Hitting People with Sticks
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Using the live hand – eskrima

Balance is a huge part of eskrima, as Instructor McWethy said last night.  For some of us (myself included), it’s very easy to become highly dependent on the strong side, ie: the side holding the weapon.  Last night, we focused on using the live hand effectively in both blocks and parries.

The exercise was a fairly simple one – taking angles 1-5, we practiced evasions, passes and deflections.  It’s initially a bit jarring to be thinking of the live hand as the main protector and the stick as nothing but the back-up, but really, we should be thinking that way in serrada.  I think this was a good exercise to tamp that idea down in our heads.  I know that I feel much more comfortable evading an angle 1 after all that work last night, and the others are coming along.

Notes from the class:

The movements do not need to be huge. Avoid taking large steps or blocking far away from the body.  Use as little energy as you can to conserve your own and make your opponent waste his.  This also adds to your general feeling of “relaxed but ready”.  If you aren’t making huge jerky movements, the adrenaline doesn’t get jacked up.

Think about the path your live hand is taking, and what that means to you. A good example is the scissor pass on an angle 4.  If you’re not careful, you can expose the inside of your forearm to attack; the outer edge is much hardier and doesn’t expose tendons and arteries to a sharp edge.

Focus on why you’re doing a block a certain way. Do you really need to duck down far on that evasion if you’re working with someone taller?  Are you sure that holding that block far away from your body is the safest position?  Can you see how keeping everything close and tight gives you the advantage?  Knowing these things will help you understand the full concept and give you the tools needed to develop your own style within eskrima.

We closed up the active portion of the class with a stress drill, which we haven’t done in ages.  One person at the head of the class, faced by a single-file line of attackers that will charge when told to by the instructor.  It seems like a good drill to get us more comfortable with the level of stress sparring gives us, so I hope we can do it more often.  I know *I* need to.  Real life doesn’t give you a chance to reset and try again.

Finally, we lined up early and were assigned ranks, the first given out in this system.  I’m now at the Beginner level, wearing a green shirt in class.  For whatever reason, I find this really motivating.  I’m hoping to get together with other students more often and also practice at home more often, now that I know where I am and what I’m aiming at.  Big words, I know, but I’m gonna back them up.


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