The Dog Brothers, the real fight with the stick.
When it comes to stick fighting and stick fighting, dog brothers occupy a prominent place.
Some of you have had the opportunity to get to know them through the series of videotapes that the dog brothers filmed in 1994 for the “Panther” entitled: Real Contact Stick Fighting.
This is essentially what this is about, but to limit ourselves to that definition would be too trivial.
When many years ago I had from my first experiences of Kali Filippino the luck of being able to see this material immediately changed my approach to stick use and stick fighting.
Right from the start I started to have a rejection for the typical approach where you had completely shielded yourself and the opponents pulled hundreds of shots in an absurd vortex because they know that they are not injured, this for me was not the real Filipino Kali.
No one would have such an approach to combat if they didn’t have that kind of protection.
To face the fight with the stick with minimal protections and without limitations of the kind that you can strike only with the stick and just standing it really takes a nice dose of courage and somehow a macabre taste and attraction to combat, almost a personal search of yourself as a man as an individual, go to discover your fears , their own strengths and limitations.
Already in the logo are indicated three words: mind, heart, balls.
The Dog Brothers are seen from outside as hard and aggressive, but when you approach it turns out that there is a philosophy inside them, a way of life that helps to know oneself, it is not just a fight with the stick.
This group founded by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny, co-founder of the Dog Brothers and master of the system.
His nickname, “Crafty Dog”, means cunning dog
During his years at New York University, Marc had practiced Kung Fu for a short time. He then practiced in Taekwondo for a year in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a lawyer.
For professional reasons, he moved to Long Beach, California, and went into business with his younger brother. A short time later he enrolled at the Academy of Dan Inosanto to begin the art of Kali.
Since then he has never stopped practicing it.
One day he observed that a couple of fellow Academy members had several scratches and bruises as a result of a fight with sticks.
Everyone at Dan’s academy had heard of the “fighting to death” that was used in the Philippines.
In fact, these weren’t as serious as the Filipino ones. Intrigued, he found a way to be invited to attend one of those sessions.
They met Eric Knaus, who was the one who encouraged him to try the fight with the sticks.
From that day on, Marc realized that the combat system would be the way to push his limits.
Through training, the friendship with Eric grew day after day, as did the desire to find new companions to explore the wide horizons that opened up before them, a task that was difficult.
Finally, Marc convinced Eric to accompany him to Dan lnosanto’s Academy, where it would be easy to find people open enough to want to participate in the project.
Soon after, a nice group had already formed to which, for its high level of discipline and commitment, he was allowed to remain in the Academy to practice the fight with the sticks after regular lessons, giving them the keys to be able to close the school once the training is over.
This group ended up being known as “after midnight group“.
One of the favorite phrases of Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny, co-founder of the system, clearly explains the philosophy of the Dog Brothers:
“Violence is an inherent part of the human being; if he is not offered a channel in which it can flow constructively and naturally, sooner or later explode uncontrollably and counterproductively. Our “dog brothers” have, though not the only one, one of the most direct ways to channel that energy.“
During the first fights to protect the head from the dangerous impacts of the sticks, hard metal helmets were initially used.
But, many in the group thought that this kind of protection created a false sense of security and an excessive relaxation in having protection in a delicate area like the head that could make the way to fight not real.
Eric, always true to realism, immediately exposed his doubts and Marc solved the problem by taking one of those old fencing masks that were ruining themselves in the cellars of the school.
The mask worked perfectly, protecting the delicate areas of the face, but not toomuch, so you had to always be careful and there was no possibility to relax and get distracted.
It was then that it was decided not to stop the fighting once the melee was reached, arguing that if the natural development of a real fight had reached that point, it would be appropriate to continue fighting in the same way.
Although no one had any knowledge of ground-fighting techniques at the time (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was not yet known), this did not prevent them from beginning to research this issue.
The first contact with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu occurred in 1987, when Carl Franks, a student of Carlson Gracie in Hawaii, visited the Academy to want to “play” with them. They were all fascinated.
The “after midnight group” was called “The Dog Brothers” from the Three Days of Fighting Festival in May 1989. It was a great experience for all the assistants.
About 20 fights were held with sticks, in full contact with no protections.
The result was the birth of a strong bond between those present.
The origin of the name has a curious anecdote. Feeling very attached in a way that only contact-level combat can produce, the need to maintain this union arose.
It was necessary to create a formal organization whose members participated in a series of joint projects.
For this reason it was imperative to find a name.
They could have been called “the dragons” or “the tigers”, or “the wolves”.
After a long and tiring day of endless discussions, Marc went to rest for a while.
It was then that when he glanced at a comic book he was drawn to a phrase that “Conan the Barbarian” said to his fellow mercenaries: “Fight, fight brothers dogs!“.
Nicknames (crafty dogs, top dogs, etc.) are easy to explain. In the original group there were four or five people called Mark or Marc, so you needed nicknames to distinguish them.
In the summer of 1989, Marc met Punong Guro Edgar Sulite, who was introduced to him by his Guro, the legendary Dan Lnosanto, during a seminary in Pekiti Tirsia, Tennessee.
From that moment on, Marc began to take private lessons with the aim of improving his combat level, as the Lameco Espor system was very effective.
Marc obtained the Lameco System instructor certificate from the late Edgar Sulite.
Punong Guro Edgar died recently in the Philippines while holding a course for the dissemination of his art.
We want to give this Master our humble posthumous tribute and remind everyone that our good life is short and we must seize the moment.
Puong Guro Edgar passed away at the age of just 39, leaving behind his wife and five children.
