Warrior Athlete Philosopher

World-Class Martial Arts with Joseph Simonet and Addy Hernandez.

Month: January 2016

Nobody Is Wrong if Everybody Is Right

In my observation, most people are two-dimensional thinkers; they get information and then they think they know it. The knowing itself becomes a truth to which one holds steadfastly. This is most glaringly obvious in people who need to be right. They encounter the world through a closed-minded lens, but really, nobody’s wrong if everybody’s right. Being “right” in a “knowing” stance leads to conviction, often without careful consideration of the information source or an embracing of the perspective of reasonability. We read books, surf the internet, overhear a conversation, listen to the radio, attend a seminar and then earnestly hold on to what we have supposedly learned. As students of the martial arts we have an instructor or grand master who imparts training, and this is experienced as ‘knowledge’ by the student. Let me give you an example of an instance where I too fell under the ‘knowing’ spell. When I was first taught heaven 6 from the Filipino martial arts world, I felt, within a few months of training, I had achieved command of this sinawali (weave or pattern). Then I attended a seminar from the legendary Dan Inosanto and realized once a student learns heaven 6, there is earth 6, and once that is learned, there is heaven and earth 6-count. Low and behold, at the seminar, Dan explained to me there are 64 variations of heaven 6 and heaven and earth. Through my own understanding of heaven 6, I discovered that with reverse grip there are 256 variations. When we add punyo, heaven 6 with multiple levels, this generates thousands of variations of heaven 6. To add insult to injury, I attended a Professor Remy Presas seminar on Modern Arnis, and realized the heaven 6 I learned is actually a variation of the brush, grab, strike empty hand version of heaven 6. Once again, as my experiential understanding expanded on heaven 6, I realized then this can be done with a knife, standard grip or reverse grip, a stick and so on. When I first “knew” heaven 6, I had actually only scratched the surface of the discipline.
Not to discount the value of information and education, but history has taught us throughout the ages that the process of knowing is constantly in flux. So why do we hold on with white knuckle fervor to our truths, when any and all truths are transient and always evolving? Let us go back in time 100 years ago to 1915. What exactly were known “truths” of this time? Women were not allowed to vote and Jim Crow laws enforced the widespread segregation and repression of Blacks. Radio, magazines, print ads and paper publications were the only available form of media and information dissemination. In 1915, there were only a handful of vaccines and DNA was undiscovered. There were 100 million people and 2 million cars in the US. About 5% of married women worked outside of the home in 1915, compared to about 60% today. We had not seen galaxies outside of our own, plastic hadn’t been invented and the atomic nucleus hadn’t been discovered. The nature of “truth” is reflected not only in our global history but our personal timelines as well. Think about what was true for you at 5 years old. Is it true for you now? The most we can say about truth is that it is part of a constantly moving process. And for every century that has come before and every century that is to follow, truth will be constantly evolving. It must be this way, because in 100 years, all 7 billion of us will be gone, replaced with new humans forming new societies and new ideas. In fact, I propose that the real value offered by our current “truths” is in their provision of a foundation upon which we stand to reach for and understand the next truth, and the next, ad infinitum. This is applicable in any endeavor, any and all walks of life, whether you are a doctor, an engineer, a lumberjack or a mechanic. We get information and hold on to our truths, and ultimately only through experiential understanding do we gain depth. If ‘knowing’ is two dimensional (width and length on an XY axis), then experiential understanding takes us along the Z axis and represents the third dimension of thinking and processing information.
In martial arts, the only stable base is an adaptable one. In the mind, the only superior intellect is an evolving one. If one becomes consciously aware of experiential understanding, one is able to move through life with a clarity of intention. Once that process is ingrained in daily living, we embark on the fourth dimension, which is time. Clarity of intention coupled with experiential understanding begets wisdom, and in my perspective, the ultimate fighter is a wise fighter.

