Discussion in 'Balintawak' started by BayaniWarrior, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. BayaniWarrior

    BayaniWarrior New Member

    I am interested in Balintawak and I was wondering if anyone could answer this for me.

    I have only seen Balintawak through videos. I noticed that the Balintawak system specializes in close range. However, I wonder why the sticks are standard 28 inches in length. Why doesn't Balintawak make use of the range with the stick? With a weapon that long, couldn't one use the stick at long-range more often.

    Also, if Balintawak is a close-range system, shouldn't the weapons and sticks be smaller?

    I'm sorry if this is a silly question to some but I am sincerely interested in finding an answer. Thank you.

  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    One answer I've heard: Balintawak was an off-shoot of Doce Pares that was trained in a very small space originally and grew into a close-range fighting style with the same weapons!
  3. malcolmk

    malcolmk Member

    Interesting question, I can only say that the issue of defending some long range attack is addressed in the Nickelstick system and ofcourse the counterstrike in this situation benifits from the longer stick. Maybe its to do with leverage advantage but remember that it is not always the tip of the stick used to strike an oponnent. I have seen shorter sticks used, try looking up askal arnis on youtube. Actually I have cut a few inches off my own sticks taking them down to 24 inch, it just feels better for me with some techniques.
  4. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member


    I don't think you're going to find a concise answer to your question. But, here are a few points:

    There is no standard or proscribed length of stick used in Balintawak. Most people use 28" because that's the most commonly available length from suppliers. Personally, I prefer 26".

    Historically, most Visayan swords tend to be in the 26 - 28" range. I believe that may be the source of the "traditional" length of the training stick. That's just my theory, though.

    Although Balintawak is known for and excels at mid/close range, that's not to say that there's no extended use of the stick. We do train to use the entire length of the stick: end, middle, and fist/butt.

    Using a shorter weapon to accomodate close range would effectively limit Balintawak to a close range system. Rather than do that, we train to use the weapons we have at close range, thus preserving the advantages of the longer weapon at longer distances.

    I hope this helps.

  5. I have read different explanations for the length of sticks. One that comes to mind is that it's the length from the wrist to your shoulder. Well, if this was true then there'd be a lot of different length sticks...LOL

    The stick being of "Standard" length is very plausible. Unless you are close to the people that manufacture sticks it will usually be cut into 28" sticks. It starts life as 8 ft poles and then you need someone to burn, straighten and cut the rattan.

    In Bahad Zu'bu we use a variety of lengths of stick, 24", 28", 32" and "Bio Stick" 42".
    GM Yuli shows that different lengths of sticks have different applications. For example the 24" stick (which I've also been told is the length of a certain type of barung) can strike under the arm, a form of "Blind Spot". The 28" stick fits nicely to the throat and the 32" stick to the eyes.

    So, these different lengths of sticks give different targets from the same starting position when using a sungkit strike with the tip of the stick.

    Another thing we are taught is to use the 32" / 42" stick in close range and the 24" stick in long range. This will be one of the "Counter-Clockwise" ways that Master Yuli uses to describe his system. To do this you need a great deal of body recoil / flexibilty up close and footwork and timing from afar (and the Ilustrisimo Lutang helps with the reach there as well - moving out to move in ;)).

    Just some thoughts for the mix,

  6. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member

    Do you have a caddy to carry around all those sticks for you? "Hm, I think I need the #3, single node for this shot..." :D

  7. At Master Yuli's place there's all sorts of odd length sticks lying about. It doesn't matter - when one is picked up it is used the same. As I am selling sticks you can't move for tripping over them here at the house - which is good for footwork but bad for when a hangover comes to call!

    As somebody mentioned above the movements are all the same be it different length sticks or blades - just the application changes.