In the summer of 1990, first Marc and then Eric began practicing Brazilian Ju Jutsu under the guidance of the Machado brothers and, given the results, they continued to train to this day.
Fun fact: When the Third Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC3) was to be held, they proposed to the Dog Brothers to perform between the semi-finals and the finals, but the idea was rejected at the last moment because, according to the organizer, “they were too realistic and due to television censorship the entire broadcast was canceled”.
The letter, signed by Mr. Arthur Davie, ended by saying that “maybe the Dog Brothers are too far ahead of their time.”
In the winter of 1992-93, the Panther delta videotapes, entitled “Real Contact Stick Fighting”, were filmed, which were released in the fall of 1994.
Thanks to this material it is now much easier to find training partners and in the meetings that are held regularly at the park gather between 20 and 30 wrestlers from all over the country in front of more than 200 spectators.
Now speaking about the present and future of the Dog Brothers as they themselves explain, the only thing they want right now “is simply to teach people to fight in an effective and realistic way, thus helping them develop self-esteem and self-confidence.”
The system they teach, which they call “System of Many Styles“, is the combination of their experiences.
They do not believe that there is a system superior to the others, that it has all the answers.
Therefore one style can be more effective than another depending on the context and circumstances and to defeat an opponent, it is logical to use techniques that they do not know or go to work in the areas where he feels most uncomfortable.
In this way, an integral approach to the art of combat is carried out, taking into account all possible distances and different weapons: from the use of fists, legs, elbows, etc., to the use of knives, sticks and any other weapon, passing from combat to the ground, with projections, sockets, strangulations, etc.
The philosophy of dog brothers combat is based on the concepts of Jeet Kune Do.
But it must be made clear that practicing JKD does not mean that we are practicing the system of our friends “dog brothers”.
Only through full contact with minimal protections can we reach the limits reached by them.
They have also developed an important quality, that is to know how to use the stick in any distance and situation.
This means, for example, that the opponent can attack with a kick and receive a stick blow to the same leg, or a stick followed by a punch, the “Dog Brother” can be on the ground on the verge of being strangled and use the stick as a lever, not only to avoid strangulation, but also to apply a technique of immobilization against the attacker.
The truth is that any kind of technique or combat situation changes when you consider all the possibilities that the stick and weapons offer.
The art of ground combat is completely different if you are helped by the stick or a weapon that amplifies the levers and pain.
The Dog Brothers system is based on 5 pillars:
At the heart of the system are always the Filipino Martial Arts.
The three main roots are the system.
- Pekiti Tirsia and
The Silat is also considered part of the system, with or without weapons.
2. Dog Brother Grappling
Although they are students of the middle level of machado Jiu Jitsu, the ability to fight hand-to-hand is considered indispensable.
Being able to do so is an integral part of “Dog Brother Stick Grappling” as well as “Dog Brother Vale Tudo” without weapons that we will explain later.
In this field, the main focus was on the Machado family, who live near the original Dog Brothers headquarters in Hermosa Beach, California. Marc says, “For those who can afford it, we recommend training with the Machado brothers.”
3. Krabi Krabong
The art of fighting with or without weapons from which Muay Thai comes.
In this system we use the guide of Ajarn Arlan “Salty Dog” Sanford, which is recognized and graduated in Thailand.
4. Dog Brother Stick Grappling
As I explained before, it is their system, original and not exceeded, of use of the stick in hand-to-hand combat both on the ground and standing.
During the years of personal experimentation, elements of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,the Filipino Martial Arts and parts of the “Bando Python” system, by Master Dr. M. Gyi, were used for his creation.
5. Dog Brother Vale Tudo
It’s the bare-handed system that you use when you lose your weapon.
It is based on the same principles as the rest of the system so it is very original and surprising. This includes punching, leg, elbows, knees, sockets, projections, ground combat and ground immobilization, as well as the Jun Fan Gung Fu.
Ps. I point out the choices of dog brothers compared to the many posts where I insist on certain issues obsessively to make you curious and explore a certain mentality and martial approach.
Multi-disciplinarity is the new martial route.
The main goal is to help the practitioner develop a higher level of thinking and an uncommon variety of techniques to help him improve his skill as a fighter and as a person.
More important than what we learn is that knowledge is applied in an integral and realistic way.
To be part of this project you do not need to become a Dog Brother, you can use this knowledge in any case and, most importantly, learn from the experience of others.
Perhaps one of the best ways to use the experience of others is to introduce yourself to one of the “Gathering of the Park” that are held twice a year and see what they do.
It would be great to attend the aforementioned stick fighting meetings, to have a first-hand experience but for the more conservative, or just curious, it’s not a bad idea to go and take a look at what’s going on there.
It is free and you also have the opportunity to meet the participants and talk to them.
After each fight, the wrestlers exchange comments about the “play”.
That’s when you learn more, being able to understand how they feel and what experience that fight gave them.
If you don’t have the opportunity or the opportunity to move to Hermosa Beach, California, another possibility you have are the videotapes and DVDs I told you about earlier, which can be purchased by mail or through the Dog Brothers ” website” at cheaper prices than Panther’s.
The “website” also presents a range of techniques, services, biographies and any kind of information.
It’s worth a look!
If you have the opportunity, take a course with the Guro Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny.
As we said before, you don’t have to get on the field to be part of this interesting world of sweaty madmen who kill themselves with beatings” as they tell them about themselves with affection.
You can be a simple learner, using all your experience as teachers, or even you can become an “Associate Instructor” which is the name given to students who have spent the necessary time with them and who possess the “technical level” of an instructor, but who are not interested in experiencing their knowledge in combat.
For those who do not know this group of stick fighters my advice is to do research and study their approach to combat.
Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport