Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rory Miller Feb 18-20 2011

Recommended for Trad Martial Artists, Non martial Artists and Combatives Enthusiasts alike
Come experience for yourself instead of just hearing the stories :-)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Offense or Defense?

I like the phrase "Don't get hit".
It might at first seem to be a purely defensive position, but really ecompasses a whole spectrum of tactics.
"Don't get hit" can obviously mean -
Don't be there in the first place,
Evade, or
OTOH it can also mean -"They are not hitting" .... because they are -
Busy defending themselves,
Busy regaining their balance, or
Have lost the will to continue psychologically, or physically.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Don't Get Hit

Often I would go train with Sonny and we would start to flow.
"What's my focus for today"? I'd ask.
"Don't get hit"! Was more often than not the answer.

VCKE, or to give it it's full title - Visayan Style Corto Kadena and Larga Mano Eskrima - is a dueling art, and the assumption is that you want to live through the exchange as there is no 'win' if you die.
Of course, the same assumption holds true for most altercations, this wish to survive, but doing so becomes alot trickier when using bladed weapons especially when they know you are coming and are also armed ...
(Note: In feudal Japan if you died, but took your opponent with you, it was classed as a win, but in our system, this is a last resort, sitting right above 'you die, they get away' in the spectrum of wished for outcomes).
As it turns out, if you care nothing for your self preservation, it's really quite easy to strike the opponent, but if you DO care about your self preservation, though it's still fairly easy to get the hit, the 'NOT getting hit' part turns out to be most tricky indeed .... and this is where the 'art' comes in.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shifting Weight

Moving is simple - we all walk and perhaps run every day, but there are certain qualities of movement contained within the basic skill of shifting weight from one foot to another that are often lost.

- There's the very useful ability to fall and catch yourself - also known as the drop step. Gravity does the work and the only real requirement is an ability to relax and let it happen. Strangely enough this can take a fair deal of practice,natural though it is ......

- Then there's the 'slide and press' akin to the stepping associated with Hsing-I and Bagua - hips level to the ground, the feeling is like a controlled version of slipping on a banana peel, where the front foot acts as a 'brake', pressing into the ground at a 45deg angle before structure is lost. The effect is like hard braking in a car.
A variation of this is Sonny's 'toe tapping', where the weight unloads as a spring onto the ball of the foot. The weight shift is controlled, but 100%. Feels like creeping quietly or stalking. When coupled with a strike, the old Tai Ji adage "One point moves, all points move. One point stops, all points stop" this adds the power.

- Lastly there is pure and simple weight shifting without stepping - Sonny called it the "half body pendulum". The ability to shift weight 100% is key .... so that if you need to step, you can. A common error is to feel that you are 100%, though often only 60/70%. Check by lifting the other foot off the ground without moving the upper body. Balance.

Sonny said the flow training was for 3 main reasons - Reaction, Balance, To Discover. This is part of 'Balance'.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spatial Geometry

The ability to see the space between the players is a crucial part of understanding how to close and open range (cordone and querdas). Sounds obvious, but it takes accuracy and practice to truly understand the options available - pushing strikes, inserts, pulling strikes, climb ups, push-aways, and exit strikes, all used in combination with the pendulums (step/body/arm/weapon).
Add this to the wavecutter principle, centerline, still points, fulcrums, body and weapon angles ... and you start to see the possibilities .....

Friday, January 7, 2011


Along with the Sangot, the Bogsai is one of the primary weapons and learning tools of the VCKE system. Incredibly versatile, it can be used at Largo, Medio and Corto ranges, single, double and back handed, striking with both ends.
The use of the Bogsai is a great way to practice the body alignments so crucial to Sonny's way - particularly the turning of the shoulders, and focus on the hip/hand connection.
All the major power acceleration methods are contained within it's usage, and perhaps one of it's greatest benefits is as a tool to understand range - climb ups, angles, and the general geometry of the space between the players.
A simple weapon, yet demanding a complex understanding.