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Nudda - Filipino Boxing Based Fighting System


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Antonio Faedda's developed Nudda system is very effective. I have posted this info especially for those who are more inclined towards 'destructive' combat, and love to (can't get away from) punch(ing).

Filino boxing as far as my research goes is a bit of grey area with many theories, same goes for 90% of Kali/Eskrima/Arnis systems, as it is very clear there have been many external influences on what is claimed to be an original/indigineous art form.

One thing I have found is that the modern boxing twisting and ducking movement, alongside the plethora of punches from different angles i.e. uppercut is most def derived from traditional Filipino fighting arts. Until the turn of the 20th c, boxing was a very stand up straightm chin up, dukes up (knuckles facing down) style sport, both in Europe and America. The boxingesque ducking weaving, twisting, peculiar angular attacks are found all over the Philipines in hundreds of unique fighting forms...

Antonio in the below article also gives some theories regarding this subject. But most importantly, rather than debating the origins, one needs to focus on/study/test whether or not the principles of the system work.

Antonio is a 'tuff nut' who is known for his intense passion and continuous research into fighting styles, always remaining open-minded to improvements, he is also very intelligent and has a great reputation for being a highly organised and caring teacher.

Personally, I like his open hand system, but I am not a fan of closed fist attacks. I would also say his stick fighting skills are extremely basic, so if you want to learn weapons fighting, look elsewhere.

Those interested, he teaches in central London.

Some videos posted at the bottom.


Article from Martial Arts Ilustrated

Filipino Boxing: an overview by Antonio Faedda (founder of NUDDA M.A.X. Training)

To be or not to be, this is the dilemma… Is Filipino Boxing an actual Martial Art? Is there any written document that proves the very existence of such an art in the Philippines? Is there any sort of contest in the Philippines where different clans or schools challenges each other in Filipino Boxing bouts? Or is it just a myth?

I spent many years researching and trying to find the answer to the above questions and these are some of my conclusions. This article is a humble attempt to clarify some of the issues concerning the true and false myths behind the “Art” of Filipino Boxing. What you are about to read has not the pretence to be “the truth” but only my personal considerations in regard to this matter. Whether you will agree or not, hope you will enjoy this article.

There are many names that are used to describe the Filipino Boxing arts, in America and Europe and especially within the J.K.D. legacy, is widely known as Panantukan, however the meaning of this world is unclear as there is not such a word in the Filipino Tagalog dictionary. Some would argue that because of the infinite amount of different dialects within the over seven thousand island that forms the Filipino Archipelago, is hard to find the “roots” of the word. Other believes that Panantukan is a name that the American Filipinos forged to describe the empty hands aspect of their native martial arts. About the meaning of the word itself there are so many different people claiming to know the “truth” that I rather just skip the issue because I wouldn’t want to insult anyone’s opinion. What is more important is that: in the most common view, the Art of Panantukan is deeply enhanced by the movements found in the Filipino knife fighting.

The oldest martial arts in the Philippines were those practiced by the indigenous Filipinos. The native tribes focused on combat with knives, and broadswords. Apparently some of these ancient Filipino Martial Arts still exists but are either nearly extinct or very rare. Armed training took precedence over empty hand techniques with the reasoning that the warrior will naturally learn to fight without weapons after gaining enough experience with them. These stories are heavily linked to the FMA and in particular to the so called Filipino Boxing Arts. But is this really an exclusive feature of the FMA?

By looking into the history of other Martial Arts such as Muay Thai Boran or Indonesian Silat (Well… all the MA in general really…) the relationship between the weapon and the evolution of the empty hand expression of the various Martial Arts, is heavily underlined by the many books and articles available specialized bookstores and on the net. During these epic wars, the empty hands techniques were meant to be used as the last resource if you were to loose your weapon during the battle in the attempt of disarming your opponent and regain the weapon.

I personally would rather run as fast as hell in the opposite direction if you ask me, but it is human nature to exaggerate the course of events and to make the tales of this incredibly brave warriors a bit more entertaining. I am not saying it has never happened but…well I guess we can all imagine how really different would be: facing a mean bloodthirsty warrior from a rival Tribe, gagging to cut your throat and use your head as a powerful amulet against the evil spirits, than playing knife and swords disarms against a training blade with your favourite training partner or student in your back garden or in your friendly dojo.

Let me just quickly point out that we can all brag about “How important is to push your training to the limit and get as close as possible to reality” but the fact is that no one would be safe or should even dream of disarming a skilled warrior in a battle field with his bare hands. It would be rather suicidal and it would be only the equivalent of stating that you could duck bullets.

(By the way if anyone can really teach me how to duck bullets please let me know. I would be really interested to see and learn that, but I will be the one holding the gun). Luckily I spent only a few weeks in the army before I got expelled for “unconventional behaviour”, but one thing that really stayed in my memory is when a sergeant asked if any of us was a hero. Nobody answered. From the silence his voice emerged loud and clear saying:”Good…we don’t need heroes…heroes are dangerous. We need man that wants to stay alive, because our strength is in our number. The last thing I want next to me when I am facing the enemy is a bloody hero, because is going to get me killed .When the shit hits the fan, you must live to fight another day”. Well said sergeant I thought.

