Escrima, Arnis and Kali are umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines (“Filipino Martial Arts,” or FMA ) that emphasize weapons based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons , and various improvised weapons. Escrima also includes hand to hand combat, joint locks, grappling and weapon disarming techniques. Although in general, emphasis is put on weapons for these arts, some systems put empty hands as the primary focus and some okd school systems do not teach weapons at all I will be using the umbrella term Escrima for the rest of this blog.
Escrima students start their instruction by learning to fight with weapons, and only advance to empty-hand training once the stick and knife techniques have been sufficiently mastered. This is in contrast to most other well-known Asian martial arts but it is justified by the principle that bare-handed moves are acquired naturally through the same exercises as the weapon techniques, making muscle memory an important aspect of the teaching. It is also based on the obvious fact that an armed person who is trained has the advantage over a trained unarmed person, and serves to condition students to fight against armed assailants. Most systems of Esrima apply a single set of techniques for the stick, knife, and empty hands, a concept sometimes referred to as motion grouping. Since the weapon is seen as simply an extension of the body, the same angles and footwork are used either with or without a weapon. The reason for this is probably historical, because tribal warriors went into battle armed and only resorted to bare-handed fighting after losing their weapons.
Many systems begin training with two weapons, either a pair of sticks or a stick and a wooden knife. These styles emphasise keeping both hands full and never moving them in the same direction, and trains practitioners to become ambidextrous. For example, one stick may strike the head while the other hits the arm. Such training develops the ability to use both limbs independently, a skill which is valuable even when working with one weapon.
A core concept and distinct feature of Filipino martial arts is the live hand. Even when as a practitioner wields only one weapon, the extra hand is used to control, trap or disarm an opponent’s weapon and to aid in blocking, joint locking and manipulation of the opponent or other simultaneous motions such as bicep destruction with the live hand.
The most basic and common weapon of Escrima is the rattan stick ranging in length from 24″-36″ depending on the system. There are also staff techniques and palm stick techniques that are used as well. Edged weapons are big in the Filipino martial arts with many sizes shapes and attributes for each. One of my favorites being the Karambit.
Some improvised impact and edged weapons that can be used with Escrima concepts : flashlight, rolled up new paper, screw driver, pipes, umbrella, bats of all types, ice pics and box cutters. etc. There are the use of flexible weapons as well.
There are many different systems in the FMA community and depending on the system the focus may be on all or one of the different aspects of Escrima. What you will learn is single stick, double stick, stick and dagger and more. Once a student advances they will learn punches, kicks, locks, throws and grappling ( Dumog) The empty had portion of Escrima is commonly referred to as Filipino Boxing, panantukan, cadena de mano and sometimes Pinoy boxing. . There are different ranges in combat, in Escrima there are usually 3 that are recognized, largo ( long ), medial ( medium ) and corto ( close ) and again depending on the style you may focus on all or just one range.
I could go on and on about Escrima as it is probably my favorite art. There are so many aspects that can be studied, it can be incorporated into other arts with cross training or it can be a well rounded stand alone art. I hope this peaks your interest and for more details check out Wikipedia.
Some arts that incorporate well with Escrima : Wing Chun, Silat, and Jeet kune Do, just to name a few.
Other Profiles :
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Last week I did a Martial Art Profile on Wing Chun Kung Fu, so I’ve decided to do a profile on a Wing Chun instructor for this blog post. I chose to do this blog on Instructor Dominick Izzo, Chief Instructor of Izzo Tactical Combat Martial Arts. Mr. Izzo caught my attention surfing YouTube and he has a very controversial and modern “In your face” approach to Wing Chun, so if you are in the Chicago land area and Wing Chun Kung Fu strikes your fancy,make sure and check him out.
Chief Instructor Izzo is an internationally published author, contributor and the first Wing Chun Instructor in Chicago to be featured in the world renown, Wing Chun Illustrated Magazine. He is a Police Officer and former member of NIPAS Mobile Field Force, having served in active call-outs for riot control.