The 5 Most Common Mistakes In FMA Hubud

Summary/Transcription Below.
Hello, I’m Sifu Joseph Simonet, martial arts expert and founder of KI Fighting Concepts. I have about 45 years of training in martial arts. What I am going to do for you today, with Mr. Kyle, is show you hubud–what’s right about hubud and what’s wrong about hubud. Let’s get started with a few reps here. Mr. Kyle chops me right here, this is what everybody does wrong in my view. When he chops me, (1) he doesn’t have a target in mind. It’s the temple, it’s the jaw, it’s the neck, he just throws something up there without a target in mind, and that is really important.
(2) With his arm in this position, I can just jack him, even if he is being as strong as he can. Have a target in mind, and don’t hold your elbow above parallel to the ground, otherwise you can be jacked and driven back.
That is part of the hubud perspective. Hubud/Lubud means to tie and to untie. When he does it wrong, I can just jack him, trap his foot and bring him down, whatever I want to do. This is really important.
In the next piece, Mr. Kyle is putting his hand right at my elbow, which is a trapping sequence. He can move around. So he traps me, boom, trap, hit. If he held his hand closer to my wrist, I could come around and do different things from there. If he were up high toward my bicep, I could slap him in the nuts or put a thumb in his eye. (3) His hand must be right below my elbow to prevent those two eventualities.
So far, we have learned a few things. If their chopping arm is too high, you can jack them, note the foot trap. Further, I can sense his fingers are not wrapped around my arm, like pak saus. (4) If he doesn’t have his fingers wrapped and they are extended, I can just rip them from his body. When he does it incorrectly, I can also just pull him down to the ground. These are key components.
You don’t always have to be within trapping range. If he does it wrong and he pushes me away a bit, I can snap kick him and hit him or lock him up, or whatever I want. He’s resilient here, he’s flexible. He puts his hands on my forearm, and he can close his eyes. I am going to hit him and he is going to stop me with his eyes closed. I can try to punch him with my right or left arm, I try to kick him, and he stopped it. When I can feel this, it doesn’t matter. This is a sensitivity drill. When he touches me, chop, clear, with his left hand, he can feel anything I am trying to do and stop it. That is really important as well.
I just demonstrated how to do hubud correctly in my view, and now I will show how to do hubud incorrectly in my view. (5) This is what most people do, there is no adherence. I have been doing hubud since 1983 and I would like you to really listen to my perspectives and my points, and I think hubud will be a lot more effective on your end. Thank you for watching!

Forging the Way of the Blade

Addy blade 2 (2)

My martial arts training began in the early Summer of my seventeenth year. I was a bright-eyed, impressionable, high school senior, ready to conquer the world. I wanted to leave my past behind and strive full throttle into the future. Paradoxically, fate had already intervened as my past and future were on a collision course in which my reality would be forever forged.

From the beginning, training with Sifu Joseph Simonet was physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Intuitively, he seemed to know my limitations – real or imagined. Sifu Joseph introduced me to several training methods. We boxed, grappled, weight trained, ran, hiked, and worked endless rounds of focus pad combinations. I learned aspects of Wing Chun, Silat, Kenpo, Doce Pares and Yang Style Tai Chi. Each art offered a unique and challenging expression of fighting dynamics. My passion for the martial arts was insatiable as several years of training ensued.

One day during a private lesson, Sifu Joseph handed me a training blade and asked me to show him my knife fighting skills. I assured him I didn’t know any knife fighting techniques or methods. “Actually, it’s everything you know”, he replied. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand”, I said. Unbeknownst to me, Sifu had specifically taught me techniques and methods of movements that all translated to knife application. My jurus from Silat, my Kenpo techniques, the stick drills–everything became relevant to knife fighting. My astonishment soon turned into delight, as I realized edged weapons had already been an integral part my life. A further look into my history will explain.

I was born in Mexico in 1976. I was just four years old when my mother died giving birth to my baby sister. With five very young children, my father packed up and headed north to America in search of work in the orchards of Washington State.

My father is a hard working man, proud of his craft and Mexican heritage. He grew his own vegetables and butchered livestock to feed his family. Of all the children, I was the one that did not shy from the process of butchering our animals. Very early on, I would learn the skills by watching my father kill, skin, gut and clean animals. For me, using an axe, knife and machete became a natural and necessary part of growing up. I would cut off the heads of chickens using and ax and then clean and bone them with the sharpest knife my father owned. I have cut up rabbits, pigs, turkeys, deer and even a bear. It was not unusual to see my father and me side by side, cutting down alfalfa and corn stocks with a machete. The use of edged tools has always been a part of my Mexican culture.

Growing up, I wanted to be like all the “American kids”. Being young and immature, I was sometimes embarrassed that we slaughtered our animals for food. Now, as a woman and a martial artist, I have come to appreciate my heritage with pride and renewed respect.

