Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Self Defence Called Eskrima

Eskrima is a traditional Philippine martial art/self defence. It utilises simple tools that you can find everyday such as sticks,knives, Bladed weapons and various improvised weapons. It also include hand-to-hand combat and weapon disarming techniques.
I grew up learning Tae Kwon Do in lower secondary and stopped right before i went to Royal Military College. I then pick up Jit Kwon Do from my uncle which is already second Dan in TKD. I always believe the human body is already a deadly weapon if we know how to use them. Picking up Eskrima was influenced by my buddy Kelvin Tan. He assured me that it's easy and fun and the hardest part was learning the Wing Chun footwork.
So, about four months ago, i signed up with Sensei Paul Ang - which practices among other, KendoKenjutsu and Eskrima. Eskirma is actually esgrima which is fencing in Spanish. When Philippine were colonized by the Spaniards, they banned all sort of martial arts and the peasants found ways of incorporating the self defence into the Moro-Moro dance, which utilises wooden sticks.
I don't believe there are any Eskrima classes being conducted in Malaysia short of the one that i attended. Here is a video example of the class that has (taught and) made us practice to disarm and counter attack in five swift combination. The weapon used is a 1.25inch rattan stick. Used correctly, it is lethal and able to fend of even if someone were to charge at you with a parang or machete.
don't be fooled by the lady - she is a hard-hitter
Rattan sticks are easily available and they are tough and lethal. It is not illegal to use it as they can be used as hiking sticks as well. Rattan is a cheaper substitute compared to getting an IronWood or Kamagong. However, within the first month of me practicing Eskrima, I have totalled two sticks. The pattern went on the second month when i again, cracked two more rattan sticks. It usually happen when the exponents hit hard enough and with the correct wrist flick to transfer all power to the stick.
Rattan in pieces. Be glad it's not your head.
I am now confident enough to use whatever stick i have to fend for myself should i be attacked. I just hope the person attacking is worthy of the swing.
From the rattan sticks, we progressed to (mock) knife fight. It is more of sharpening the senses and fending off any attack at close quarter.
Some of us were unfortunate enough to be mugged at the ATM in the banks or even when walking down the streets in shadier part of town. The most obvious choice of self defence is aways to RUN. If you could not do so, some of the moves below could help. Just remember that the attackers, unless they are high on drugs, will be as afraid as you. It is like facing off with a dog ready to pounce on you. Whoever that is a tougher fighter will win.
The class is fun with like-minded people practising. There is no dress code as you don't "suit up" in event of being mugged or being robbed. Best is to come as you are. I am usually in my sandals as that is how i am outside of office. 
Sensei Paul is starting another batch of class for all those interested to pick up the martial art as a form of self-defence or to get a good sweat. Location will be at Taman SEA, Petaling Jaya on Sunday Morning. It is RM120/month with classes conducted once a week. Email Sensei Paul Ang if interested.
Customised graphic by one of the Eskrima exponent


  1. Hi,

    There are several groups in Malaysia practicing the Filipino Martial Arts, although we may not all refer to them as "eskrima" or "escrima".

    I have been teaching Pekiti-Tirsia Kali in Malaysia since 2004, and am aware of a few other styles being taught in Peninsular Malaysia.

  2. Emil - thanks for the heads-up. :) Any link to the sites?

  3. Hi,

    You can see my website at http://www.pekiti-tirsia.com.my. I've been involved with FMA since 2000, and Pekiti-Tirsia since 2001.

    If you send me an email (address is on that site) with your phone number, I'd be glad to tell you more about the state of FMA in Malaysia, and give you some general training advice. You're also more than welcome to drop by our class in Pusat Bandar Puchong.

    Best regards,