Balintawak Arnis was originally designed as a defensive art. Guru Andrew P. Obon, the Grandmaster of APO-Balintawak Self-Defense System, said that a Balintawak fighter would not make the first move and wait for the opponent to attack first. Such is the confidence and superiority of Balintawak when it comes to Escrima Self Defense.
Balintawak Arnis Blocking Done Right
An effective block must be executed fast and strong enough to stop the momentum of the offense, and extended only at a distance necessary to absorb the incoming impact. Never block with your arm extended far out. In a close quarter encounter, defend as if your blocking arm is hinged to your side.
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As you twist your hip, your blocking arm should go with it. More often than not, block at the center of your weapon to efficiently diffuse the impact of the blow. Also, block with the perceived bladed edge of your weapon so that defense is executed with the fore fist instead of a semi-back fist.
When blocking, the front side of the body should face 45 degrees to the left side of your rear left and the right side of your rear right. When blocking against a thrust targeted to the upper left side of your body, simultaneously draw your shoulder backward to evade the incoming thrust strike. This is necessary since a thrust strike travels faster than an arch strike (nos. 1 and 2.)
For a block to catch up with the speed of a strike, it must begin as soon as the strike is initiated. This way, the block will meet the strike about mid-way to the full potential of its power at 50%. For powerful strikes, especially those delivered by a more massive cane, an augmented block may be necessary.
To learn more about how to deliver a strong strike, read our post about Basic Striking by Martial Artist Bart Reil.
This is done using the forearm of the free hand to support from behind the block rather than the hand. This allows the free hand to grab the opponent cane upon impact.
Executing Traps Properly in Balintawak Arnis
In trapping, if your opponent crosses his arms, that is, when you see him doing an “x,” you can obtain an uncomplicated trap. You may trap from above down to his crossed limbs, or from lower up.
Traps can be done otherwise by pinning your opponent's arms underneath one of your forearms or pressing on both of his forearms from the below. You can also trap by having one of your opponent's arms under your arms, and one above. There are two possibilities here as well.
Traps may be performed otherwise by pinning your enemy's arms under either of your arms or through advancing both of his arms from below. You may also trap through having your opponent's arm beneath yours, and one over. Two possibilities are here too.
If your arm is under your enemy's arm, you can execute a trap called elbow riding. Force your elbow into his abdomen on a little-curved trajectory, and simultaneously clutch his other wrist. If your arm is above your opponent's forearm, you can execute a comparable trap to the trap called elbow riding.
However, you should rely on sticking to obtain the trap from both arms straight away.
You can trap though grabbing your enemy's wrist, and cross his arm over the other, then strain in and down very powerfully. A little slumping would aid on this. Even though not a real trap, you can grasp the wrist and pull out. You can simultaneously swap from groin to fists to head.
You may seize your enemy's head within your arm and simultaneously hit through your elbow. The grab must be very tight and close, and must very much immobilize or weaken your opponent. You can start a disrupting check through cross-slapping the inner arm of your enemy at elbow or wrist.
You strike simultaneously with your free hand towards the head. Carrying this movement a bit farther, so your hand is above your enemy's arms, it's the fundamental trap from above.
Your enemy's arm can be ridden down by your back fist and elbow or chop through that similar hand. This is more of a checking than a trapping. Your opponent can be turned through pushing his arm from below then turning. You must then strike with your other hand.
You may turn your enemy through thrusting his upper arm (limb) from above then pressing into his armpit for a twist. The arm you're turning with must stay in a curved shape. You may attack through lifting the upper arm and striking the groin then stepping past simultaneously.
Each time you don't see the obstruction, you can just approach openly through an attack. This works pretty well-using elbow attacks.
Whenever you sense that there's a reduced pressure, you can just strike directly. If there's a thrust on your arm, counterpart it then coils and strikes. If the push comes from lower up, curve around and strike low. If the push comes from above down, just surround and hit high.
An elbow block drill practice is present in which you'll stand where your left forearm is positioned in elbow block style against your opponent's right forearm. His wrist is pulled down and stricken with a back-fist. He'll block through an elbow block. Then, he'll execute the same style for you.
If you strike your enemy, and he executes a hard-rising forearm block, then keeps on in and embrace his block in your armpit. Check his free hand, and execute a back-fist towards his groin. If he blocks your hand attack, you must continue attacking with the same limb. Just circle the block and strike via an elbow strike.
Following a slap block, you can check the backhand in a figure 8 pattern. One useful and common attack is to stuff the front hand along with your guarding hand then strike simultaneously.
- Empty hand in-fighting which is practiced from “hubad lubod.”
- Slaps trapping with elbow and slap
- Grabbing the forearm and wrist
- Grabbing the upper arm
- Hitting the hollow of the shoulder or the chest
- Blasting or flinging the arm away
- Trap avoidance principles or escaping from being overpowered
- Countering a grab is an element of corridas
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