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Weapons UnderGround >> Tell me about Ray Floro


12/13/09 4:31 AM
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JJK
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Hi all, I'm new to the weapon's forum as I'm more of a BJJ guy bu I'd like to ask who here has trained with Ray Floro? What do you think of him, his FFS style and how long does it take to become proficient enough to teach knife defence/fighting?

To make myself more clear I have had the pleasure of training with Ray once before and found him to be an amazing teacher and lethally fast knife fighter! I also own his Essential Ray Floro dvds and find them to be invaluable to my training! Now the reason for my questions is that at present I teach BJJ (I'm a brown belt with 10+years of training) and am interested in incorporating an effifcient form of real world knife fighting and defence against edged weapons to my curriculum. Something that I feel BJJ and 90% of Martial Arts are seriously lacking!

I just wanted to get some informed opinions on your thoughts regarding his skill level, techniques, concepts etc and roughly how long you think it would take me to become proficient enough to start teaching some effective edged weapons defence to my students? I realise this is a tough/loaded question because you cant judge skills alone by length of time trained and I sure as hell dont want to teach anything that I dont believe in or are not experienced enough in!!! I guess I should say, how much time do you think is a minimum of intensive study before I even consider teaching edged weapons defence?

Sorry for rambling a little. Thanks for your input and have a great week!
Kind Regards
Felipe
12/13/09 8:27 AM
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Skpotamus
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I've never met or trained with him, but I did get his DVD set when it came out. I think he has some really good stuff that works well in knife dueling type situations. Really great mid to long range stuff. I also like his improvised weapons stuff a lot.

I think adding in some close range nastiness ala Southnarc (www.shivworks.com) makes a very nice knife package.

YMMV.
12/13/09 9:45 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/13/09 9:47 PM
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What do you mean by 'edged weapons defense'?

Consider what part of 'edged weapons' can be trained 'alive'. (I.e. with timing, footwork and intent).

Rather than spend a year trying to learn to fight with a blade (or more trying to learn to defend against a blade), why not get a CCW, buy a gun, learn to shoot, and take a combat pistolcraft course and get more robust skills in a couple months?

It's important to know exactly what you're trying to do, be realistic (i.e. avoid fantasy), and maximize your 'training dollar' (i.e. time spent vs benefit realized).

Also, it's important to realize that using a blade is serious business, and the venue underwhich that might occur is very, very narrow. For example, when would you ever have occasion to use a knife for any reason if you are also carrying a gun? Would you want to fight off a mugger in your darkened bedroom with a knife? Do you really want to be exposed to the blood and body fluids of a criminal (more than is necessary).

Do you really have the guts to slice someone up to the extent needed to stop them from a violent, committed attack?

Further, consider that a bladed weapon is a force multiplier and involves split-second timing and extra-ordinary reflexes. If you think a person gets 'ring-rust' from laying off of boxing training, imagine how much 'worse' it is with a bladed weapon regime. You literally have to be training all the time to stay 'sharp' (no pun intended) if you seriously expect to defend against a bladed weapon using empty hand techniques.

For BJJ guys, I suggest the following:

1. Practice blade deployment prevention. Get an opponent with a holstered training blade (various locations). Have him on his back, you on top, with double wrist control. Then 'GO!' See what is needed to submit or pin or prevent deployment and not be "cut" or "stabbed". Do the same, but start with the opponent pinned up against a wall - also double wrist control. Reverse positions - i.e. work on various 'carries' and 'deployments' and see what it takes to get your training blade deployed before being submitted.

2. Practice other creative 'knife grappling drills'. Forget trying to stand 3 feet apart and disarm someone - it's a waste of time. Start from wrist control, a training blade and try to disarm or submit before being stabbed.

HTH

  
12/14/09 1:48 AM
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JJK
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Edited: 12/14/09 1:50 AM
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Thanks Skpotamus, I just checked out the shivworks site, looks cool! :-) And yes I too was a huge fan of Ray's improvised weapons as well as his knife work!
12/14/09 2:31 AM
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JJK
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WidespreadPanic-"What do you mean by 'edged weapons defense'?
Consider what part of 'edged weapons' can be trained 'alive'. (I.e. with timing, footwork and intent)."

Thanks for taking the time to answer and give an informed opinion! By edged weapon defence I refer to defence against a knife, razor blade, broken bottle, syringe or any other "edged weapon".


WidespreadPanic-"Rather than spend a year trying to learn to fight with a blade (or more trying to learn to defend against a blade), why not get a CCW, buy a gun, learn to shoot, and take a combat pistolcraft course and get more robust skills in a couple months?"

I actually would love to get some more solid firearm skills under my belt. I used to have a category H security licence which allowed me to carry a firearm for armed cash escort security work. I am reasonably familiar with a range of revolvers and semi automatic pistols as well as rifles. HOWEVER I live in Sydney, Australia and Australia is not a gun culture. Actually Australia has some of the toughest firearm laws in the world and civilians are generally not even allowed to own guns for self protection, personal use, hunting, collection etc! Also as a former bouncer and security officer for over 10 years, I have never been directly(actually brandishing the weapon) threatened by a firearm although I have come against a blade, broken bottles, jagged metal/glass used as makeshift weapons and have been exremely lucky to have come away unharmed!


WidespreadPanic-"Also, it's important to realize that using a blade is serious business, and the venue underwhich that might occur is very, very narrow. For example, when would you ever have occasion to use a knife for any reason if you are also carrying a gun? Would you want to fight off a mugger in your darkened bedroom with a knife? Do you really want to be exposed to the blood and body fluids of a criminal (more than is necessary).
Do you really have the guts to slice someone up to the extent needed to stop them from a violent, committed attack?"

I couldn't agree more with you! However like I said, we cant carry guns here in Australia (even security, bodyguards and police are extremely limited)! I actually train a few students who work in the security industry and police force who may come up against edged weapons. I have faced edged weapons on a select few occasions and know too well the fear and terror that they envoke. However I would rather have some real world experience both using and defending against them, than not should I or my students be unlucky enough to ever face them.
To answer your question regarding using a blade to defend myself and family in my home, I believe I would have no reservations in doing anything that it took to defend my family, although I realise this is not for everyone...


WidespreadPanic-"Further, consider that a bladed weapon is a force multiplier and involves split-second timing and extra-ordinary reflexes. If you think a person gets 'ring-rust' from laying off of boxing training, imagine how much 'worse' it is with a bladed weapon regime. You literally have to be training all the time to stay 'sharp' (no pun intended) if you seriously expect to defend against a bladed weapon using empty hand techniques."

Agreed. But I honestly feel that even if a student were to spend 6-12months intensive training with and against a knife, it could greatly increase their chances of survival even if they never trained again and faced one 5-10 years down the track! At the very least they should develop a healthy respect for the knife and learn first hand:
-that even in the hands of a woman or child a knife is always a potentially lethal weapon,
-to escape and run away whenever possible and live to fight another day,
-use a weapon or improvised weapons to increase your chances of survival
-know what you are up against (not have a false sense of security or be overconfident in your matial arts skills) and develop some realistic strategy and tactics in case your life or that of a loved one is in danger!

Oh and thanks for the drill ideas, They're great and I plan on implementing them immediately with my security and law enforcement officers! I look forward to more intelligent and practical discussion! Have a great week!
Kind Regards
Felipe
12/15/09 12:16 AM
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Skpotamus
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Edited: 12/15/09 12:16 AM
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Actually, it was one of the combative pistol shooting schools that turned me onto shivworks and ray floro and general knife work. If you do any Force on Force gunfighting training, inside of about 7 yards, the guy with a knife beats a guy with a gun (the old 21 foot rule), this assumes that your bullet is magic and stops the person instantly, instead of how they really work. Inside of normal contact distances (0-5 feet), the gun guy usually doesn't get a chance to get his gun out before he's gotten stabbed or slashed repeatedly, the only way to win is to go hand to hand and try to tie up the knife arm while going for your gun, or create distance to deploy. A lot of times the gun draw would get fouled, especially if you carried anywhere but appendix carry. Carrying a knife off hand gives you tools on either side you can access if the other side is tied up. Personally, I can deploy my waved endura faster than I can my glock and from a more casual position (thumb hooked inside of front left pocket). Like this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-p4YmUJ4PA

