Thunder Meets Earth is a two person fighting form, using the 28” rattan sticks common to Arnis. This is actually the last of five stick fighting forms in the Iron Crane Dojo. Our tutelage in the stick fighting arts commences with mastery of the basic strikes, and blocks. Phase II is
mastery of the advanced strikes, and disarms. Phase III requires mastery of complex movement and development of flow. In Phase IV the student
extends concepts of flow and adapts complexity of movement to using two sticks simultaneously. Phase V is combat. Each of the Phases culminates with a Kata (they are more usually referred to as “Anyo”,
acknowledging the Filipino influence). So...learning “Thunder Meets Earth” means you’ve completed Phase V of your training, and have the requisite skills for combat training.
The form integrates concepts from many styles of Arnis, but also gives acknowledges the Asian sword arts of Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, and Indonesia. Specifically, it includes the Single and Double Sinawali
drills common to virtually all systems of Arnis, with the entire middle section inspired by the twin sword arts found in Korea, China, and Southeast Asia. Though the form appears almost
improvised in its flow, it is in fact executed to a strict measure of counts and beats. Understanding the “Beat” and “Rhythm”
of movement is the essence of weapons fighting, with the greatest masters learning to execute entirely between the beats, when there is nothing to impede their movement.
Video Background Notes and Introduction
These are from another one of our productions from the 1990's. I've mentioned elsewhere about the difficult
economics ... it was very expensive to do this back then, and profits were nil. Still ... the films proved their merit over
time. They were widely disseminated, copied, shared ... and universally well received.
Better than that ... we had great fun doing them.
Here, we're presenting everything you need to know about Thunder Meets Earth ... a two person stick fighting form.
The objective at the time was to create a form which would serve as a safe backdrop for practicing all of the
intermediate to advanced stick flows. Thunder Meets Earth accomplishes this and more. Generally, when our
students are ready to learn the form they already have considerable experienxce with all of the stick drills and flows. Learning the form is simply icing on the cake.
As we undertook filming ... it became clear early on the form could be used not just as a vehicle for practicing the
movements, but as a practical framework for mastering the stick drills and flow exercises. This was new ground for
us, and you'll see that reflected in the video ... with each segment requiring exposure to a determined set of flow
dynamics, first empty handed, then with sticks, and then with a partner. As the series unfolds, everything is ultimately tied together into the final form.
For more insight, check our article The Arnis Connection (Click to view)
which talks about the unique character of Arnis, and how it integrates with empty hand technique. Though universally regarded as a Filipino fighting style,
there are similar arts in other cultures which exhibit comparable features, strengths and characteristics. Likewise,
Filipino stick fighting arts are forever evolving and pushing the limits of performance, to include borrowing and
integrating what is useful from other styles. I first studied briefly with the late J. Cui Brocka, primarily working
regularly over a span of years with his top student, David Bird, who remains one of the finest Escrimadors on the
West Coast, if not anywhere. Through Sifu Bird, I had opportunity to meet Datu Kelly Worden who over the years
has also established a firm foothold at the top, in effect creating his own system after working with a number of
recognized masters. I am also forever inspired by my brother (in the martial arts), Sifu Russ Kauffroath
(http://www.angelfire.com/wa/dangerusskenpo/), who, along with his partner Damien Romero, has taken Arnis into new areas of growth and evolution at a breathtaking pace.
My background includes studies of the Chinese, Korean and Filipino stick and blade arts, and like many others who
have spent time in the stick arts, what I do today is an amalgam of the totality of my experiences. Here we are
demonstrating some of our training methods developed over time which encourage a transition from learned, repetitive technique, to instinctive response. Remember ... always wear safety glasses!
These clips are for entertainment and general informational purposes only. We are not instructing you, or encouraging you to
do or to believe anything, except to view, enjoy, and think. Never forget that martial arts, like any contact sport, presents the
risk of injury, sometimes serious, disabling, or even fatal. Actual techniques should only be practiced in a controlled
environment emphasizing safety, under the direct supervision of a Black Belt instructor (in whom you have trust and confidence), and only after you have been cleared by your personal physician.