Drills for Skills: Preparation not… well, you know.


The Tactical Arnis motto is to “Train Smart.”  One way we do this is focusing on the ‘big picture’ training goal of our program – preparation for self defense.

Other martial arts programs focus on the ‘art’ of their martial art system in order to preserve the tradition, others focus on the sport and competition, and still others want to use martial arts as ‘character building.’  Different people train for different reasons and it’s good that they can find a school that fits them.  But, there can be a ‘danger’ when there is a disconnect between what you are training and why you are training it.  That’s why Tactical Arnis training is clearly focused on one objective – preparedness.  Personally, this is a bit ironic since I train for something I would rather avoid, but Shakespeare gave Hamlet the best explanation for this enigma:

“If it be now, ’t is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.”

(Hamlet. Act v. Sc. 2.)

An example of a drill that develops preparedness is the “Hand Flash” drill borrowed from my time training with Bobby Taboada in his Cuentada Balintawak System.  This drill is an empty hand version of the ‘defense and counter’ training approach that is signature of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) in general and Balintawak specifically.

The “WHAT” of doing the drill is to isolate and develop quickness and speed.  ‘Quickness’ is your ‘first twitch’ explosive move that takes you from ‘zero to 60mph’ whereas ‘speed’ is your ‘top speed’ once you get going.  The “WHY” is NOT to master the drill for it’s own sake, but to prepare students for the ‘furball’ of reality.  If we look ‘pretty’ too… well that’s just a bonus.

This is a great drill and shows up in other systems, although it may be done differently. Click the links below:

Balintawak Basic Defense and Counter (Stick Version of the “Hand Flash” drill)

Modern Arnis – Hubud and Siniwali Boxing

Siniwali Boxing Feeds

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3 thoughts on “Drills for Skills: Preparation not… well, you know.

  1. Pingback: Drills for Skills: Preparation not… well, you know. « the things worth believing in

  2. Hi this is great stuff, and I completely agree with you! In fact, this stays true to the real spirit behind arnis and escrima more than those guys who seek to preserve the tradition, but lose sight of real-world application. Keep up the good work!

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