I stumbled across this link on the Playing With Sticks and Sharp Objects Blog. The linked site features a very useful interactive chart of the 12 basic strikes used in Balintawak Eskrima. I often wonder about the usefulness of developing (read: stealing) a few simple supplementary exercises to familiarize students of a predominantly empty-handed martial art with very simple basics for using a stick or bladed weapon. We do a few drills to familiarize students with evading and responding to short stick/hunting knife attacks (using a piece of wooden doweling or PVC), and drills with plastic wiffle-ball bats to develop the movement skills needed to close in on the attacker before/after a swing from a longer weapon. I’ve noticed that newer students often seem unsure of how to attack when they are in the attacker role in these drills, or have ingrained notions from Hollywood about how a knife or club will be used (which need to be purged completely).

Although the primary goal of these drills is to expose the defender to such attacks in a controlled manner, I also feel that the attacker should benefit from learning how to wield the weapon in an efficient way. The reasoning behind this is two fold: the defender needs good quality, committed attacks to work against; and the attacker needs to know how to use the weapon effectively in the event that he or she has the opportunity to use it, or an improvised analog, in self-defense. Understanding how a weapon is used is a crucial component of knowing how to defend against it.