Sunday, March 30, 2008


Integrate - love that word. Since about a week ago, I have made a commitment to train at another school here in Singapore - Ni Tien Martial Arts ( Have a look.

The senior instructor and his wife have nearly 60 years of combined experience in martial arts and teach mainly Filipino Martial Arts integrated (love that word!) with Tai Chi, western boxing, and a mashup of other stuff (even Iaijutsu!). They also teach traditional healing methods. I have found everyone to be of superior focus and attitude, and we are all really trying to FLOW. It is a great lesson to attend and I am inspired again.

One of the main differences seems to be the way the hips are used. Yoshinkan always wants the hips low and descending, putting shite's center of gravity under uke's (maybe more accurately moving uke's center of gravity onto shite's). In FPM (Filipino Martial Arts), capturing uke's center of gravity seems secondary to immobilizing uke's arms and legs. Most chains start with counters to basic attacks by controlling the center line and either going inside or outside uke. Once the attacking element (uke's arm or leg) is immobilized, uke is usualy "opened", that is to say that shite enters into close range. At that distance, knees, elbows, headbutts are used to disable uke and remove and further will to fight. The chain usually leads uke to the ground and applies a finish there. It is fast and furious and the teachers spend a lot of energy on drills to develop awareness and muscle memory.

Despite FPM's outwardly violent application (harder by far even than Krav Maga), they teach it as "a cultural vehicle for self-discovery" and maintain that the violence stays in the dojo and is really just about preserving the tradition of the arts the way they are taught in the Philippines.

I have always been fascinated by the practicality of the Filipino styles, and fortunate to have found a school that teaches them so well here. Life is full of surprises, and the good ones are better by far than the bad ones. I am hopeful that this school will not only enrich my time here in The Lion City, but also give me a chance to bring together a lifetime of my own study.

Integrate? Inte-GREAT!

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