Day two of the 2015 Counterpoint Tactical System (CTS) Iron Mountain camp started off by continuing from Day One. Master Zach Whitson led the morning warm up by teaching the Assault Set from Cacoy Doce Pares (CDP). The Assault Set is a striking pattern used to chase your opponent down and enter into the close range where CDP likes to operate. We worked this set both left and right hand side. Zach also taught us the reverse set. Finally, we all lined up and walked from one end of the gym to the other while striking the Assault Set.
Next, we moved into the Panantukan three curriculum. At the 2015 Springfield FMA seminar, Master Whitson showed parts of this curriculum, and we saw more during Josh Ryer’s fourth degree black belt exam on Thursday night. I was excited for this block. It looked like this curriculum super charged the other two panantukan blocks that I had learned, and it did. Master Whitson’s systematic approach to curriculum pays off at this level.
First, we learned the twelve entries associated with panantukan three. The twelve entries move from outside to inside to outside of the opponent. Picture a person standing in front of you with hands raised out straight in front of them like a zombie. Inside is considered between the two arms. Outside is the opposite of that, and split is one arm inside, one out. These entries would be familiar to FMA players. The twelve entries work on both the right and left attacks. Between one and twelve, the defender will have moved from right outside to split to right inside to left inside to left split to left outside. Then, to comply with the CTS training philosophy, the defender starts on the left and moves back to the right.
We next worked a drill resembles CDP inside passing. There is only one punch and one parry, but the whole movement is comprised of a three count. This allows both students to get into a rhythm that will help with the segang lebo drill. This is a base drill that we can return to if things start moving too fast. At the beginning of learning this drill, the goal of segang lebo is to maintain the rhythm and flow. As the student progresses, the goals change, and when I get to that point myself, I’ll talk with Master Whitson about those goals. Right now, I’m focused on learning the drill stage.
Master Whitson next taught the three count segang lebo drill off the straight punch. I love this drill. Since the SFMA seminar, it’s been spinning around in my brain. Seeing it in more depth at Iron Mountain camp increased my obsession with it. Like the twelve entries, this drill works both the inside and outside combined with the left and the right. I’m still struggling with how to transfer from left to right, but I have the basic pattern. The switches will need some work. I have years ahead of me before this becomes my curriculum, which is a long time to experiment. For this drill, both hands are engaged and alternate on the counts: right, left, right and left, right, left.
Not content with the three count pattern, Master Whitson showed us a four count as well. It’s the same pattern with an extra beat. Because this pattern weaves hands, the extra beat means you end on a different hand than you began with. This doesn’t sound like a big change, but my brain couldn’t handle it. After a lot of practice, I pulled it off a few times. Many more repetitions are needed, though. For this count, I’m still at the very, very beginning of the learning stage. This count is a strong trainer for fast hands. Maybe as I get better, it won’t look as fast, but right now, it’s faster than my hands are.
If you’ve read any of my footwork Friday posts, you know that I love me some Filipino footwork. Zach showed the first two basic patterns – reverse and forward triangle – with the three count drill. Merging the footwork with these patterns is a study in and of itself. Then, the complexity was ramped up with the crescent step footwork. This resembles the forward triangle, but instead of starting at the point, you start with both feet at the base.
Next, Master Whitson showed us the pattern that works with a round punch. This resembles the hubud lubud drill that FMA practitioners are familiar with. Zach calls this a high pass because you are moving the opponent’s weapon – in this case, the punch – in front of your head. This set began the expansion of the drill from straight punch to the different empty hand angles.
We worked a lowline round punch set that involved side stepping and reminded me of knife tapping. Master Whitson taught a backhand version that reminded me of Cacoy Doce Pares backhand passing with an extra beat thrown in. I vaguely remember an alternate round punch with knife tapping involved. There was a lot of information given during this day. All of it made of curriculum that I’ve seen and been tested on, but the combination of it was novel. There are a lot of skills for me to develop between now and when I begin this curriculum block.
The final part of the day was adding the twelve entries into the segang lebo drill. I got a chance to play this with Josh Ryer, who had tested over this material on Thursday night. It was a lot of fun. He pushed me to keep up with him. I was at the limits of my personal skill. Sometimes it was enough; sometimes it wasn’t; the entire time was fun. Karma is real, though, because soon Master Whitson did the same thing with Josh. Whereas Josh and I were just part of the crowd, when he and Master Z started playing, it was in front of everyone. Josh did an amazing job.
Panantukan three is odd for me to describe because at once it’s the payoff for the investment CTS students put in at the beginning levels. It is made up of skills learned early on and practiced for years. At the same time, it feels like an investment itself. It is another curriculum block that is much deeper than it first seems. Like corto sparring from Cacoy Doce Pares, segang lebo is an open ended drill that all empty handed techniques can be attached to. The skills and drills at this level will easily occupy us for the rest of our lives.