The Dragon


As I begin looking at my calendar and prepare for my June trip to Seattle, I suddenly remembered my last trip there. More specifically, my visit to Bruce Lee’s grave.

Like every martial artist, a lot of what influenced my decision at an early age to get involved in the martial arts were action movies. High spinning crescent kicks, jumping flying punches- all came together to create spectacular fight scenes and, ultimately, influenced me as a young boy to get into martial arts. And I’m certain many of you as well.
Out of all these martial arts films, of course, none of them can compete with Bruce Lee. I remember growing up to classics like Enter the Dragon and although it was generations before me, I long admired Bruce Lee.
The fight scenes in movies were what put him on the map. However, as I grew up, both into adulthood and as a martial artist, I came to appreciate more of his contributions as embodied in the Jeet Kune Do philosophy.

And it was for this reason that as soon as I got off the plane in Seattle, I made my way to pay homage to the Dragon.
It was truly a humbling experience being there and paying my respects to the man who influenced countless generations of martial artists’ path.
Stay tuned and like my page or visit to find out more about training in Lightning Scientific Arnis as well as upcoming Lightning seminars across the United States.

What is the Center Line with regards to fighting?


While every system has its own techniques and different mindsets, what is consistent is the presence of lines of attack.

This came about after a discussion with a student and it is my hope this aids you in your understanding of martial arts and are my responses to some questions.

If you’re involved in the Lightning Combatives system, it is supplementary to the Bigay Tama Break Down Series on YouTube which be accessed here.
As a general idea, the center line is an invisible line that extends from your center (nose + belly button) forward and defines where your attacks can effectively travel.  I presume everyone involved in martial arts to the point where they’re reading a blog article on center lines is really geeky.  As such, I’d like to use the analogy of the cross hairs in First Person Shooter games to illustrate my point. Basically, it tells you where your guns are pointed and what should be pointed towards your opponent or adversary.

Since we’re not in a video game, it’s hard to identify the center line so how I define it is the line my belly button and nose make going straight forward.

Your opponent’s center line is the same as it extends from THEIR nose and belly button.

Basically, it’s where all the weapons can effectively fire (by weapons, we mean punches, kicks, weapon strikes, knife thrusts, and take downs).

How do you control your center line?
The entire focus of Lightning is to be able to keep your center line focused on your opponent while staying off their center line. Or, alternatively, to be able to keep attacking down your center line uninterrupted.

In Bigay Tama, you’re constantly trying to move offline with the kambyo (to the outside) so that you can reposition OFF of your opponent’s center line while moving your center line to target your opponent’s body.

So simply, you control the center line by establishing dominance in that space either by taking space (with a strike or weapon), or, by demonstrating you can take that space. Half strikes, strike combinations, and even “presence” can establish this.

Learn Bigay Tama here

Diagram of Feeder (F) moving from Position 1 to Position 2 in an effort to stay off of Receiver’s (R) center line and attack from a superior position.

How do you identify who has better center line control compared to others?
I would refer to the previous answer to define this but I can give you a way to break it down from the outside.

When you’re squaring off with someone, if you have good control of the center line, this means you can quickly drop strikes down the middle, or reposition, so that the other person is forced to move back. Or, they are forced to move offline out of fear.

If the person you’re facing has better control, you’ll find that the inverse is true. They are pushing you back and you’re afraid of going down the middle, and even backing up.

If you’re in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, visit to learn more.


Intensive Lightning Combatives Seminar in Washington, DC

JELC - DC 9-5

On September 5th and 6th, Master Jon Escudero ran an intensive 2-day Lightning Combatives seminar at the Fighters Garage in Falls Church, VA.

Master Jon introduced the Lightning Combatives approach to Serrada in “Sagasa” mode. Traditionally, the approach on contact is to move to the outside (also known as the Serrada position). However, in Sagasa mode, the practitioner charges down the middle and stops any counter attack through aggressive forward pressure.

By this, they are able to dominate through the systematic application of violence.

The sessions were 4 hours each and covered the Lightning Combatives Tactical Knife (Lanseta Serrada) curriculum on the first day, then the Lightning Combatives curriculum the second day.

Lightning Combatives Power Generation For Stick Fighting in Long Range

Watch this video to find out how you can incorporate full body movement into your power generation at long range.

