Here we are in a brand new cycle. Every three months in Kali Majapahit the curriculum changes. In general, during a cycle we will focus on either:
- Single or Double Sticks
- Empty Hand subsystem or other specialist weapon
- Boxing or Kickboxing
This time we will be working on double sticks. Sometimes I get asked "why double sticks? It's not useful..." Some students feel it is not as practical as single stick, with the logic that they are unlikely to have a pair of sticks handy at a time when they get attacked. Fair point. However, double sticks are worth far more in training than just their direct value in stick fighting self defense.
In modern combat sports, champions such as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis and others pioneered the combination of western sports conditioning such as weight training and cardio to enhance their fighting performance. In no case did anyone challenge them by saying that lifting weights had no direct combat application. It was understood that improving the body's core strength, conditioning, flexibility, coordination and speed had overall performance benefits. Even the ancient Greeks knew this. Double sticks can be considered similarly in that although it may be highly unlikely for you to use double sticks in actual self defense situations, the training will improve your overall fighting skills in many other ways.
Double Sticks are training methodologies we use to deepen our coordination and dexterity. The drills work both symmetrically and asymmetrically to challenge us to learn to control our hands precisely across a variety of patterns. The drills of Inayan Escrima which are core to Kali Majapahit are designed to build from a foundation (Cabca) to more advanced drills (Sinawali) that teach us to move weapons together or independently without interfering with each other. This skill, whether applied with double sticks, double swords, double daggers, or any other set of tools of any length makes it very difficult to defend. Especially for asymmetric movements in odd timing signatures, the defender will be very challenged to successfully block both hands across a full chain of attacks. As well, these drills help develop the ability to simultaneously defend and attack (often using one weapon for each) which is both efficient and highly effective.
Mastering double sticks requires deep focus and concentration to cement the muscle memory needed to execute the movements smoothly and at speed. The focus and concentration sharpened by this training enhances not just our other martial arts skills but also our performance in any other sport or physical activity.
In many traditional arts, dual wielding is not introduced until mid-level black belt rank (3rd dan black belt or higher). For FMA it is an essential skill that is part of even the beginner curriculum. Simple drills make great warm ups and can even be isometric training when done very slowly with heavy tools.
Below are common drills which are used to master double sticks. These can be adapted and/or combined with dynamic footwork and movement to increase difficulty. They can even be done in groups of three people to increase difficulty.
- Cabca 1-8 including ladders, one-hand principle, right/left principle, high/low principle, mirror principle
- Sinawali 2-9 including ladders, one-hand principle, right/left principle, high/low principle, mirror principle
- Sinawali 6 variations including abanico, redondo, dunga, doble doble
- 5 count sumbrada including free flow
- 4 count sumbrada including variations such as punyo strikes
- Hubud Lubud (including punyo sumbrada)
All of the above drills can be done with symmetric tools (such as two identical sticks, blades or nunchaku) as well as asymmetric tools such as espada y daga, stick and tomahawk, karambit and daga, etcetera.
I'm very excited for this cycle and the skills it can help us develop.
See you at class.