So, I had purchased a set of escrima sticks. I am not willing to lie and present myself as some kind of expert on the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA from here on). I am, however, very well trained in the Chinese methods of blade work. Here is my impression of the short stick.
The pair I bought are made from wax wood. I chose wax wood due to some really good experience in wax wood staffs. The feel, the weight, everything feels right with the short sticks.
Next, I went through some Hung Gar forms. I started with the Butterfly Sword form, and did it with the sticks. Except for the difference in weight, things worked surprisingly well. I tried out some Fu Hok form with the sticks in hand (I have done this before with the Butterfly swords as well, with much the same impression – the empty hand is meant to transfer easily into the weapon, and vice versa.
But, as any knowledgeable martial artist can tell you, “forms ain’t fightin’”.
So, I thought about the stick and I realized that it is just like any other non-firearm weapon. There are only a limited number of effective ways to pick up an impact weapon and hit someone.
- Vertical down
- Vertical up
- Diagonal down
- Diagonal up
- Horizontal outside to inside
- Horizontal inside to outside
- And the old fashioned poke.
It is the same with a blade (be it knife or sword, or Gwan Dao for that matter…). Anything beyond this base is fluff.
Poor BOB. (Century’s Body Opponent Bag).
I took those sticks and beat the stuffing out of him. I filmed it and found it funny that I almost look like an expert. I will restate here, I am not an expert, just a fan.
Now, I am not in any way dismissing the subtleties of the FMA. One need only stop for a moment to realize that those seven striking methods open into a very loooooong list of possible targets and combinations. I feel like a kid in a toy store as I play with the combinations and learn the simplest of things.
I am currently still in the learning stage, but if things go well, I plan on adding a stick fighting component to my curriculum. The best thing about the stick is that it transfers so well into other weapons. But so many items can be used in the place of the escrima stick. A rolled up magazine, a broom stick, a piece of a tree limb…
I intend to post more on this training as it progresses. I realize that I am cheating by relying on experience with the butterfly swords, but everyone has to start somewhere, and most people start with what they know. I am no different in this regard.
If there are any escrimadores out there reading this, shoot me an email if you have any advice! (Same with anyone who has trained in Japanese and Chinese versions of fighting with one or two short rods.) As always, I appreciate any and all advice.