The importance of actually hitting students

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by BahadZubu, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Noticed this forum has been pretty slow so figured I would start a thread in hopes of getting some interesting debate/chatter going.

    I think that the importance of actually getting hit with a stick when practicing has been seriously neglected within FMA in the U.S. One of the first 'drills' I teach my students requires them to hit each other and be hit on the wrist. I usually take every student aside and have them hit me and then I hit them. Of course I am not hitting anywhere near close to 100% but the idea is to make contact. In my opinion this offers several benefits.

    1. Students learn that a thin rattan stick will break before you do.
    2. Students get accustomed to actually hitting real targets.
    3. Students learn the value of timing and rhythm. If you try to out-quick your partner you will most likely get hit a lot harder. So it behooves students to focus on timing and distance.
    4. Your body begins to acclimate and toughen itself. Remember that first week of BJJ? Bruises and soreness in all the wrong places that eventual went away? FMA is the same.

    Despite all of these benefits, I rarely see people actually making contact (stick to body) in the FMA videos online. What is your opinion on this?

    Also, I should add that as an instructor it should be your job to get hit hard and still maintain the proper control. I never mind when a student hits me and very much encourage it.They need to get over their fear of actually hitting someone. Then next comes over coming the fear of getting hit.
  2. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    Seem like a solution to a problem that I haven't really seen. I build them up through sparring from padded sticks to light rattan to heavy.

    They will get hit enough in the drills using rattan that I figure that part of the training will take care of itself.
  3. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Depends on how you view the stick in Kali. If you view it as a weapon in it's own right, maybe. However if you're using it as a training proxy, you will certainly break before a bolo.
  4. Theidiot

    Theidiot New Member

    Sounds like a good way to encourage things like osteoarthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome to me.

    I'm not saying that knocks won't happen, but to actively target and hit the wrists routinely sounds like something straight out of the 80s to me. I mean no offence by that. That's just my opinion.
  5. Hannibal

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

    Why bother? use hockey gloves for targetting hands specifically and the rest of the contact occurs naturally in the flow of things

    We get hit all the time, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose - but as rattan is a training weapon anyway you aren't even "preparing them for reality" because the reality is that when a real weapon is involved the chances are your wrist is broken or damaged the rattan avails nought
  6. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I have to agree with those against the hitting of the hands/wrists.

    As any Eskrimador will tell you it's always the same damn knuckle on the same hand and after a while the joke wears off.

    I use hockey gloves and depending on the drill/sparring I have forearm guards available.

    In regard to new students hitting real targets I put them in WEKAF armour and hit them with increasing power and speed, then have another student pad up so the first guy/girls gets to hit someone.
  7. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Yeah, I'm not sure I see the purpose in that either. I got hit plenty just in the course of sparring and drilling, without standing there passively taking a hit.

    My question would be what function does it serve? It sounds like you're doing it for mental and physical conditioning. But if you're going full strength, you're bound to do severe and unnecessary damage. And if you're (presumably) not going full strength, then what conditioning are you actually doing? Is it conditioning them to respect the stick as a weapon? Not if the thin rattan stick is a stand-in for any of the below:

    1) A thick rattan stick
    2) A hardwood stick (think bahi or kamagong)
    3) A blade

    To my mind, one of the things that distinguishes FMA from many styles is the fact that the hand is a primary target. So training should focus not on conditioning that target (because, as pointed out, there's no conditioning it against a machete or hardwood club) but training it to be a more difficult target. Moving it. Keeping it protected. Etc.

    I do get that students need to get over getting clobbered and that they can't go into vapour lock when they experience impact and pain. But those things are natural consequences of sparring and fast drilling regardless. They get students accustomed to getting hit without simultaneously training them to stand there and take it.

    On top of that, you've got the injury aspect to consider. If people accidentally get hit in drills on a frequent basis, how more likely is it that someone gets injured when there's actually intent to hit and the only slip up is using a little more power than intended or hitting a different target than intended? And how much training time will needlessly be lost by a broken finger? Never mind the losses associated with a broken wrist.

    I understand where you're coming from and agree that it's vitally important that FMA be something more than slowly and carefully choreographed drills between cooperative partners highlighting teamwork and memorization more than combative skill. But the natural consequence of making those drills more freeform and introducing sparring is that people get used to impact. How could they not?
  8. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Oh the irony.

    Just been out to collect my wife from work and shut my fingers in the car door.

    It wasn't a conditioning drill.
  9. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Here's a clip from a Mini-MAP Meet and those involved had never done Eskrima before.

    From 5.20 is how I get newbys used to hitting someone without the fear of getting clobbered themselves.

    [ame=""]Eskrima Seminar Part II - YouTube[/ame]
    Mangosteen likes this.
  10. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Okay. So let me clarify here as it has become obvious I did not accurately express myself.

    The title of the thread is hit I mean make contact. Not hit 100%.

    Also, I am NOT talking about students standing there while I go around hitting them with a stick. That does indeed sound like something out of an 80's movie.

