Practical Use of the Yantok at Daga

Those who know me, know that I am not fond of Espada at Daga (Sword and Dagger), stick and dagger, etc. Don’t get me wrong; if you wield a stick and a knife, you will very likely defeat your opponent if you know what you’re doing. That isn’t the problem I have with this weapon combination. My issue is how those who practice EaD spend all their time practicing elaborate, intricate combinations that involve mostly grappling, trapping and excessive give-and-take exchanges. Here is an example of what I dislike:

My computer is slow, so I can’t see the whole clip, but I don’t need to… everybody does the same thing. Basically, “feeder” sticks his weapon out for “defender” to block, pass, or cut the arm. Then “feeder” either stands there while “defender” slices the hell out of the Feeder, and then on cue, he will “feed” a stab with the knife. Then Defender either blocks, checks, cuts, or passes the knife attack… (yawn!)

Anyway, all is not lost!  Some of this stuff is practical and useful. I have a few suggestions, from the “Mustafa Gatdula Fighting Eskrima” system:

  • Spend more time practicing attacks than defenses. This is a WEAPON, not a shield! Not a piece of protective equipment! It is a weapon, and weapons are for attacking opponents, not protecting against them. If you fail to implement this, your martial arts skill is useless.
  • Drop the silly knife while you’re at it. It’s your weak hand–develop it as a multi-use weapon. If it’s holding on to a knife, you have just eliminated any possibility of grappling with your opponent. You can’t grab him, you can’t full him, you can’t hold him. And nine times out of ten, you will probably never have a knife in your hand at the same time as a stick. You’d probably be more likely to be fighting with light sabers. My suggestion:  replace the knife techniques with punches, grabs, hand strikes, pushes… anything with the hand. It’ll be more practical, and those scenarios will be more in line with the kind of life you lead. I doubt that you’ll have many reasons to kill a man. If you ever found yourself in a situation to fight to the death, drop the stick, put the knife in your strong hand, and gut your opponent quick.
  • If you have subdued an opponent while you have sticks in your hands (you and your opponent) and you haven’t taken your opponent out by the time he knifes you in the belly, you’re going to die. Practice running-before-you-bleed-to-death technique. You aren’t going to catch your opponent’s blade with your stick.
  • Try this reliable, old trusty fighting strategy:  Stick and move. Attack your opponent, and then move. Attack him again, and then move. Attack him, and then move. When you catch your opponent off-guard and off-balance, waste him. Those who practice Yantok at Daga are always standing still. Answer this question:  If you had an opponent in front of you with not just one weapon in his hand–but two–would you stand still? Hell no. Especially if one of those weapons is a blade. Your opponent will move, so you’d better get used to it. But being better at fighting while moving than he is at evading, and your opponent won’t have a chance.
  • Take a good idea from the Kenpo/Kempo people. They have done an excellent job thinking out counters to the counters (so have the Filipinos, but the seminar industry have completely messed the techniques up) to their attacks. If you attack with this, he responds with this, this, or that. Then they will have follow-ups to this, this or that. Plan out your style this way, and you won’t go wrong.

Okay, I have to listen to my students. They feel like I give up too much on this blog, and I fear that they may be right. My reason for writing this blog is to attract attention to my school and interest people into studying with me; not to teach on the internet. Hopefully, you have gotten something valuable from this article. If you like what you’ve read, make sure to get over to the “Offerings” page on the main page ( and order my book, Mustafa Gatdula’s How to Build a Dominant Fighter in 12 Months!  For those of you who have bought a copy, please leave a comment about your thoughts, I’ll publish your posts, good or bad! Thank you for visiting my blog…