Bayani Warrior Training Part II

Posted: May 7, 2014 in Vendor Reviews
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This is the second in a series of posts on the Bayani Warrior training program, taught by Guro Mike Pana in Addison, TX.  My schedule allows attendance approximately twice a month, so the purpose of this series is to provide a chronicle of the training.  This provides others insight into the training program and helps solidify the concepts of each class in my own mind.  You may read prior reviews in this series by clicking on the ‘Product Reviews’ link at the top.  Scroll down to Bayani Warrior Group, LLC for permalinks to all prior posts.

Last night’s class began with a review of footwork, which I enjoyed as martial arts are similar to tennis; it all begins with footwork.  This session was different in that we covered footwork for fighting on multiple terrains.  I found this quite interesting as I remember footwork training from my Go Ju Ryu days.  I remember one of the black belt instructors telling us that he always practiced the same footwork we were being taught in that class.  Interesting.  You make it through an entire program of martial arts training and your footwork never changes?  This is only valuable if you will always be fighting on level terrain with good footing.  Dream on.

Mike took us through several footwork drills that were suitable for any variety of terrains in which we might encounter a defensive situation.  Afterwards, we had what I thought was the highlight of the class.  Mike showed us a number of stances, footwork patterns, and arm patterns that mimicked the use of a variety of impact or edged weapons.  In a low-light situation, it may not be possible to quickly identify the weapon an attacker is using.  We do, however, have direct observation of their body motions. The purpose of the drill was to identify what type of weapon the attacker was using and to try and identify their fighting style.

This mental drill was excellent practice for an actual combat scenario and I found it extremely helpful.  Since most attackers stick to fixed weapon use and tactics throughout a fight, gaining insight into this strategy even if you can not directly see a weapon gives you a mental advantage in a conflict.  A large portion of combat effectiveness is mental and so many martial arts teach only the physical aspects of a style.  I found this section of the class both refreshing and the most beneficial of the entire session.

Next, we went into four-step drills, a name I am likely mis-applying due to my traditional MA background.  These drills involve attacks and counters broken down into a sequence of four moves that allow two people to flow back and forth between initial attacker and initial defender.  TMA styles teach similar multi-step moves involving punch/kick/block/counter combinations. The interesting twist to last night’s class was the introduction of two sticks.  Just as I was getting used to going through an entire four-step back and forth, Mike asked me to work with one of the advanced students who executed the exact same attacks, but with two sticks.  That introduces a different dynamic into the drill and one that many readers may believe is of little value since the likelihood of encountering a dual-wielding attacker in an actual combat situation is very low.

This drill actually trains you to become better at monitoring and dealing with multiple threats during an attack which may range from multiple weapons to multiple attackers.  One of the big issues with an actual defensive situation is the tendency towards tunnel vision in your response.  This drill trains the mind to deal with a wider perspective.  As you improve this skill, your ability to process multiple attacks from different angles will improve.

Speaking of multiple attackers, our next drill applied to both empty-hand and melee weapon response to a punch or knife thrust to the head.  We had to split the thrust – sidestep and parry to the right with the left hand while simultaneously countering to the nose area with the right hand.  The attack carried down and to the left and was followed by another counter-attack to the right jaw.  We had to do this combination with both one and two attackers who were allowed to approach from any angle at any time.

The class finished with a sparring session, but this time with a twist.  In one drill, we sparred under strict rules on what areas could be attacked.  For example, my attacker was only allowed to strike my head and I could only strike his attacking arm.  This is very realistic since most attackers in an actual situation will move in directly for a head strike and attackers are often fixated on a particular mode of attack or target area.  This taught us a lot about distance issues in strike/counterstrike.  Next, we sparred under the condition that a blow indicated loss of limb.  If you were struck on your left arm, for example, you could not use your left arm again.  A leg strike meant loss of that limb and you were required to fight with that knee pinned to the ground.  A head strike is game over.  The fight continued until complete loss of limbs or timeout.

We finished the sparring session with open-sparring and everyone sparred with everyone else.  Of course, we are all going to get hit and the goal is to determine why and how to avoid such a hit in the future.  Mike is big about emphasizing a focus on one or two core techniques while sparring so that you improve your technique as opposed to swinging just for the sake of swinging or trying out some move you saw on an action flick.

I have a problem with extending and hard blocking, a result from prior TMA training, so I tried to concentrate more on proper footwork and sweeping motions instead of hard blocks.

Sparring, btw, is great interval aerobic training, an area in which I am in need of improvement.

I hope you choose to join us for class.  If you are a CHL holder or are in the security business, I personally consider this training to be invaluable.  Contact Mike directly at bayaniwarrior [at] gmail [dot] com for more information on class times and location. You may the fascinating story of Mike’s journey through the martial arts from the Vendor Profiles section of this blog.

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