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Largo and self-defense combos – eskrima

Last night was a great class.  Basics and theory night, focusing on largo techniques as well as a new kind of drill that I’m calling self-defense combos.

Esten led us through the warm-ups; then we all pulled out largo sticks and demonstrated our angles numerado while advancing and retreating.  We worked on identifying and correcting the little fiddly details that make eskrima what it is, such as point of contact, the way you hold your on guard position, and fine details of swing technique.  One thing I think we would all do well to remember is to slow down on Tuesdays – we’re working on details and technique, and it’s much easier to get things right and cement them that way when we aren’t trying to be Conan.

Tidbits to remember:

Keep your head level. We can have a tendency to bob up and down while swinging, and there are several problems with that.  Not only does it stiffen your legs and reduce your mobility and response speed, but remember that up and down motions are easier for your opponent to detect.  If you stay level, you’re harder to read.

Let your wrist break at the proper time. As you swing through, keep your arm and wrist in a good strong position.  That little wrist flick should be at the end of the swing to bring you back to load position, not in the middle or before you hit your contact point.

Don’t show off your weapon. A kampilan is a long weapon; try to hide its size from your opponent by pointing the butt directly at him, making it harder to see the length of the blade.  Keep him guessing.

From here, we moved on to the new defense drill.  Instructor McWethy had put together a series of moves similar to serrada formal counters and follow-ups, but designed to be used as a quick, defensive series to pull out when surprised.  The first series brought you to the back of your attacker with a quick flurry of blows and then allowed you to step back and out of range.  The second series took the initial moves of the first series and switched to a clinch involving a choke and take-down.

As I was working with Esten, it was interesting to me how the second series seemed to be easier for me as a smaller person working with a larger opponent.  With shorter arms, I seemed to have an easier time getting a good grip and closing the gaps around his neck.  I did have a bit of difficulty in that he’s notably taller than me also, which meant I ended up on my toes before I could bring him down.  That’s something I’ll have to watch.

Maxwell pointed out that these combinations would be easy to train outside of class, even if you don’t have a partner.  And the more training, the better, as usual.


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