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Kali knife training is called DAGA in the Kali Sikaran Program. It's a very important part of the training and definitely essential to have survival skills for selfdefence. And the Kali knife is a well known aspect in the Filipino martial arts overall.

But there's a lot of confusions and misunderstandings about tactics and training methods all around so we'll try to explain the approach we have in Kali Sikaran International.

What do you know about Kali Knife training?

There are several training methods we use in Kali Sikaran and it's important to understand the purpose of them. The practitioner have to build a foundation with principle based techniques. These techniques will be improved by improving mechanics, positions and structure. Later on in the progression it's also important to understand the attackers perspective. It's not that anybody can predict how an attacker will act but there are some essentials that needs to be learnt. Another important part in Kali knife training is sparring and drills when the student is ready for that.

Why do drills when learning Kali knife in Kali Sikaran

To learn Kali knife or anything for that matter you need repetitions, lot's of them. It is said that you need 2000 or more repetitions to build a major motor muscle skilled reflex. And the more complex the technique becomes the more repetitions you have to add. The goal is to make it as simple as possible but as complex as it has to be to solve the problem. A common misunderstanding is that it's some kind of goal to make Kali complex just to make it cool. It's not the goal in Kali Sikaran!

The primary goal with a drill is to do multiple repetitions and build the reflexes in a more dynamic environment. Later on it can be pushed to failure and give the practitioner experience to react to the circumstances rather then just doing the drill properly. Eventually that will prepare the student for testing the skills in more challenging scenarios, sparring and situations.

Check out the video below to see an example of techniques that becomes a drill.

The boxing method in Kali Sikaran is mainly emphasized for self defense. Even though the first punches and combinations might look like regular boxing it's not. The main differences are that in self-defense there is no ring, no judges and no weight categories to make the fight fair. Another big difference is that both punching and defending is not the same without gloves, there is no absorption and the hand can get injured quite easily.

What does all this mean for the practitioner, isn't boxing good? Boxing is very good and it's not easy to defend against a good boxer if you don't know what you are doing. That's the reason why we do a lot of "regular" boxing exercises in Panantukan at the beginning.

Boxing is good for timing, stamina and a lot more and when the student is ready for it, it's very honest in sparring. It's important to have a strong cross for every fighter and martial artist.

Panantukan in Kali Sikaran

So what's the actual difference between boxing and Panantukan?

The primary self-defense strategies in Kali Sikaran are three:

  1. Leave the situation in a safe way, if possible (might be running but not necessarily)

  2. Even out the odds with some kind of equalizer (some everyday object etc.)

  3. When option 1 & 2 isn't possible, defend yourself empty handed

What does these strategies actually mean, and why are they important for Panantukan?

  1. If there isn't something to gain and no ring to keep you safe you can't hang around for a couple of rounds. And the only judge you might see is in the court house. So strategy number one is the absolute best when possible, but you have to be proactive to make it work.

  2. To win over an opponent you have to be better technically and/or physically, preferably both. But in selfdefence that rarely happens, the attacker spots a victim that wont cause to much trouble or time. Hence the importance to equalize the odds. That might be striking with a cellphone to get more knockout power or a ballpen to discourage the attacker to continue.

  3. When boxing emptyhanded there are a couple of considerations to make. Where and how to hit for best result and to avoid ruin your own hands.

If you want to read more about Panantukan you can check out the PANANTUKAN eBook and Program here.

To learn how to minimize the risk and damage at an edged weapon encounter you first have to understand how the knife might come at you. And even though we would love to tell you that "it will be like this" there is no such prediction to give. But there is a big difference between a non committed attacker and a committed attacker! Most techniques taught as defense against the knife are versus non committed attacks. A non committed attacker doesn't have a plan and might just launch some slash or stab in pure rage and then stop. That's still very dangerous and bad things can happen but when "a technique is applied properly" it's most likely over one way or another.

Against a committed attacker it's a completely different game. Now there's a plan together with intention and commitment. If they don't succeed with the first launch they keep on trying and that is different situation in many ways. To further understand that we also have to practice from the attacker perspective and learn how the knife can be used. That's the main reason (there other reasons as well) why we have exercises like that in our Kali Sikaran teaching programs.

Out of the defensive perspective we work a lot with covers, positioning and distance to the blade. In the beginning that might just look like a couple of techniques against a couple of angles (normally 6) but it's not. It's based on principles that is designed to function in many different situations and later on also against a committed attacker. These principals and tactics are taught in the regular Kali Sikaran Schools as well as on special Knife Defence Seminars. Check out the Kali Sikaran School directory and the Kali Sikaran Event page to get in touch.

But more important then the actual tactics in the event of a edged weapons' encounter are these three strategies (depending on circumstances and possibilities):

  1. If possible leave the situation in a safe way!

  2. Even out the odds with some kind of object or equalizer!

  3. If #1 or #2 isn't possible you have to defend yourself with empty hand tactics.

The above might sound obvious but most people don't practice like that, they just focus on this or that technique against this or that kind of attack. And that wont be enough against a committed attacker, it's not just a trick or a technique unfortunately.

This post might not bring you to your comfortable zoon but hopefully it encourages you to practice and learn more to get some experience to deal and minimize the risk. Remember that the main objective is not to look cool but to go home in the safest possible way!

Check out this video to get an overview of the knife defence training in Kali Sikaran.

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