As a full-time instructor in the Filipino martial arts through Bayani Warrior Group, I have always emphasized to my students the importance about every type of weapon you can find. In the past two years, I have begun to become increasingly more interested in firearms training and concealed carry methods. While it was a surprise to many of my training partners, family, and friends, I felt that I had to take the necessary steps to learn about firearms and subsequently, concealed carry. After months of study and testing, I recently acquired my Concealed Carry license. In one of my previous articles entitled “Firearms and the Filipino Martial Arts”, I outline the reasons why Filipino Kali practitioners should study firearms. However, in today’s article, I want to go over the nature of Concealed Carry as it relates to practitioners of the Filipino martial arts.
I have always told my students in Bayani Warrior that it’s important to learn as much as you can with any type of weapon you can find. Whether it’s edged weapons, impact weapons, projectile weapons, or firearms, it can only help to be as well-rounded with as many skill sets as possible. I myself have been training with edged weapons, impact weapons, empty hand methods, and projectile weapons since I was a child. However, I came to the realization these past two years that I was mostly ignorant about firearms and firearms training. My teacher, Tuhon Carl Atienza has always been proficient with impact weapons, edged weapons, as well as firearms. In light of his teaching and my personal experiences, I decided to take necessary steps to learn about firearms, and how they would fit into my Filipino martial arts background.
(Picture Above: Me trying to get my Handgun skills up early last year. Firearms are a field that has always intrigued me but was still something I knew little about.)
Now, when I decided to do this, many of my training partners, as well as my friends and relatives, were surprised. I grew up and still live in liberal New Jersey, where firearm ownership is largely a frowned-upon affair. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and concealed carry in the Garden State is not available for the average citizen. However, I have been traveling regularly to Texas to train the Dallas Bayani Warrior Training Group this past year. Texas is one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation in which many people legally carry firearms on their person. During each trip, I felt that in order to truly be capable of protecting myself while in Texas, I needed to learn how to use a firearm and eventually, be a lawful Concealed Carry practitioner.
If you are a Kali practitioner looking to get into firearms training and Concealed Carry, I applaud you. However, allow me to outline some things to keep in mind when it comes to firearms and Conceal Carry.
1) Most people will think you are crazy: Now, a lot of people, Filipino Kali practitioners included, would think that this is unnecessary for a person like me. After all, I already know how to fight with all sorts of weapons. It seems unnecessary to carry a gun given the skill sets I already possess. However, while my blade and stick skills are certainly ingrained in me and while I am not forsaking them, firearms skills are a must in today’s world. I don’t care how good your stick fighting skills may be—if you (God forbid) end up in an Active Mass Shooter scenario, the truth is, you’re going to wish you had a gun and the skills to use that gun to neutralize that threat.
2) You are probably going to suck at it in the beginning: It surprised me how difficult shooting a firearm is. I can swing blades, flip Balisongs, and stick fight very well, but it’s amazing how something as seemingly simple as pulling a trigger can require so much skill that I didn’t possess. If you are using to swinging sticks and blades, then practicing proper firearm draw, grip, trigger control, and reloading is going to be a new experience to you and you will probably find it very difficult in the beginning. Do not be discouraged. Embrace the learning process.
3) If you want to be a Concealed Carry license holder, it is not exactly an easy process: While Piers Morgan, Bob Costas, and many other anti-gunners believe that we live in a “Wild West” society where gun owners run free shooting up people, the truth is, the government has made a very strict and thorough process of getting a Concealed Carry license. This can vary upon where you live, but for the most part, there are protocols and procedures you must go through before you can become a Concealed Carrier. This process will include classroom time, a written test, and a range proficiency test. In my case, I had to go through an NRA First Steps program which outlined the basics of firearms, and then I proceeded to go through testing and the process to apply for the Concealed Carry license. This took time and I actually had to wait several months before receiving my CCW license. However, it may vary from state to state. In Texas and Colorado, it’s a much speedier process. The bottom line is that if you really want to be a CCW holder, the government makes sure you jump through your fair share of hoops to filter out the criminals from the law-abiding citizens. Be ready for it.
4) Do NOT Forsake Your Stick and Blade Skills: I used to be one of the those Stick and blade guys who would try to get Gun-guys to come over to my side of the fence and learn Kali. Oftentimes, this was met with reluctance, if not outright refusal. I never understood why they didn’t want to train. However, when I became a gun owner and became legally allowed to carry a firearm, I began to see things from the Gun-guys’ point of view. After all, why would I want to fight and endure with sticks and blades when I could simply take out a gun, pull a trigger, and end the fight?
It’s important to understand the context in which your stick, blade, and gun skills all interplay. While the gun is certainly at the top of the personal weapons food chain, knowledge of empty hands, edged weapons, and impact weapons use is a must. For one thing, it gives you multiple options in a use-of-force continuum. Secondly, it also teaches you ways of dealing with an attack (whether armed or unarmed) while you are trying to get to your firearm. This video demonstrates the importance of understanding stick combatives, empty hands, as well as firearms.
5) Firearms Training is NOT CHEAP: One of the cool things about Filipino martial arts is that once you buy a stick or a blade, then it’s yours forever. Unless you lose or damage that stick or blade, you can continue to enjoy the training with that weapon for years to come. However, imagine that you spent 75 dollars on a training blade, used it for 2 hours in training, then you had to throw it away, and repeat the process again the next week. Sounds crazy right? Well, that’s how it feels after shooting 200 or 300 rounds at the gun range.
It’s important to understand that the firearms world is a pricy one. Guns are expensive and ammunition prices have gone up dramatically in the past few years. In addition, the training you need to become proficient in the combative use of a firearm is also very expensive as well. Understand that carrying a gun is a huge responsibility, and part of that responsibility is getting the equipment and regular training you need to become proficient and responsible in their use. Before you decide to conceal carry, budget your finances accordingly and make sure you are willing to pay what is necessary to keep your firearms training consistent.
6) Practice DRAWING Your Weapons: One of the best lessons I’ve learned training in Atienza Kali and Sayoc Kali is the concept of a training rig. As Tuhon Tom Kier of Sayoc Tactical Group explains, using a training rig helps you train the often-overlooked aspect of draw stroke. So many Filipino Kali practitioners train to swing weapons but rarely train themselves to access them. By training with a Sayoc or Atienza training rig, you will develop skills that will help you train drawing your pistol. I also recommend purchasing a training firearm that mirrors your chosen handgun for Concealed Carry, and practice drawing it properly from various positions. In Bayani Warrior, we have made a Training Rig as well as inspired by our older brothers in Atienza Kali and Sayoc Kali, and I have found it has also helped me when it comes to training drawing a pistol.
7) Last but not least, GET TRAINED: Concealed Carry requires a high level of training in order to become a responsible and law-abiding citizen. Our society must be safer due to your decision to legally carry a firearm, not the other way around. As a result, getting proper training is essential. While there are many great firearm schools out there, I highly recommend you check out Sayoc Tactical Group and Kyle Defoor’s Proformance Shooting
These are just a few points for all the Kali practitioners out there interested in Concealed Carry. Concealed Carry should be viewed as another dimension of your weapons training. Understand that Concealed Carry is more than just a right—it is also a lifestyle that requires constant self-awareness, self-control, and proper training.
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