THE SAGANG-LABO DRILL IN THE PEKITI-TIRSIA SYSTEM
A discussion of the Sagang-Labo drill in the Pekiti-Tirsia System, by Tuhon Bill McGrath.
Sagang-Labo translates to “Block” and “Hack" or "Slash” in the Hiligaynon version of Visayan from the island of Negros.(1)
Here are seven videos about the Sagang-Labo drill from the Pekiti-Tirsia system, (students of Inosanto Kali and other systems may know this drill as Hubud-Lubud).
I've heard some martial artists complain that flow and timing drills in FMA are impractical. I think a lot of the problems people have with drills like these are caused by the following:
1. The basic version of the drill is intended to be used like the training wheels you put on a child’s bicycle. Once they actually learn how to ride, you are supposed to take the training wheels off. The basic parries in the Sagang-Labo drill are intended to be neurological place holders for something more efficient and damaging to the opponent, but requiring better timing and control than a beginner may have and therefore taught later.
2. I usually refer to these drills specifically as timing drills, because that was the attribute that Tuhon Gaje emphasized as being developed when we first learned them. You can lift weights to build strength and you can run to build endurance, but you also need a specific exercise to build good timing. How exercises like weight lifting and running develop strength and endurance are easy for most people to understand; how a drill develops better timing is not so obvious a connection for many folks.
The first time we trained this drill was in the mid 1970s, when we were learning the two man timing drills that would be called the 64 Attacks.(2) We learned Sagang-Labo during the period we were working on the Break in-Break out drill. Grandmaster Gaje told us that both Break in-Break out and Sagang-Labo were drills for Seguidas: with break in-Break out for the first two sets (the largo and medio range sets) and Segang Lebo for the 3rd (corto range) set.
Here are several videos to illustrate what I learned and how I teach the progression of the Sagang-Labo drill.
Pekiti-Tirsia Solo Baston Drills (The first 1:45 seconds show the basic break in-out drill).
A sample from the Solo Baston version of the Pekiti-Tirsia Sagang Labo drill.
Technique 1 from each of the three sets of Solo Baston Seguidas in Pekiti-Tirsia, also with some drills from the first set and a look at an empty hand translation from the third set.
Sagang-Labo empty hand variations part 1: A few techniques and principles from the Sagang Labo drill of Pekiti-Tirsia. There is much more to this drill than what you commonly see at seminars. From a PTI seminar in Yokohama, Japan. Thanks to Erik Vogas of Kali Himagsikan for assisting with this video.
Sagang-Labo empty hand variations part 2:
Changing height as well as range on the Sagang-Labo drill. Video made at Ground Dwellers Martial Arts, in Spring, TX with the assistance of Anthony Bernabeo.
Training to counter elbow strikes from different ranges. Video made in Yokohama, Japan, with Guro Isa Satoshi Minagawa, head instructor at Kali Himagsikan.
Tuhon Bill McGrath and Tuhon Scott Faulk demo a palmstick technique at the Progressive Martial Arts Training Center in New Iberia, LA. These principles can also be used with a tactical flashlight, or any other similar tool.
At my seminars, you may hear me refer to timings drills as being like a soup stock, the flavored liquid that is the foundation for the soup. To this foundation you may add things like meat, vegetables, some herbs and spices and maybe some noodles, rice or potatoes. Just like most cooks don’t serve plain stock, you should not stop with the foundation, but add ingredients that give you a full and coherent bowl of flavorful soup. Please view timing drills as a foundation to add your best ingredients for the fight, your footwork, strikes, locks, etc; not as an end, in and of themselves.
Train Hard, But Train Smart,
Tuhon Bill McGrath
For information on upcoming Pekiti-Tirsia seminars, classes and camps, visit:
1. Many thanks to Samuel A. Ibe and Hedda Joy Gonzales Tady for their help in the translation of "Sagang-Labo."
2. We did not use the term "64 Attacks" until we needed a form to use as one of the compititions during a tourament in 78. Until then, we were just training a series of drills and learning veriations on them and how they connected.