Cane Trials – Update

James over at hellinahandbasket just posted his investigations into cane durability. This was something spurred by one of my postings, and it’s great that he sought to check this stuff out. Thanx, James!

It should be noted that James was looking at general durability for whacking someone with a cane. For many people, this is probably all they would do with a cane, using it to strike people in an untrained manner. Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly nothing wrong with this. My personal goals are slightly different, being able to use a cane for locking, throwing, trapping, and other such things in addition to striking (my background in Kuk Sool and Kali give me many options). Nevertheless, if a cane can’t take a good whack against a tree, it’s doubtful it would be useful in any other way.

If you are going for a cane to just strike someone about the head and shoulders with, I would recommend a lighter cane. Yes more mass (at the same velocity) would yield more force upon impact, but more mass also means more momentum to have to bring to a stop, which you may well need to do to strike again especially if your first one missed. But exactly how heavy the cane should be depends 100% upon you, the way you’ll use the cane, and your strength and ability. Make sure you check this out and don’t settle on a cane until you find one that you can properly wield to suit your goals.

The lucite cane surprised me. But if it works, it works. I would want to feel it for heft and grip before I bought and/or settled on it, but the durability was nice to see. I wonder how easily you can trim the cane for a walking fit, or if it can be ordered to size.

On the other hand, the lack of durability in the rattan cane surprised me. I’ve used rattan staffs in Kuk Sool and we’ve struck each other at full force, no harm. I use rattan sticks in my kali practice, and we strike full force, no harm. I’ve struck the trees in my yard with these sticks, no harm. So I can only assume that it’s not rattan, but perhaps the construction of that particular cane.

In the end, James is right: some cane is better than no cane. Even those purely medical canes are better than nothing (tho they are certainly bottom of the list). But do you need to go out and spend big bucks on some specialty martial arts cane? Probably not. There is advantage there as they are certainly purpose-built (especially when looking at a training cane to ensure the “mouth” of the crook is wide enough to minimize chances of injury to a training partner), but they certainly aren’t a hard-fast requirement. I would also encourage anyone that opts to use a cane for self-defense to get some sort of training with it and to practice with it.

Thanx again, James!

Ollie Batts – Street Cane

More good stuff from Ollie Batts. Defensive use of cane:

Also check out Glen Doyle’s Shillelagh work:

To see more of Glen Doyle’s work, check out byyon’s YouTube channel.

My DIY Mook Jong

Call it a Mook Jong, Muk Jong, Muk Yan Jong, or just a wooden dummy, it’s an essential training tool of various martial arts, especially Wing Chun. I don’t study Wing Chun, but I do study a relative art, Jeet Kune Do. Furthermore, with my Filipino Martial Arts study, such a tool is handy.

You see, much of the empty hand martial arts study I do involves hands: using my hands, defending against my opponent’s hands. I may need to block, grab, strike, counter-attack, trap, move around their hands and body. This sort of work and practice is easy to do when you have a partner, but when I practice I home I don’t have such a luxury. Sure Wife and Kids humor me and are my uke now and again, but on the whole it’s not a tenable solution. I have longed for a way to have arms available when I practice (even back in my Kuk Sool days).

I do have a Century Wavemaster XXL. Great training tool. I wondered what I could do with it to make arms.

I found something called an Attach-mate, which straps onto the Wavemaster and provides the 3 arms of the mook jong. I’ve heard it’s pretty good, but it can break if struck too hard. Plus it’s expensive.

ProForce makes something called the Strong Arm, Strong Leg, and Strong Arm 2. That looks cool, but I’m not sure how durable it is in terms of taking a whack from some sticks. Plus, it’s expensive.

If you want to buy a proper wood mook jong, look at spending $1000 or more, and then you need a way to mount it and have the space for it.

There are some people making mook jong’s out of big PVC pipe, which is a lot less expensive than wooden ones but still costly and the space issue remains.

Then there’s stuff like this Hitman. Not sure how durable it is, but it’s pretty cool. And expensive.

Over on the Dog Brothers forum, there’s a thread with some additional links and discussion.

But upon seeing The Hillbilly Mook Jong, I got inspired.

I present to you, my DIY mook jong:

As you can see, it’s nothing special. I had a bamboo pole, which I cut in half to make 2 3-foot lengths. I used a little rope to attach the poles to the side of the Wavemaster, and viola. Low-cost mook jong. 🙂  I was actually looking for wiffle ball bats, but they’re amazingly difficult to find for some reason. I had the bamboo pole so eh, use that. I can’t say this is “no cost” since I did have to buy the Wavemaster and the rope, but certainly this didn’t incur the expense of any of the above mentioned options. If the bamboo breaks, no big deal to replace it. I tried some basic sinawali and gunting drills, some basic trapping and footwork. Worked like a charm. Sure it’s not a proper mook jong, but for my purposes it gives me what I need.

