Thursday, June 02, 2011

Escrima As Self Defence

I've started to take up a self defence class. I would not call it martial art though the class discipline includes mastering the Wing Chun 16-steps leg work and also a couple of "lion dance" like leg movement. The 90minutes of workout on basic footsteps and stick work sure burns the core muscle and also the upperbody.
What is escrima? Escrima is actually a martial art originated from The Philippines. It has Chinese kungfu influence with the fluid movement and it relies alot of usage of sticks, knife or any handheld weapon. It was taught to the peasants as a way to protect themselves from baddies or invaders. It is simple enough but requires a systematic approach to it.
My decision to pick this up was very much influenced by a buddy that has been training under a sensei that has been practicing this for the past 10 years at least. The thought of using basic everyday items, such as pipes, sticks, rattan, or whatever you can get hold off is what makes it very very practical. A simple tactical torchlight or a 6-inch wood would be a weapon to protect one-self if the exponent are trained to use them.
For the class, i have two sticks of rattan, measured at 26inches each. 26inches is ideal (while some would swear with 27 or 28inches sticks) as it imitates the reach and length of a machete. I've learnt to respect this simple rattan as a weapon. It could be used to disarm and disable a person attacking you. We are taught to face weapon such as machete, cangkul sticks and also another set of rattan. Best defence is always to run away, but if pushed to a corner, rest assured those trained will not hesitate to use what they learnt!
Sensei Paul demand commitment with every swing and stroke we do. Shoulder following through, hip flexing, legs position and wrist snapping is just fundamental. Accuracy, fluid action and power will come with enough practice.
Yesterday, after 3 lessons and a lot of secret training by myself and visualizing how to get things correctly, i never felt more "in one" with the rattan stick. Sensei Paul offered many advices and improvement on technique and i am just eager to learn more. So eager that I cracked both my rattan sticks...and in process, broke one of my sparring partner. I had blisters on both my thumbs due to the flicking motion and today, i woke up with a sore shoulder - a testament on how hard i swung the day before. That too, i was at my 70% to 80% of my full actual power. Time for more refinement got to use more smooth strokes, than brute force.
Each of the rattan above is 1.25inches diameter. Myself and Kerby, my sparring partner found out that if the rattan were hit will have burnt smell...and produces smoke, and that is when the rattan will splinter and break.

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