Blade binds in FMA

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by SWC Sifu Ben, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I was wondering about this when discussing the carryover of stick to blades the other day as they tend not to replicate the need for edge alignment and they definitely don't replicate the bind of edge on edge with large blade.

    Does anyone have any examples of techniques from a bind in FMA? I've seen techniques for this from HEMA manuals but I'm certainly less experienced in FMA systems so I may have seen them and had them slip past me.
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Can you define a "bind" for me? Not sure what you mean.

    EDIT: Just read about binding on a HEMA website. I think I get your question a bit better now. Formulating response...
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  3. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Okay, so I'm a believer that the whole blade-transferability thing gets overplayed in FMA. It's not that there isn't crossover. It's just that you're not magically learning two things in one. Fact is that blade combat is different than blunt combat. And there are certain things that don't translate very well.

    Most of my experience has been in blunt combat. I have done a handful of classes with teachers whose emphasis was different. Illustrisimo for instance. Spent much more time thinking about blade v. blade contact with two sessions with Guro Jacobo than I had in years and years with other instructors. Just a different focus. So if you're not seeing much about binding in FMA, it might be time to get more selective about what FMA you're observing. That's not a knock. Just a different emphasis.

    For example, the way you hold the weapon in blocking was different with the blade because you don't want to lead with the edge. In striking, obviously, you lead with the edge. In blocking, you lead with the flat. With a stick, there's no advantage to that because your weapon is obviously uniform all the way around. So when you block, you block with the "blade" of your stick generally. With an actual edge, you often don't.

    A lot of the blade combat (and stick for that matter) came down more to controlling distance and angle than actual binding though. Footwork is paramount. I'm a big fan of what they call palis palis (sweeping) in Modern Arnis. You don't impede the incoming attack. You get your weapon behind his, evading his attack and helping it along its harmless path. Thereby clearing a path to his important bits so you can counter. There's less binding in that approach (based on my limited understanding of that concept).
  4. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Well all of those conditions are really ideal. You don't try to block with the edge but there are times where it does happen.

    I guess lack of preparedness for it and general avoidance of it might come from the fact that you're training to use a variety of blade shapes and sizes, some of which won't have guards to protect the hand and small blades not getting into binds 99% of the time., In that case disengagement from the bind is probably safer.
  5. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Unpreparedness and avoidance of binding. Not sure I said that.

    I would say that, because you're typically dealing with smaller machete-sized blades (not exclusively, but predominantly) it affords a level of mobility that lends itself to evasion over blocking.

    Of course, it's an ideal to say you block with the side of the blade. I assumed that went without saying, honestly. But it's not as though the techniques won't work if you block with the edge. There's a lot of riding the blade into the target in what I've seen. But I'm wondering if you're talking about more blade to blade "conversation," the way you see in Western fencing and swordsmanship.
  6. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Well if you don't have techniques for a specific circumstance I'd call that unprepared. If you're using mobility and certain defensive techniques so you don't get into a bind I'd call that an attempt to avoid the circumstance. But I definitely know what you mean with regard to mobility. With a lot of the blocking and parrying any bind would be fairly easily disengaged.

    Still some techniques don't transfer well to sharp blades. Once you're in a bind breaking that but keeping contact so you can ride down for instance or simply using the bind to your advantage in general requires different techniques to using blunt weapons. I was just interested to seeing if there was an equivalent to those in FMA. It sounds like you're saying that there aren't specific techniques for edge on edge contact because the focus is more the ability to change direction fluidly with the lighter blades. I think I get what you're saying.
    And I guess a bind isn't really as much of a useful tool with the lighter blades as there's not as much mass to manipulate with, plus if you screw up with something with no hand guard your fingers might be at risk.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  7. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    I think the whole "never go edge to edge" thing is over rated, it clearly happened and to not take advantage of it seems a bit silly.

    There is core Pekiti drill called break-in/break-out that is focused on transitioning between medium to close range, it uses the backhand to backhand strike and bind to break-in to close range. I have seen versions of this where you use more timing and deflect the blade rather than bind and deflect. Bind and deflect is way easier.

    This is the Inosanto version of it, and is essentially identical for the break-in portion, the Pekiti version goes into close range after the break-in because there is no point in risking a "break-in" if you are going to maintain med/long range.

    [ame=""]Inosanto Kali Break in Break out pattern taught by Guro Scott Shields - YouTube[/ame]

    The version I learned also uses the forehand to forehand contact from the same drill to break into the outside line, but apparently that isn't a common variant of the drill. This movement is seen frequently in the messer fechtbuchs.
  8. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    The messer and dussack blades of the many of the historical manuals aren't that different in size than the longer Filipino blades. But if you can wall block something, you can enter into the bind.
  9. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    That is what I was looking for! And in hindsight I guess entries on the roof block can be done with edge out to gain a bind and give you slightly more time on entry and make sure their blade doesn't slip down yours.
  10. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I wanted to reintroduce this part of my first post, because I feel like it may have been overlooked. I said that most of my experience was with blunt weapons and that I believed wholeheartedly that blade was a significantly different skillset. One that I've focused on for perhaps two training sessions of Illustrisimo.

    That's why I suggested that you focus in on the more blade-oriented arts as you're perusing FMA videos. What you seem to be taking from it was more that FMA doesn't use binding. And that isn't what I said.

    As for the edge v. edge concern being overemphasized, sure of course. If you get your blade in between his blade and your important bits, you're ahead of the game. But there's actuality and there's concept. In concept, I've been told by several blade-oriented teachers to block with the flat or redirect with the spine.

    There was a teacher of... what did they call it... I want to say it was Eskrima Orihinal or something at our last FMA gathering. If I can find that video, I'll link it here.
  11. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    Good info.

    I would merely add, for purposes of clarification for the OP, that Pekiti focuses a great deal on maintaining proper blade edge orientation in all strikes, regardless if one is holding a stick or a blade. That is something which is quite different from some of the other FMAs that I have trained in the past.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015

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