The Gentle Fury of Hagibis
With the unleashed fury of a raging wave pounding on the surf, the once gentle, quiescent force of Hagibis, like water, permeates and integrates with little or no resistance, its force accelerated and amplified by the winds of energy, motion and momentum of combat.
Developed to complement the striking techniques of Sagasa Kick Boxing System, the throwing and grappling art of Hagibis blends and integrates itself into the dynamics of combat. Once called to the fore, Hagibis techniques ensnare the opponent and practitioner in its grasp to control and overcome without any warning and just as suddenly stop, the blending of energies and the fierceness of the opponent’s assault having become a weapon against itself. The secret of the art of Hagibis is not in its techniques but rather in the principles and in the development of the mind-set (Dakip-diwa) and its final and ultimate application.
In developing Dakip-diwa, the practitioner trains himself to be constantly aware of his surroundings, its rhythm and flow. It is the ability to discern between what is normal as against that which is incongrous that enables the Dakip-diwa master to anticipate and predict the next possible sequence of events. Development of this attribute requires constant assesment of evry day situations until assesment and evaluation of on-going events and circumstances become routine but not necessarily taken for granted. With this attribute, distancing, strategy and timing are factors constantly shifted in the mind’s eye.
Hoarding and nurturing the best, the most realistic and practical from its eclectic roots, Hagibis borrows, adopts and blends principal techniques from a multitude of sources. Unlike other eclectic systems, where the disparity of its many sources precludes a systematic and progressive curriculum, Hagibis has grown and evolved into an identity and presence all its own. The unification of the whole art is complementary rather than arbitrary, congruent instead of contrasting, and flowing, not floundering. Viewed as a whole, the unique blend of techniques and principles come together in an essence, structure and concept that is distinctly Filipino , a nation formed from many cultures, a consummate fusion of the gentle fury of wind and water.
With the Philippine combative arts as its primary root, Hagibis practitioners are trained to develop a mind-set and feel for the angles, motions and rhythm of combat. The general angles of attack are initially distilled into the basic Cinco Teros, the five general and basic angles or directions of attack. This concept is not new to the Hagibis practitioner, having previously trained in the major aspects of the Bakbakan curriculum. This grounding would involve cognizance and expertise in both armed and unarmed disciplines.
It is this awareness and experience in armed combat that makes the Hagibis expert wary of immediately engaging an aggressor with grappling techniques. The possibility of combat evolving from unarmed hostilities to armed aggression necessitates caution and discretion. The preferred strategy is to hurt and disable an opponent without committing and restricting to any single engagement. This is usually accomplished by applying hypher-extended joint lock throws or body on body takedowns.
Engagement and development of combat into Hagibis mode would depend on several factors. The primary factor would be distance. In Hagibis, shooting-in for a takedown is not recommended. Instead, the striking techniques of Sagasa, the kick boxing discipline of Bakbakan, would be utilized. This restriction does not imply that Hagibis has no takedown nor shooting techniques. On the contrary, most of Hagibis techniques are takedowns or throws designed to put the oppoent out of commission, at least temporarily..
This restriction stems from the fact that shooting-in would usually lead to a grappling situation. Since most street encounters are rarely one-on-one, engaging and being tied up with a single opponent is inherently dangerous and must therefore be averted if possible. Stand-up striking techniques are best for street encounters, specifically against multiple opponents. However, circumstances and combat being dynamic, treacherous and unpredictable, one must prepare for all eventualities.
Once the opponent is committed to an attack, a counter or a defense, the evolution of hostilities will dictate its development. An extended arm or leg, whether it be defensive or offensive, can provide the necessary hold for an arm drag, a lock, a break or a throw. It may also provide for the exposition of targets of opportunity for striking techniques. A deflection of this extended limb can change the entire direction and spectrum of combat.
The motion and movement of the opponent provides the seed for the development of the whirlpool of continuance that is the signature philosophy and keystone of Hagibis. The blending and fusion of energy, referred to in Hagibis as the “tightening of the circle”, creates a whirlpool of motion that envelops and integrates both protagonists, snaring and hurtling them into the vortex of Hagibis’s fury. Techniques are applied with the strategy and intention of making the assailant bear the brunt of the converging forces. Techniques that are designed and intended to injure and disable the aggressor, effectively reducing the number of potential adversaries.
A signature technique of Hagibis and Philippine combat arts in general is the use of down-weighing to generate the energy and force necessary to execute a take-down technique or generate the necessary joint lock pressure. This may involve a sacrifice throw, or a selection of key techniques known as Sakay-siko (lit., mounting the elbow) or Basbas (lit., benediction), both of which involves the trapping of a limb and using leverage against the crook of the arm and elbow to initiate a takedown. Sakay-siko may be classified as type of sacrifice throw except that it strategically positions the practitioner for continuance into a mount position or a side-positioned arm and wrist lock. In contrast, Basbas drags down the opponent down and forward, leaving them open to strikes with the free fist or a powerful knee strike.
Grappling, locking , and throwing techniques from the native arts of buno and dumog as well as adopted expertise from the rich, exotic warrior arts of Asia and the simple, direct approach of western combat arts provide the ultimate and final weapons of unarmed close quarters combat. Emphasizing the use of “naked” or non-cloth based control techniques, the art of Hagibis takes into consideration the thin and flimsy clothing that is the norm for Southeast Asian countries. It is these constraints that developed the many “naked” locking and grappling techniques of these regions.
Hagibis training takes on many forms. During the training and development of skills, each stage of combat is isolated and developed separately. This is subdivided into throwing techniques, takedowns, grappling and submission holds. Throwing and takedowns are practiced from either striking or catch-as-catch-can and shooting platforms. Grappling and submission holds exercises usually begin from Laban-Dulang or face-to-face kneeling and tie-in position. This precludes takedown and throwing methods and allows the protagonists to solely concentrate on grappling and wrestling maneuvers.
Each identifiable component can be isolated , to be arbitrarily included or removed during practice bouts. This compels the practitioner to continuously learn and train beyond their preferred proven techniques. A single training round may be nominated as anything goes, except for headlocks or any other specific type submission holds. This forces the combatants to experiment and attempt joint locks and other submission holds. Ironically, by restricting specific invariable favorites, the student is singularly liberated.
Using down-weighing as a way of disturbing the opponent’s center of gravity as well as accelerating the motions of combat, the techniques of Hagibis lessen, if not eliminate, the weight and size handicap of the average Filipino. The use of leverage, joint and wrist locks requires little power but demand much precision, an attribute learned, experienced, and developed in the weapons art of Bakbakan Kali Ilustrisimo.
The present popularity of grappling, wrestling and submission techniques has generated a resurgence and a rekindling of interest and demand for parallel arts. From stand-up fighting to throwing and grappling, from unarmed combat to armed conflicts, Bakbakan International’s curriculum of fighting arts equip its students and members with the skills and knowledge required of a complete warrior. Thus, in its own finite field of expertise, the gentle fury of Hagibis contributes to the aggregate attribute and spirit of a mandirigma.