Floro's work doesn't seem as... artsy as a lot of other knife systems I've seen. He doesn't seem to do any flow drills, etc, but focuses on sparring with basic, non telegraphic strikes using training knives. Southnarcs material is pretty nasty close range stuff that seems to focus on sparring/drilling as well. It's as alive as you can get without getting cut. Time to get functional with it? I'd say a few hours worth of work. Not months and months of Hudud and Sak-Sak drills.

Would I want to knife a guy in my bedroom? Hell yes I would, if I couldn't get to my gun. Even if I could get to my gun, unless I get a head shot or take out the spine, the guy can still fight after I've dumped rounds into him. Cutting the muscles and tendons stops that limb from working right away, and can give me the time and distance I need to deploy my firearm.

If you're not convinced you could cut or stab someone, what makes you think you could pull the trigger if you needed to?

The other nice thing about Floro and Southnarcs knife work is that floro shows some pretty neat ideas on how to use your knife skills when you don't have a knife. The pikal grip he uses works great with just about anything rigid you can hold. So in those times when you can't carry your gun or knife (say a state that doesn't let you carry, or a school zone), you have other options that can still do a lot of damage. For those of you that have seen Floro's stuff, I used a coca cola bottle like he described once, it busted out the guys teeth and pretty much stopped the fight.

My personal favorite drills with regards to tool deployment and defense:
Training gun in holster, training folder in pocket, you are attacked with random attacks (attacker can do whatever, go for weapons, tackle, etc and doesn't stop until you force them to). Learn how to create angles to deploy your tools. Use different starting positions too, like you mounted, you with guard, you in a headlock/scarf hold, etc. Learn how to pick up on the "red zones", IE, when you see/feel the BG reach for an area where a weapon is likely to be concealed and how to stop it. How to prevent them from stopping you from deploying your tools.

Do some role playing (don't get nuts on it), but have a general script, like you're at an ATM and a guy comes up and asks for your wallet (let the guy play it out how they want, they can be unarmed, have a knife, a gun, either in hand or hidden). Essentially, re-create as real a scenario as possible and fight it out. I recommend wearing some pads, mouth piece, head gear, MMA gloves so you can hit, etc.

For empty hand work and transitions, check out the Dog Brothers stuff as well (The Interface of Gun, Hand and Knife: Die Less Often Series)

Train hard and stay safe.
12/15/09 12:52 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/15/09 12:56 PM
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 Great replies from everyone, and it's gratifying to see some people actually 'get' what I'm saying about what parts of unarmed 'bladed weapons' can best be trained. You can NOT realistically train certain aspects - i.e., bridging the gap and getting control of the arm. That "happens", but as anyone knows who trains with magic markers, you're getting 'cut' a LOT.

So you should train what parts you can do alive. I like what the SBGi knife guys train (the two arms against one, head spear, etc.), what Marc Denny trains, also ISR Matrix guys (who work with SBGI, I believe). (In fact, I think Denny's one of the few guys who could go unarmed against the knife in a fight and come out on top 80% of the time - of course since he carries, he'd never face that situation completely).

Now training to fight a knife with a -weapon- is a completely different situation and it can be trained. But don't mix up the two (unarmed v knife and weapon v knife). In the street, I think any weapon longer than the knife, trained right, and practice kept up, had a VERY good chance of surviving. Cane and tactical flashlight, PR-24 baton, single stick). The guy with the knife would not be so willing to close and in 90% of cases would give up (unless he was highly trained, then all bets are off).

You MUST get Marc's Die Less Often. You will then realize that even with a (holstered) gun, and instruction and repeated attempts, the guy with the knife still wins. You'll be amazed at how few can actually get their body to do what they want during a simulated ambush. It simply  takes the body/mind too long to frame up and react. And, those with a gun try to deploy TOO soon, and get caught and killed multiple times. (The cop in the vid could not overcome his training and get distance and control despite repeated attempts).

