Arnis: Sticks of Death

Found this movie on Netflix: Arnis: Sticks of Death. Featuring Roland Dantes, student of Remy Presas. Late 70’s early 80’s fashion, blacksploitation funk soundtrack, predictable plot, romantic, but in the Philippines with accents and all. The only movie I know of featuring Filipino Martial Arts from about 30 years ago.

All the partner drills!

I hope everyone had a great workout today!  Workout, Class, or whatever we call it 🙂

Rick Vargas Kali Silat and Self Defense at Black Lightning Martial Arts.

Joe1 Joe2 R&G T&M

We added new partner drills.  Remember, there are drills for everything, lots of drills, and more being made up every day.  Some practitioners boast how many drills they know,   others, only know a few.  However, the point is not the amount of drills you know, but to develop the skills the drill teaches in order to apply those skills effectively as needed. You can learn those in as few, or as many drills as it takes to learn them. I’m not as concerned about how many drills you memorize as I am about how well you can do what they propose: a good forehand or backhand strike when needed.  To get you that skill we’ll try established and creative drills to get you there.

So, if you have trouble with one drill, don’t be discouraged, there is another you’ll naturally do better at.  I especially like to get the ones that are more “natural” through you, than the ones that take greater effort and time.  The latter become an issue of personal development and perfection, which can be lifelong and beyond the pale of my presence.  The natural ones we can achieve in a few sessions and will be valuable for your self defense.

I was very encouraged  when a master instructor I highly regarded once told me about a particular drill I was struggling with; “I don’t know that drill, but I know every move in it.”  I eventually learned the drill, but better than that, I understood every movement in it.  You can restructure the drill in any order you want and I may not know the new sequence, but I know a thrust, backhand, forehand, and blocks, and I will adapt quickly.

Once you know the moves, the particular drill wont matter.


Did you miss what happened Sunday?

Some of what we worked on this past Sunday, March 18th.

Rick Vargas Kali Silat and Self Defense, at Black Lightning Martial Arts.

We watched some clips of various types of Kali fighting.  Thanks to Youtube for being a vast archive of material.  We will do similar show and tells regularly, as I’d like you to have to have the fullest picture of this martial arts practice possible, I encourage you to research for yourselves as well.

  • Footwork!  Going to be lots of that, with and without weapons, and on levels 2-3-4.
  • 5 ct Sumbrada.
  • Level 1 smakstick sparring.
  • Rolling.  Or was that last week 🙂
  • Heaven six and variations.
  • Street fighting self defense skills.
  • The Russian Martial Art SYSTEMA was introduced.  I introduced movement drills and “zombie walk” which used to be a favorite of my younger students in Virginia.  We will be adding to that as we go on this journey.
  • Oh, we also began projectiles.

My guys and Black Lightning students, you are on a fixed drop in fee, that wont change for any of you.  New rates or structures may be applicable to new students in the near future. It will still be an incredible value.

Encourage  friends and family you like and trust to try our training group out, consider that its at a convenient time, small drop in fee ($10.00, cash, visa, mastercard accepted, no checks), no uniforms, and we work within your physical capabilities and limitations, plus it’s kinda fun! Adults preferred, exceptional children and under 18 only as recommended by Chris or Joe from Black Lightning.


Black Lightning Martial Arts
961 Diplomat Dr. Ste. 103
Debary, Fl 32713
(386) 337-5056

We are located in the Live Oak Center off of Enterprise Rd. in
Debary/Orange City.
Serving Debary, Orange City, Deltona, Sanford, Deland, Lake Helen, and Osteen.
Offering Karate, Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Kickboxing and several other martial arts to Children and Adults

KALI SILAT INSTRUCTOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DECLINE AN INDIVIDUALS PARTICIPATION AT ANY TIME. The training is intended for law abiding, well mannered individuals of good character and sound mind, as determined by the instructor.

Notes, notes, notes!

A while back I was with a training partner, who like me, had trained around a lot, and traveled to seminars and training sessions with great masters. Not all of us live near the Inosanto Academy, or have top first generation masters ion our neighborhoods, but it’s a different world than 200 years ago, and travel for everyone is a lot easier.  So we extend ourselves for the opportunities to learn from the best.

In some of my early Karate days, I had instructors secure enough to not discourage you from training with other teachers as well as themselves, while others didn’t want you to taint what they were teaching you with other “garbage.”  I take the latter as a bit of selfishness and insecurity, but anyway…

Because you might not see a particular instructor for weeks, month or even years, a lot of us struggled to keep notes, during breaks in practice and sometimes even in the middle of learning a technique or concept.  The training partner I mentioned at the beginning, told us he had 10 years worth of notes, organized, in one notebook!  He is an excellent practitioner, runs a great training group, is well connected and continues to train with others.

I’ve also kept notes, but not as well.  Napkins, tissue paper, scraps of note or typing paper someone spared me, assorted little notebooks, often with barely legible and illegible script or drawings has been part of my treasure house of learning.  That way I could go back to my home school get a partner, and refine things till I got with that instructor next time.  Consider how glad I was once when an instructor for a week gave us a binder of the material we were going to cover!

But personal language and vocabulary also come in to play.  How you effectively communicate to yourself may be unique.  When I describe something as 1-1-2 you may understand for yourself better as right-right-left, and then why complicate it more using foreign terms?

Which is why I encourage note taking.  And I am taking notes now on what I teach and to whom.  No pressure though, everyone is on their own level, timetable, and capacity structure, you are only looking for your personal best.  I’m doing it so I can review that I don’t miss basic essentials for everyone.

Beyond that, I hope that all of you will excel and surpass me, then come teach me some more.  Like I say, we have no tests, yet you are testing always!

See you guys at Black Lightning Martial Arts in Debary, Florida, on Sunday afternoon!  BLMA3BLMA1

Kali Silat at Black Lightning Martial Arts March 17th, 2013

Where does the time go?

Especially when you’re training Kali at Black Lightning Martial Arts on Sunday afternoon.  BLMA1Thanks to all those who came out.  Remember, it’s all homework.  You are taught, checked, and refined in class, but you learn throughout those moments away from class that you give the practice your attention.  Have you spent some time working on your upward redonda? Do you have 3 or 4 counters to a #1 strike, practiced your sinawalis?

Truth is: I know some of you have.  You’ve been getting together with each other to train during the week.  EXCELLENT!

Two hours in class seem to fly by, and we have little to no “dead air” or wasted moments, but, this is a practice to “make it your own” therefore it is your own time invested that really counts.  See you all next Sunday.

Training at Black Lightining Martial Arts


Arnis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First day of the Kali Silat and Self Defense training group at Black Lightning Martial Arts today.  We breezed through a few things to set down the protocols, foundations, and to acquaint members with each other.

We’re going to do a lot of footwork with variations so practice those triangle movements. Regulars, we’ll be picking up where you left off and advancing.  New members, you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll move along.

One of my instructor buddies like to say “Kali that takes more than 6 months to learn isn’t real Kali.”  Might be an exaggeration, but then not.  I go with that idea.  I think it  means that you can learn most of the essentials (skills and strategies) in that time, then spend the rest of your time developing excellence and perfection at them.  I know some styles have extended curriculum’s, maybe it has more to do with how to train those few essentials as opposed to the number of ways you can do a #1 and 2 strike, after all a forehand is always a forehand, a backhand is always a backhand.

In our training group there are no tests because your are always being tested, there are no certificates because you certify to yourself whether you know something or not, there are no belts because a belt cannot represent your personal development.  Practice, practice, practice!