(James and I practicing knife template)
From there we went into 1-36 of 64 Stick Form. Did that a couple times and after went into our defenses. First we did just the defenses alone to make sure we had the motions down and then went into practical defenses. So one would feed from any of the 8 basic strikes for the drill, while the receiver would defend, or at least try to defend, with the proper technique. We kept on getting hit on certain strikes so we stopped to examine what happened.
For instance I kept on reading his knee strike wrong. At times it looked like it was going to be a high strike, like a say angle number 1. So during the swing I would try to check his strike for angle number one and halfway through his swing it would change and swing down to angle number five. Or he would swing and it would look like he’s going for angle number three and again, half way through his swing it would change up and swing down to angle number five. “Maybe I’m feeding wrong.”, he said. For this drill being at the beginning stages, maybe, but then again in a real fight these kinds of swings will happen. So how can we better read these types of swings?
In martial arts or for almost all sports for that matter, you are taught that certain body parts will tell you where something is going. For instance the waist will tell you which direction his/her body is going; their shoulder will tell you which arm is going to be in motion. The problem we saw with this was that when a longer weapon was in play, like a stick, it didn’t tell us where the swing was necessarily coming from or going, especially if the weapon were chambered, be it behind the back or under the arm.
So what could we use as a better reference point? Well when dealing with knives we track the hands. Where ever the hand is going the knife is going. So we tried tracking the hand. Nope. I still got hit. Don’t get me wrong , I was able to track the swing better by seeing the hand placement. It told me a lot. I was defending way better by tracking the hand, but the problem was with the mid way switch. The hand didn’t always tell me he was about to switch it up. I just happened too fast. So if the shoulders don’t tell us enough, and the hands don’t tell us enough, what could we use as a reference point then?
So we went at it a few more times and this time I was able to defend against his knee strike and it hit me. I tracked the tip of his weapon. It told me everything about the swing and since the tip is what has the most travel, it showed me the most. I didn’t have worry too much about the hand position at that point. Combining the tracking of both the hand placement and tip travel was the best bet though. Add the tracking of the shoulder to tell us which arm will be at play and the tracking of the waist to tell us where he/she was going to be coming from or going too, and you have something pretty solid. So now the question is, does all of that take too much away from the live hand?
So we added a knife in the mix. At any point James would deploy his knife and go in for the kill and I would have to see if I could defend properly. We got started and he attempted two to three strikes. Then he went for angle number 2, deployed his knife, and went in for a stab. Now keep in mind that while going for angle number 2, I could not see his live hand so I couldn’t see that he was deploying. Nevertheless I was able to defend against his knife as well, but the knife attack came from up high so I was already in position to defend for it.
So what if the knife attack came from low? We did the drill the same way starting with a few strikes and then attempting to deploy the knife. Again I was still able to defend and better yet create space. We went back and forth a few times so that we could both have a chance to try it out. Not perfect, but better than where we started.
Another thing that I ran into during this drill was what to do if I’m already in motion and he goes in for the sak sak? For instance, I’m moving around and go toward him in a left angle. This actually assisted his sak sak because I was going right into it. I couldn’t shield properly, it was too late, and I couldn’t change my footing mid way through my step. So I thought maybe I would Aboniko it down and away from me. It kind of worked. James said try adding in the push that we use in Level I knife tapping along with the Aboniko. So I tried that and it was better.
We still need a lot of work on this, but we’re getting better. We just have to keep practicing it so that we start to develop proper responses. Then we can start to incorporate counters and follow ups so that we can reverse the rolls from receiver to feeder. But baby steps first.
(James showing me a new knife template)
Finally we went over hubad, but with more emphasis on our left since we train so much with our right. We were both getting all tied up. So we would slow it down and try to point out where we were making mistakes. I need more practicing with my left anyway.
Anyway it was a fun practice. ItsYoBoyFlex and I’m out.