The Eskrima Class At The Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy
Question: What exactly is Eskrima??
Answer: Escrima is just one term for a system of stylized stick and knife fighting techniques that come from the Philippines. It is also known as Eskrima, Arnis and Kali depending on where in the Philippines that the particular style originated.
Many people have the misconception that Escrima is just “stick fighting”. It is true that many of the techniques emphasized when first learning Escrima revolve around using the sticks. The Escrima class taught at the Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy comes from a style of Filipino martial arts known as Cabales Serrada Escrima. However, this style of escrima is a close range fighting system that is a complete system that involve stick fighting, knife fighting, and empty hand techniques. The Serrada system was founded by a man named Angel Cabales. Angel Cabales taught many famous martial arts masters in the U.S. Some of his students include Dan Inosanto, Richard Bustillo and Graciella Casillas.
Eskrima has many characteristics which make it a very unique and effective self defense system. One concepts of Escrima that is core to its very nature is the idea of flow. Learning to flow against attacks quickly build up a students reflexes and agility. Continuously flowing is crucial to being able to successfully defend yourself against an attack.
Eskrima is a style of fighting that emphasizes a fighting philosophy
This a way of dealing with attacks in a very simple but effective manner. All attacks are categorized in angles. It does not matter what the attacking weapon is. It could be a baseball bat, a punch, a crowbar, a knife or a punch, if it travels along the path of angle 1 then it is dealt with in the same manner. This method of training speeds up the time that it takes to learn to defend yourself. Countering the different angles is a universal concept.
The Filipino martial arts are also known for is training weapon skills first rather than last in developing a student’s ability. The reason for this is that like many martial arts, Escrima was taught to be a self defense art. Flashy and flowery techniques that were mostly for show were never part of the Filipino martial arts. Escrima was meant to be taught to villagers who needed to defend their very lives against other competing villages or foreign invaders to the Philippine archipelago. If a student needed to be extremely talented or gifted in order to execute techniques than the village would not have been able to be successful in surviving. Only movements that were natural and easy to learn were kept as part of Escrima. Systematizing the curriculum for the fastest learning possible was very important to the Filipino people.
Escrima tries to emphasize principles of combat and movement
Simplicity in combat is valued over knowing a bunch of different techniques. For the Escrima student, it is better to master a small number of techniques than to have a weak comprehension of 300 techniques. In other words, a student who is extremely skilled in a handful of techniques will be much more likely to emerge victorious because that student will be able to execute his techniques with smoothness, flow and power.
Another one of the characteristics of this fighting system is weapon disarming techniques. This type of training is very useful for those in the military and law enforcement. In terms of practicality, techniques for taking away an armed opponents weapon is probably going to save lives.