Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just for Angie

Angie said in the comments that she'd heard of escrima/kali but hadn't seen it.

Turns out, she probably has:

It's all over the Bourne movies. (The jerks disabled embedding, so you actually have to, like, click on it.)

The arts also feature in Fight Club, Tomb Raider 2 and The Book of Eli... :)


Angie said...

Thanks! :D That was very cool, and I watched another one that came up in the sidebar, talking about how they prepped for some fights in one of the Bourne films.

So are escrima and kali two systems? Or one system with two names? Related?

My understanding with escrima is that it was developed by an island culture (Philippines?) where the place was invaded and the invaders took over. The natives weren't allowed to carry modern weapons, so they worked out escrima as a style that allowed them to take on people using firearms with their bare hands and sticks. It was pretty impressive just reading about it, but watching was very cool. I loved the scene where the other guy has a chef's knife and Bourne beats him up with a rolled-up magazine. :)


Steve Malley said...

Depending how you look at it, Escrima and Kali are either more or less the same system, or something like 500 different ones. :)

It is indeed an indigenous Philippine fighting style. My first teacher also told me that story, about the natives being forbidden to carry blades when the Spanish invaded. My second teacher (a violent and practical man) called bullshit: he said using a stick instead of a live blade in the beginning saved fingers.

My favorite teacher (Rick Faye at the MN Kali Group- *waves*) is a gentle and funny guy, and quite the scholar in this area. Over the years he's pointed out that the Spanish (or the US for that matter) never truly controlled anything outside of Manilla, and that kali/Escrima styles are found all over the islands.

There were pirates whose techniques focus waist-down because they were trying to get off their boats and villagers who worked from the waist up becuase they were all in the water fighting the pirates. There were systems popular with the Muslims and systems popular with the Christians. Even the bar girls have (or had) a wicked escrima variant using coins sewn into the ends of scarves.

I'd say they're all similar enough to be about the same, at least until I have to actually do them. A couple of techniques I've been relying on for the last quarter of a century don't fit in with the system taught at my new gym. I spend a lot of days feeling like I should wear a helmet. :)

Steve Malley said...

And I also loved that scene! In Crossroad Blues, Kane beats the crap out of a guy using a rolled up magazine too. It's something we used to actually practice! :-p

Angie said...

he said using a stick instead of a live blade in the beginning saved fingers.

That makes a lot of sense, actually. [nod]

It also makes sense that there'd be different styles and variants, like different schools of karate and such.

You've actually practiced, like doing katas, with a rolled up magazine?! LOL! Okay, that'd be awesome to see. :D


Steve Malley said...

The art doesn't really have katas in the sense that karate or kungfu do. It's more like drills, emphasizing liveliness and sensitivity to your partner.

But yeah, various teachers did on occasion swap out the sticks for machetes, bats, rolled-up magazines/newspapers/etc. and gym towels.

My second teacher (Mr Practical) noticed I was always reading and got me doing stick and knife drills with the spine of a paperback as a striking surface!

Angie said...

Hehe! Hey, if you're ever feeling threatened, you can read trade paperbacks instead of mass-market. :D


Buffy said...

I'm not a super huge fan of action films, or Damon - but I watched the Bourne trilogy this weekend and am a total convert on both counts. Mostly because of those awesome fight scenes - they really were pure art.