There are times in life that require the edge of a knife to cut and there are other moments when you need the point of that knife to pierce. Commonly most people who have little or no training wield a knife much like they would a club or axe. Meaning they more or less hit (chop) with the knife rather than cutting (drawing) with it as they should. Believe it or not cutting requires more skill to execute than does the simpler, more intuitive thrust does. The cut can be disabled by a jacket or heavy coat. Also a cut requires a sharp edge (most men's knives are dull as hell) in order for it to work effectively.
A thrust has none of these issues or limitations, the point does it's magic under nearly any circumstances that you may encounter. Ripping, tearing, picking and piercing. These are the ways of the point and this then is the topic of this session. Point Work and thrusting with point!
The deadly "thrusting triangle" of Kali is a well known example of the knife man's usage of the point. In his quest for victory the knifeman must thoroughly understand the many levels of the mysterious thrusting triangle. Sumkete, sonkete... yes, good old thrusting mixed liberally with enganyo (faking). Also add a dash of slashing intersperced with the three thrusts, connect the dots so to speak. That should round out the game in your favor quite nicely.
Now you have quite a sophisticated web of defense. It contains the elements of deception, the threat of the point, slashes that seem to appear out of the thin air! Now add the checking hand into the mix - Presto! You have the makings of a great means of personal protection from start to finish.
Mind you, it's not just the Filipino arts which employ these methods. All forms of edged weaponry share these traits. Sure they vary slightly from style to style, from teacher to teacher, but generally they are known by all methods and by all men. They are somewhat "instinctual". Men will perform these actions with or without prior training.
Unique to which we speak is the conceptual depth that these methods encompass. It is that very "depth" that many miss and settle instead for the most basic of understandings and applications (edge-ucated idiots). Stop looking AT the exercise and instead look INTO it. And just what are those things which you might find by looking deeply into the thrusting triangle method?
Right off there are a myriad of disarms which await your study. They hide and reside within the thrusting triangle's matrix of motion my friend. The retraction of the six and seven thrust actions are the key aspects. Right after the thrust is completed (or even if it is blocked) - now is the time to extract their blade from their trembling grip! And then follow up with another thrust and a line clearing slash. The deed is done, you've won. Either exit the area in victory or apply aid to the injured as swiftly as possible.
A thrust (Point) can be given in a fight for a specific reason. A case in point is armor. An armored opponent has taken away some of the better and more accessible targets. By doing so he has gained an advantage. The six and seven lines have the capacity to defeat armor. The line of attack itself can find and exploit an opening or gap in armor, modern or ancient armor, it matters little.
The number five thrust or a common slashing cut do not have the same ability as the other two lines of your triangle. They struggle when armor is present. You must practice and understand "skidding" thrusts. They are meant to skid off the breastplate, gorget or forearm. They seek their targets by sliding over the surface of the body (in this case armor). In Kenpo such an action would be catagorized as "contouring" (following the surface to your target). Such actions like contoured cutting will seek the bone and follow it in fights that lack armored combatants.
Even the visceral vaunted backcut of the Bowie knife fighter can be performed upon the thrusting triangle. I know so for a fact for I've taught it successfully for years. Bill Bagwell himself also states that the backcut is "pointwork" (point oriented) and that it is not really a cut at all, but instead a form of ripping with the point. Like a raptors (eagle, hawk) beak. I totally agree.
And I'll also add that you must understand the true reason of the fighting design of the weapon's butt. Some knives have spikes or sharp ridges on their butt ends. Hell yes, this then is another available point of contact / damage to employ upon the enemy in close quarters using "point" techniques. (Remember not all knives are suited to butt strikes. Use the right unit eh?)
You must try the thrusting triangle with only butt strikes, then only with knife point, next with both point and edge (connect the dots). Lastly you may add a live hand check to the chest or shoulder (in lieu of the face or stomach) - once the live hand begins tossing 1/2 beat strikes on the triangle matrix as the knife simultaneously delivers full beat motions on the same triangle you'll have reached a zenith of timing, skill and ability. It's not about force, it's about timing. The edge & point of the weapon are force enough.