ALSO, people are not yet analyzing standup weapons response like they do BJJ - they do not consider distance (denying and making space), posture, position, even some of the top 'Weapons' masters. Only Marc Denny (at this point) gets it and he has trouble training others to overcome their reflexes and do the same.

Analyze ANY 'weapons SD' sequence for the huge space that is given to the attacker in terms of how you'd analyze BJJ and making or denying space and you'll see it. Their tactics will not work (except by sheer accident) if they don't do that.

Again, good thread!
 
12/15/09 2:24 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/15/09 2:51 PM
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BTW, if I haven't already said it I think Ray Floro is superb, and like very much how he is bringing the non-telegraphic lunge/close into FMA knife sparring. His theories are unparalleled. Once you understand his concepts you can teach them.

Bear in mind he was a fencer, and competitor, and thus he brings a "base art" to his stuff that you won't have unless you followed that path.

More important than just following what he's doing is to understand it, to see the how and the why and not the 'what'.



 
12/17/09 7:30 AM
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Steven Lefebvre
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Hello Everyone,

I have trained with Ray and continue to utilize his tactics in my daily practice all the time. Ray's background is quite extensive having been a competitive fencer, Kalis Ilustrismo practitioner directly under Tatang Ilustrismo (and others) , Balintawak, boxing etc!

You cannot go wrong in training with him if and when you have the opportunity to do so.

As with any weapon the time it takes to become proficient depends upon how you train, how long you train, whom you train with, what modifiers do you add etc. etc. I as well as many others subscribe to "Force on Force" as well as isolated drills, sparring, modifier adds to training in all aspects of fighting.

Carrying a weapon of any type is a choice and a tough one if the moral decision has not been made to take a life if it is required to protect oneself or loved one.

If you have any question regarding FFS or other arts that I have practiced please feel free to ask away! (That would include Sayoc Kali, Atienza Kali, Pekiti Tirsia, AMOK, Modern arnis, DBMA, yes and more.... and or what I also teach in Combative Concepts)

Guro Steve L.
www.Bujinkandojo.net
4/5/11 12:06 AM
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Badmonkey
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I took one of Ray's seminars several years ago and was very impressed by how simple and effective his methods are. Ray took the time to spar with everyone more than once and his skill level was TOP NOTCH.

Ray's techniques/theory + Dog Brothers "Die Less Often" = CAN DEFEND
5/28/11 10:48 PM
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FJJ828
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 While the ISR Matrix has a streamlined counter knife program, we would defer to Ray as someone to seek out for offensive Knife tactics.

For Counter Knife, we would strongly recommend people check out Jerry Wetzel's RED ZONE and/or Karl Tanswell's STAB program.

Fletch
ISR Matrix

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8/26/11 5:02 PM
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yusul
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subscribed.
10/21/11 6:54 AM
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shen
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I've done a couple seminars with the guy, I agree he's great.

His approach makes sense and he can pull it off and teach other people to be effective with it too.

What made me realize he was a TRULY a guy who knew WTF he was doing as a teacher, is when he mentioned that when he adds something new to his system, he throws out something else (in order to keep the system small). It's easy to add and add in the vain attempt to be "complete", but really that just leads to your system becoming a watered down, unmanageable mess.

He knows what he's doing.

10/21/11 12:27 PM
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BshMstr
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10/25/11 8:26 PM
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HULC
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For such a massive departure from traditional knife fighting styles, there must be some criticism coming his way?
11/5/11 6:23 PM
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Steven Lefebvre
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Ray,

Has heard it all. But what is very cool about him is that he takes it all in and doesn't let comments from others bring him down. He continues to teach and train and I highly recommend if you have the chance to meet up, train and spar with him!

Gumagalang
Steve L.

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11/5/11 11:04 PM
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yusul
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steven, how different in philosophy is the atienza from sayoc kali. does it actually look identical when applied and to an outsider? do they deal more with close range? does one have a methodology to pick up the respective system quicker than the other (more effectively organized?)

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