Dumog? What is Dumog?

Kuntao as taught by Ron Kosakowski

I have always found Dumog and its history to be quite interesting. What I can find for its history anyway. I have learned Dumog from Tuhon Guro Dan Inosanto, Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje, the Late Sifu/Guro Larry Hartsell, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite, Grand Master Yuli Romo and quite a bit from Paul Vunak as well. I feel lucky to get it from so many different martial art instructors over the years.

Before I go on, I would like to mention this; empty hand fighting was used in ancient times because you either had to get to your weapon or you lost your weapon in battle. Now you will understand the origins of Dumog along with all the other grappling styles we hear and see today.

“Dumog,” the Filipino to English Translation – Dumog is commonly thought of as the grappling aspects of the Kali, Arnis, Eskrima warrior. To explain that better, it is the brutal entry to close in into the enemy by destroying all vital areas on the arms, the face area, the throat, the carotids, the collar bones and the shoulders. These sensitive points are grabbed, pinched, bit and hit on a body to paralyze or put one inactive in split seconds or to weaken the opponent enough to follow up with more punishment. In ancient times, poisons were used on the fingertips. When poisons are used in the eyes or lips, the enemy would die within sometimes in seconds because those are the areas where poisons will absorb into the blood stream quickly. This does not sound much like the mainstream grappling everyone is familiar with today, does it?

Dumog is used to destroy the limbs since they are the easiest to get to when in the clinch especially. There two parts in the body that are targets…the first part is the upper section from the waistline, especially the head and the shoulders. Attacks to the lower section of the body that includes below the hips line, such as the legs and feet. Breaking the fingers, the toes, and the legs at the knees by kneeing and/or kicking them or locking them up is normal in Dumog.

Please understand, all are attacked to dislocate aggressively. In self-defense, no one is looking for submission in hopes the enemy will tap out. Tapping out during live wrestling in class or during the practice of techniques of course is needed to understand the success of your grappling technique.

Dumog is performed with both, pain, and leverage compliance. In other words, striking vital points on the body in one way or another enhances the leverage to be that much easier to do. Here is one for you. Contrary to popular belief, the open hand of is more effective than fist with far more opportunities than a fist due to the fact that it is easier to grab off a hand strike than it is with a fist. You will see that a lot in all Filipino Martial Arts (FMA’s) and especially Pekiti Tirsia Kali and in Kuntao similarly. It is governed by the principles of energy delivered to the body in full force leaving little chance to recounter utilizing the proper body mechanics. We are not talking one strike here; we are talking about constant strike follow-ups till the opportunity of grappling appears.

Pekiti-Tirsia’s technical progression, like any martial art, is situational. For every technique practiced, a recounter is of course well understood through technique practice, drilling then resistance training which by then, a non-counter ability is perfected for every student.

Dumog, the way it has been throughout history is done with and without weapons. As mentioned before, indigenous poisons and/or peppers are usually used on the fingertips and sometimes on hidden bladed weapons to ensure a quick ending.

As in most ancient cultures, grappling eventually turned into a sport as time went on. Dumog was never meant for sport fighting originally, though nowadays, there are “sporting” like games to play in the art of Dumog in various areas of the Philippines. The origin of these games were common to keep the warriors sharp and always ready to perform with good fighting reflexes when they are needed most. When playing, the eyes, lips, hair grabbing and much of the other “dirty stuff” is of course left out. At the Practical Self Defense Training Center, we simulate the dirty fighting aspects to maintain the reflexes needed for worst case scenario self-defense needs.

In self-defense we must all realize; it is not cheating if you win. Winning in self-defense is you and/or your family members surviving and hopefully harm free if possible.

Ron Kosakowski


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