I first met Rob Pincus in 2006 during a magazine writer’s event at the Valhalla Training Center in Colorado. Rob, then Valhalla’s Director of Training, and I immediately hit it off and had many opportunities to discuss our respective approaches toward personal defense training during that week-long event. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that we shared a lot of common ground when it came to practical defensive skills.

After leaving Valhalla and establishing his own company, I.C.E. Training, Rob contacted me and told me about the video series he was producing to be marketed to the NRA. He sent me several of the early videos in the series and I was impressed by both the production quality and the practical, no-nonsense approach of the instruction. Rob explained that the goal of the series was to provide sensible instruction in all aspects of personal defense skills, including the use of contact-distance weapons. He asked if I would be interested in doing videos on the practical use of edged and impact weapons and I jumped at the opportunity.

Practical Stick Defense presents the fundamental logic of my approach to impact weapons, which I call Sobadiwan Eskrima. (My empty-hand system is Damithurt Silat; the stick system is Sobadiwan Eskrima. Together, you literally get “Damn, it hurts a lot. So bad I want to scream.”) My system uses the fundamental body mechanics of empty-hand tactics as the basis for fist-load fighting. As the length of the weapon increases, the mechanics are more consistent with those of MBC, using the same patterns of angles, but attacking bony targets rather than muscle and tendon. Long and/or heavy weapons that require the use of two hands are used with the method of my Martial Cane Concepts system, which is rooted in the traditional Filipino style of De Cuerdas.

Practical Stick Defense is, by design, an overview of my approach to stick fighting. There is a lot more to Sobadiwan Eskrima, but until that is documented through dedicated Stay Safe videos, this DVD is the best reference available and a great one-stop source for a full spectrum of practical impact-weapon skills.

Michael D. Janich