A bunch of years ago I studied this martial art called Kali. It was strange stuff so I figured I’d write an entry about it. Martial arts are good ways to stay in shape and learn useful skills. Some of the more traditional martial arts even have healing systems included in them. Big problem with all of them is if you have to pay someone to teach you. Anyways, this Kali system is from the Philipines. I only took it fora year or so and if you ever studied any of the martial arts you know you could do it for two lifetimes and still be a beginner.
Kali is basically stick fighting. There are also empty hands and edge weapons training included. You work with a partner and you do flowing drills where you try to flow seamlessly from one move into the next. Having only done it for a year I was always one step out of time like trying to do the electric slide at a wedding. There are single stick and double stick drills. Each stick is made from rattan and is about two feet long. The butt of the stick can be used to grab limbs and the tip of the stick when swung can carry good force. One drill you may stand across from your partner who also has two sticks. Your partner swings at you and you block the swing with you own stick and maybe strike with the stick in your other hand. Then they block and strike. There is a lot of footwork in Kali. There are no single moves. Everything is a strike, block, trap, strike. Then you can put the sticks down and do basically the same thing with empty hands. Because of the flowing from one move into the next it translates into a good system for self-defense. After a while it’s almost like a dance. The sticks click clacking against each other also have a rhythm. So the different drills become more natural. Ever wonder why we sing our ABCs, because it’s natural. I also find that when I’m doing something natural instead of mechanical it’s much easier to put weight and momentum into strikes. I still keep my sticks in the trunk of my car. Once in a while when I’m walking away from the public’s prying eyes I’ll practice as I’m walking or work out on a tree for a bit.
Hey all martial arts are good. We can debate about this or that, but they all have strengths and weaknesses. Although I studied Okinawan karate with an amazing teacher, I’m not a big fan of the real traditional arts. If you want to learn how to fight in a phone booth and make the most of hip rotation Okinawan is the way to go. The traditional arts just seem to move too slowly for me. Like every other aspect of my life I focus on what works and discard the rest. If you do Brazilian Ju Jitsu don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s the end all and be all. Ditto for MMA. They all have rules and if you practice fighting by rules then you’ll fight for real the same way. You have to be careful when training because muscle has memory too. If you train to never strike to the eyes, throat or balls, if you train to not bite a chunk out of your opponent, not fishhook or not pull hair, strike to the back of the head or spine or stomp a hand then when the fighting is for real you won’t be prepared to fishhook, bite, pull hair, grab nuts and twist or strike to the eyes, nose or throat. Do you practice finger locks and breaks? The way you practice is the way you’ll react.
You can’t really explain Kali though so I figured I’d just post a video from YouTube. If you watch the video try and follow the footwork, the hip rotation to get strength into strikes and the flowing from one move to the next.
Did you check out the video? Pretty cool looking stuff, huh? I also studied Systema which is a Russian marital art taught to the Russian special forces. This stuff was really weird. They could use the harmonic distortion of your body to actually rub you down to the ground. You know harmonic distortion and how vibrations get larger and larger? Well you throw a punch and these guys that study Systema take that motion and somehow multiply it and actually rub you right down to the ground. It’s crazy stuff. I really enjoyed studying Kali. It was fun. Because you don’t fight alone, working with a partner for most drills is a good way to do things. So get out there and practice. Practice makes perfect. Buy a video or two and find a partner to practice with.
Here’s a good one. I was Getting Out Everyday and I come down this path and you see that nice old stonewall and that nice old juniper right in the center of the picture? Well there was a herd of deer standing there staring at us. I’d say there were probably 5-6. I think someone spooked them and they were moving and we inadvertently headed them off at the pass. In my experience cows are curious. I think deer are the same way. The deer seemed to all be looking us over. So I’m getting my camera out and of course Green Eyed Dog can’t control himself and splits. He chases one deer one way and the other deer go the other way.
You can see Green Eyed Dog taking off to the left like a banshee after the deer. If you click on the picture to expand it or look real close at the oak tree farthest to the left you can see the deer running for it’s life. You can see it’s head and it’s hind leg. It’s body is hidden behind the tree. I took some other pictures, but my camera has a delay so I missed all the other deer. The air was thick with the smell of the deer. Have you ever been in the woods and smelled wildlife? I’m telling you the air was thick with the scent of deer. Man, we have so many deer around here that they’re like pests. Not a lot of people hunt here and WTSHTF I think that our game will be more plentiful in the suburbs than in the more rural areas where everything large and small will be killed, cleaned and cooked in a week.