Chief Instructor Izzo began his Wing Chun under Sifu Danny Halligan, acting as an assistant instructor for Halligan’s Combat Training, later under Master Philip Nearing and currently under Master Sifu Syed Ahmad.
Chief Instructor Izzo has had the honor of training with incredible Wing Chun Masters such as, Sifu Jin Young, aka The China Boxer, Sifu Eric Li and Grandmaster Samuel Kwok, helping Chief Instructor Izzo further his depth of knowledge and understanding of the Wing Chun System. Chief Instructor Izzo is an active member of the Wing Chun community by embracing conversation and exchanging ideas of Wing Chun with some of its most valued practitioners and teachers worldwide.
He is the only Wing Chun Kung Fu instructor in the Chicago area with Law Enforcement experience and the global leading authority on Wing Chun application for Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics. Chief Instructor Izzo is one of the most sought after instructors for hands-on Defensive Tactics for Law Enforcement and Street Self Defense.
Active Police Officer
Wing Chun Kung Fu Instructor
State of Illinois Certified Police Officer
University of Illinois Police Training Institute Graduate
Police Officer 2001 through 2009
Member of NIPAS Mobile Field Force 2003 through 2005
Lake County Elk’s Club Officer of the Year 2003
Chief’s Achievement Award (Apprehension of Violent / Combative Subject) 2014
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
PTA Global CPT
NEMRT Instructor Certified
NEMRT Physical Skills Certified
PPCT Instructor Certified
NEMRT Emergency Vehicle Response Certified
NEMRT Juvenile Officer Certified
Edged Weapons Specialist
State of Illinois Law Enforcement Firearms Qualified
Former Collegiate Style Wrestler and Coach
Former Law Enforcement Amateur Boxer-SuperCop ’03 – ’04
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The Martial Art Profile blogs were inspired while writing a previous blog ” What Martial Art is best for me? ” yesterday we blogged about the French Martial Art Savate. Today we will be talking about the Chinese Martial Art Wing Chun.
Wing Chun also know as Ving Tsun or Wing Tsun is a concept based Chinese Martial Art and form of Self Defense specializing in close range combat. Wing chun’s focus is on sensitivity, trapping, low line kicks and defending and attacking center line. There are many energy drills found in Wing Chun to help increase sensitivity and trapping skills, probably the most utilized drill is know as Chi Sao ( sticky hands ) and for the legs there is Chi Gerk ( sticky legs ). The energy drills are to teach the practitioner to relax and increase reflexes.
Wing Chun is known for it’s economy of motion, doing 2 or 3 attacks simultaneously, which in turn makes it very difficult to defend against, chain punches which can overwhelm an attacker. The art stresses relaxing, going with the flow and no resistance ”Greet what arrives, escort what leaves and rush upon loss of contact” these are just some of the philosophies found in this traditional art.
Wing Chun unlike many arts only has a few forms, typically there are 6 forms, 3 empty hand forms 2 weapons forms and the Wooden Dummy ( Muk Yan Jong ). The empty hand forms of Wing chun are designed to teach proper structure, through punching, stepping drills, turning and stances. The forms are very compact in nature and precise. Once the student has the empty hand forms down they will move on to the weapons, the Butterfly Swords and the Long Pole. The Muk Yan Jong form is performed against a “wooden dummy”, a thick wooden post with three arms and a leg mounted on a slightly springy frame representing a stationary human opponent. Although representative of a human opponent, the dummy is not a physical representation of a human, but an energetic one. Wooden dummy practice aims to refine a practitioner’s understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and to develop full body power. It is here that the open hand forms are pieced together and understood as a whole.
Probably the most famous Wing Chun master known would be Yip Man and his most famous student would be Bruce Lee. There are different lineages of Wing Chun, so the exact history will be debated and some of the spellings of terminology will also be different.
There is my quick run down of Wing Chun, I tried to keep it as generic as possible, but to the point. There are a lot of resources out there on Wing Chun, so please if this has peaked your interest check it out.
Resources I used for today’s blog. Wikipedia
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