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.
An Abbreviated Whole of Russell Grouped Balintawak
Another explanation of the use of the emptyhand and especially Group Five’s role in an abbreviated whole of Grouped Balintawak is as follows.
In training, the instructor will initiate an attack. Let us say a #1 strike/slash of Balintawak directed towards the students left temple. The student blocks/clips, pushes down (clears) the instructors weapon and then counters to the instructors head with their weapon. The instructor breaks/pushes, sometimes flows, with his emptyhand and clips/grabs the students stickhand/arm.
Now do they go to a:
Group One: where the student’s emptyhand lifts the instructors emptyhand clip/grab and the students emptyhand destroys the instructors following counter block, while the instructor practices breaking and flowing with their emptyhand when their stick (stickhand) has been captured by the student? The instructor also practices recovering moves, when their block, (either straight stick or wing) is destroyed.
Into a Group Two: where the student learns to defend against the butting (and thrusting) techniques of the instructor, with their emptyhand and forearm, when their stick or stickhand has been captured by the instructors emptyhand. Then the student returning to Group One techniques to detach the instructors grip or destroy the instructors block after the student has defended the attacks.
Group Three: The instructor now attacks faster and harder again. Slicing over his Pak Gung block with a thrust generally directed at the face/chest of the opponent/student but sometimes not. The student has missed the clip on the hand or arm and must body manoeuvre and slash his stick around to block again, and then again a return counter. This Group is more like the fencing of Arnis/Escrima and is sometimes played with thin swords. The student not being stupid enough to try and grab the sharp metal weapon edge, again body manoeuvres and slashes his weapon around to block again and return a counter. Countering the instructors all over spinning, slashing and thrusting attacks with faster blocks and counters, hopefully at some time grabbing the back of the weapon hand or weapon arm of the attacker.
Part 8 coming up….