Updated: Mar 23
Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is well known for it's intricate loop drills. Usually this are very technical drills, designed to produce a certain quality of movement or to showcase principles and techniques of the art. After some training those drills feel good, the moves become fluid, timing between the partners is perfect, but still it is apparent to every observer: that exercise doesn't have the vibes of a real fight. Something is missing: it doesn't look real, it doesn't feel real, it is not 'the real McCoy'.
Making the drill feel real, is a quality rarely shown in FMA seminars or group training sessions. It is like that because on top of physical skills it needs an understanding between trainer and trainee, that is beyond words. This kind of connection can not be switched on and off like a light bulb: the situation must be right and a connection of trust between the two persons must be established.
See an example from the Pekiti Tirsia Europe archives, that was taped 20 years ago:
To provoke this feeling in an exercise and still keeping it reasonably safe is a matter of having the right training partner. It is about a balance between skill, sense of danger and trust in the self and the partner. In other words: it is like dancing on the thin line between well known repetition and serious danger.
In Armadong Kali our training is designed to show 'the real McCoy'. Let the training feel real! It is a quality that can not be taught through video or other impersonal means. Like one of my instructors once explained in a Hilot lesson: "You can not share with others, what you haven't developed within yourself." Before you can understand, you need to experience. Before you can share with others, somebody needs to show it to you. There is power in touch! That is why in Armadong Kali we like small group training settings. Here you can experience 'the Real McCoy' with someone who can give it to you safely. Once you got the experience, then you can share it with others.
In Armadong Kali we are also developing ways to better show 'the real McCoy' in regular group settings. It is an interesting journey making the drill feel real!
Author: Uli Weidle, Reutlingen, March 21, 2020
About the video: The video clip was taken sometime around the year 2000. It shows a young Tuhon Rommel Tortal with Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje during a Pekiti Tirsia Europe training camp under the leadership of Tuhon Uli Weidle.