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The Way of the Phoenix, a Guide to Dynamic Fighting by Saltire Ronin Combatives

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I have been a martial artist and historian since I can remember. I am a US Army and Law Enforcement Veteran. I love Warrior philosophy.



Martial arts have been developed for centuries by every class of warrior. The most popular known are the fighting styles of the Japanese and Chinese. There are also European styles such as German Swordsmanship, English Archery, Italian and French fencing, Scottish and Greek wrestling and so on.

I have been a long time student of as many forms of martial skills. Although I am not a master of any I have taken the most useful elements and incorporated them into my repertoire of techniques. I do not boast to have created a system of any sort; however I have combined philosophy and techniques to draw from as needed.

I am not the only one to do this whereas the inception of mixed martial arts (MMA) has become widely popular. In it they combine boxing, Muy Thai, Karate, Taekwondo, Capoeira, Judo, Jui Jitsu, Wrestling and Wushu.

Centerline of Wing Chun


Bruce Lee is Super Fast

Kung Fu.

Bruce Lee is not only a phenomenal movie star and fighter; but he broke down the barriers of traditional stylized forms. He was trained in Wing Chun, which specializes in close fighting and was developed by a woman for women. As such it did not receive much attention until Master Ip Man made it famous. Bruce trained under Man and began learning other Kung Fu forms to learn their weaknesses and how to beat the systems. Each class of schools had a particular way of fighting; Kung Fu to the Chinese and Karate to the Japanese. Each style of Kung Fu was different from the next. Shaolin; the most popular, which focuses on stamina, balance, flexibility and power. We know it because of the 5 styles of Dragon, Tiger, Mantis, Monkey and Crane. I am not going to delve into each style; all we have to do is watch some old movies and we can see the striking differences among them.

Wing Chun

Wing Chun was designed to emphasize speed and deflection not power since it was tailored around the female physique. Over time however it developed such movements as the one inch punch and its powerful effect on limited space. This form focuses on the relaxation of the muscles to reduce fatigue and allows for better defense against pulling and equalizes any uneven matches. This is achieved via striking the center line via simultaneous strike and defend movements where a straight punch is accompanied by a blocking move. The punch gets its momentum from the elbows and hip; not the shoulders as is common in all other delivery of punches. This allows for fast and powerful as well as ease of staying in a defensive posture. Kicks however are used to block kicks but were not essential and had medium to no power. Elbows are used to control range of movements. All in all it is simple yet directly effective.

Circle of Combat


Jeet Kun Do

Bruce taught to have form without form and adapt oneself to any situation. Some of the actual movements include a few modified movements. He developed a straight lead punch that focuses on speed not just power. It is designed to control an opponent's center line, and is held out close to the opponent and almost mimics the one inch punch of Wing Chun; without power. Since its name means intercepting fist; a Wing Chun principle he used to stop hits and parrying.

Stop hits combine a block and attack into one movement, and is delivered as a preemptive attack before the opponent is able to fully attack. This can be achieved by low kicks, eye jabs and straight punches to the shoulders, arms and face to impede advance.

A parry is also combined with an attack to be delivered simultaneously. He did include the use of the center line strategy his theory. That is the protection of ones own and the exploitation of the attacker's. Emphasis was placed on punching, kicking, grappling and trapping. His eye jabs were signature in that they were delivered from low and with speed.

The primary weakness Lee felt in Karate and Wing Chun is the lack of footwork. The forms don't allow much in terms of movements like other styles. Lee was able to re mediate this by incorporating a varied measure of footwork to enhance the effectiveness of the attacks. Lee incorporated western boxing footwork into his system to complement the lack thereof in wing chun.

Lee suggests fluid like movements. Since real combat is not scripted ones fighting form should be like water; that is without shape, strong, powerful, and yet simple. He taught power with minimal movement. Bruce tried to incorporate the speed of wing chun with the power of karate in the punches.

Bruce also had a philosophical side to his new genre of kung fu. Indeed it made up a great bulk of his theory on martial arts. This is needed because mind and body must become one in order to be a well machined fighter no matter the form; difference being they were just as revolutionary. He believed in not having limitations in order to free one's self from a particular style.


This is the most renown form to have come out of Asia besides Kung Fu. The movements carry a lot of strength but were slow in comparison with Wing Chun. Kata forms are pre-rehearsed movements and must be performed to the exact same standard. Thereby being non-flowing in nature and more rigid.

While the concept of the movements were conceived to stimulate muscle memory and have the "no mind" concept of just reaction. It fails to have an out of the box reaction and is stuck to the script.

Karate uses hip movements or pivots to supplement and add power to the punch. This can be an early indicator of an attack. Like boxing there is also the indicator of drooping a shoulder or broadcasting. Karate also uses straight lines, real combat does not. One would have to force the opponent to stay within the straight line unless the opponent's form also used the same lines.

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Aikido: The way of harmonious spirit

Aikido is a modern form developed by Morihei Ueshiba. It was developed with the idea of defending oneself while at the sames time sparing your opponent from undue or excessive injury. It employs redirects, joint controls as well as throws. It is based exclusively from the use of the sword, and indeed hosts the same movements as fighting with the sword.

