Sparring with Limited Footwork
About the Videos
This video was filmed in response to some questions that I had receive regarding the relevance of some hubud and other Filipino martial arts drills that are taught in Albo Kali Silat and, to one degree or another, in many other Filipino Martial Art systems. Some students of other martial arts who have not trained with me had asked if such drills prepared a person for live sparring and, even more importantly, for real combat. I have always said that there is no “fluff” in Albo Kali Silat. If it does not work in a fight, we do not do it. Of course, it might take a lot of study and training before one is able to integrate some of the advanced material into one’s personal combat arsenal. Live, unscripted, sparring is very necessary for the development of real combative skill. Prior to adding stress and stimulus, though, it is necessary for a student to have some skill, to have learned some principles of motion and body mechanics and some techniques which apply these principles. In other words, prior to the “pressure test” and skill set development of sparring, the student must have some skills to test and develop. Drills, especially drills where students are engaging in light to hard contact with each other, are great ways to grind the edge onto the student, an edge that will be honed and polished by sparring and pressure testing.
In this video I engage in sparring with three different students of different skill levels in Albo Kali Silat, and different training backgrounds and skill levels in other combative arts and systems of study. This is free sparring from the standpoint of the students involved. For me, it was a “restricted” sparring scenario, in that I was supposed to stay in a very limited area of the mat. You will note, that, despite my best intentions, I did go slightly outside the area in which I wished to contain myself. I suppose my instincts got the better of me, as I just had to exploit an opening or two that existed outside of my self-imposed cage.
This session, as is common with unscripted, live sparring, did not go exactly as I expected. I thought that at least one of my opponents would try for a takedown or throw. In retrospect, since I was basically supposed to be tethered to a section of the mat, it makes sense that none of them tried to do this. If you have freedom of movement and the opponent does not, why not engage in a long-range, free movement and highly mobile game, rather than drive into your opponent’s sphere of influence and give up your movement advantage? Secondly, all of these men had studied with me a bit, and all knew that, in close, I tend to do a lot of balance disruption movements, throw flurries of combinations, and can be a bit of a handful. Note that I do disrupt my opponent’s balance on a number of occasions, that I disrupt their combinations, and that I score a lot of hits with my combinations. Note the use of low level kicking to the opponents’ legs, and to one opponent’s groin. Also note that, with Mike, my third opponent, I used a forearm strike on the correct angle to disrupt his balance and he staggers across the mat to recover himself. You can see some bridging of limbs, trapping, and a lot of parrying and deflecting, during this video.
We are not wearing gloves or pads during this sparring. This sparring is light to medium contact, and yes, we do get bruised a bit. We do sometimes put on gloves and other protective equipment and “go for broke” at each other, but I have found that an exclusive regimen of such sparring can lead to a reliance on “headgear and armor,” and students can get into the bad habit of taking a heavy shot to give a heavy shot. If knives are substituted for fists and hands, then such an attitude can be fatal. We mix up our training to try to keep in the optimum training and learning zone. Sparring in different scenarios, with and against different weapons, incorporation of ground fighting (takedowns are always allowed when we free spar, both with weapons and without), and against more than one opponent, are all conducted.
I hope that the video answers some questions concerning hubud and other drills, as well as illustrating some uses of skills developed in drills. I developed the hand speed that I have through drills with empty hand, stick, and knife, and sparring with all three weapons. Without the drills, I would have neither the speed nor the skills necessary to do what I did in this video. More importantly, I would not have the skills that have allowed me to survive multiple altercations as a law enforcement officer, and which allow me to train and teach others with confidence that the methodology in Albo Kali Silat is worthwhile and the skills acquired in training are more than adequate to defend oneself.
Train hard and stay safe,
Tuhan Holloway, June 2010