“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

Eskrima Attacks

Not all attacks are created equal.

It’s true. They’re not. Especially in fighting with weapons, when a missed attack can have a fatal or near-fatal cost–you must understand the types of attacks and how to use them. I would like to give a short list of what those techniques are.

  1. The Initial Attack–This is not a “killing” blow or crippling blow. When you are preparing for an attack, the opponent is very likely to be out of range. Even if he is not, though, he is poised and ready to counter. It is a rule of thumb that the first part of an attack will be blocked or evaded, so you do not want to expend too much energy in launching your initial attack. Rather, you throw something that the opponent will react to. Before throwing that attack, however, you must know what the possible reactions will be and have your “counter to his counter” ready for deployment. The second purpose of the initial attack is to cover ground and get you within range to properly engage.
  2. The Tying Attack–As the name implies, the first series of attacks you use against the opponent should “tie” him up. In other words, keep him so busy he does not have time to use his own attacks as well as prepare himself for strong defense. In boxing, an example of such an attack is the “stick and move” strategy–in which you hit the opponent and then move before he gets a chance to fire back. By using the tying attack, the opponent is never really ready to make a strong attack himself. Also, by being unstable due to your constant attacks the opponent is likely to be hit more often.
  3. The Defanging Attack–Not quite the “defanging the snake” strategy you are familiar with. The defanging attack methodically destroys your opponent’s weapons–all the weapons, not just the limbs. You are striking anything your weapon can touch–the arms, the body, the face, the legs, the hands, even the opponent’s weapon. You will use a combination of “picking” attacks and power attacks to wear down the opponent and rob him of power, strength, stamina and spirit. In a fight such as a streetfight, two or three power kicks to the arms and thighs will suffice before using the fourth and final attack:
  4. The Finishing Attack–This is the coup de grace of Eskrima fighting. It is the strike/cut/slash/stab that end the altercation. Contrary to what the name implies, this need not be a fatal blow. In empty handed fighting, an example of this type of attack can be applying a wrist break, using the side kick to the opponent’s knee, or breaking his elbow. In Eskrima, you could put your opponent’s eye out with a stick thrust, break his clavicle or forearm, or break his thumb with an Abaniko strike. Anything that ends the fight is a finishing attack.

Categorize your attacks and strategies to fit into these types of attacks. If you have an insufficient number of techniques in any of them, fill in these “gaps” in your arsenal. Do not treat all techniques in your Eskrima the same way, as they all vary in destructibility, energy required for execution, ease of use, and appropriate timing.

This is what entails a major part of “mastery” of Eskrima, and what separates the drill masters from the technique collectors from those who are learning functional Eskrima. Thanks for visiting my blog. Also, if you haven’t gotten a copy of my books, you might want to throw down the few dollars instead of those greasy chicken wings and burgers, or seen-one-seen-all FMA instructional DVDs!

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2 Responses to “Eskrima Attacks”

  1. If flow drills are the alphabet, then this is writing a sentence.

    • thank you. and i think the strikes, blocks, and grabbing, disarming, etc. is the alphabet, the combination is the words, and the strategy is the sentence/paragraph. teachers have to teach all, not just get stuck learning abc 8 million ways.

      the strategy is one of the hardest things to learn also. you can come up with a good idea and the hard part is to make it work on your opponent. sometimes, we will have to get beaten many times to learn how that technique works, not just throw it away because it didnt work the first few times. and when you do it that way, you teach yourself so many things about that technique, that no teacher can really teach it. you have to go through it yourself, many times.


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