At age 6 or 7, I first witnessed an underground Mexican past-time – cockfighting. During harvest every Fall, my father would hire dozens of workers to pick apples. This was a time of excitement as well as long, hard hours in the orchard. At night, the men would converge to drink, play music, and gamble on cockfights. The scene of men gathered around a circle of rope yelling and cheering during these cockfights is both surreal and vivid. These vicious rituals would often end with dead or severely injured roosters.

Unfortunately, there were some men who would cheat to win at any cost. In cockfighting, the cheaters would secretly attach thin razors on the cock’s feet, which of course, would destroy their opponent, slashing them into a bloody mess. On one particular night the crowd was loud and frenzied. Apparently, two cheaters had been caught. In punishment, they were forced to arm each rooster with razors and fight. Here I was, a young girl, witnessing a vicious reality of contesting with blades. My recollection of that night ended in chaos, spurting blood and yelling men.

The next day, I asked my father about the cheaters and the fighting. “Papa, I don’t understand. Who was the winner of the fight?” In a somber voice my father replied. “Hija, in a real cockfight with blades – the winner is the second one who dies.”

Through my father and our culture’s necessity to survive, killing and cutting up animals taught me respect in the blade and a strong value for life. Through Sifu Joseph and my passion in the martial arts, I understand the lethality of blade work through osmosis and practical self-defense application. The philosophy held by these two men has merged together and has allowed me to forge my own way of the blade.

Straight Blast. What You May Not Know.

