What is Escrima and why would I be interested?
The art is virtually unknown to the general public because of its late entry into the mainstream martial arts world. Escrima is noted for using weapons, usually sticks, as the primary tool to learn the basic concepts of the art, with the secondary focus being the empty hands.
What is misunderstood most about Escrima is the stigma attached to how it is taught. The idea of just picking up a weapon is a scary thought, and avoiding rather than explore the beauty of the art is less complicated.
To use a weapon to learn martial arts unearths a visual fear of getting hurt or hurting someone. This is especially true when an individual has had no previous martial arts training. There is also that mental picture, or fear of an attacker taking your weapon and using it against you.
Nevertheless, weapons seem scary and rightfully so. There are right and wrong; safe and dangerous; methods of teaching students how to handle and respect weapons. The same rationale holds true for other day to day type of activities such as learning how to drive, wiring a lamp, swimming, flying a plane, jogging, weight lifting, cooking and other skills.
Doing something in the wrong way can spell disaster. Doing the right way mean SELF-CONFIDENCE.
Escrima is as safe as the knowledgeable instructor who teaches the art.
Everyone, whether conscious of the fact or not, walks around with a weapon.This weapon could be in the form of a set of car keys, a fountain pen, a newspaper, a water bottle, your cell phone and your hands.The idea that people can only use their fist or a kick to effectively fend off your attacker is something you may see on televisionor in the movies. The truth of the matter is, knowing how to use that weapon may save your life or the life of your loved ones.The beauty of Escrima is that there is very little difference when using your empty hand and using a weapon.There is a smooth transition between the two because it is concept based.
Why would I be interested – because attacks and assaults happen on a daily basis.
An attacker comes in any shape or form. They could be stronger then you, faster then you, have knowledge of the martial arts, and could be a veteran in street fighting just to name a few attributes. An attacker can attack from the front, but usually it will be from your blind side. If you hit your attacker with your hands or with a kick, you may end up hurting yourself more then your opponent, or if you don’t execute the defensive attack with any strength, it wouldn’t stop the person anyway.
A weapon on the other hand has no nerve endings, bones or skin, and unlike your hands and it doesn’t hurt or feel pain. Think of it, if you don’t have the same strength as your attacker, you might not be able to stop the attack. In the same setting, if you had used an object like car keys and you hit your attacker in the face, this may allow you the time to run or call for help. The harder the object, the more damage the weapon will do against your opponent with less applied strength. Hitting an attacker with a weapon, especially if it will save your life or someone in your family, is warranted. That is the harsh reality.
Escrima teaches the basic and logical concepts in using weapons as one may use in normal day to day tasks. Speed (timing and distance), Focus, Power, Balance, and Transition. Escrima teaches the basic and logical concepts in using weapons as one may use in normal day to day tasks. Speed (timing and distance), Focus, Power, Balance, and Transition.
These concepts are so logical and pure that a people already use these concepts to accomplish task in their everyday life. For example, one of the most important concept is balance.
Balance is the foundation of Escrima as well as most tasks we perform throughout our lives. Knowing how to obtain it, and when you get off balanced, how to get it back. Balance is a key that opens the other concepts necessary in the martial arts. Balance is truly multi-dimensional.
Think of balance in terms of learning how to ride a bike. There is more then just getting on, peddling and keeping the bike upright. The bike has two wheels, and the main objective is to keep it going forward by balancing the front wheels against the stationary back wheels while moving forward. If there is too much weight to the left or to the right, the bike will tip over. The rider must be able to balance their focus to make sure they don’t ride into a ditch or a tree, and also looking ahead at the cars on the road, people walking, plus being aware of what is coming up from behind.
So far that seems pretty easy but now there is an issue of speed and controlling speed so that the fast approaching tree won’t be the collision point. And what about those traffic lights? Eventually there has to be a time to stop. This is the braking point, which also has to be balanced. When there is unexpected braking is applied only to the front of the bike, there is a chance the rear of the bike could easily become the front of the bike! This is the idea of controlling power or balancing power in relationship with the rest of the concepts. If there is too much brake in the rear and not any pressure on the front, this may not be enough to stop.
All these tasks have to be balanced or it becomes unsafe to ride a bike for both rider and everyone else who occupies the road. If you look closely to this objective of riding a bike, the Escrima concepts are exactly the same. There is the balance which becomes the foundation of the system. Speed (timing, distance) is the element of execution as to when you can hit your attacker. Power is driven by the foundation of balance, dictated by the distance and the speed of the attack or offense movement. Your focus is expanded to look at the person as a whole rather then just focusing on the on coming attack. In other words if you look too much at one hand, you may never see the other hand.