Fighting, Form Without Form (Chip M. Deluna)

We received the following excellent response from Chip M. Deluna to RANDOM FLOW BY MAIJA SODERHOLM and have posted it below for your reading pleasure;

I watched Maija and Sonny Umpad’s free flow drill.

Sonny grew up on the same island as my grandparents who were also well-versed in escrima and use of other native weaponry. Random flow is really what I call a “form w/out a form” an insight that I tried to teach our students when we had a Martial Art school in Moreno Valley, CA.

A “form w/out a form” is a summation of your knowledge and observations done in a random form that you will be unable to repeat exactly. However, even in its randomness a pattern will still emerge, because it is a summation of your knowledge. You cannot really practice random flow or a “form w/out a form” with no prior knowledge of delivery, technique, study of the body and vulnerable points, speed, and constant movement. Movement and technique to me are synonymous. There are only so much you can do to a human body and so many movements you can execute.

My grandparents and father have said many times over that in combat with razor sharp weapons, the outcome is determined w/in two to three passes; at that point someone is already injured or in Death’s clutches. If no one is injured, chances are both of you willbe if the combat continues. If you remove the weapons and execute the same movements with empty hands, you will discover that the flow is similar to chi-sao, cadena-de-mano, sticky hands, or kake-uke.

With weapons, speed and lethality of strike is of utmost importance, this is emphasized more in hand-to-hand combat where there are numerous opponents equally eager to dispatch of you. With weapons you can do numerous strikes w/minimum power with equal results – the dispatch of your opponent.

With empty hands, you need to add ‘power’ along with speed and lethality. Ten-sho and san-chin are two exercises that can teach a practitioner the delivery and release points of that power in a strike; these two forms are not really for breathing exercises. One important aspect that I have observed in the FMA no matter what system it is, is the closeness of how this drill or practice movements are done. They are too close and I have always been uncomfortable with it. While it is very useful to develop speed, it is not good to use the same process in real combat.

Stop for a moment when doing these drills and stand squarely with each other extending your hands with the weapons towards each other, w/out hurting yourself of course, you will notice that the weapons are way past your bodies, way beyond the point of combat and far within, as I call it, the radius of death. Even more so if turn your body to the left or right. You have to keep this understanding at all times. Remember too that the delivery of the lethat strike is both during the strike and the withdrawal of the stirke. This feedback is rather long, last but not the least – Weapons are extensions of your hands; learn your hands and you will learn your weapons.

Chip M. Deluna, co-founder, KSS

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