Hitting People with Sticks
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I picked up a soda, and my arm protested (eskrima)

My arm – it dislikes doing nothing but throwing angles and blocking Esten’s hits all night.  It needs to toughen up and shut up.

Andrew ran warm-ups last night, and they were wonderfully cardio-intensive.  Lots of running, jumping, push ups and crunches – Esten mentioned that he’d lost six pounds since starting to attend classes more regularly just a few weeks ago, and I believe it.  Great workout.

Speaking of whom, I worked with Esten pretty much exclusively last night.  His height is always a challenge, but it’s probably a good one for me to train on, since just about everyone is at least somewhat taller than me.  Instructor McWethy paired all of us off to work on different concepts and techniques; Esten and I focused on serrada.

Serrada works the short game, so theoretically it should be a key part of my toolbox.  Har har.  Anyway, we took turns giving serrada angles 1 – 5 to each other, and both the sweep and cross blocks.  The easiest way to differentiate those blocking concepts is to think of a cross being a block where your stick crosses the opponent’s stick, usually tip-down, which tends to be easiest to follow up with a high-line counter.  The sweep is very similar but (for angles 1 – 5, anyway) is done with the tip up and works best with a low-line follow-up.  I also took the opportunity to remind myself of how I should feed formal serrada angles.  And reminded me to make a note to have angles 6 – 12 shown again, since I haven’t seen them in forever.

Tips from the evening:

Drop down into the block. This is especially true for angles 3 and 4, but it’s always good to remember to feel grounded, not floating.  Angles 1 and 2 are still coming down, after all, and floating on your toes is generally frowned upon.

Meet the strike with a force directly opposing it, not at an oblique angle. If angles are not met squarely (1 – 4, anyway), the force is deflected down into your body, not stopped.  This is bad.

Do not stomp when blocking. This is just wasted energy.  Don’t do that.  Meet the strike calmly and purposefully, with a maximum efficiency.

Meet your partner’s attack with a cupped palm, ready to grapple if the opportunity presents itself. Don’t stick the thumb out to catch the strike, since it’s very easy to break the thumb that way.  Feel the attack, then grasp it.

Remember the “drawing your six-guns” technique. Draw the hands up the sides into position, rather than swooping the arms into place.  This conserves energy and increases speed.  Also – start those movements as soon as your opponent begins his attack; that way, you don’t have to be Superman(TM) to get there in time.

This is training – feed training angles. Don’t be flashy and try to show up your partner by being too fast or too tight so he can’t meet your attack.  Feed attacks to the proper target for your opponent, not for you – adjust for height and don’t change your attack after he starts his block.  Still feed as though you expect to hit him – don’t pull the blow unless you’re about to hurt him.  Strike fully and follow through.

Of course, that last tip contains a lot of other good tips.  🙂

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