Best FMA Knife Systems that no one knows about?

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by Florete, May 2, 2015.

  1. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    The title pretty much gets at my interest. I currently study PTK, and am very happy with the system. In the past I have trained a small amount of Sayoc as well as getting into a bit more of Lacoste-Inosanto, and Modern Arnis before that. Sayoc is obviously known for knife, and Lacoste-Inosanto has a strong knife curriculum as well. Modern Arnis focuses mostly on solo baston and not nearly as much on the knife and in my experience with the system, the knife material was rudimentary at best. That is fine, no judgement is being made. Different systems focus on different things, and that is OK.

    Obviously, one of the things that FMA is known for is its knife training as well as knife defense. That got me to wondering what other FMA systems out there have a particularly solid and realistic knife curriculum that I might be unaware of. For any number of reasons, in my humble opinion, PTK's knife work is the best I have seen (to date) in terms of its functionality and realism. But, that doesn't mean there are not other groups out there doing good things. I'm not one of those guys who thinks that the sun rises and sets with PTK, and I really see us as more of an FMA brotherhood than competing between systems.

    One of the other systems I am really interested in seeing is the Tulisan Knife System from Bakbakan Kali Illustrisimo. From what little I have seen and heard, it sounds like something that would be solid, but it is hard to find info out there on it. I have seen other FMA systems that focus on the knife a good deal, but without naming names, what I see seems so flowery and subtle with its focus on disarms and trying to slash while passing, that I am doubtful as to its real world effectiveness and being able to pull it off against a resisting opponent. In the interest of fairness, there are some within PTK who have embraced this sort of thing as well.

    My interest in knife work is simple. It is the thing that is easy for me to carry on a daily basis.

    So, how about it? What else is out there that I have not seen that is good/functional/realistic when it comes to knife? Videos, if available, would be good to see as well. I look forward to the discussion.
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I don't have an especially useful answer to the question, but wanted to ask whether you saw a lot of similarity between PTK and Sayoc in terms of their knife work. If I recall correctly, the Sayoc brothers were doing PTK back when I met them in the very early 90s. Before "Sayoc Kali" was a thing.

    I ask because I imagine that several other potential answers to your question might also be offshoots of PTK. Atienza Kali jumps to mind, for instance.

    My background is less knife and more stick, honestly. And I'm good with that. But in my very, very limited experience with John Jacobo's class (two visits), his Illustrisimo-based(?) class was more blade oriented than I was used to. Though we did machete work when I was there, more than knife.

    What's Doug Marcaida's background? He seems pretty... bladey.
  3. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    In the UK we have BIFF, who train with live blades.

    [ame=""]BIFF: Jay Dobrin & Phil Chenery. Knife to Knife Sparring - YouTube[/ame]

    I attended a seminar with jay and he turned up with live blades, a baseball bat and an axe.

    I've not done his system, so can't comment on it's effectiveness, but I believe other on MAP have, so hopefully they'll comment on it.

    I personally wouldn't want to do live blade only training.
  4. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    Honestly, there were some similarities, but not as much as one might think. I presently study under Tuhon Waid's group and trained under Tuhon McGrath's group previously, so I have seen different takes on PTK. Sayoc focuses a good deal on the slash while PTK teaches the primacy of the thrust, their tapping is much different than PTK (both in intent and in execution), their footwork is different, and their overall strategy seems different. I should acknowledge that my exposure to Sayoc Kali was very basic. I don't want to mislead anyone.

    John Jacobo looks great from what I have seen. As for the rest, no worries. Different people have different reasons for training and that is good by me.

    Doug Marcaida has several influences, one of which is PTK. I believe he also trained in Kali de Leon and from his movement, he seems to have mixed in a good deal of silat.
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  5. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    Me either! LOL There is a time and place for live blade work in my view, but I don't think I would want to do that all the time. Honestly, thinking off the top of my head, I would question the effectiveness of training that only used live blades. How do they train committed thrusts and give realistic attacks? That video showed their blade orientation in such a way that they were never in danger of actually getting thrust in the stomach and there was little in the way of momentum and power to their movements. This obviously makes sense as they were using live blades. However, any simple search of knife attacks caught on video shows that people attack with a committed thrust quite often (the stereotypical sewing machine motion comes to mind) and often times put their body mass behind their attack. If you never train that, I can't see how you are going to respond to it very well.

    As for the rest, that system seems to be based upon Latosa Eskrima, which would then make the knife work based upon Sarmiento Cadena de Mano, Cabales Serrada, and Mr. Latosa's family system. I have seen a small amount of Max Sarmiento's knife work through the Inayan Eskrima System, but that was through attending one short class and watching some videos, so I honestly don't know that much about it.
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  6. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    I have worked with Jon Ward from Inayan - some good stuff in there!