    I am talking about building students up and getting them accustomed to being hit and getting them accustomed to hitting accurately. I am referring to drilling. When we drill, we make contact with each other. One of the first drills I have my students drill targets the inside, fleshy part of the wrist. One can (and I have) take a full contact blow here from a stick. Of course not with a bolo, but that is not the point. The drill is not to be done at full strength but rather to focus on timing, distance and rhythm. I teach them to target the wrist for training and when fighting target the hand, specifically the middle knuckle. Having them do this drill gets them accustomed to hitting one another and also getting hit. It also helps them with targeting. If you can accurately hit the same spot on my wrist every shouldn't be hard for you to target the hand.

    Wearing gloves while doing this drill is completely unnecessary because 1. As a drill it is inherenly not sparring and thus we, on some level, are providing cooperation with each other so should be able to control our strikes 2. The students should get used to taking a hit and the person hitting can more clearly see where they are aiming for. Not the case with a giant hockey glove and arm guards. 3. The focus should be on smoothness, timing, distance. Not about being quicker than the other person. Having a rattan stick, no armor can help this because we all don't want to get hit hard with a stick so it helps slow things down.

    Also, for drills, hitting shoulder, thighs, lower back can be great targets and also great target substitutes. The idea is to get use to being able to hit where you want to hit.

    As I said before, I see a lot of clik-clak in videos and not much stick to person contact when drilling. Hence my initial post. Also interesting to hear people's thoughts on how to help students progress and get them used to sparring. Thanks! I hope this post helps clarify my original intent.
  11. BahadZubu

    BahadZubu Valued Member

    Okay since it occurs to me that my OP was not that clear. What I am saying is, obviously some stick on stick contact is inherent and less/more present depending on the style. However, how do you get students used to targeting, making contact, and get over the fear of being hit? (Yes, always their should be some fear but for instance with padded sticks the stress should not be so overwhelming that it impedes actually doing anything)

    Perhaps this is a better question and more to what I was originally getting at.
  12. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    There are some folks on this thread that regularly train with good contact. I like their comments.

    I think the most important part of training with heavy contact is to always protect yourself. Even if accepting a hit, it is not done passively, but there is always some defense done, even if minimal.

    I would say, in addition, there is no one size fits all training method for contact. What's important is to stress the lesson plan or objective of any training exercise. For example, what is the goal for contact?
    1) Is the training exercise to desensitize to the pain and to learn how to recover quickly from a hit?
    2) Is the training exercise to get passed students holding back so not to hurt an enemy?
    3) Is the training exercise to learn how to deal with a resisting opponent?

    The above are just a few objectives that could be the primary goal of a training exercise that emphasizes contact.

    The training exercises we use in addition to the two person sets/drills are as follows:

    - Training continuous attack as your defense. This is done at half speed and light to heavy contact. Both sides only attack but an attack can be an interception or a form of attack that acts as a defense too. Important to go slowly to allow for going with the hit. If the hit is solid, then go light afterwards to give time to recover from the hit. Generally, no more than three heavy hits with stick on padding or three medium hits without padding. After that, stop and only go light.

    - Taking turns with defense only. One side can attack and defend at half speed. Other side can only defend at a little faster than half-speed. The defender must work the three types of timing if possible. (1) Evade/block with no counter, (2) Defend and counter at the same time, (3) Counter that stops the attacker from following through with their attack.

    - Play time - light to medium sparring with padding on.

    I would start with the attack only method with light contact to get people used to light hits. After that, any standard drill will have an element of sparring to it and taking light hits and targeting won't seem like a big deal. IMHO.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  13. Hannibal

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

    Isolate - flow drill - Spar

    Really that's its

    The drills themselves can take care of everything else, especially if you "up" the contact...I have several defense drills that are done at 70-100% and the defender will move or they will get hit very hard. If I start a beginner off on those it is a recipe for failure at both ends, so they start with isolation drills (#1 to roof for example) or a flow (eg sumbrada) before moving to a drill like numerada....then they can hand spar (hockey gloves and hand targetting only) before trying any full power drills

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  14. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I found the video I was looking for. GM Danny Guba allowing me to use him for target practice.

    I do this with my students, as it gets them used to hitting a live target. I do it the other way around too and put them in the armour in order that they get used to the hits.

    It takes out the pressure and worry of trying to remember the strikes and angles while at the same time trying to block an oncoming stick.

    [ame=""]One sided sparring - YouTube[/ame]

    Me wearing the armour for my instructor.

    [ame=""]You Tube Project Amera.avi - YouTube[/ame]
  15. AussieGirl

    AussieGirl Valued Member

    Having been hit on the knuckle (accidentally) in training, resulting in multiple stress fractures that required nearly 6 months to fully heal, I'm not a huge fan of intentionally hitting the hands...
  16. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    I've known of people who did this but they used twirly sticks,which hurt like blazes but don't break things. Would still seem if done often could be conducive to joint problems later in life.

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