For more intensive training, preregister for the big Lightning Combatives Seminars this year and develop:
– Explosive and aggressive power generation
– Effective centerline control
– Counter-offensive mindset and techniques.
– Training and tactics in fighting with edged and impact weapons

We will be in:
Chicago, Illinois – August 29 and 30
Washington, DC – September 5 – September 6
Dallas, Texas – September 12
Houston, Texas – September 13
Seattle, Washington – September 19 and 20

Preregister at:

Edged impact weapons for women’s self-defense

Attackers decide the time, the place, and the method of the attack. This creates a considerable challenge for the person who has been targeted since already they are in a disadvantaged position.
For women, this problem is compounded by the probability that there will be a considerable size disparity in favor of the attacker.

As such, it becomes increasingly necessary to have the right toolset to rely on when violence does erupt.

Now, there are a large number of women’s self defense programs that are accessible that offer simple to learn empty hand techniques from a broad range of systems like boxing, Muay Thai, or Karate.  They are effective when the user is able to generate the power and targeting skills needed to fend of a larger, stronger attacker.
In the context of self defense, especially with a smaller frame, it is of necessity to quickly gain the upper hand or buy time to escape.  Weapons then become a preferable option given their ability to amplify attributes and strengths.
Depending on jurisdictions, the choice of weapons may be limited and firearms may not be an immediately available option.

However, edged impact weapons become a viable option given they exist everywhere. Other than knives and sticks/batons as they’re portrayed in films, the skills are directly applicable to common objects that are readily available including:

– pens

– cellphones

– bottles

– keys

– umbrellas

– brief cases
Suddenly, there are superior options that can be deployed if need be.
Learn more about how you can develop skills with edged impact weapons and incorporate this skill set into your self defense program at

Self defense training is incomplete without an understanding of situational awareness. There are many excellent resources on how to improve situational awareness, such as the Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker as well as material by Sgt. Rory Miller which everyone who is interested in self protection should read.

Training with a Combative Mindset


Angelo Garcia demonstrating knife defense in third party VIP Close Protection Course in the Israeli Tactical School

As martial artists, we have a tendency to view combat through specific paradigms and we lose sight of the goal.  Put simply, learning drills and memorizing techniques become the primary goal instead of understanding where and when it would be appropriate to apply them.  And it is absolutely essential to know when and where it is right to apply the right skill lest we lose and find ourselves injured or killed.

Let me preface this discussion by first saying that this isn’t an esoteric discussion about timing, speed, or a zen concept.  Instead, this is about establishing a framework to understand when and where techniques should be applied.  It important to understand which techniques work in specific situations and then train to apply the correct tools in your martial arts arsenal to accomplish the task at hand.

Is it self defense?  Point sparring?  No holds barred fighting?  A grappling tournament?  Dueling?  Third party protection?  Law enforcement?

When you have the skills, it’s time to train a specific pallet of techniques that are appropriate in that context.  Having provided edged impact weapon training to security professionals with specific goals, I’ve had to structure training that addressed their needs.

I recently taught at the Israeli Tactical School’s VIP close protection course where the mission had very specific parameters: Protect the VIP from a knife attack, neutralize the threat, and evacuate the VIP to safety.  It would not have been appropriate to drill anything outside of what is needed to accomplish these goals.

The technique that most effectively completed the task was an aggressive execution of a knife interception and an aggressive barrage of attacks leading to a takedown.  But the exercise did not stop after the aggressor hit the ground.  Because the technique was only one stage of the whole picture, the next aspects needed to be drilled as well.   Now that I’ve taken down the attacker, what is the next step? Should I draw my firearm? Stay sprawled over him? Return to my VIP?

All of these questions were addressed in drilling for this specific mission profile and included deploying the weapon while keeping 360 degree awareness to ensure the safety of the VIP.

As we train, it’s important to learn techniques and understand the context in which they should be applied.  Build up your arsenal of techniques but drill these skills for their specific contexts.

Stay tuned! We are launching the Edged Impact Weapon Defensive Tactics program in Northern Virginia soon.

Lightning in the Washington, DC Philippine Embassy on May 2nd, 2015

On Saturday, May 2nd, the Philippine Embassy invited DC Lightning Scientific Arnis (DCLSA) to perform a demonstration of Lightning Scientific Arnis (LSAI) as part the annual embassy open house. DCLSA’s instructor, Angelo Garcia (under Master Jon Escudero) was joined by his students Stephen Aquila, Jesse Hufford, Yemi Omotola, and Keli Kincaid as they demonstrated the 13 basic strikes along with various bigay tama drills.
The event was attended by over 6,000 people.
For more information about DC Lightning Scientific Arnis, visit

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