Escrima is a martial art that comes from the Philippines. Although most people associate it with stickfighting, it is actually a complete martial art, that includes empty hand techniques and takedowns.
In the kids Escrima class, we have students start by learning to use two rattan sticks at the same time. Double sticks teach both rhythm and coordination.
In the second half of Eskrima class, the students put on headgear and use padded weapons and spar. Working against a live opponent who is trying to hit them is very important.
The other day, a parent of one of our students came up to us asking about our recommendation on what class his son should attend. We started to tell him about the kids Escrima class when he interrupted us and said “I don’t really want him taking that class because I would rather he learn something practical.”
Your son will never fight anyone with a stick or sword, but we don’t train in weapons to be able to defend against a weapon attack. The real value of weapons training is the empty hand coordination that it imparts to the student.
This is totally understandable. If you have not had any experience with the Filipino martial arts sometimes called escrima, arnis or kali, you might think that it is a worthless skill to be proficient with weaponry in today society. After all, no one is ever going to attack you with a sword, right?
I replied to the father of our student “Your son will never fight anyone with a stick or sword, but we don’t train in weapons to be able to defend against a weapon attack. The real value of weapons training is the empty hand coordination that it imparts to the student. When children are forced to hold sticks in their hands and strike with the correct rhythm, timing and distancing it forces them to have high levels of hand-eye coordination. In addition to all of these benefits, working with sticks also develops their overall arm strength. It is the equivalent of shadowboxing with 1lbs. weights wrapped around your child’s wrists.”
When they start in boxing or kung fu I’ve noticed that the kids who have done weapon work have twice the hand speed of other kids. In fact I myself noticed a dramatic increase in my own hand speed when I started working with weapons. If you are interested in having your child learn to be highly coordinated, the Las Vegas arnis class is the kids class you have been searching for.