06-23-2012, 07:14 PM
I have been working with a couple of pretty good eskrimadors (both local champions) over tha last few years. We began changing the traditional strategy of game in order to dominate the competitions.
For me, I believe you should, "Never Fight Someone Else's Fight". Most Eskrimadors move from the largo (long) range to the Medio (medium) range and begin to just stand there like it was an inviable rule fo stick fighting. Often they will train with just within their own school as if they were hiding their tactics until the match.
My training partner Shawn has begun practicing the "crash the line" tactic (one I adopted about 10 years ago), that is, we of push through the medio range and move into the throwing range.
This tactic has been in the aikido and Koryu I practiced, but there is a difference. A katana is long and heavy. It uses long arching motions that are rather easy to get behind and enter past ma-ai. The tanto is potentially more elusive, but, the way it is presented in Aikido is as if it has a similar nature to the katana.
The bamboo baston (eskrima stick) is light and can be weilded with short fast motions, eliptical angles and can change direction much more quickly, making it harder for an opponent to enter ma-ai. Same with the Moro-style Banong, Panabas and Kris (medium length blades).
Here is an example of a Shinai fighting against double baston so that folks can see the difference in the weapon's characteristics..
So when I began experimenting with entering against these types of weapons, I determined that there was 4 primary ways to ensure I was not walking in to a major injury.
1) when the opponent makes an unwitting mistake in angle and zone
2) when you create an opening with a good block with your own baston (hopefully using a brush-type block against his hands and even causing a disarm from it.
3) When you strike the hand or arm with the tip of your baston, causing him to flinch (hopefully breaking the hand or arm as well).
4) when you lose your weapon and "crash the line" (works better against bastons than blades).
I submitted this bout as an example. Shawn lost his second stick at 3:40 and makes a very elusive kote gaeshi.
It so happens that the "new rules" in our area for eskrima matches no longer allow for ground work. So be it, our stragegy still works well both in competition and in the street. You see, for us, making the throw is not the primary objective of entering for a throw. Kuzushi is the objective. Once you set someone up for a throw, you have split their mind. They are thinking about the fact that they are about to fall. This thought crowds out their interest in focussing on continuing to hit you.
Last night, Shawn lost his stick again. He smoothly "crashed the line" and set up for a throw. It is fully in his instincts now.
As for the other 3 tactics I spoke of, The initial blocks Shawn was using against this less skilled player, could easily have been brush blocks (#2) and his third strike was easily an arm break or machete arm sever (#3). And, the other player simply had way too many natural openings (#1) that Shawn was able to dominate, but due to the nature of the weapon, he must strike first to ensure entry.
Shawn and I have been very cognizant in making sure that we are single-weighted when fighting so that we can efficiently enter when a mistake is made. I do wonder how this tactic would have made a difference in the first video (Kendo against double stick eskrima)? If this eskrimador could have taken some time is tai sabaki and light-handed throwing, this video would have been very different.
I hope this little piece is of some help to others. Doing Aikido against a light baton or machete requires different skills than against empty hands, a katana or a traditional tanto attack.
Best to you All,
The bamboo baston (eskrima stick)
Most Eskrimadors move from the largo (long) range to the Medio (medium) range and begin to just stand there like it was an inviable rule fo stick fighting
Most? Perhaps in WEKAF armour. Much less so without.
Crashing is not always a sound tactic, some people will pack a knife to a stick fight. I've "gutted" quite a few people who thought that crashing in would be to their advantage :)
Mechanics wise, it's all about timing, placement and initiation