Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Speed, Flow, & the Joy of Play-Play with a Short Stick by Ron Saturno

Master Ron, "You do a disservice to the FMA Community Sir, by using a short stick for your demo's on Youtube." Using a short stick makes you look faster than is possible. "We will sometimes talk about you Serrada short stick users in class", he told me. Obviously, the short stick using Serrada players have pissed in peoples pots of adobo again. So I tell him, " I don't use a short stick." And then I tell him that, "I slow my hitting down so it can be seen on video. In the old days guys would stop me for banging their pretty sister's and/or cousin's. Times change, but I'd rather get complaints about my indiscretions than my speed. I'd rather fight about something that I did with someone's sister than fight over the years that it took me to develop unconscious speed. I had been walking around the San Jose, Ca. Flea Market yesterday with a small piece of ballistic material hanging from my belt with my name and the U.S. and Philippine flag embroidered upon it. It is supposed to be used as a stick bag tag or on my luggage bag. I wanted to have a few more made at the Flea Market. It was a birthday gift from Master David Mah. He had it sewn overseas. The guy recognized my name and struck up a conversation. The guy looked stout and I really didn't want to imitate a star wars light saber scene, but with real weapons on an otherwise good day. So I asked him, "Do you have a sister?" Yes, he says, I have three sisters,"But they are in the Philippines and have never came to the U.S." So I then relaxed and started chatting with him. Are you sure about your sisters?", I asked. He then said, "Why do you keep asking about my sisters?" "Oh shit", I think. I answer, "You look like a girl that I once knew." I tell the guy that I developed speed in order to deal with what I learned in play-play. He then says, "What is play-play?" Play-Play is when you stand around with padded sticks and play-play. I had been swinging sticks for a long time. Yet, when the light padded sticks came out, it was really hard to deal with the speed of the play, because my footwork couldn't keep up with the speed of the weapons. My foot work that I really can depend upon is practically nullified and can even be negated when weapon speed increases beyond a certain point. Padded stick play is extremely fast and is almost too fast for the mind to properly deal with. And so I developed swift weapon speed to use against guys that slither back and forth and attempt to use their foot work as a means to defeat me. I also use weapon speed to quickly come behind a regular blow during a sparring match, because the tempo change is unexpected by an opponent and I can usually score if I had wanted to. I use weapon speed to increase the number of hits that I can deliver within a given amount of time. I would use weapon speed and accuracy to hopefully end a fight quickly. Mohammed Ali did say that, "The firstest with the mostest is the bestest." Yet, just hitting something, even anything first, is not the end all of end alls. Hitting at the right time in the right way is truly what it is all about. I like to hit where it's least expected, least wanted and hopefully never seen, but just felt. Now I'm talking about the good shit! I can take a normal Escrima player and pick their speed up appreciably. And oh how they will fight me. They will huff and puff and tense up and argue with me. They will fight me every step of the way sometimes, because they just can't believe that what I teach to actually use, really is actually usable in a combative situation. I teach simplicity! I teach natural flowing responses against men with nasty and evil intentions. The real problem that they will have is my slowly taking away what they took so many years to learn. Some are bound and wrapped within their respective systems. Sometimes I have to tell them that, "If you want to get your ass kicked as a died in the wool member of your school than go ahead, our training is over." I am not against "any" system. I am against holding on to your system when it no longer offers answers to the deep riddles that weapon fighting can usually offer us. I have had the opportunity to watch some really good Escrima players: As I have also had the enjoyment to watch some of these men teach. How they teach many times is "not" how they would really fight. I do not spar the way that I teach. I teach a basic system that allows a man to hopefully survive until he can accomplish an ability to flow! It is flow that I teach. If my system doesn't have an answer to a problem I will lovingly put my system on time out and search for the answer to my riddle. I later usually discover that my system had the answer, but I was too stupid to see it. Some men will keep a death grip upon their system's teachings. If their system didn't invent something than it doesn't exist in their hearts and minds. In the end flow is when you have to allow the moment to cut out most unneeded movements and if you are good enough...all unneeded movements. Flow is purity of movement. Flow is lightning with a stick or blade. Flow doesn't give a shit about a man's system or lineage. Flow is the perfect blending of mind, body and spirit. Flow is a beautiful example of actualized body mechanics. Flow is the quickest way from point A to point B. Flow is what the great Master's do when they dispatch you for your permanent dirt nap. Flow is a man who gives himself to the almighty and trusts the almighty to move for him. Every system aims for the achievement of flow. Some men acquire flow and some don't. Every system is a basic way to learn to achieve flow: Some systems are just better vehicles than others. But it is the desire of a man to become great at what he does that outweighs the system that he chose to be the vehicle he will ride toward his greatness. In the end, it is not about your system limiting you, it is about you limiting your system. You are the system and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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