Undoubtedly, the first thing to learn is the art of the fall. As far as stance goes one is assumed that lures the attacker in for a grab or hold in which then an adverse move is able to be employed. If a punch or kick from an opponent is initiated then it is received and redirected in a way that off balances the opponent and converts his energy against himself.

The focus is not on attacking but instead on defending. It can be seen that from early on in it's concept it was used to defend against edged weapons. There are five controls or kyo that are practiced and employed in a variety of methods depending on the attack. This leads to thousands of ways to implement a defense.

Many argue that the difficulty in using the form is that the attacker will quickly counter or consciously divert the attempts and to answer this is the use of the Atemi, Take the mind. Atemi is a distracting blow or movement if you will that allows the opponent's mind to be taken off of what is about to happen to them. It could be as simple as stomping the toe, face strikes which takes away from the true intent. Facing multiple attackers is a possibility in which Aikido students practice in randori. Mental strength is a big factor in the art as well as the ability to control oneself in combat. This is still a highly controversial art as some feel that it doesn't work outside of the dojo setting.

Morihei Ueshiba

Muay Thai

The most favorite art from Thailand is selected as one of the back bones for mma; Muay Thai. It is nothing but brutal. It's staple is a barrage of kicks that would break palm trees in half. It is great for close quarters combat, but also creates some distance with the kicks.

It is often refereed to as the act of 8 limbs because it utilizes punches, elbows, knees and kicks as opposed to just punches and kicks.

Punches have been blended with western and other oriental arts and as a result is more diversified. It uses center line theory and long and short range attacks.

Elbows feature numerous application and are very strong in respect to impact. Targets include eyebrows in order to make eyes bleed thus blinding the opponent. It is also useful to effect blocks.

The kicks are absolutely outrageous, including the use of knees. They are powerful and fast.

The down side is they use a lot of core and whole body movements in their fighting to generate power behind their attacks. Which make it easier to spot attacks despite speed. The economy of motion is not as bad as kung fu. The brutality of this form is overshadowing.

Wild but Free


Warrior Mind

Japanese Samurai, like their European counterparts had a structured development of a warrior code and mentality. I am particularly fascinated with the Japanese because they have a very systematic almost ritualistic way of conducting themselves. It helps to show focus but also the intent of the performer. It is beautiful yet brutal. Apart from direct quotes from the Hagakure, which is the foremost recognized piece on Bushido we can see the warrior mentality past down in various forms of martial arts.

First I would like to discuss the warrior mind. That is to say the progression of a warrior's thought process throughout the stages of the practitioners being. In Japanese interpretation of Bushido and the Bushi; there exists 5 levels of mindfulness. They are as follows: Shosin, Zanshin, Mushin, Fudoshin, Senshin

Shoshin or the beginner's mind refers to the state in which everything is new and we are just so ecstatic about learning that we soak up as much training and material as we can. This is the enthusiastic stage. There are always things to learn; and learning never stops.

Zanshin or lingering mind it the focus on the now, this very moment. Another way of describing this state is that of Situational Awareness. One is alert and aware of what is going on around them but they are relaxed until something is observed that puts them into fighting mode.

Mushin is the state of no mind or empty mind. This is the most crucial of a warrior's being. The body and mind become one and the warrior begins to act on instinct and training. This state is not the hardest but it takes practice to master. Although it is just simply acting and reacting to combat situations it is something that is honed through the stress of combat.

Fudoshin is the immovable mind. It is perfect calm and peace of mind under stress. Breathing deep breaths allow for extreme focus. In this state there is the absence of emotions just focus and action.

Senshin is the enlightened mind. This is the most difficult ro master. The gist is the harmony of body and spirit with the world aroind you. There is no violence but peaceful existence.

It is in my opinion that zanshin, mushin and fudoshin are the most essential during a combat situation. They should flow seamlessly through the consciousness of a warrior.

Saltire Ronin Combatives



There is no perfect form. Fights are always evolving, escalating, deescalating and the environment is never the same. This means that a fighter must always adapt and change according to the fight. Nevertheless a fighter can't limit themselves to the confines of one style.

It is advantageous to then learn the essential and most effective elements of different forms and styles and adapt them to suit the fight and win. In doing so fighters are able to command the situation. Whether you think the best offense is defense or might over speed; there will always be a fighter that is equipped to form a strategy against you. In that case a secondary approach is necessary.

One should not put stock in gaining the infamous black belt of such and such art and get caught up in ranking systems. These focus on the use of a kata, or rehearsed form and the student just regurgitates it back out. Kata is great for an exercise tool, I use it only for that. While the movements can be transitioned into actual fighting technique this is a bit confusing to the student and often times they do not develop how to make the transitions. This leads to a useless black belt who is subject to get his belt handed to him by someone with "less" color on their waist.

However simple an attack leaves less room for a long drawn out fight. To execute an attack with the perfect combination of speed, power and accuracy. I have always favored preemptive attacks based on body language. A quick block and simultaneous punch attack, or a direct hit to a joint to disable the opponent from attacking altogether. The point of the matter is to put all the tools together to win, that is the way of the phoenix.

Favorite Martial Art style

© 2019 paguilar

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