Monday, June 21, 2010

Sticks & Blades by John Owen F. Ong

This article is reprinted with the permission from the author, John Owen Ong, a family man, martial artist and a businessman.) Sep 30, '08 12:06 AM

All the thoughts expressed here are my own. If it offends anyone, feel free to leave. Comments are welcome, but flaming is not.

Blade based means that the stick is used to train as a safer alternative to the live blade. We must train as we fight.

A lot of the stickfighting schools state that their style is blade based, but their practice do not reflect this. What do I mean?

I. They train to use their off-hand arm to block a strike. This is something you should not do. Why?
1. You can lose that arm after one or two blocks with a blade.
2. When you lose your arm, the blade goes through and hits it's intended target.
3. It hurts.

II. They train to grab the opponent's stick. Another no no.
1. Your hand can get cut and if tendons are severed, then a permanent loss of function can result.
2. It hurts.

III. They grab the blade end of their stick as part of their technique; ie, switching hands to strike. This is like grabbing the sharp end of your blade and hitting the opponent with the handle. Don't do this.

1. It doesn't show a good understanding of your weapon.
2. It hurts you and maybe your opponent if you hit him.
3. It looks stupid.
4. It hurts.

The above are just some of the more blatant examples of stupid techniques from so called blade based schools. Getting hit hurts already, why hurt yourself? Let the other guy do that. Some proposed that it is just a stick and the techniques are acceptable. When they hold a blade, then they'll just adapt and not do the above techniques.

That is just so much manure. We fight as we train. In the heat of combat, you do as your body is programmed in practice. If you practice blocking with your free arm, then you'll do it in a fight. Period. If you have to think about it, you're going to get hit. You have just nullified all those hours of practice. The purpose of training is to condition your body so the movements become instinctive.

If you see someone claiming to be from a blade based style doing the above techniques, walk away. The above techniques are perfectly alright in a purely stickfighting style. They are also acceptable as a lifesaving, last resort technique against a blade. To train them as regular techniques and claim to be blade based is a disservice to the art.

The three secrets to mastery are practice, practice and practice. There, just had to get it out.

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