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Use Range, Deliver Force

Dear Friend,


In the last newsletter, we dealt with using a stick to drive back an attacker, and went over both some tactical advantages and the physics presented to us by having a stick.  The nutshell solution was to USE RANGE, DELIVER FORCE.  Range comes from using the length of the stick, combined with the length of your arm.  That gives you a substantial advantage over an attacker that just has his own length of arm, and means that you can strike him without him being able to strike you...if you can control the range.


The unarmed attacker has two goals, the same two goals you would have if the coin was flipped and you were the unarmed defender.

  1. Control the Attack Stick.
  2. Deliver force into the opponent.


Range should keep you from getting struck.  When the attacker closes on you, you have 5 options

  1. Deliver so much force into the attacker that he'll withdraw.
  2. Disable the attacker so that he can no longer advance.
  3. Back up to keep the range favoring you.
  4. Angle in such a way that the attacker passes you by.
  5. Push the attacker or otherwise steer the body when the attacker gets too close.


Your surroundings will determine whether or not you can be in constant withdrawal.  If the space is enclosed, you won't be able to back up forever.  If it's not, you may be able to back up until the attacker is disabled or leaves.  Constantly falling back is a very simple option and one that you should use if you can.  It leaves you with a very low chance of injury.


I have found that most people, even complete novices, have a stick grabbing reflex when something is swung at them.  Now, it rarely goes in the novices favor, but you need to know that the reflex exists.  To avoid stick controls, you need to strike targets that make the stick hard to grab.  The legs, for example, make the attacker bend over and look in a general downward fashion if he wants to grab the stick.  This position exposes the head and back to blows and also makes it difficult for him to grab blows to those areas.  If you alternate between the two, you can deliver many potent, hard to grab stick blows.


I mention stick grabbing here, because the advantage of stick range is eliminated if the stick is grabbed.


What do you do if the stick is grabbed?  Well, that's why so much time is pent on releasing stick grabs in Arnis.


Warm Regards,


Guro Mike Steenrod

P.S.  This information is intended for qualified FMA practitioners only.  Please forward it to only the appropriate people.