All posts by Darren

System-subversive, hoplologist, and sport-duelist, I've been focusing on the weapons-arts and human behavior for over 25 years. Let's call what I teach a bastard mix of backyard, low-tech, 3rd-World, shoestring budget methods on a number of different thoroughly-studied arms added to from nature, experience, nurture, influence, environment, and training. Some of the programs will be fight-fundamental-based FMA/Filipino Martial Arts (both my own blend, Terra Firma FMA Adaptations, and my base, Burokil Alambra Arnis de Mano and their various subsystems), Argentinean Esgrima Criolla (both modern and classical), La Canne Vigny, and Chi Kung/breathing/meditation. ALL of these will be directly-applicable to the current time we live in regarding the current global crisis. The world is changing - and I'm changing with it, bringing you programs for new situations, with new training methodologies, and for changing dynamics. Come try! The investment is minimal, the knowledge extensive, the effort intangible.


I find myself somewhat in awe (though not surprised in the least given the human kneejerk reaction to be heard) when I see the perpetual volatile arguments on social media. Over trite issues. To push through your opinion. To prove someone else wrong who doesn’t agree with your philosophy or point-of-view. To correct someone who’s clueless. I don’t support it, but I get it…and there’s a difference.

Running two Facebook pages myself pertaining to the industry, one of which is fairly active with response and retort, I see this all too frequently. However, to all combatives, martial arts, security, military, law enforcement exponents out there, social media is just that, media. There’s no immediate threat, no risk of injury, no danger. And herein lies the rub. It’s safe. So it’s very easy to post something controversial, explosive, antagonizing and provocative without having any repercussions and being held to the fire, so to speak. It’s a modern safe space. On the other hand, it’s also potentially judgmental for those posting. Everything we post is subject to scrutiny by others, many of which we don’t know, may never meet or, hell, aren’t real. Your content is up for public criticism. So it’s a double-edged sword.

That being said, my goal is not to promote myself, my methodology and my academy, although I’m also perceptive enough to know that this is inevitably a byproduct, good or bad, or what I post. (as what I post is often what I teach or support) So, I post content that attempts to be thought-provoking, informative and valuable to the average person listening in. And not nearly all of the group responds. However, knowing that the content will not (nor simply cannot) appeal or connect with everyone, it may reach that one person who needs it and can be helped by it. Not my peers, but those who legitimately need the knowledge for whatever reason, be it the military operative going to battle or the meek mild high-school student who gets bullied daily and has no voice. Those that can relate, want to talk shop and brainstorm with me, I’m always open. The ones that often disagree? It’s their wont and they’re completely at liberty to do so without condemnation. It is, after all, only Facebook.


I find these days that far too many people treat martial arts like a comfort-driven, athletic hobby. Now I know the stereotypical hyberbole I’ll get for this: “different people practice for different reasons” (true), “some train just as a social activity” (also true), “some just want to stay in shape” (true again) and “many just want the traditional aspect, to learn about a culture” (true, true, true). However, this being said, I find so many want the comforts of home. Not to challenge themselves. Not to have to face themselves in the mirror and deal with their demons-not an easy task, to be sure. To not get tweaks, bruises, pulls, strains. To have a nice big beautiful dojo covered in expensive mats and the latest technology.

Now maybe I’m just jealous (I’m not but I digress) but I have a very old-school bothoan (club in Tagalog)-basic, hard floors, thin mats, paint cracking, no A/C with none of the comforts of your living room. My training tools are basic yet difficult, explosive and creative as I use what I have and what’s at my disposal. Combat (and, therefore, combat training) is not a comfort zone. It’s gritty, dirty, grimy, ugly and chaotic. I choose to train this way and have my students train this way. Hot, uncomfortable, unpredictable, grueling and sometimes downright intimidating. Safe? Yes, no question. I don’t want my tribe to go out on the street (where they really need these skills) injured or decimated due to the training. But I do want them to be hardened…battle-hardened, prepared mentally-physically-spiritually-emotionally-psychologically-on all levels for the realities of the worst-case scenario of what they may encounter from the modern criminal. I can assure you the modern criminal is not in an air-conditioned lodge with top-of-the-line mats, $2000 equipment and a hot shiny floor, getting ready to attack you. And, if it’s good enough in the old-school Filipino way of training, it’s good enough for us now. It’s an experience.

My top students have told me they never know what they’re going to get when they walk in the door. Which is how it should be. No preparation given, no alerts sent out, no time for emotional psyche-up. And when they complete the task, they’re euphoric, because they’ve overcome an obstacle thoroughly by using their adaptive, think-outside-the-box, honest-to-goodness gut instinct survival skills. Real pragmatic functional skill is built. At times through discomfort, anxiety and stress. Like a river over time wearing away rocks, their skills become ingrained, instinctive, natural, explosive and without thought. It’s a teaching methodology I realize not all are proponents of but inevitably the proof is in the pudding. What you put in, you get out. No forms, no pre-arranged sequences, no static response to static attacks. A problem-solving approach. Ironically (or perhaps not) the training is much like the bothoan. It’s there to serve a very specific purpose. Chosen for this very reason.

In conclusion, I guess my point is that for all the fancy equipment, state-of-the-art training tools, expensive new gym, top-of-the-line weights and machines-at the end of the day it’s the training methodology (concept-based) that makes the difference, not all the rest. Many will agree but few will practice what they preach.


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