Attention Sled Dog--A DB Question

Sled Dog,

How do the Dog Brothers regulate shots to the leg? Are you folks not concerned about knee injuries?

And on a related subject, how do you regulate thrusting attacks?

Much Obliged,


We don't regulate any strikes. The desire to strike or not to is entirely self directed. Besides, it is not that easy to get off a good leg shot that can generate respect.

Same for thrusts. They bug you, but not that much. Remember, it is a blunt instrument.

Yes I can see potential for future problems, but as we say "Higher Conciousness Through Harder Contact".

You improve your abilities in direct proportion to the stress you are put under to apply them.

Sled Dog,

Thank you very much for the info. I know that in certain forms of European swordfighting and stick fencing that do not employ a shield (like the use of the basket-hilted broadsword or backsword, or singlestick), executing a leg cut is risky because it leaves your head open. A well-trained fencer will respond to a leg cut by "shifting the leg" and simultaneously cutting at the opponent's head.

Are knee pads allowed as protection?

As far as the thrusts go, I realize that it is a blunt instrument, but I always wondered if there was a danger of driving the xyphoid process into the liver. Does that sound like a legitimate danger to you?

Thanks again for you input--it is greatly appreciated.


Your comment on the european method of leg shifting is one that has come about in our sparring as well.

Generally I use leg shots as a follow up. Eg: My opponent tries to take my head off as I have left this target open to attack. I lift my weapon in a deflecting angle and continue the arc to the leg (around the knee). This tactic was developed to drop my opponent's guard and make his unsure where my attacks or counterattacks would come. It requires timing.

Dog Brothers stick fighting will allow knee and elbow padding if it is the soft type (no hard shell)

Thrusting "hard" is not as easy as it sounds. Remember there is no guard or hilt to stop your hand from sliding down the weapon upon impact. This goes to the heart of this type of training. Almost like the old stories of Filipino Warriors taking five or six shots from the old 38's issued to the military (prior to the re-issuing of the 45 cal)and then killing the soldier.
Basically, it is amazing how much you can take when you are motivated.

All the best


This is good stuff! I've said "holy shit" about 8 times in my head while reading this.


Sled Dog (Phil) is a wonderful martial arts resource, and I encourage anyone in Montreal to take advantage of his presence. I just wish I could find some money to get back there again!

cool shit

Sled Dog, will you be attending the JKD Family
seminar this weekend north of Toronto?

Sled Dog,

Thank you so much for you insightful commentary--you and the rest of the DB's are truly impressive martial artists. I'm sure the old FMA masters, as well as James Figg (the first heavyweight boxing champion, who was also a master swordsman and singlestick player), would be proud.

Keep up the good work.



Sled Dog,

I thought that you might find this account of Mexican machete fighting interesting.

OK here's the machete duel story that appeared in the Spring/Summer '97 issue of HAMMERTERZ FORUM, and was "Adapted from the unpublished manuscript 'The Machete: El Companero Omnipresente' by Carter Rila (1982)"--both fencers and FMA guys should find this account fascinating...
{...Paul Record describes the final encounter of Don Adolfo and his longtime tormentor, who had often practiced the 'cinchado' (1) of Don Adolfo:

"Don Adolfo climbed the notched ladder to the tapanco to get the new machete and the file he had bought and stored away for the coming time of clearing the forest for the milpa. He found a corn-cob, broke it, jabbed the rattail handle of the file into it (Usually he cut and fitted neat hardwood handles to his files, but now he was in a hurry.) Tip of blade jammed low into a doorpost, machete butt against his belly, knee under it to steady and give it tension, he filed the blunt, steep-beveled factory edge--useless for cutting--down to long sloping bevels glinting silvery to a razor edge...

He took the old, worn machete from the scabbard, shoved it into a space between the wallpoles, fitted the new one into the sheath, belted it on. The new, wide blade did not go all the way down into the scabbard, but it drew cleanly--did not stick. He tested it several times. (...)

"No, Don Gilberto. Not any more. The time has come for one of us to die. Draw your weapon." Don Adolfo's newly filed blade slid from the scabbard into his hand.

As he, too, drew his blade, Don Gilberto frowned, noting the heavy new blade. His own machete was an old one, a rabon, filed to a thin point, but shorter, so that his advantage of reach was diminished. But he entered the fray boldly, confidently--he had fought before. He parried skillfully and with caution--the heavy new machete could snap his old, thin one if he were careless.

