size some how changes the knife to a rubber training knife. There is a false perception regarding what people see on TV and in the movies. Another problem is what some call “equalisers,” or threat amplifiers They can be used by the assaulting person or the defending person. Common equalizers can be: guns, knives, blunt weapons, bottles, etc. The list goes on, equalizers can also be 3 other gang members that don’t have your best wishes in mind. Now add equalizers and the ability to jump straight to level 5  aggressiveness, then serious problem arises. The next factor is experience with such situations. Hooligans are good at functioning during such situations because of sheer experience. It has been their teacher. They know how normal people react to the threat they pose. What kind of experience does a normal person have ? The answer is … most don’t have much! Even people who have fought in tournaments are behind the game. They are trained for a sport arena, a different world completely. An example could be a total surprise regarding your own reaction to the adrenaline dump that takes place. How many people train to cope with an adrenaline dump in a real life assault? Being hit worsens the effect with confusion and pain. Having your family close by causes all sorts of conflicts in the decision making process. The last part of the equation, we are looking at, is the human body. How do we best physically prepare ourselves for and assault? The human body can take enormous amounts of punishment  and a moment later be damaged with the least amount of pressure. Shear dumb luck plays a role too. How does one best prepare for a potential assault?

  1. Adrenaline training will get you farther than you think.
  2. Thinking situations through ahead of time helps greatly. The “what if game “ does a lot to prepare a person.
  3. Do not project your standards on to other people. You may feel like a moral person that requires quite a lot to become physical. This is not always true for others, especially with those having past experience in violence.
  4. A certain amount of physical activity is good for our mental state of mind as well as our ability to heal and avoid sickness. A fit body can also react/act faster and take more punishment.

There are other things we can do but you get the general idea.

1 måneds gratis træning selvforsvar københavn

1 måneds gratis træning selvforsvar københavn