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Modern Farang Mu Sul® - Combative Grappling

By Grand Master Michael De Alba

As martial artists, we devote endless hours to the study and practice of various forms of self defense. We rehearse countless scenarios and endure rigorous physical exercises. At times, in order to develop other skills, we will test ourselves by engaging in various types of sparring sessions designed to simulate some sort of fighting situation (i.e.: Boxing/kick boxing, wrestling, point sparring etc.).

Yet if we were to ask ourselves, deep down inside, if really attacked what would we do? What is our honest answer?

When it comes down to actual combat, real and true self defense, it is mans' natural insticts that take over. These instincts may manifest themselves differently from individual to individual, but they are all some form of preserving our well being. The first thing is to protect our vital targets, by either covering up/ blocking or simply getting away from the aggression (putting distance/ backing up or running away).

Next would possibly be to retaliate. Think about it, if someone takes a swing at you, do you immediately counter, or block first? (That is why we train so hard to develop conditioned reflexes).

Now, if only defensive tactics are not an option and we are forced to take other action, we will most likely do one or more of the following:

1- Strike back (kick or punch etc..)
2- Close and wrestle (various grappling tactics)
3- Use a weapon (any conventional or unconventional object that serves as an equalizer)

The effectiveness or success of these tactics will depend on a number of more intangible factors such as:

- Mental attitude
- Will to survive
- Intensity of action
- Fight strategy
- Timing of the tactics
- Actual physical strength
- Superior conditioning, etc.

Just as one should never under estimate the opponent, one can never tell what his true intentions or skills are, much less how he will most surely come at you. Therefore, as martial artist, it is in our best interest to be versed (or at least have working knowledge) in all areas, types and ranges of fighting.

In the De Alba system of Modern Farang Mu Sul®, options, effectiveness and comprehensiveness are integral components of the way the art is taught and practiced. Areas covered include, Boxing/ Kickboxing, Trapping, Joint Locks, Pressure Points, Grappling, Weapons and Healing Arts as well.

In this way Modern Farang Mu Sul
® stays true to the concept of indivisibility contained in the Umm - Yang symbol (Yin - Yang in Chinese)of which the art is based on "harmony & balance in all things"

As mentioned earlier, the main modes of fighting one will find oneself in are STRIKING, GRAPPLING and WEAPONS play. Whenever the skills and tools of combatants are equal, victory will generally go to the person who possesses the stronger will and most cunning strategy.

That said, it is important to avoid a situation where there is the risk of a trade or equal access to each other (i.e.: a boxing match). The elements of size and strength SHOULD not be a factor when the proper strategy is applied. Of the three main modes of fighting mentioned, GRAPPLING is the mode that lends itself more for eliminating the size and strength factor (not to be overlooked or taken for granted of course). By using proper positioning and strategy this may be accomplished. More on this later.

Now, there are many short coming to grappling, they include:
- Multiple opponents
- Weapons threat
- Size / strength factor
- Arsenal limitations
- Speed and sensitivity

By the same token there are many positives to grappling, such as:
- Dominate single opponent
- Technique over strength
- Man handle opponent
- Easy access to targets
- Speed and sensitivity

As with any form of fighting, one of the biggest mistakes is to take the opponent lightly, and with grappling the main mistake is to loose ones sense of calm and to waste energy with inappropriate use of physical strength (macho manhandling). Opportunities will be missed.

A vast majority of Modern Farang Mu Sul®'s grappling techniques involve controlling the opponent via pain compliance (i.e.: Joint locks). This is true whether the combatants are standing or go to the ground. But then there's Murphy's Law, which states that:

Anything that can go wrong, WILL go wrong

And with real fighting, where there are NO rules NO honor, NO unspoken understanding, something will most likely go wrong with your game plan.

Remember, the opponent is not only NOT co-operating with you, but he is VERY MUCH out to knock YOUR lights out!

In any encounter, one is always searching for the advantage. Speed, angling, superior technique and especially pain compliance are great to have, and it is generally preferable to remain standing on our own two feet, but, remember Murphy's Law. If we should loose our advantage such as slipping in the mist of throwing blows, be pulled off balance in the process of executing the best throw or take down. What then do we do? What if we attempt the perfect joint lock, and the opponent knows the counter?

In Modern Farang Mu Sul® there is a saying, that for every technique there is a counter, and for every counter there is a counter. Are we fully prepared? Worst yet, what if we are not afforded the luxury of having the advantage in the first place and are forced into a wrestling situation. Fluidity of tactics and skill with grappling techniques are a must. No matter how good one may be while standing on two feet, one must be equally as proficient on the ground in order to be a more complete fighter. Especially when dealing with a bigger, stronger opponent, or someone who can effectively close the distance and force grappling, or might just possibly be better than you with stand up fighting skills.

The De Alba System of Modern Farang Mu Sul
®, delves deeply into the connection of effective stand up fighting transitioning to ground fighting (and vice-versa). By definition, grappling means to hook, or as related to combat, would indicate a hand to hand struggle.

In the De Alba System, anytime you come into physical contact or are being grabbed in any manor, you now have the option to grapple. As noted previously, there exists standing, ground and transitional grappling (from standing to the floor and vice-versa). The Modern Farang Mu Sul® stylist always maintains three major options:

1- to immobilize the opponent,
2- to cause the opponent to submit, or
3- to incapacitate him / her. This will be determined by the severity of the situation.

Training begins by first off developing a clear understanding of the mentality needed for grappling and why a person would even want to engage in a grappling situation in the first place. The basics include studying vital anatomy, pressure points, joints locks, the strengths and optimum uses of the various hand grabs and stances ( standing, kneeling and floor ). Also basic are smooth footwork drills and skill in falling and rolling.

With grappling one of the key components is the utilization of superior tie up positions. Modern Farang Mu Sul®, students look for any of 18 basic positions while standing and 8 basic (with approx. 18 sub-positions) on the ground. There are three training facets to each position. First are stabilizing techniques for each position, which allow the student to conserve his energy while forcing the opponent to expend large amounts in the process of trying to escape. Next are the finishing techniques, that include anywhere from 10 - 50 techniques (striking, choking, joint locks, etc.) to finish the opponent. Finally the all important escapes and reversals to the positions. Should the student be in the unfortunate inferior position, he / she needs to know avoid or escape them. Of these basic tie up positions there are two main ones that afford the maximum advantage. While standing, the 3rd corner and back control positions excel (basically to the side/ rear of the opponent). For the ground, the full mount and back mount are preferred (basically straddle the opponent with him either face up or face down). Now it is very important to note that NONE of these positions are undefeatable, remember for every technique there is a counter. But, these positions afford you a greater advantage to control the attacker and more effectively apply your given technique.

Modern Farang Mu Sul® grappling (HAP GI YU SUL), operates with the following fight formula:

(A) Strategy - (B) Tactic - (C) Technique

(A) Strategy is defined as the art and science of using ones resources to their maximum potential for optimum results. As applied to grappling we work with four basic scenarios:

1- OFFENSE superior POSITION - OFFENSE on TECHNIQUE.This strategy is applied to a weaker opponent, someone easy to overrun.

2- DEFENSE (counter) superior POSITION - DEFENSE (counter) on TECHNIQUE. This strategy applies to handling a much stronger or aggressive opponent.

3- OFFENSE superior POSITION - DEFENSE on TECHNIQUE. This strategy is applied to one who stalls upon entanglement yet becomes very active once taken down to the ground, thereby affording a counter technique.

4- DEFENSE superior POSITION - OFFENSE on TECHNIQUE. This strategy is applies to the opponent who starts off aggressively so as to be countered on the way to the ground.

(B) Tactic is defined as the method of applying the forces of combat. With grappling Modern Farang Mu Sul
® students practice:

- Finish Strikes (blows)
- Joint Manipulations, locks and breaks
- Chokes (via restricting blood or air supply to the brain, and cranks to the neck vertebra)
- Throws and Take downs
- Pressure Point Attacks

(C) Technique is defined as the tools used in the detailed application of the tactics and strategy involved. In grappling we work with:

- Hand Strikes (open or closed)
- Foot strikes (linear or circular)
- Elbow / Knee Strikes
- Head Butt / Biting
- Joint Locks (wrist locks, elbow, shoulder locks etc.)
- Choking Techniques
- Throws and Take Downs
- Pressure Point Attacks
- Flesh Tearing Techniques
- Weapons

As noted weapons training is to be included in your grappling and overall skills. To round out your training, include drills and sparring sessions that would pit empty hand vs. various weapons, weapons vs. empty hand and weapon vs. weapon grappling. When practicing free grappling sessions, always maintain each others (training partners) safety a priority. It is very easy to cause severe damage to one another (especially with joint techniques). Whenever you find yourself in a finishing or painful position, you need to tap on your partner or the floor so he will know to stop. If you are unable to tap out, then say the word tap. It is also wise to use protective gear when possible. With co-operation vary sessions from light to full contact, lots of rules to limited rules. The benefits will be many for all involved.

We should not be afraid to try different things in our training, for it is never complete (as much as we may believe it is). Nature has shown us that all things evolve, therefore, so should we. The only thing constant is change itself.

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