Fighting with machetes is not just wild swinging and slashing with blades, any more than boxing is just haphazard swinging of fists. Machete fighting is a technique with cuts, thrusts, parries, and counters--like fencing with sabers, though perhaps less refined. I once, long ago when I was just learning about these things, sat horrified, watching two youngsters practice with sticks cut to resemble machete blades. They were working out a complex attack: a forehand feint, lightly parrying and disengaging the other blade so as to follow through, then crouching and leaning boldly to make a low backhand slash at the opponent's knees or shins.

It could be worked the other way also, the feint backhand, the crippling low cut forehand. The counter consisted in jumping with extreme knee flexion, tucking the heels up against the buttocks to clear the blade, and lashing out with an overhand slash at the unguarded head or neck of the adversary (2). The kids worked out very seriously for nearly half an hour. One, I knew, was twelve years old. His brother and coach was a little over thirteen.

Now the blades flashed--parried clinging, disengaged, slashed.

Don Gilberto's shorter machete was at a disadvantage, but he overcame it by pressing closer, making his enemy retreat. Its slim, tapered point and lightness made it quicker for thrusts. On thrust just touched Don Adolfo's forearm. A sheet of blood followed. In hot weather, a person bleeds freely from a slight cut. A bit more and it might have severed a big vein or immobilized the muscles of the hand. Don Gilberto crowded. Another thrust--the point just touched Don Adolfo's left temple. Blood trickled into his eye, blinding him on that side.

Don Gilberto leered. "Hermanito," he panted, "I think this... is where you die!"

A vicious slash. Don Adolfo parried precisely, twisting his wrist to flip his foe's blade wide. There was the opening!

(See my next post for the exciting finale, as well as some useful notes...)

(Continued from my last post above...)
Adolfo slashed through with the cut that experts say is the most dangerous: an upward backhand, a long reaching backhand pulled through with all the strength of back and shoulder.

The point of the machete caught Don Gilberto deep in the throat, the tip jerking the blade as it ticked on a cervical vertebra, and slid free to cut through to the other side. Blood spouted wildly, like water from a broken garden hose. Don Gilberto dropped his machete, raised his arms in a helpless gesture. He gurgled, trying to scream. Then he fouled himself noisily and collapsed to the ground.}

Notes (re-numbered by me for this slightly abridged version):

1. "'cinchar' is the colloquial verb meaning 'to beat with the flat blade of the machete.' The springy, 22" blade bends across the victim's back, leaving an angry red welt, then a green and purple bruise. And when you're on the receiving end, empty-handed, you stand and take it. Your aggressor has the drop on you. If you offer resistance, he has only to turn his wrist the slightest bit to give you the edge." [Paul Record, p. 77]

2. This is a somewhat more athletic variation on "shifting the leg" as recommended by cut-and-thrust fencers throughout the ages. The counter-attack to the head or neck also corresponds to the ancient counter into the higher target areas left unprotected by the evaded attack in the low line. The appropriate guard against this counter is the analog of the St. George's guard. [Amberger]"

One final note: the "most dangerous" cut, the "upward backhand"--is demonstrated on Plate 228 of Talhoffer's 1467 fechtbuch, where a fighter uses his "fechtmesser" (a rather machete-like weapon) to cut off the hand of his opponent. [TFS]


Shit. I thought vale tudo was tough.

There is an old, black-and-white photograph from around 1900, that shows the immediate aftermath of a sword duel between to European cavalry officers. The weapons used were heavy cavalry sabers. The victor is standing, sword hand relaxed and at his side, and he is staring down at the ground. His defeated opponent is lying on the ground by his feet--and the dead man's head is a few feet further away. Edged weapons are frightening.

This photo can be seen in J. Christoph Amberger's "Secret History of the Sword"


My original plan was to attend the JKD Family camp this weekend, but a few weeks ago my son while attempting to cross a high fence slipped and fell 10 feet to the pavement. He broke his arm in two pklacews and his jaw in three places. He had to have reconstructive surgery on his jaw, so his mother and I decided that staying home to care for him would be the best parental thing to do.

I will miss it.

Sled Dog,

Sorry to hear about your son's accident--I'll say a prayer for his recovery.

Stay strong.


Sled Dog, I wish your son a speedy recovery.

Karma Martial Arts

As do I! Best wishes.

I'll archive this as soon as the forum bugs are gone (unless someone else can do it first please!).

awesome thread


Thanks for archiving! (We history mods are still essentially powerless on our forum)


I'm terribly sorry to hear about your son Sled Dog,
I hope he has a speedy recovery. Man, that's tough
to deal with - good idea about missing the camp this
time around, there will always be more - your son
needs mom and dad for sure now.