Hitting People with Sticks
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Catching the off-beat – eskrima

Sergeant hurt us last night with a grueling wick-tick drill as a large part of warm ups.  This is a good thing, but it sure didn’t feel that way while we were doing it.  Ow.

One pitfall we all seem to encounter as we progress in eskrima is falling into patterns, whether it be combos, strikes we like or don’t like, or pace.  As we become more comfortable with movements and blocking, we have to work on breaking some of the habits we acquired at first.  Pace is a bugger of a thing – as we get comfortable, it’s natural to fall into a rhythm.  In order to advance the fight from simple trading of blows to a real thinking fight, however, we have to break that rhythm.

I was working with Esten, coming off of a blocked strike (where I would be throwing a 1 or 2 and he would be blocking it), checking and sweeping the weapon hand to a counter on the off-beat.  There are all sorts of options – wick-tick, strike to the face, body, knee, etc. – but the main idea is to break in and catch your opponent unawares.  As I expected, it was much harder than it looked.  Esten and I eventually switched to padded sticks and I had a much easier time of it.  I think part of that came from a fear of being hit in the head (Esten did clip me on the cheekbone and the jaw at two points) and a fear of hitting my partner.  As usual, once I relaxed, it was much easier to figure out and implement.

Notes:

Continue to work on the strikes. The paintbrushing/dabbing thing is starting to get better.  Keep thinking about strikes as punches rather than broad paths traced in the air.

Continue the six-gun metaphor. Keeping the stick and live hand close to the body increases speed and decreases the potential of being hit.  Always a good thing.

Work on both creating and finding opportunities. Then exploit them.  Seeing is a good first step, but not the end result.

Finally – fix your stupid helmet so you can spar again.  Srsly.

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