Tag Archives: wetmattos

wetmattos said: Yup yup, I do indeed :3 I’m almost asking for ya to keep on it, it’s really, really interesting <3

Don’t worry about it, I love martial history and looking at all the different inventive ways different societies came up with to deal with their problems. And the more you look at different cultures and their history, the more we see that people are, well, people. Clever and inventive people finding solutions to deal with problems.

This is why I always suggest researching history, philosophy, and culture beyond just looking at one single thing. When you see the whole picture, you can break that picture back down into it’s smaller pieces.

If you’re really interested in the sociological development of societies, particularly Europe’s, I recommend reading Germs, Guns, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It’s a really good and informative book that attempts to examine Europe’s evolution to the world stage by looking at sociology and anthropology instead of assuming they’re just “better” than other cultures. If any of you want to write a fantasy or historical novels that are based on Europe, I really recommend it.

It’s dense but it’s good.


Hey there, folks! Be welcome home! Have a question for ya, here it is: How can one with a simple knife or dagger fend themselves against an user of swords/clubs/any longer weapon, really. Also, this same dagger user, fighting against someone who uses swords and shielf. Thanks in advance, for everything :D

Shank them. Shank them before they see you.

You can stand and fight, but a dagger or even a short sword/long dagger is at a significant disadvantage against someone wielding a long sword. The problem isn’t necessarily a better weapon (it is) or a more skilled fighter, the trouble is reach. When it comes to weapons, reach and weapons that are further up the technology tree will have a significant advantage over one that’s further down. We don’t tend to think about medieval weaponry and swords, particularly long swords as technology but they are.  So, let’s break weapon lengths down. Someone working with a sword or club will be at a disadvantage against someone wielding a staff or spear, particularly if that staff or spear is metal plated and can take someone hacking at it. They did actually do this in Europe. When facing someone carrying a weapon that is the same as your own, spear versus spear, sword versus sword, then it becomes an actual contest of skill. The long sword has greater reach than a short sword and the dagger, putting the dagger wielder at the disadvantage because to win they have to fight their way past a very dangerous weapon before they can even get into striking range. Throwing a shield in on top of that is just unfair.

For you, the comparison is similar to punches versus kicks, someone who primarily uses kicks will keep the other person out of range and if they’re kept at range, they can’t do damage (unless they can catch the leg). Cun Lee does very well on the MMA circuit, for example, because most of the fighters he faces come from a boxing/wrestling/jiujutsu background and he uses a mix of taekwondo and muay thai kicks to keep them at range and knock them out.

So, how do they fend off an opponent with superior force? The best answer is: don’t fight on their terms. Stop and think about the strengths of the dagger as a weapon, it’s either a supporting add on used in desperate circumstances or its a weapon of surprise. It can be hidden fairly easily and does incredible amounts of damage swiftly in close quarters, in the ranges where the sword and staff become less useful (if you’re working against a European long sword watch out for the pommel, it’s a close quarters weapon if the sword is already out of it’s sheath…a shield can also be used as a bashing weapon to knock someone back). The character just has to figure out how to get there.

So, disengage, run away, come back later when they don’t expect it and shank them. Or take them by surprise the first time out, then run and hide. It’s not noble, it’s not pretty, but it works.


wetmattos said: Heh, I’m going to bed now, but as soon as I’m back, I’ll start sorting out my resources. youtube.com/watch?v… If we’re talking about displays of skill…

Honestly, anything’s good.  I love the fancy stuff, but I love basics just as much. Basics are how you understand a style that and the philosophy behind what it was designed to do, what it’s purpose is (beyond just the fighting part, there are so many different reasons why people fight and they have a different reasoning behind all of it). This is why all the martial arts primers start with basics and principles, understanding is built off of deeper meaning, the connection of mind and body working together. Without a basis for understanding what is considered difficult in a style, I can’t appreciate when someone’s mastered something extremely difficult because I don’t understand the amount of work that went into it or how hard it is.