Learn this tried and true material in graduated levels, one step at a time. I'm looking forward to seeing your development soon. The prime directive of the KNIFE COACH is to help you achieve your goals and to make you better at whatever blade art you do. I am sincerely honored to work with you. Whether it be in person or via DVD or over Youtube, I know that together, we can do this!
Please learn & never forget this knife fighter's mantra from times past:
"If your blade goes forth, withhold your anger. If your anger goes forth,
withhold your blade".
How many times have I seen some corny "pie in the sky"
dream kill off a truly healthy reality?
Too many times, that's how fucking many! Sure I believe that hope, dreams and plans all have their place in our individual worlds. We as a culture place a great amount of emotional content upon "dreams and "potential" which are both based upon "hope" and/or the concept of "being lucky". Protip- A dream should be do-able (able to become a part of reality). Otherwise it can quickly become a burden. A personal self created package of guilt, obsession and serial failures. Why? Because the bar was set too damn high. It defeated reality right out of the gate, it was a "reality of no reality" kind of thing. Dreams should not obscure reality, but instead they should work with it as a kind of co-partner. To establish lofty goals is an admirable trait and has lead many a man to success. But if the goal is too damn lofty, too out of touch with reality kind of lofty, then it isn't admirable. It is then called an"ill founded folly". So rather than adapt to what reality is trying to tell them many men will stubbornly stay the course of their so called "dream" and predictably fail miserably.
Let me tell you something, reality IS the dream we must master. I mean every one of us. True reality is always beyond any dream and any true dream is always beyond any false reality. Hence the two can coexist in the balanced state we strive to attain & MAINTAIN and may even prove beneficial in the long run to the achievement of those lofty personal goals. As in so many cases, balance once again comes to the fore. Balance is equilibrium, balance goes way beyond the popular image of someone simply "standing on one leg" kind of balance. To understand what I am saying, you must think big!
Expand upon the concept of what balance actually means within the holistic context of which we speak. If one knows how to stage (set up) your dreams they can become much more attainable in a realistic manner. In effect, have a plan A and also a plan B. Flow with the events that daily life throws at you and be flexible in all areas of life. Yet all the while keeping the goal in sight! Never take your psychic eye's off of the prize. Engineer your dream quest by entwining it about reality's roots. Grafting mind, energy, time, visualization and activation into a common beam of laser-like intensity. Victory awaits.
Let's consider close up stage magic as an example.
This is also called "sleight of hand". The trick behind most sleight of hand feats is always a simple one. A misdirect, a fast action, a visual cue and bang! The unwary "pilgrim" is thus deceived and "magic" is had! You can buy books and DVD's and learn these tricks. You will know the secrets behind the tricks. But just knowing the secrets isn't enough. Knowing and doing are two different things. Even though you "know", you still cannot successfully pull off the sleight of hand sequence and make it appear as if magic. That may take years of practice!
In many ways martial arts are similar to stage magic and music (or anything that requires practice and dedication over a period of years). Martial art knowledge is now abundantly plentiful. Like no other time in history has so much martial material been shared, sought, disseminated and mismanaged as in this time we are currently in right now! Many advantages and disadvantages also come with this new found freedom of fact and fancy. While more martial resource data is being shared globally it also seems that the core aspects of many arts has been severely corroded by the same sharing resource. First "knowledge", second "practice" ...and third is "experience". Nothing can truly replace experience. It's a "hands on" level of learning that knowledge and practice flow directly into and help create the reality you seek.