My fascination with the Filipino Martial Arts began in 1994. It was love at first sight. About six years later as previously mentioned in the last month issue; attracted by the high standard of Instructors I left my home country Sardinia and travelled to England to expand my martial arts knowledge and that’s when I met Guro Terry Barnett which is the man that properly introduced me to The Filipino Boxing arts. From the very first time I have seen Mr Barnett exhibiting his F.B skills, I was hooked. I wanted to move like him, to hit like him, and learn everything I could from the man. Since then, Filipino Boxing became the main focus of my training for the many years to come.

Avid of knowledge and understanding of the art I began a quasi obsessive research about what Filipino Boxing is and what it evolves from, but the more I got into it and the closest I thought I was getting to the answers, the more I became frustrated and confused by the contradicting sources of information. On the other hand, by constantly training and drilling in the techniques taught me by Terry, “the Art” was progressively becoming part of my muscle memory ad nice things were beginning to happen during my frequent sparring sessions in my favourite boxing lodge.

Mano Mano is the most common name used to describe the empty hands aspect of the FMA in the Philippines. Mano is the Spanish word for hand. Apparently, is widely believed that the Mano Mano skills influenced western boxing once Filipino Immigrants moved to the USA. American Boxers used a “Gentleman Jim” stance with arms stretched out with both fighters standing toe to toe exchanging blows. American Boxers learned to their expenses to shorten their guards once the Filipino fighters attacked their stretched limbs with their fists. This motion is called Gunting which means scissors in the Filipino Tagalog language. The fact that Filipinos were well versed in weapons fighting (in particular knife fighting), is believed to be the reason behind their tighter guards, bobbing and weaving and advanced footwork.

Now…Is this another myth? Is that true? At the time I read about this theory I was training regularly in Boxing in south London, and one of the trainers there, was an 80 years old war veteran, Billy is his name and God he likes his tricks. He showed me every dirty technique in the book and apparently he learned most of them when he was boxing during his time in the army. Some of these techniques are similar to the Filipino Boxing applications so I asked Billy what he thought about the theory behind the Filipino Influence in modern Boxing and he said that was the first time he heard about this theory. So I asked Billy how he taught the basic forward and backward footwork and Gentleman Jim stance evolved to the format we know today and he just looked at me with a blank expression in his eyes; and in the best south London accent said… “F**K knows mate…”

Again I am not trying to destroy a myth or disagree with what we might read in the various articles about the origin of the FB arts; but there is not documentation that can actually prove that these theories are real. What follows is an extract from a beautiful article about the origin of the sport of Boxing in the Philippines.

“US servicemen introduced boxing to the Philippines during the late 19th and early 20th century. How this came bout is that on April 25, 1898 the USA declared war to Spain whose colonial holdings included the Philippines. The resulting victory effectively ended Spanish control of the region and in august 1898 the US army began the control of Luzon. To the horror of the Filipinos the Americans did not cede the Philippines to them: instead they decided to keep the islands for themselves. Between 1899 and 1913 this resulted in savage wars for freedom. Casualties in these battles were heavy and one sided; US casualties were listed as less than 5000 while Filipinos casualties are estimated at 16000 killed plus another several hundred thousand dead from famine or disease. After the declaration of victory in 1902 US Commander began thinking about how to reduce the rates of desertion, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, and drunkenness among their soldiers and sailors. Boxing was offered as a potential solution. The reason was that boxers in training were taught to avoid tobacco alcohol ad sexual activity. On November the 18th 1899 soldiers of the 11th US Cavalry reported finding a pair of boxing gloves abandoned in the Luzon village of San Mateo. According to Damon Runyon writing in October 1925 Filipino prisoners reported that the gloves had been bought in by a renegade soldier from the Negro 24 infantry and that he had been schooling the Filipinos in their use. After 1902 the pacific fleet began replacing Japanese cook and mess stewards with Filipinos and some of these latter men took up shipboard boxing.”

Now if we put this beautiful peace of history together with the previous theories about the Mano Mano skills and the way they influenced western boxing once Filipino Immigrants moved to the USA, we can all see a link and then the theory begins to make a lot of sense, however weather this is true or not, we cannot say.

I have attended various seminars where it was claimed that you would learn Filipino Boxing. To my disappointment most of the time it was a bunch of different Wing Chung ish techniques (and I am a big fan of Wing Chung, but that’s not what I was there for, if you know what I mean…) mixed with some fancy focus pad drills and lot of theories and talks about how you should fight in a street attack and so on. It felt like they were throwing together bits and bobs from this and that art and calling it Filipino Boxing. I often left this work shops with more questions in mind than I had prior to the seminar. If we take some elephant ears ad some albatross wings and glue them to a Gazelle, chances are that as much as we like to think that we are playing God on heart we are only creating a monster that makes no sense at all in the real world.

Even after this entire Odyssey in the attempt of finding the answers to all my questions I carried on training Filipino Boxing as taught me by Terry and the more I trained the more I felt like the Art was becoming alive in my body, everything was happening just by instinctive reaction. The best thing about FB is that once you turn the corner and begin to experience the techniques as you do it rather than pre plan them, this stuff really works.

