CHARACTERISTICS OF BALINTAWAK
The Method of Teaching
The fundamental core of Grouped Balintawak training, is a reactive ‘counter to counter’ style and is taught virtually and is more effectively learnt ‘one-on-one’.
Balintawak being a one-on-one teaching system, that is, one instructor, one student, is why Balintawak is not massed produced. This does seem to be a drawback to some, as it does result in a small following but it does have the outcome of a highly skilled class of Escrimador. One does not stand twenty people in a line and teach them to spin sticks in Balintawak. There may be several people in a class but each in their turn will receive personal training with the instructor. The student at first is taught defensive and offensive techniques, where at all times there needs to be a coach to guide the student through their moves from the very basic to the advanced. A level in the latter parts of the students training will be reached where the student and instructor ‘give and take’ all the techniques of the style.
Counter to Counter
Initially, for the beginner, Balintawak can seem to be a very defensive style as the student initially learns to block an then counter/attack. When the instructor attacks, the student will learn to defend with a block and counter with a single strike. This is where other styles argue that their systems are better as they learn to counter with multiple strikes. Balintawak is different. Balintawak considers that an opponent will defend effectively your counter strike and counter to counter.
A lot of Escrima schools do not consider that an opponent will defend themself properly to a counter. But what if they do? Of course if the opponent does not defend properly, then they leave themself open to multiple strikes.
Balintawak however, pays due consideration that an opponent may be skilled and that every move has a counter and that every counter has a counter. It is simply timing in every move that plays the major role between skilled Escrimadors not simply the techniques that anyone can mimic. When you deliver a technique and how you deliver a technique are more important than the technique itself.
This block and always counter training is designed to ingrain an instinctive reaction of fighting back. Never ever, merely block and then block again or not counter with an effective return strike. In real fighting situations you must learn to protect your vital areas with lightning actions and natural movement, so no moves will work for you unless you are able to use them instinctively, instantly and simultaneously.