I love Van Damme’s wheel kick for example (possibly even more than Jet Li’s gun trick) because not only is he pushing being sixty years old, he can still leap a good five feet straight up into the air from a standing position, execute the chamber while he turns and then, achieve a full extension of the leg that’s so perfect he literally hangs in midair for a good solid second. But the real skill is the part where his back leg is tucked perfectly so that it’s almost even with his kicking leg while he’s in flight. That’s the hard part, because for most of us the brain only has time to worry about executing the kick and doesn’t have time to tell the back leg to tuck up. Then, he comes down after looking like he’s stopped time. There are legions of exceptional men and women forty years his junior who could never achieve something so perfect and the even crazier part is that he was a professional fighter before he was making movies, by his age most martial arts actors and professional fighters are falling apart. Van Damme has a level of finite muscular control that I can only gape at.

But! The basics and a knowledge of the underlying level of are what make the fancy tricks sing. So gimme! Gimme both! I’m already eagerly starting the video.


Edit: I watched the video and yeah, that’s incredible. The level of muscular control and trust between partners to move that close together, that low to the ground, without touching and in time to the music is amazing. I love the way capoeira integrates tumbling as part of it’s style and the constant movement makes it hard to detect the tells for the attacks. (Which is the point, given the style’s history.) All in all, very cool. I’m really looking forward to learning more about it.

wetmattos said: But as a former capoeirista, I would be quite glad to share a bit of what I’ve learned and seen – and when it gets outta my knowledge, redirect you to wiser people ^,^

That would be really lovely, since I don’t know much about the particulars. Starke and I are huge martial arts nerds, well okay, I am a HUGE martial arts nerd. I was geeking out over Van Damme’s perfect jump wheel kick which he performed twice in Expendables 2 during his fight with Stallone just last week. Twice! He did it twice. I was actually clapping very, very loudly in front of our TV. I’d never seen any Van Damme’s movies as I don’t have as much of a soft spot for eighties action movies, but I love anyone who exhibits perfect skill. (I love it when people defy gravity! Especially when they have perfect form!) I’m going to buy Lethal Weapon IV one day just for the sequence where Jet Li takes apart a gun with his knees while jumping in the air.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is: YES THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL! SQUEE!

If there’s one thing that makes me roll around on the carpet like a giddy Tumblr fangirl, it’s the prospect of learning anything new about other forms of martial arts or fighting.

wetmattos said: I see ^,^ I used capoeira as an example, since by using ginga the conditions for kicks like roundhouse and such change completely (I’ve seen masters using reverse roundhouse kicks with almost no build up), but this answers my question ^,^ Thanks!

Oh yeah, there’s no question that different beginning body position changes pretty much everything about how a kick is done, what we can get away with, and how limber someone is pretty much changes the all rules again. I’ve only ever seen capoeira done once in person and at a distance, while in the stands at one of our black belt tests.

It was pretty cool, I have to say and very different from some of the Asian styles. Every style does things their own way though, so any guide we put up always requires more research.

The differences just between similar techniques like the Shotokan sidekick versus the Taekwondo sidekick are immense, even though the principles are the same. The devil’s in the details. I got into such trouble with the assistants is my college Karate class. They were always coming over and adjusting my leg and my foot. “Put it here, not here, tighten there, tuck it tighter, lower, on a lower diagonal, more against your stomach”. I’m not very traditional and I’m more like: it’s a sidekick what does it matter so long as it works when I need it?

It’s actually really tough to rewrite thirteen years of doing something one way to have to do it different, while still staying similar. Shotokan can be really traditional, our instructor was nice though. You can tell a lot about what someone practices just by the way they do a chamber or what position they hold their foot in after it’s complete.

Fortunately, we don’t need most of those details to effectively convince someone that we know what we’re talking about when we’re writing about it. *cough* Though, I’d love to hear more about capoeira.

wetmattos said: Gotta love the effort you do to make these things <3 By the way, you’re intending to cover which kinds of kicks? Knowing your taekwondo training, I’m expecting great variety, but I would love to see some capoeira kicks being featured as well :3

The basic kicks first that everyone uses in one form or another, the first we learn and the easiest to recognize: front kick, sidekick, back kick, and roundhouse. However, I’m going to include some of the combinations you can do with these kicks, the differences between combat kicks versus exhibition, and the principles involved so you guys can create your own combos for your characters. I am not an expert on capoeira, sadly. I could probably break them down in concept, because I understand the basic physiological limitations underlying them, but that’s where my familiarity with the style’s technique ends.

But all kicks are, ultimately, similar because there is only so much we can do with our bodies to achieve the necessary effects. You’ll be able to apply most of what I’m talking about to capoeira by changing a few details here and there where appropriate.