One trouble is the bamboo is hard and only gives so much. The back of my hand was getting sore after a lot of striking (yes, this is a good conditioning opportunity). Solution of course is a bit of padding. Keeping in the spirit of not wanting to spend any money:

I had an almost empty roll of Shop Towels, which fit over the bamboo and provides just enough padding so the back of my hand doesn’t get banged up yet there’s still some felt impact. I did have a new roll of towels that was of course very cushy, but was way too much padding. Plus the weight hung on the bamboo and caused too much shifting.

So yeah, it’s cheap, it’s far from sexy. But it works. It allows me to train. It cost me nothing out of pocket. Easy to use, easy to remove, easy to put back. If it breaks, easy to fix or replace. I can also whack the Wavemaster as I work. I can adjust lengths, heights, positioning. There’s just a lot I can do here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go practice. 🙂

Hubud drills, and other FMA finds

Ever have one of those online sessions where you’re just browsing the web, you come upon something interesting, then either you start clicking deeper or Google for more information, and just come upon all sorts of interesting things? I’m having one of those, relating to a Filipino martial arts drill known as “Hubud” or maybe “hu bud” or “hubad” or “hu bad”.

Continue reading

It’s a good day

So far, it’s a good day.

It’s the Labor Day weekend. It’s been productive for me, despite my overriding desire to be lazy all weekend long.

I just came in from a workout. I’m so happy with where my martial arts work is going. The Kali, JKD, Silat, Muay Thai, and boxing stuff… it all blends so well with my defensive handgun work. I don’t expect a self-defense situation to be a pure gunfight or a pure empty-hand situation. It always could be, but chances are it won’t. It’s wonderful to have many options at your disposal, and for these things to blend well into making your own system. I don’t regret my Kuk Sool training at all, but some of those aspects don’t really lend towards my current goals. But I envison later in life that I’ll find myself studying different martial arts again just for the sake of studying some art; for instance, Baguazhang holds appeal to me due to its Taoist underpinnings.

But for now, I’m riding a high of everything coming together so well. Serendipity. 🙂

Hopefully later this morning the family will take a trip to the best Korean grocery store in town and pick up some things. Need my kimchi fix. They also have a little diner in the store, which should make for a good lunch. Not sure what I’ll have yet, but if nothing else my default of a bibimbap would be just fine.

Then home, relax, have a beer, and just enjoy the rest of the day basking in the joy of my family.

It will be an even better day. 🙂

Siniwali tutorial

Reading tgace’s blog this morning and I find a neat thing that he did. He participated in making an online tutorial for how to peform the Filipino Martial Art concept of siniwali. Specifically, heaven and earth 6.

Yes it’s basic, yes it’s not a substitution for being in a proper class with a proper instructor, but it’s still a good tutorial. It does a gradual build from the basic motion alone, to with a partner, to stylized application, to more free-form application. It also emphasizes how FMA teaches concepts, not just rote techniques, and presents questions to help you explore further.

It’s nifty. Check it out.

One thing I liked was just watching someone else move. I’ve found myself seeking FMA videos because while all FMA’s share similar concepts, there’s an amazing amount of variation. It’s nice to see what other people do because it expands your outlook. For instance, in tgace’s initial siniwali movement it’s not just a parry but also a downward pull on the blocked hand; I usually just parry.

Heaven Six in tonight’s class

Sometimes the stars align and life is good.

In Kali class tonight we spent most of the time working on Heaven 6. Just a few days ago I blogged about Heaven 6, taking it beyond the use of sticks and applying it to empty hand work. That’s just what we did tonight. It’s been on my brain, and to take it further in class was serendipitous.

I have no idea what my problem was, but take the stick out of my hands and suddenly I couldn’t do it. 😮  I could do a single pass at it, but to just flow constantly just wasn’t happening. Could be that I’m mentally distracted, I don’t know. But regardless, it means lots of homework and practice for me, which isn’t a bad thing either way. So to make up for it, I just slowed down. That’s just as well. Better to be slow and correct. Speed will come.

It’s also important to realize that while there’s a lot about Filipino martial arts that’s common, there’s also so much that’s different. There’s thousands of “flavors” of FMA and while foundations are similar, details are different. Little details in how my Guro applied the empty hand Heaven 6 was really nice. For instance, assume you’re facing an opponent and they throw a right punch at you (e.g. the classic “right haymaker”). Doing the 3 motions you use your right hand to parry/block, then the left hand comes in… and that becomes basically a backfist into the inside of their bicep. It’s not how Janich was doing it, but boy I like this way because it works to continue the flow of things but not just being defensive but damaging as well. Nice stuff.

Nevertheless, I continue to be impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of Filipino martial arts. Something as fundamental as Heaven 6 is just awesome and ever so useful. I need more practice.