Friday, November 20, 2015

Force Necessary: Stick! A Course in Fighting With a Stick

      So-called "stick fighting? We have, I have, organized the Force Necessary: Stick! course two decades ago. Then, inside the other course we have - the PAC Course, the Pacific Archipelago Combatives and Filipino course, there is also more "stick fighting." So, I really teach two different kinds of "stick fighting." A "street" one, if you will and a martial arts one, again if you will. The street one will easily fit inside the martial arts one. However, the martial arts one will not fit inside the street one, and has way more stuff in it to satisfy...well..the art and multi-cultural aspects of the historical use of the stick. This is not something I "love." It is just something I know a lot about and do, and small groups of people ask me about it. Thus, the most efficient doctrine evolves.

     Interested people ask if its all just "stick fighting?" What exactly is stick fighting to you? To a martial artist it is a lot of stick-versus-stick dueling. To a cop or self defense seeker, it is just about survival self defense, or used for arrest, control and contain in the security, police and military world.

This FN:Stick! "street" version is based on:
  Threatening, striking, blocking, grappling
  Stick vs unarmed (occurs a lot)
  Stick vs stick (occurs probably the least)
  Stick vs knife (occurs sometimes)
  Stick vs some gun  threats (occurs...)
  Standing, seated, kneeling and on the ground

Consisting of, more specifically:
  The 1 non-ready and 9 ready positions
  The Who, what, where, when, how and why module questions
  The Stop 6 subjects
  The Management Set: Anger, Fear, Pain
  Combat Clock angles
  Solo Command and Mastery
  Hitting training gear
  Partner training
  Any skill, speed, flow exercises
  Combat Scenarios
   * no flak
   * some flak
   * flak
   * freestyle

     First of all, in the scheme of all pastimes including golf, tennis, baseball, soccer, football, karate, MMA, Krav, knitting...fighting with sticks, street or art, is just not a popular interest. It is much less so than in the 1990s. "Stick fighting" is an obscure oddity.

     Even police stick/baton fighting or "use," is and has been declining - all subjects I have written about here in these blogs, in detail before. Shrinking due to public perception and lawsuits, and fear thereof. The martial "stick" and the "police stick" are just not popular. If you think it is? You are viewing the subject from a small, naive paper tube.

 My PAC/FMA course, like any good, comprehensive FMA course is about:
1: hand,  (mano-mano
2: single stick, 
3: double stick, 
4: knife, and
5; stick-and-knife the five big areas of "play." There are a few one-off topics, sure, but those are the biggies. FMA is not just about the stick.

     The rigors of this 5 subject art material runs deep, deep, deep depending upon the system, and too deep for me, actually. If you really study the subject as an esoteric artist might, the amount of material is almost undocument-able. This may sound strange, but if you do it up really right? It is massive. Creating a fighting art program, capable of covering everything, working out and testing everything for prowess, is a miasma of a project. It is elusive. Redundant. Cross-referenced. The martial art. In the PAC course I do the best I can making it simple given the filters I use, but the real, true expertise in it, is an elusive athleticism, wisdom and knowledge that only people "in the know" can spot in other people. I will never "master" this miasma.

    But the rigors of the street version we do, does not run anywhere so deep because we have no dogma or tradition to follow. We reduced all the redundant angles of attack sets into the simple clock. You may have no idea how this really streamlines things. And we do not spend an inordinate amount of time going stick-versus-stick encounters in slow and half-speed patterns and steps, as so often overdone. Remy Presas understood this process. He was found of saying:

"Of course, I could just hit the man in the head with a stick. 
But I want you to learn the art!" - R. Presas

     Meanwhile, stick dueling must be done for a host of skill and athletic benefits, street or art. I consider it mandatory experience if one holds a stick in their hand. Just cuz....just cuz "nothing replaces ring time," as Joe Lewis said. Even older, police baton courses required stick dueling, hardly dreaming an officer would actually be dueling with impact weapons, but more for the experience and as a rite of passage kind of thing. You can duel stick vs knife. Stick versus chair. Etc.

     But it is my real interest, intent and mission to cover the practical aspects of hand, stick, knife and gun. One cracks many eggs to make this. Therefore I still collect and filter all this stick information. As opposed to the PAC/FMA course, the FN Stick course is very short and simple. Each level is short and simple. Easily digestible. And, as you will find in almost all good fighting systems, if you work these simple basics things a lot, it will really benefit you.

Here is how I break it down. The foundational first 10 levels, then from Level 11 on up - some higher levels for further specialization.
Level 1: Introduction to the Impact Weapon, Impact Weapon Stress Quick Draws
              - "straight stick/baton"
              - expandable

Level 2: Stick Retention Primer, from "while carrying," to "while holding" to "while held"

Level 3: Stick Blocking Primer

Level 4: Single Hand Grip Striking Primer

Level 5: Riot Stick (Double Hand Grip striking) Combatives Primer

Level 6: “Crossing Sticks” Stick Dueling Primer

Level 7: The Push Series Grappling & Spartan Module

Level 8: The Pull Series Grappling & Chain of Stick Module

Level 9: The Turn Series Grappling and the “In the Clutches of” Module

Level 10: The So-Called “Black Belt” Combat Scenario Test

Then the specialty subjects, like...
Level 11: Intensive Focus: Stick Ground Fighting
Level 12: Intensive Focus: Axe Handle Fighting
Level 13: Intensive Focus: Double Impact Weapon Mastery
Level 14: and up...Focus: on higher levels upon request

     I will always teach the PAC/FMA art. I have tried and tried to customize it with some of the above ideas, like using the numbers on a clock instead of the vast, numerous and often incomplete angles of attack. I will teach it because it seems people are interested in the more artful version. If they ask? I will do it.  But I am far more interested in the generic street version - Force Necessary: Stick! 

Force Necessary TV! Many video clips

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Review from Officer Greg Ellifritz::

     "Impact Weapons Combatives looks similar in both form and layout to the Knife Counter-Knife book.  It is a hardcover as well, but isn’t quite as dense, coming in at just over 200 pages.  It covers grips, stances, open and closed mode striking, quick draws, footwork, blocking, stick retention and strikes with the support hand.  It even covers stick take downs and using the stick from the ground. 
     Like Hock’s knife book, I think this is truly the definitive reference for the subject.  Most other impact weapons books lack quality content.  They are thin books that merely describe a few overly complex Filipino stick drills.  That’s not how this book operates.  It starts students at the ground level and teaches all the basic and advanced techniques a practitioner might need to wield a stick effectively in combat.  If you are interested in the somewhat arcane topic of fighting with impact weapons, this book would be a great investment."

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