Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eskrima Methodology

Eskrima uses the same concept as the bayonet fighting method utilized by the US Marines. Bayonet fighting is based from Boxing so that soldiers can learn one style and apply that to empty hand or a bayonet. In Eskrima we use the same movements whether we are empty handed or holding one or two weapons, whether it's a stick, knife, tactical baton, Tomahawk, Nunchaku, or some improvised weapon. 

What makes Eskrima unique is that even if you are a beginner, from day one you will begin with weapons. Right from the beginning, you will start with single and double sticks.

Originally the sticks were designed to be for practice, simulating a short sword. Overtime the Filipino warriors discovered that the sticks were formidable weapons themselves.

Single stick work is more technical at a higher level, but double stick work will help you become ambidextrous. Don't think that in real life you will never find/have two sticks, therefore double stick skills are unrealistic. Double stick is important because in real life combat we fight with both arms.

The sticks are the most generic shape and size for a weapon. The idea is that we train with this generic stick so that we can apply these skills, to whatever we find and choose to use as an improvised weapon. In other words if I have a hammer in one hand, and a wrench in another, I should be ready for combat.  

The length of the sticks exaggerate the moves making them easier to learn. The knife on the other hand is short making your moves more compact, which makes the intricate and subtle motions harder to learn. That is why the knife skill is considered advanced. So we don't normally start off with the knife, we start with the sticks and then progress to the training knife.

After learning single and double stick, the single and double training knife is added to the practice. We also begin empty hand work. Empty hand work consists of finger jabbing, slapping, palm strikes, chops, hammer fists, and punching. This kind of versatility helps you get ready for the various smaller improvised weapons you will start to use, such as a Kubotan, tactical flashlight, pen, and cup. You should start to incorporate practice with various improvised weapons. Improvised weapons are the things that you can find around you in your daily life that normally aren't used as weapons.

After that we begin to practice with a short sword to get use to the blade. In modern times I like to replace the short sword with a machete. After working with a longer bladed weapon, we can then add the knife. So mastering the knife has been the ultimate goal for me because I followed this natural progression.
People ask me how to defend against a knife attack. The Eskrima method is to first learn how to use the knife. Once you understand the major and minor attacks, only then can you begin to mount some kind of defensive plan. If you don't understand the knife, then every knife attack will always seem 100% deadly all the time and you won't be able to do anything.

So, in order to learn how to defend against the knife, we must first learn how to use the knife. In order to learn how to use the knife, in Eskrima we first learn the sticks.

Even though we practice empty hand skills in Eskrima, in a real life crisis situation, the idea is to use a weapon, whether it's improvised or a weapon you carry. The only time you wouldn't use a weapon is when the situation is not that serious, or you didn't have time to get to a weapon.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Eskrima Warmup

Eskrima warmup exercises are designed to warmup the body, for the Eskrima training your about to do so that you don't get injured.

I personally like to include shadowboxing style mobility exercises so that you practice your footwork and cardiovascular conditioning for endurance. 

The warmup can consist of a review, where you do techniques previously learned at a slower pace. The biggest mistake beginners make is that their form becomes bad when they go slower.  

Eskrima also consists of exercises that will slowly change your body over an extended period of time so that you can perform better. The main exercise is to twirl the stick to make circular motions with your wrist. It takes a long time to build up the kind of wrist strength and wrist articulation that we are looking for. I also teach students to use the Eskrima stick to lightly hit the body in different areas to toughen up various areas of the body. This includes your knuckles, abs, thighs, shins, and arms.

What is Eskrima?

Eskrima is a martial art where you immediately begin from day one with single and double sticks. Many other martial art styles do not let you handle a weapon on the first day, however this is not the case when it comes to Eskrima, which makes it pretty unique. 

The sticks are called Escrima sticks. They vary in size and material, but generally speaking they are made from Rattan and are about 28 inches long.

Eskrima practitioners train with single and double sticks. They also train with various bladed weapons, usually consisting of a short sword and knife.

There is also an empty hand aspect to the art. Students learn how to fight bare handed against a bare handed opponent, and even also against an armed opponent.

Eskrima practitioners are known to be amongst the best in the world when it comes to sticks and knives. 

In addition to all this, I incorporate uisng the sticks in unorthodox ways, that come from other martial art styles such as Bayonet fighting, Cane combat, and Kendo.

I aslo strongly emphasize an improvised weapons aspect for the art. If you are serious about having the ability to use the everyday common items around you into weapons, you need to specifically train for that. It begins with using various types of sticks and if you use double sticks, make sure that the sticks are uneven in size. Next is to actually train with various items such as a fashlight, pen, t-shirt, belt, baseball cap, shoe, baseball bat, umbrella, etc.

Eskrima Introduction

Eskrima is a martial art style from the Philippines. Eskrima is sometimes spelled Escrima. I often get asked what is the difference between Eskrima, Arnis and Kali. I have had some training in all three styles, and from my personal experience I can say that there is no difference between the three styles.

Historically Eskrima was developed by the Filipino tribal warriors.  They combined their own warrior methods with fencing when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. Eskrima was put to use during World War II when the Japanese invaded. Afterwards it was also combined with Japanese martial arts. Experts began to duel each other, and later on their students would use Eskrima on the streets in gang fights.

Today in the Philippines Eskrima is being taught in schools as part of a PE program. It is also taught to military and police.

In the USA Eskrima is featured in many Hollywood films because of Bruce Lee's top student Dan Inosanto. Many Jeet Kune Do instructors today include Eskrima in their curriculum, because of Dan Inosanto.

Back in the 90s when I learned Eskrima, it was taught to me as a weapons based style that is good combine with whatever style you practice as your main style. During this time, my main style was Kuk Sool Won, so I incorporated Eskrima.