An edited version of this Article was first published in Rapid Journal within the Philippines in 2007 under the Title of: The Importance of the Empty-Livehand of Arnis/Escrima.
Clipping/Grabbing, Disarms/Locks and Punching Of Russell Grouped Balintawak
Many Arnis/Escrima (A/E) schools always seem to be concentrating on the stick, with how fast and flashily they can spin and zip it around. Some are forgetting or simply don’t understand the importance of the live or emptyhand in fighting. They are especially forgetting the emptyhand use of clipping/grabbing/locking both the arm and/or stick, the body/shoulders of the opponent and the knockout punches by the emptyhand that can be used in fighting. The stick whizzing around looking fantastic, flashy and fast, with very little use of the emptyhand, may be what some people think as proper A/E training, but is it the appropriate training for what a human being will do in a real fight?
Is clipping/grabbing important in a fight?
Have you ever seen a game of Rugby League or Rugby Union? You know, the physical intimidation games played on an open field with no head gear, (they always taught me to enjoy pain). Have you ever seen or been involved in a Rugby fight? The men involved will often, well, quite always, grab their opponent and bash/punch into them, always to the head, with their best hand. This to me, is one of the greatest examples of spontaneous violence and real fighting. I have even seen drivers at car race meetings both wearing full face motor cycle helmets try to hit each other to the head, when in a violent rage or confrontation Why do human beings instinctively grab and then hit to the head? Good question, but I am sure the answer is why for sports, (especially Boxing), organisers take the instinctive grabbing away from boxers by putting them in boxing gloves, mostly ensuring longer fights for peoples paid entertainment, i.e. the spectators will get their monies worth, it will not be over in a few seconds. If you allow people/ humans to grab each other and hit each other hard, one or both will fall down, as they can’t move from each others zeroing in tactics, the grabbing. The aim of grabbing is to immobilize the opponent, enabling better hitting power and better contact, so your best hand can bludgeon the opponent’s computer centre, the brain. So clipping in Arnis/ Escrima, especially in the Grouped Balintawak style I teach, has the effect of immobilizing the weapon or weapon/best arm, the thing you must stop, as some Martial Artists from other styles try to do.
Remember the old law or One of the Physical Principles of A/E:
Weapons interchangeability using the same arm movements.
Let us twist this around here to an emptyhanded school against a weapon, then for us to go back to stick against the stick.
Emptyhanded Styles Against Weapons Styles
With most Martial Arts emptyhanded schools such as Karate, Jiu Jitsu and Hap Ki Do, teaching emptyhanded defence against a weapon or knife, teaches the student to block and GRAB or secure the weapon or weapon arm, then disarm. (Disarms Later). With A/E, the stick should block and more importantly the emptyhand should always clip/grab/check secure the weapon or weapon hand, as if not restrained, the weapon will simply be redirected to hit or pulled back to re-attack.
Part 2 coming up….