    It does cause a problem carrying the 42" stick on a jeepney though. :Eyecrazy:
  8. Mono

    Mono Member

    I know this does not adress the matter of "why" does Balintawak work in Close Quarter with a long Weapon - but it tauches some aspects about the Size/Lenth/Weight of the Stick used in different lineages in Balintawak:
  9. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I am sometimes surprised by the differences in stick length for various arts. I suppose I shouldn't be, since different types of swords seem quite natural, but...
  10. Mchief

    Mchief New Member

    GGM Pedoy mentioned that he did encounter other escrimadors in his travels with weapons of various sizes. He noticed that each had a preference of fighting distances. GGM Pedoy liked the 24 28 in. garrotte. Distance could be more controlled and the garrotte handled better in the hands. He could move in and out of his opponent much easier and still control distance. All ranges of fighting was much easier with 24-28 in. Garrotes. I personally found this to be true.
  11. babuzabu

    babuzabu New Member

    Balintawak sticks

    This thread is a bit old - from may ? so I'm not sure if my answer is sill relevant to the person who started the thread... anyway -

    I had a few lessons with students of Bobby Tabimina (Balintawak) and one hour lesson with his son Flint Tabimina. They clearly focus on corto - close range.

    About the length of the sticks and the purpose of the sticks in general this is what I've learned:
    1. The main reason why sticks are used in Balintawak is - SAFETY ! because they work in close range, in broken rythm, and fast, it makes sense to use a stick than the empty hand. This might sound counter intuitive but it makes perfect sense when your doing it. Plus it follows the general FMA frame of thought that skills and movements from the stick goes to the knife goes to empty-hand.

    2. While practicing with these sticks the aim is not to learn 'stick fighting at close range' per-se. Rather the sticks are used as a didactic means. That is to say the stick marks a 'hit' or an angel of attack weather it will be a knife, stick or empty hand.

    3. The sticks I have seen and been taught with were smaller, thiner, and softer than the traditional rattan sticks. maybe because its easier for a begginer to work with them. Its less demanding on your body work to manipulate a smallerr stick at a close range than a longer one. but that much I am only guessing - not something Ive been told by Tabimina.

    In conclusion
    You can't really say Balintawak is all about close range stick fighting but rather that it is about using sticks as a teaching aid to teach close range fighting.

    That is also why they dont step out of the close range in order to make the best use of "the weapon they hold" i.e. the stick. (to answer a question posted on the thread).

  12. Robert Klampfer

    Robert Klampfer New Member

    Well, the use of the stick has more to do with Balintawak being a stick fighting system...

  13. necopa74

    necopa74 New Member

    doce pares and balintawak were an off-shoot from the Labagnon-Fencing-Club...
    this is what I've heard.....
    regarding the stick size, when u look at the Atillio system...the stick size is quite long. The Tabimia guys use quite short sticks.
    For me...I prefer short sticks with a reducing diameter, that helps to get the barycenter near to the hand.
    Use the sticksize that personally fits best to u...

  14. babuzabu

    babuzabu New Member

    Robert you probably know what you are talking about since your logo indicates you practice Balintawak.

    The things Ive said in my post are what I have been told by the people Ive mentioned - yes a stick is a stick but there are others reasons for using small sticks at such a close range for learning other than stick fighting.

    Moeover some of the movements are not the best thing to do necessarily when actually stick fighting. Again, what Ive been told - the hit with the stick stands for a "hit from a certain angle" may it be stick knife or empty hand. And thats the way you deal with it - not the same way you would necessarily deal with a stick in a proper stick fight.

    Maybe this is a more recent approach ?
  15. jspeedy

    jspeedy Member

    In my club which descends from Bobby Taboada's Balintawak we use a 26" stick. Still, one guy who trained with us for a while who was quite tall preferred a slightly longer stick, it made little difference to everyone else his longer arms and reach already created the necessity to move in/out to properly block and counter.

    As for the emphasis on close range? I figure the "power blocks" of Balintawak and "semi-advanced" strikes are well suited for longer range/distancing. The biggest challenge is -moving in to strike, and what do you do when you're out of your properly distanced comfort zone? I believe Balintawak quite adequately addresses what to do when you find yourself at a less than optimal distance and how to use it to your advantage.

    To me it's important to train for all scenarios. Sure, I think it's best to use the distance advantage of my weapon but what if?...(insert variable here)... I'd like to continue my learning to involve all ranges including ground/grappling. To focus only of one range creates a problem when you are out of your comfort zone.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010

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