Search and Destroy: The Use of a Filipino Martial Arts Combat Concept

The Filipino Martial Arts, many times referred to as “FMA”, offer a series of specific arts which have their own focus, but all contain brutal moves with a near unparrell fighting mentality. Taking a look at the Filipino culture and history, many times in the last 100-200 years, their people have been fighting armed soldiers with knives and sticks. To say the least their fighting methodology is effective and not outdated. Some of these arts include: Dumog (Filipino wrestling), Kali (Primarily based in edged weaponry), Arnis (Modern Filipino stick fighting), Escrima (Classical Filipino stick “fencing”), Pentak-Silat (Indonesian art of attack and defense), Panajackman (Low line kicking combined with upper body strikes) and Kino Mutai (Biting and eye gouging).

Blocking Old Methods with Filipin Martial Arts

Among the many concepts and techniques in these very combative arts, there is one concept that pleasantly surprises new practitioners, while flooring older practitioners to its effectiveness and ease. The concept that is being talked about here is called the "Destruction", taken from Kali. It surprises practitioners because most martial arts deal with attacks, such as punches and kicks, with moves that are inefficient and unrealistic. For example, take an old traditional artist and throw a punch at them, in the majority of cases the traditional art would respond with a "blocking" move.

The person who threw the punch suffers no negative consequences for doing so. Meaning that a punch was thrown, then a block… guess what will happen next? In most combative situations the attacker will throw another strike of some sort. This will force the practitioner to counter with another block. If that is successfully pulled off, another strike will come - maybe even a kick - and the response will be similar… a good old block. How many times will it take, until the defendant misses the block, or the attacker acts too quickly?

The thought process of blocking probably originated from weapon's defense, mostly sword use, in the "samurai" days. One warrior would take a mighty swing with a very heavy sword, while the other would counter with a block. Because of the size and immense weight of these swords, one could have the time to block, and then counter with their own strike. This is a little bit different when one turns to empty hands, and today’s modern punching combinations, while dealing with 50mph punches, and 80mph kicks. Now, time is not a luxury.

Seize The Pain

The concept of the Destruction in empty hand applications inflicts pain using nerve destructions to whatever limb is being thrown (i.e. right jab - right arm). By attacking these vulnerable areas on the first beat, one cuts off the opponent's attack immediately. This then produces a moment where the pain registers in their body. Using this moment of pain (or pause), many Filipino martial arts practitioners follow up, usually in close quarters.

Therefore, if a front jab punch is thrown, one could attack the hand (fist), forearm nerves, or bicep nerve, among others. If a left hook (thigh) kick is thrown, one can attack the foot, ankle, shin, or inner thigh nerve. In the examples given in the pictures, the defender on the left can use the tip of their elbow against punches or tip of their knee against kicks, in order to inflict pain on the incoming limb. Once again, this inflicts pain or delivers a counter attacker off of the opponent’s attack. Learning how to attack the incoming limb gives you not only an effective defensive move, but a surprise attack that you need in your defensive arsenal.

matt numrich with filipino martial arts blocking
matt numrich with filipino martial arts kicking

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