Many of the seekers on the path have jumped the rails by skipping any one of these three levels of "doing". Shortcuts are a myth, gain command over each of the three elements by simply "doing them". Tricks can be taught in a short time, skill takes a little longer. Tactically the tricks and the skills combine to make a deadly fighter in any theater of combat. To deceive an opponent is best. You must bedevil him with fakes and cause him fits of frustration. With point posing threat you then swiftly pass through his guard using your skill (practice-training) and dispatch him with an accurate and well timed action. This describes the bullfighter too. His art is similar to the knife man's. Their sanguinary goals are identical .... real life & death ~
The Dueling Oaks of New Orleans
were once located on the old Allard plantation. In times past the oaks were far from the city proper. As the area grew, the oaks and the plantation were eventually absorbed into the city limits. Now the area doesn't exist any more. Storm Katrina damaged too much. Wiping out history and hope in it's painful wake - The Dueling Oaks included. Nothing is forever ~
I was surprised to see how big these tree's were. Hung with Spanish moss and hoary with age these old trees have seen a lot of history in the making. One can almost envision how it must have been to stride upon the green sward of the dueling grounds at dawn. Standing beneath the limbs of these huge trees men of all denominations watched the sun rise upon the day. Each knowing that only one would walk away from this place of beauty and death. Many men died beneath the oaks, the blood of hero's nourishes the souls of these old trees. As many as twelve duels per day occurred during the heyday of the dueling craze. The reasons for much this ? Ha, the reasons are as many as the grains of sand on a beach. From small a slight to an outright affront it didn't take much in those days to rouse a man's ire and bang like that! You could find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a duel for your life, like it or not.
Dueling was an acceptable social convention that acted as a pressure release valve on a very strong willed culture. Like prostitution and other vices the act of dueling, as bad as it appears, was still preferred over outright conflicts (war), assassination or to taking legal means of that time. The Code Duello insists that death must be dealt out or met face on with a certain degree of honor lest the whole affair begins to slip into nothing more than a tawdry murder or street brawl. It was a time when academies of arms (Salle d'Armes) abounded throughout many of the major cities of the south (especially New Orleans) to teach them the many ways of the deadly weapons they preferred. Many a European master hung out his shingle to take full advantage of the dueling craze (good reading) with the unique services they offered. One could receive instruction in the use of shotgun, pistol, bowie knife, small sword, colichemarde, rapier, rapier & dagger and cane (to name a few) in any of the better academies. One of the more notorious Masters at Arms of the time was the invincible little Spaniard, known as "Pepe" Llulla ( Senor Don Jose Llulla ). Many tales of this rascal abound in both fact and fiction of old New Orleans. He was said to have kept his own, private grave yard for the purpose of properly burying his (many) adversaries/victims that fell by his hand in duels. He was never caught without his two pistols on him, slung shoulder rig style. Pepe could draw and fire with such accuracy and speed that few ever chose pistols to fight him with, it was certain death. This unique fact also makes Pepe Llulla one of the first (if not the very first) documented fast guns in American history. (Remember, this was way before the Civil War or the "gun fighting" days of the 1870's). It was said that Llulla was a genius with a Bowie knife. Here was a survivor of many encounters that ran a successful saloon, taught in his own training academy, participated in many duels to the death, was a political activist and was a legendary supporter of New Orleans itself, the city he loved so well. There are some rough areas, do not just go wandering around during the day or night. You can get in over your head very quickly in those back alley's. Ask around and stay alert, New Orleans is just as it was in the past and always has been, a real bad place to make mistakes.
Technique is merely an outward manifestation.
It's an action of the limbs or of the body.
At some point it approaches the level of "monkey see, monkey do" for some schools. Not satisfactory preparation for any real brawling. Being overly focused on technique too early on in ones career can act as a brake to their development and mastery of the skills. Lacking in such regimens of technique reliant training are the critical components of spontaneity, flow, timing and sensitivity. Defending oneself doesn't have to be something too "martial artsy". It just has to be effective & practical. Being able to "do the right thing" in a fight is an example of spontaneity and flow at their best. It's not just an ideal to live up, mind you it can be a reality unto itself. Remember, hurting someone in an anything goes street fight is a far different spirit and game than any "match" between experts. Put sports out of your mind when you read my stuff friend. It's all sand and little fluff.
It occurs from the relaxed mind of one confident in their abilities.
Confidence does not come from technique, confidence comes
from skill and the ability to fluidly back it up.
Spontaneity is thought & motion operating as one force.
It moves as intuition and multi-sensory instinct.