The Empty Hand in Stick Fighting FMA Style

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  1. Guro Marc

    Guro Marc New Member

    The Empty Hand in Stick Fighting FMA Style

    By Marc Lawrence

    My experience in sparring has taught me that the Manongs were right and the use of the empty hand is critical when fighting. Your empty hand should serve a variety of functions like re-enforcing, checking, jamming, pulling, hooking, pushing, deflecting/passing, grabbing, opening, punching and blocking. These skills are not style specific but are general in nature with FMA system that teaches Arnis, Eskrima, or Kali.
    First, your hand should be on your chest in the guard position. You hand should be shaped like “C”. If you are blocking at the largo to media range you should be over the weapon hand, re-enforcing it still in a “C” shape. Your arms are extended outward.
    Re-enforcing-Kalasag” When you are rigid blocking with your stick, use the meaty part of your palm resting against your stick. Your arms should not extended, keep you elbows tucked in. Remember that you are block with stick at the media and corto ranges.
    Checking- When you are checking typically your hand come from behind the weapon and stopping the forward motion of the stick. Your hand is in a “C” shape and you are catching the stick and hand together at the hand. Do not wrap your thumb in. The check is light like you would use to catch a light bulb, not like ball. Allow your hand to stay in contact with light pressure and move with your opponent’s weapon hand to set them up for disarm.
    Jamming- “Ipit” This done when you can anticipate your opponent’s strike and can throw in your empty hand to jam the weapon. This is to keep them from swinging the strike. This is done throwing up your hand and jamming before they swing on the forehand strike. On the backhand strike you jam the forearm downward, you can also hammer fist downward on their forearm. When you are being thrust at, use an inward jamming motion with a “C”-shaped hand. Jamming is also done with your empty hand & arm. You basically cloths line your opponent across the chest, with your elbow at the arm/ shoulder level as you come in this jams the weapon arm and your opponent’s forward motion.
    Pulling-“Hatak” This done when you can grab the stick after you have blocked it. You just pull stick and rotate your body. They may or may not let go. You can also simply grab the guy’s cloths or body protector sleeve and pull them off balance. This is done by pulling them in the direction they are already traveling.
    Hooking- The hooking with two fingers known as the Kowit is done typically after you have checking the incoming weapon/ weapon hand. It is done with two fingers, the pinky and ring fingers. This is typically done in an inward/downward or outward pulling method. Typically it is used to pull your opponent off balance and leads to a disarm. Hooking with your empty hand to your opponent’s neck and pulling forward throws them off balance. Your hand is shaped like a hook.
    Pushing- It is just as it sounds to push on you attacker on their weapon hand shoulder in tournament. In real life it is to the face or the jaw, pushing it upward and back. This is simple tactic that is highly effective. Your hand is open and in the C shape when pushing against the jaw or face. Use more of an open palm when pushing on the shoulder.

    Deflecting/Passing- Deflecting by the empty hand is done when your “C” shaped hand comes downward and deflects your opponent’s weapon hand down. You can deflect your opponent’s weapon wand outward. This is done in Songa-Wakli motions. This is done in a circular motion. By deflecting your opponent’s weapon hand you make and opening for you to strike them.
    Grabbing- “Agaw” It is just as it sounds, first you block and check then you grab their weapon. While you hold it then you hit them as they try to pull away on their weapon. Grabbing can also be done by grabbing their gear and pulling them toward you, this takes them off balance and then you hit them. Sometimes when you clash with your opponent you can quickly grab and pull his weapon away if their gripe into to firm.
    Opening- Hubad” is to make an opening in your opponent’s defenses by deflecting and passing their weapon hand away and this makes the opening. It is done with your empty hand in a “C”-shape.
    Punching-“Suntok” When you are fighting and you have blocked your Opponent’s stick and weapon hand you can punch them with you empty hand with a jab, hook, a cross or an uppercut. Make an opening by setting them up to block and check then hit them with your fist from the other way.
    Blocking- Using your Empty Hand to block, if you’re busy attacking and you are checked by your opponent use their empty hand. Block their arm with the meaty part of your arm. This technique will only work at the corto range and it is a ridged block. This works for forehand and backhand strikes.
    Distracting- Using your empty hand for distracting is done when you are getting ready to spar. You move your fingers like a spider’s legs up by your face to have your opponent focus on this instead of on your weapon hand.

    In summary an Arnisador must make their empty hand, a live hand when fighting to be balanced.

    Marc Lawrence

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