Straight Blasts:
The subject for today is the straight blast. The straight blast is utilized by Jeet Kune Do practitioners, but also, what I have trained in is Non-Classical Kung Fu, so those are called straight punches. Begin from a neutral position, you start at your sternum, thumbs are connected to your sternum. I am going to hit, drop, and then hit, and then hit. It is an elliptical motion here. It is not a circular motion that some practitioners understand. You don’t hit with any particular knuckle. This is called straight punches from Wing Chun Non-Classical Kung Fu, and it is also considered the straight blast from Jeet Kune Do practitioners. I am going to teach you the footwork, we call this a “box step”. Your hips are square and your shoulders are square, one, two, you lead with the left and follow with the right. One, two, one, two. Going backwards it is the same thing but you lead with the right, one, two, one, two. If you are going to the right, the right foot always moves first. If you are moving to the left, the left foot always moves first. If your feet are reversed, it is still the box step here, and left foot moves first going backward. As I just explained, the right foot always moves first when moving to the right, the left foot always moves first if you are moving to the left, regardless of the positioning of your stance.
We are going to incorporate the elliptical movement of the straight blast or straight punches and the box step. You start by getting the punches moving, and then take a step, take another step, multiple steps, you can back up, one, two. At a 45-degree angle, start with the straight blast, box step, one, two, one, two. Another 45-degree angle here, and it doesn’t matter which foot is forward, you can have the left or right forward as long as shoulders are square. Punch, box step, box step.
To generate more power, you need some hip and shoulder movement. For example, straight punching from here is great, but it is all upper arm. I need to incorporate hip and shoulder motion here, boom, boom, this creates a lot of power and energy. For instance, this is regular straight punching and this is more hip and shoulder generation. It’s generating more power. This is Mr. Kyle Lesmeister, he is a 2nd degree black belt and he is 21 years old this month. He has been training with us for 11 years. He weighs about 245lb, I weigh about 225lbs, just to give you an understanding of what we are doing. Mr. Kyle is going to incorporate the box step and punches, and I will stop him and move him back and forth, you will understand what we are doing.
So that is the straight blast and or straight punching properly performed. Now, I am going to film Mr. Kyle for 5 seconds. Brett will tell us when to go and when to stop after 5 seconds, and I will count Mr. Kyle’s punches. So I counted about 16, so that is 6.3 punches per second. What I often say, if someone has a problem with me, one thousand one, you have just hammered them with over 6 punches per second. Mr. Kyle is 245lbs, if you are younger, quicker and lighter, you might get up to 7 or 8 punches per second. Mr. Kyle hits with a heavy hammer.
Mr. Kyle is going to demonstrate the straight blast with the footwork solo, and you will see what we are doing. Excellent job. One considerations is, are you really driving an opponent multiple strikes cross the street or room? Not really. Mr. Kyle will go, boom, boom, boom. Power. That is all you really need, just single strikes, one at a time, power, develop power in your straight punches, these are vital. Take your time. I am putting my strength forward, I have points of strength front and back. Watch what happens when I expose my weak points, he knocks me down. There is a lot of power so break down each individual piece for power and focus.
Straight Punches With A Blade
What is interesting about the KI fighting concepts perspective, is we are going to do the straight blast or straight punch with a blade. This is really important. It doesn’t matter which grip or which hand or both. I will explain. We do the straight blast here, with an elliptical motion, power, power, moving on to multiple opponents. Straight blast, put your thumb on the top of the blade, I happen to have many blades from many systems, but this is the one I carry. Put your thumb on the blade here, boom, boom, just go and do that. Another angle, hit, hit, hit, hit. Now, it doesn’t matter which hand you have it in, it is the same thing because it is a straight blast. Or you may go reverse grip, hit, tear, hit, hit, hit, this way. Or, both grips, hit, hit, hit. Mr. Kyle will demonstrate, hard and fast. What are you going to do to fight against that? Single or reverse grip, there’s nothing you can do against it.
Multiple Opponents
There are multiple opponents, as predators run in packs sometimes. So I am punching opponent number one, pummeling and slamming, and then here comes opponent two, I swing, but it is not working very well. Watch another perspective, it is a 90-degree shift, then step and go into a foot trap. One, two, bang, you don’t swing because they can block you and you are screwed. Come straight out, and then step and shoot. I am going to teach you a perspective for multiple opponents. I am going to step ahead of Mr. Kyle, punch and punch, in my peripheral vision I can see him, so that is about a 65-degree angle, and I can’t turn around or see him in the back of me. And if he is here and I am pounding him, I can do a lot of things. So punch, punch, that is really effective, or I can go all the way back to there.
I am going to give you a sequence of perspectives I would like you to embrace. There are multiple opponents going on all the time. You need proper footwork and focus; you need to have your attention on the things that are around you. Let me show you. One, two, three, four, five, look, one, two, three, four, five, look. If Mr. Kyle is the other opponent, if I look at him, he is going to smash me, so I fill that void and then I look. That is my attention perspective. One, two, three, four, five, you can do other numbers of sets, whatever you need to do. Now you can reverse it, one, two, three, four, five, look.
Straight Punches 90-degree Angle
I am going to teach another perspective as well. One, two, three, four, five, look, one, two, three, four, five, look. Step through, step through. You are going after them. Now we will do straight blast or straight punch from Non-Classical Wing Chun with a blade. The same routine we just went through, one, two, three, four, cut, look. One, two, three, four, five, look, repeat. The 90 Degree perspective, my blade is still in my right hand, but I am going to start with the left, one, two, three, four, five. One, two, three, four, five, look. So with Mr. Kyle’s help, what we did with the straight blast and I swung my hand over here, he could just block me, but I went in with a straight line and I stepped in and moved his body. Well, I want just the opposite with a reverse grip knife. Let me explain. I am going to one, two, three, four, I am going to turn it and then I am going to twist and tear, boom, boom. Very important. So the straight blast with a blade, this is very direct, and then figure out what is going on. With a reverse grip, I want to capture and then tear, and then smash here, boom, boom, this position. And then you can go on. If he is standing there, I can just thrust this right into his neck, this would be really sweet. Or, if he has his left foot forward, and I am here and here, he is coming up, I can go right into the femoral artery and shred that, or go into the groin. There are so many things you can do from here, just ankle pick him from there and ice pick him. There are so many variables you can do with a straight blast with a blade.
One last perspective on the straight blast or Wing Chun straight punches. If you want to piss them, off hit them in the nose. If you want to knock them out, hit them in the jaw. If you want to kill them, hit them in the throat. So, if I am pounding this guy and he is a tough wrestler or an MMA guy, I am going to turn these straight punches into pak saus and palm strikes and then I can just knee him. Bang, bang, knee him here, whatever you want to do. That is an added tidbit, because you don’t want to break your hands. If you hit him in the nose, cheek, sternum or throat you are not going to break your hands, but if he is shooting down here, you don’t want to hit him on the top of the head with your knuckles, you want to use a pak sau or palm strikes and just pop him and go into it that way.