Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lethal Twelve: Front and Back

Besides the twelve joints composing the blueprint of the human body in traditional martial arts, there are also twelve frontal lethal points and another twelve in the back. These points are useful in intelligent target fighting-- meaning, planned and premeditated.

Most FMA practitioners in the Philippines in the early days were farmers. They were expert when it came to weather, season, and other environmental stuff. Until now, there are farmers who can tell what time exactly it is by just checking the brightness of the sun.

The farmers center their lives in the twelve-month cycle. They know when to start plowing and irrigating the field, when to plant, when to watch out for the rice birds, and when to harvest. They live through seasons.

The farmers before related just about anything to their work. Even FMA was affected by their world view. Yes, they had a concept of twelve from the number of months in a year. They used it in mapping the deadly points in the human body-- front and back. They used seasons to classify those points.

There are only two seasons in the Philippines: wet (tag-ulan) from June to November and dry (tag-araw) from December to May. "Wet" is used for the points good for hacking/stabbing. The reason they are called wet is because of blood. "Dry" is for the impact points usually hit by a weaponless strike. It is dry because of its bloodless nature.

There are six wet points and another six dry points in front and another set of sixes of the same kinds in the back. Most of the FMA practitioners I talked too told me that they knew about these deadly points but they did not usually teach them to their students. Most of them also told me that they were influences of the Chinese. I checked the pressure point fighting systems of East Asia and South Asia, I think the FMA points are different-- they are simpler and easier yet effective.

The common cause of death in weaponless street fighting that I know of was the hard punch in the solar plexus. In our lumad community, we call it"suuk"-- it means depth. We even have an expression called "Suuka." Yes, it is also a sentence. It means "Kill him." For us, suuk is life, the center of the body, our chakra.

We even have another strange expression that is traditionally medical. We usually say "isuuk" to mean anything one feels in or around her belly-- pain, emptiness, angst, loneliness, etc. The only remedy for suuk is to vomit-- we call it "suka." Suuk is really an interplay between inside and outside, system and chaos, and pain and comfort-- basically, yin and yang.