Dog Brothers Kali
The Dog Brothers are a group of martial artists that have gained some notoriety in the Filipino Martial Arts community for their aggressive sparring methods employing a style they have copyrighted as "RealContact Stickfighting".
This form of fighting takes place primarily between two practitioners who mutually enter into a no-holds-barred sparring match wearing very little protective gear and fighting with single or double sticks. They have also held matches between opponents utilizing a variety of weapons including staff, bokken, whip, shock knife , aluminium practice knives, and Nunchaku
Typical protective gear
The choice of gear is optional with the exception of head protection. Fencing masks are used for head gear, which offers a more lightweight alternative to stickfighting helmets (similar to kendo masks) more commonly used in venues such as the WEKAF. Hand protection can be in the form of street hockey gloves (these being substantially lighter than regular hockey gloves), lacrosse gloves, batting gloves or nothing at all depending on each individual fighter. Knee, elbow and groin protection is optional as well (though plastic bubbles are not allowed on knee and elbow protection) .
The format of the fights are such that any fighter can stop the fight at any time, for any reason. All participants sign a waiver beforehand, clearly stating they agree to be "friends at the end of the day" and "no suing for nothing". There are no trophies or prizes, only the chance to mutually learn something about your fighting abilities.
Gatherings of the pack
Gatherings are RealContact stickfighting events organized and operated by the Dog Brothers. Fighters must pre-register in order to participate in the fighting. These gatherings show good response from the Filipino Martial Arts community, and many serious fighters attend in order to test their skills in a realistic format.
In September 2006, the first regular Euro Gathering was hosted by Guro Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner, in Bern Switzerland. The event was witnessed by Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny & Eric "Top Dog" Knaus and attracted fighters from all over Europe.
During its inception, the Dog Brothers group formed at the Inosanto Academy, a school in California owned and operated by Dan Inosanto. The three principal FMA systems from which Dog Brothers draw are Inosanto Blend (Dan Inosanto), Pekiti Tirsia (Leo Gaje), and Lameco (the late Edgar Sulite). It is also important to mention Silat and the Indonesian system of Bukti Negara Pentjak Silat of Paul de Thouars.
They have also trained under the Machado brothers in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, this has had great influence on their art resulting in the use of the terms "Kali Tudo" (a play on words from the term "Vale Tudo") and "Dog Brother Stickgrappling". Carlos Machado teaches a segment on groundfighting on DVD #5 in the Dog Brothers training video series.
Joining the pack
Their motto is "The greater the dichotomy, the profounder the transformation. Higher consciousness through harder contact." (c). And this motto is indicative of both their aggressive style of play but also the underlying philosophy that the gathering can be used as a method of self discovery. After a fighter has taken part in number of gatherings, they may eventually be invited to become part of the Dog Brothers Tribe and take a "Dog" name. For example, the organization's head instructor goes by the name Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny. The doggy name however takes several steps to receive. The first step is putting "Dog" in front of a fighter's name; for instance "Dog" John Smith. As the fighter progresses they then receive "Dog Brother candidacy status" where they pick a name with help from the pack. They are then considered "C-(insert name here) Dog John Smith." The last step is then to remove "C-" from the name and the fighter is welcomed into the tribe as a "Dog Brother."
Some of the better known "Dogs"are :
- Eric "Top Dog" Knaus
- Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
- Arlan "Salty Dog" Sanford
- Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner
- Philip "Sled Dog" Gelinas
- Lester "Surf Dog" Griffin
- Alvis "Hound Dog" Solis
- Mike "Dogzilla" Tibbitts
- Ian "Hair of the Dog" Wilde
- Dave "Wild Dog" Crosby
- Burton "Lucky Dog" Richardson
They have strict rules for members and instructors, and require continued practice and involvement with the organization in order to maintain status. This was implemented to prevent misrepresentation and avoid degradation of the art.
There is however, a difference between being a Dog Brother and an instructor in Dog Brothers Martial Arts. A Dog Brother is one who is part of the tribe and has fought or does fight in Gatherings. An instructor is proficient in the material and may or may not have participated in gatherings. Instructors who have participated in gatherings receive their instructor title in Tagalog (ex. Guro). Instructors who are not part of the pack receive their title in English.
There are currently also three women who have been accepted into the tribe, however rather than be given the normal "Dog" title, they have been given the title 'Cat'.
The weapons fighting portion of the U.S. Army Combatives Program is based in part on training that its founder Matt Larsen received from Guro Crafty Dog.
Guro Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny has worked with Gabe Suarez to film and publish the DVDs Die Less Often and Die Less Often 2.
The videos primarily focus on combining counter knife defenses, unarmed combat, and firearm skills for those who carry a concealed weapon.
Denny also assisted in the production of Practical Unarmed Combat by SouthNarc from ShivWorks.
At one time the UFC considered featuring fights from the Dog Brothers. In 1995, they turned down this idea, citing that RealContact Stickfighting was "too extreme" due to the sensitive situation the UFC was in with anti-no-holds-barred politicians.
Tait Fletcher from the Spike TV reality series The Ultimate Fighter 3 has trained with the Dog Brothers.