But he's Freak en awesome at what he does
Last night Dieter as he was sharing his methods with me brought up that he doesn’t want me to say that he thinks he is the best or that his way is better, instead I’m to say simply they (Dieter and the DAV) do things differently. I concur. I get to play (or train) with a lot of different folks in the Filipino martial arts (FMAs) of all different skills levels from instructors to beginners and I know there are a lot of different ways to do things. I can say confidently that Dieter does things differently and it makes a lot of sense, it hurts as well.
As Dieter was getting warmed up after teaching me the lesson about not solving a problem that hadn’t been asked (read the first post about training with Dieter last night), he then went onto to explain how they (the DAV) block the low strike (the #9) to the knee during the Tapi drills. Now I’ve been shown to hack at the hand, I’ve been shown to pull the capturing hand upwards to release, move off at an angle etc. etc. but he showed me to simply pull my hand downward and let my free hand act as a barrier to the other hand if needed. Simple right? But hard for me to pull off since I hadn’t trained that way.
Dieter said “grab my hand” sure enough I gripped his hand and he pulled it right out of my grasp to block the strike. In fact this release is what I had been teaching my beginner karate students as a release from a hand grab, I tell them to seek the door way (area between the fingers) and pull and sure enough this was the same concept. I couldn’t hold on to his hand to stop the defense and yet when it was my turn, I instinctively went for the harder release by reaching for the capturing hand with my free hand (which as I described ended up with me getting wacked each time. It took me a while to free up my thought process and to start to do the low line defense as he showed me, but once again it was simple and it made sense.
We go back to watching the video and he’s saying “good”, “good”, “we do that too”, “exactly” and then “Oh no we do that differently grab your stick.” He noticed I was feeding a back hand punyo lazily and told me this is why you are having trouble with the lock. I was feeding the punyo more on a slightly horizontal plane instead of a more diagonal plane towards the face. Now this was an adjustment of about an inch or two in the angle (or tilt) of my punyo feed and it made all of the difference in the world of trying to get the lock. Then Dieter corrected me on the lock, “You must do this first (getting the punyo over the stick and pull in by rotating the punyo and starting to set the lock), then you must take up the space, and then you rotate your upper body” Wham! That wrist lock was set and my body was being jerked around trying to lessen the pain. Wow that correction made all of the difference in the world in the setting of the lock.
More corrections followed after he watched the next lock on the video, and the next one after that and so on. All of the corrections made the locks work better, which meant the locks were more painful and more secure and easier to apply and set up. Later he sees me on the video showing a drill that involved thrusting on the forehand side (#6) and the reverse (#7). “Oh we do that differently” and he explains how they (the DAV) thrusts in on those lines and how as the feeder you counter and set it up so that your opponent doesn’t get the chance to block. Simple changing the angle of the entry, again but hard for me to pull off since I haven’t trained that way. After seeing the tip of his stick dominate the center of my vision each time I tried to block his thrust it is pretty unnerving to say the least. When I tried to show him how another person was countering that thrust from a different style. Dieter says “yes you can do that, but how do you counter him?” I think “Duh I don’t know”. He then tells me “Enter” and he shows one counter, “or you can do this” as he steps off line and palis palis (passes) it from the outside and behind the strike, “or you can do this” and he shows another and so on and so on.
This went on for nearly two hours and he covered anything he saw me do on the video with a different way of doing the technique which in my view helped me make my arnis better. I didn’t have one thought of “well I don’t think that will work” you know when you see something and in the pit of your stomach your going “ahhhhhhhh” while you look away embarrassed. I’m so glad that Hidden Sword Martial Arts is sponsoring him for a full two day seminar, because I feel confident that not only will Datu Dieter help my arnis, but I think everyone will learn something that will help make their art better. If we all get better then we all can help raise the bar for our training collectively.
I’m not saying Datu Dieter is the best, but……… HE is pretty amazing at what he does.