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Escrima hand checking
In my grappling/MMA class, yesterday, the main instructors were out. So, the boxing instructor gave us a free class. He was also versed in the arts of Kempo and Escrima. A concept that he showed us, which really caught my interest, was the usage of hand-checks to open up more time for counter attacks or closing distance. Mind you, this concept applies only for hand attacks aimed at your head.
If attacked by a straight punch, he would have me first declect the punch like in boxing. Rather than cross-blocking ( reaching across my body to block his left with my left or vice versa ), we would use the hand on the same side of the oncoming blow (from defender's perspective) and pat the outside of the attacking forearm to the inside. A body lean and slight sidestep are to accompany the deflection. This motion alone redirects the punch adequately. It's nothing special, and nothing that someone with boxing training hasn't already seen or learned.
Now, the second part of this overall technique is what most will find more alien. Remaining LOOSE, you then move your other hand ( the one that hadn't parried) in a brief circular motion. It will go down, so as to pass below the punch, then raise back up to check the arm. By driving the second hand against the elbow and pushing it across the opponents body, you secure that arm. The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that the checking hand has to do its job within a split second after the parrying hand. If you're too slow, the whole thing is pointless.
But, on the other hand, I'd like to talk about the results. If successful, and you're practically pinning their hand across their own body, you gain over a whole second of time to do whatever the heck you want. While their arm is checked, they can't shift their shoulders/hips for a second punch, they can't drop levels and shoot... They're essentially imobolized for a brief instance.
There's also a variation for wide hooks/haymakers. Rather than moving to the outside, like with a straight punch, you step to their inside and cross-block. So, if a haymaker hook is coming for your left, you use your right to block. Similar to the previous situation, the opposite one will come under and check the attacking limb. This one seems less versatile, though, as all you seem to be able to do is unwind a backfist, then follow the motion into a cross with the checking hand.
Considering the intricacy of these movements, being loose and quick is obviously key -- that and timing the body positioning, footwork, parry, and hand-check to work in harmony.
Anyway, I was just wondering what people thought, and if anyone had seen any of this stuff before.
The system of checking in Escrima/Arnis differentiates from the standard chi sao hands of many chinese styles (Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Tai Chi, etc) in that it is based off of a weapons fighting style. Its roots and principles were built with the reference that your opponent would be armed (with a stick, knife, sword, etc) when you're attacked. This is the reason why a lot of subtle footwork is incorporated during the defense of attacks (it moves your body completely away from the path of attack while you defend with own weapon and check with your free hand). In regards to chi sao, the practices were done with an unarmed reference in mind and could be practiced with static footwork.
Funny thing about this is that I've spent a bit of time over the last few months looking into the history of the Fillipino martial arts and we've been going through a lot of trapping and disarming techniques at my classes lately, so a lot of the why's and wherefore's on this subject is very fresh in my mind. I could probably go in for a while about this. I will say this, to be able to get really good at this takes a long while. However, even just incorporating the bits I've filed away in my mind, it can frustrate the hell out of an opponent.
Bruce Lee was taught the Fillipino martial arts by Dan Inosanto, and he incorporated the checking systems of Escrima with those he had learned from the styles of Kung Fu he already knew. As a result, many of those that sparred with him have openly stated that he had this uncanny knack of defending in a way that left them totally defenseless (Chuck Norris had actually said this about Lee in an old issue of Black Belt magazine). His trapping and checking systems actually progressed into the budding grappling skills he wanted to incorporate into JKD. Unfortunately, he never got that far.
A lot of the trapping, chi sao, or sticky hands of silat or Wing Chun has very linear footwork (sometimes none at all). The difference with the Escrima checking techniques is that the block and accompanying check is usually accompanied by an adjustment in your lateral or circular placing in reference to your attacker.
Since the root of the art is weapons based, it doesn't do a person well to stay flat footed and trade with a stick or a blade (someone will get injured or die with that mentality). But if they back up too much, they will miss the chance to counter. The solution then would be to approach the opponent in an angle away from the weapon, control/check it to avoid the redonda or abaniko follow-up, and then to attack off of the now exposed side. Even when they start applying the Escrima basis to the empty-handed side (Panantukan - "boxing") of fighting, the checking and trapping is still accompanied by the footwork to create openings and angles.
When comparing the styles, that's really the big difference. You have probably seen this Chi Sao demonstration by Bruce Lee. He gets the guy a few times by stepping outside of his normal checks and hitting him from oblique angles. This was more of a demonstration of Bruce's Theories of JKD and the principles he put together (i.e. Passive Indirect Attack, Attack by Drawing, etc) through the synthesis of his studies and not just a Chi Sao contest.
Filipino Martial Arts
It is interesting that somebody above said that Dan taught Bruce. Now I'm not denying that Dan didn't contribute to anything Bruce Learned about FMA but Bruce was a prodigy. He was able to look at any martial art that you were teaching him see where you were going with it and teach you the rest.....AMAZING
The practicality of Filipino Martial Arts is what in my opinion an personal experience thrusts it above other martial arts. The knife being the focal point of this martial art clearly, when you think about it, elevates it's use.
Im dumbfounded everytime I watch MMA and I see the fighters not utilizing what's out there. Filipino Martial arts systems heavily emphasize footwork and although MMA Fighters are superior athletes and talented at various arts they should take some time to study Filipino Martial Arts
U CAN'T HIT WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE
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