Thursday, May 28, 2015


We were doing some basic kali, this week. Snake disarms. Very basic, since kali is not our thing, just a way to get familiar with weapons and their effects.

But I come from classic Japanese fencing. The kali meme of "a stick is a sword is a stick"? I lean towards the sharp, pointy thingie. And yet, it seems I have something that should be more easy to grasp to people who lean "stick". Ie, pommel strikes.

What I'm finding in what little kali I've done is that people tend to strike with the "mono uchi", the last part of the sword when used for slashing. They forget pommel, they forget thrusts... The stick becomes a light baseball bat (or worse; a baseball bat does have a nice pommel, after all).

Now...the point of weapons is to get better offensive options. While it's true that, say, an F-18 isn't much good for a police restrain and yet a useful thing, it's not much good if you take a weapon and discard most of its uses. It would be like getting that F-18 and using it ONLY for dropping dumb bombs. What's the use of its radar, its cannon, its fly by wire? Get another weapon, if you only want that!

So, if you're only using slashing techniques, get a slashing weapon. But, oh, that needs edge angle awareness. So, we better keep a stick.

It's weird. the distance our style works best is close striking, almost grappling distance. With any other attack, we try to close there. And yet, most of us try to keep the distance when we have a stick. Why? The moment you've disarmed him, you do not need to get far away[*]. Use that pommel, use your elbow, use "abanico". There are lots of options, faster options, things that can really mess the other guy. But you need to use the whole of the weapon, for that.

The more I think about it (not only this once), the more I believe that we should train with short sword replicas, the more I see rattan leading to tactical laziness.[+]

Take care.

[*] Yes, if you've disarmed him and still carry your own stick, you're in a legal minefield.

[+] Not that swordwork is immune to that. There are a lot of distances available with a katana that are seldom explored. Even a lot of counter to a disarm attempt that try to control down the guy... when you'd started wanting to cut him down and you still have the damn sword!

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