During the last few years I have considerably expanded my syllabus by adding my own curriculum in addition to what I have learned from Guro Terry Barnett. This led me to the creation of NUDDA. The Nudda Martial Arts Cross Training system is my own personal expression of close quarter range combat which has evolved mainly from my experience of the boxing phase of the Filipino Martial Arts.

I was bought to believe that I was learning a secret art that evolves from the use of the blades and that is deeply enhanced by the movements found in the Filipino knife fighting. Is it the case? Maybe is only what we like to believe because it sounds cool, or maybe it is true and it’s only the lack of written documents that makes it a disputable theory. However the questions that you might want to ask yourself are: Am I learning from the right person? Do you enjoy it? Is this the Art for you? If you can answer yes to these questions you should stop worrying about the politics and get on with it. Personally I believe that at close quarter range Filipino Boxing is one of the most brutal, effective yet beautiful Martial Arts out there. I can only suggest that when you are training FB you should focus on the attributes based approach that the Filipino Arts promote and not in accumulation of drills. Other wise you start creating other monsters like that poor Gazelle.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to find out more about what I teach and introduce the NUDDA curriculum in your school, please visit my website at www.nudda.com or please contact me via email at info@nudda.com or by mobile on: 07961 982 792.

Some Videos


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Hubud drills and sensitivity training


Sensitivity training it is regarded as a crucial aspect of the FMA; a particular set of flowing exercises called Hubud lubud (to tie and untie) are used to trying recreate the combative energy feel of an attack, you can play the hubud in different ways depending from the range you are at; so for example you can start at long range controlling the sides meaning that you are checking the outer part of your opponent arms. From the same range you can then move into the ‘inside’ of your opponent arms; this is a more tricky scenario as you will always have to monitor the back hand. Imagine always having your head in between a Boxer guard, either the left or the right hand are equally dangerous, therefore you want to constantly monitor both hands at the same time. Realistically this is not a position you would want to spend much time in, however being the most dangerous situation you can end up in, is where you really need to excel in case you happen to be there.

Once you learn this two drills in isolation you can start mixing them together and switch from the inside to the outside of the arms, again we want to be able to make the transition smooth so that at all time we are protecting ourselves and control the opponent attack whilst simultaneously striking back. As things gets tighter we can then switch onto the close range Hubad, again monitoring both the outside and inside line of attack;again work in isolation than start mixing the two, then we can start breaking from one range to another and begin to flow between the two transaction. The beauty about hubud is that once you learn the basics and some variations, you can start creating your own drills.It’s always good when training Hubud, considering breaking the rhythm to avoid getting stuck into a flat ‘loop’; always keeping in mind that it is only a drill meaning that it is only another exercise to build attributes and reaction skills.

Remember what we said the last time about kicks up in football? Same principle applies here, so don’t aspect to get in a fight and use hubud to win, you might have a bad wake up call. Hubud and flow drills are just a way of repeating over and over again a single ‘moment in time’. The equation its simple, we train thousands repetitions of the same move to perform a really good ‘ONE’, but once you find an opening is time to hit hard and if the door stays open keep on hitting.

I personally tend to teach Hubud and sensitivity training drills at a more advanced stage to my students as I believe that before we can begin to explore energy and sensitivity we have to grasp the feeling of ‘impact training’. I like seeing my students becoming proficient at striking (whether is punching or kicking or a combination of both) and at the same time getting used to work on a solid guard and get used to being ‘hit’ or avoid getting hit all together by using the footwork. Training hubud too early could lead us to develop a false sense of security. It is a fine part of the FMA that should be added to already existing solid basic skills of Boxing and Muay Thai as these are the best striking arts. Hence the CROSS TRAINING element takes place. It is always easier to teach the ’soft’ side of the FMA to already experienced Boxers or Thai Boxers because they already have an idea of timing and working in combinations as well as (providing they have been training with good people) a good body mechanic; they also have realistic expectations from training which makes the experience of teaching a lot more enjoyable.

One of my student recently told me that I am like ‘Morfeous from the Matrix’ I always give the red pill to people because I want to show them the truth. People wants to believe that they can fight like Jason Bourne because they are learning some hubud fancy moves (as a matter of fact a big part of the ‘choreography behind the fighting scenes are based on hubud applications), however the truth is that it will take long hours and many years of practice to make things work at real speed; and yet again once we are able to manipulate and outbalance our opponent with our ’sensitivity’ skills, we are back to square; we need to knock him down. Too many tap tap tap and you might upset your opponent even more because he might not like being tickled. This is a world where people constantly try to escape from the reality, but reality is what you want to get used to when it comes down to fighting. It is never pretty and it hurts.

In a nutshell; Hubud is great and can become a very important and enjoyable part of your ow training, however keep things into prospective, remember that is only ‘a moment in time’ and as soon as you can; you will have to go back into your solid hits and blocks.

Until next time ‘Train hard and hit even harder’

Antonio Faedda

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