Filipino Martial Arts - Structured Teaching Progressions

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

The journey of discovery about the Matrix Approach presented in an earlier blog post started with the selection of five core techniques that begin from the abierta (open) side of the body. Next, the equivalent counterparts that begin from the serrada (closed) side of the body were added to give ten core techniques to be used for further analysis and evaluation. The next essential stage of setting up a 10 x 10 matrix, which provides a visual aid to support memory retention, is the foundation of the functional mathematical analysis that is afforded by the Matrix Approach. Suddenly, five core techniques have become 100 combinations that can be drilled, applied and evaluated in an accessible way that allows the real and continuous development of the practitioner. The techniques presented were from the solo baston (single stick) category of the Filipino martial arts and with a right-handed application.


Beyond the basic, the range of solo baston opportunities can encompass:


Right hand version

Left hand version

Right hand following the striking lines of the left-hand version

Left hand following the striking lines of the right-hand version

Right hand version switching to the striking lines of the left-hand version for the second technique

Left hand version switching to the striking lines of the right-hand version for the second technique


Other opportunities presented have included doble baston (double sticks) and the empty-hand translations in the categories of suntok (punching), tamaan (striking) and magbuno (grappling). Combative opportunities in relation to the use of the solo baston (single stick) have been presented and analysed to include the use of additional or defensive techniques and footwork to create unique opportunities to strike from obscure angles.


Some additional aspects for consideration that are beyond the scope of this blog post can include:


The use of the susi (key or reverse grip) with the solo baston (single stick)

Translations to the espada y daga (sword and dagger) category

Translations to the sungkod (long staff) category using a middle grip

Translations to the tungkod (short staff) category using the end grip


Use the framework and then lose the framework


The Matrix Approach should not be viewed as a framework that is finite in scope and only provides limited opportunities to discover new options within the chosen martial art. Once part of regular training, the potential to continually develop is infinite and only restricted by the skills and creative imagination of the practitioner. At any time, new techniques can be added or rejected from the matrix and new matrices can be created for different categories of core techniques available to the practitioner. This then facilitates further developmental opportunities as the practitioner can combine the matrices of the different categories to embrace, for example, right hand solo baston (single stick) core techniques and left hand baraw (knife) techniques. With continued and diligent practice, the practitioner flow freely and move beyond the scope of the Matrix Approach to create additional opportunities that consistently embrace the core concepts and combative strategies of their chosen martial art.


Through continued use of the Matrix Approach, the practitioner can use the combinations in other forms of progressive, developmental training, such as striking a heavy bag or large diameter rope. Other training opportunities include ‘theme sparring’ using selected combinations, sparring with mixed weapon combinations using matrix combinations, such as doble baston (double sticks) against solo baston (single stick). The diligent and creative practitioner will greatly benefit from using matrix punching or elbow combinations during pad training sessions, or in actual empty hand sparring. Grappling applications derived from the matrix combinations may succeed the use of punching or elbow combinations to gradually close the combat range. The striking lines of the solo baston techniques can facilitate opportunities for disarming methods applied in the self-protection scenario.


Translations to Empty Hand Applications

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