    One system that would terrify me going blade to blade with would be Serrada, specifically the Angels Disciples group. I did some training last year with GM Darren Tibon and his son Chez and Gelmar Cabales....the way those boys move was dynamite! Happily i will be training with them again this summer
  7. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Yeah, the BIFF system is heavily influenced by Latosa, Latosa was the guy who introduced eskrima to Dobrin and was the first to give Jay permission to teach.

    You can see a lot of Cabales' system in BIFF too, the drills we learn in BIFF are incredibly similar.

    I've done live blade work, don't think I've ever sweated that much during a lesson. Don't quote me on this, been out of training for a fair bit now, I think the reason for doing it is firstly to help you develop your technique (cutting at the right angle, making sure your live hand is used correctly etc) and also to get you used to having a real knife in front of you. Let's be honest, most of us no matter how well we train will lose it if we are really face with a bladed weapon. So it's to get you mentally prepared for that if it does happen.

    Whether it's a good training method or not, I honestly couldn't say.

    Training with live blades is only done now and again and only the higher level students do it.
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  8. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    I haven't seen much in the way of Serrada knife work. The little I have seen was on video from Ron Saturno. If you have any good vids that you think are nice examples of Serrada daga methodology, please feel free to share.
  9. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    So it isn't all the time? That makes more sense. Thanks for sharing.

    Can you give some information on the principles of knife from that system? Even some good vids would be interesting.

  10. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    In essence there isnt a lot of difference between stick and blade - The Disciples group favor the shorter stick so it transfers readily

    Carlito Bonjac, another Cabales guy, showed me a lot of machete work with a longer stick vibe to it. That was a lot of fun too, but the movement in Darren Tibons crew was something else
  11. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I was at a seminar with Jay Dobrin (who coughed so much I thought he would need a paramedic) and he did say that he couldn't do some of the stuff being demonstrated.

    He was talking about the more intricate drills FMA is known for and he gave a good argument for live blade training.

    Like everything though it's horses for courses.

  12. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    Interesting. Thanks for that.

    That is something I like about PTK is that there is acknowledgement that the long blade and the short blade are different. In most places in the USA you are limited in terms of the size of your blade. Many states it is 3.5 inches, sometimes a bit more or less. Slashing with such a weapon is a very different animal than slashing with a bolo or even a long knife such as a bowie. Because of this, PTK considers slashes with a short knife to be incidental in that they don't really have the ability to stop the fight rapidly (unless perhaps you are targeting the neck or the inside of the arm), the preferred goal being to thrust vital targets. That isn't to say that we don't train slashes, as we most certainly do. Merely that we don't typically expect them to be fight stoppers.

    I don't have enough experience with Serrada to know their preference in terms of slashing versus thrusting. However, if it is like most FMA I have seen, slashing with the long weapon seems to be predominant. That would make sense considering the type of weapon that is most commonly used in FMA.
  13. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Florete - there's very little BIFF stuff (videos etc) on the net. It's a small system and although Dobrin and his group were possibly some of the first guys in the UK to teach FMA, it's pretty low key.

    Simon - can you remember Dobrin's argument for using a live blade?

    I'm really no expert on the different systems of eskrima, but BIFF IMO could be considered a little basic and stripped of the "fancy" stuff. It is quite simple compared to a lot of FMA stuff I've seen on YouTube etc.
  14. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Unfortunately I can't.

    I seem to recall him saying that the more intricate stuff FMA has is excellent, but not for him and he teaches a more fundamental stripped down method, but it was a long time ago and my memory of it has faded.

    The picture I posted was taken at the seminar and Pat O'Malley was there taking a session, so maybe if he comes across this thread he can add some detail.
  15. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    No worries. Just curious.

    Me either!
  16. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    Garimot tres puntos. It's not well known, but it's damn good stuff. Originated in Batangas. Or if you're more into Visayan styles, Baraw Sugbu looks interesting.

  17. Florete

    Florete Valued Member


    Do you have any vids on what you think is a good example of the system?

    Thanks for sharing.
  18. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    Not really. There are a few videos out there of Garimot knife, or Tres Puntos, but they're generally core basics, or slightly altered versions of some of the intermediate-level stuff. The basics build the foundation, but the really good stuff comes later, and that's not shared online or taught right away. The system is built around that old-school mentality.

  19. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    Not surprising I suppose. Thanks for the follow up.
  20. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    If I'm not mistaken, you're in Texas. Gat Puno Baet (the head of the system) is in San Antonio once or twice a year for a seminar. You could get a taste of it that way. Or, ask Cesar Parazo, and he may show you some.

Share This Page