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.
To Group Four: where after the instructors attack and break/push down/clear, the students emptyhand helps to move their stick/weapon back to a vertical position to defend against abanico and powerful thrusts off the back foot, (the students two hands are stronger than the instructors single emptyhand), then sometimes not, as the students emptyhand can also defend against an abanico and powerful thrust as well. This group reinforces the simple law of Balintawak of: Try and move both hands up to guard/defend the body and head, learnt throughout the students training.
Group Five: The instructor, after his initial #1 attack and break, pulls his stick back, attempts a counter head stunning strike, while clipping the students stick/hand, attempts a lock, attempts to disarm but being nullified and finally punching.
When the instructor moves into a disarm OR a lock it has been preceded by a camouflaged stick stunning strike to the head that is always practised by the instructor during this Group. The student by now has been taught to see and feel the differences in the instructors moves. They can feel and see a simple push break release against the students clip or a move into something else, such as a disarm or lock and the strike that comes with it. Remember, all the previous Groups and this one depend, (much like real fighting), on feel and timing, (but don’t forget heart as well). The instructor now will try and lock and/or disarm the student with an initial stick strike/stun thrown in. The student feeling a strike to the head, a lock or disarm coming uses the most simple thing to stop the strike, disarm. The student uses their empty or livehand to break or stop the instructors stick hand motion. Each hand simply nullifies the other. The student simply grabs or breaks (palm blocks) the instructors stick or stickhand. Both hands are then locked in a tug of war. Who will break this stalemate or tug of war? Usually the one with the last hand on the top and this will be the instructor as he is the initiator and one move ahead.
So what does the instructor do now?
He says to himself in Group Five training, “Hey this guy is good, lets just stop being nice to him by stunning him and taking his stick away. He has clipped/grabbed my stick, so I have to smack his face in with my emptyhand fist”. How does the student counter this?
Well the laws of Balintawak say there is a counter to every counter so…
the students emptyhand palm/forearm blocks (breaks) and grabs or flows through and grabs the instructors emptyhand attack, the punch. So what happens next?
Part 9 coming up….