Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Little Details: Strike Mechanics

Before we begin, I should note that this post is heavy on the Arnis geekery.  YOU ARE WARNED.

WARNED.   And yes, I will use this .gif as often as I can.
We have a  new student in our school that has made me think about how we do what we do in a whole new way.

This is the benefit of being an instructor and of working with a variety of people - not everyone sees or does things the same way.  Since this is the case, working with many different people challenges the way you understand how to do various techniques.

This particular student got me thinking about the mechanics of striking, specifically, targeting and angles in Modern Arnis the way I've learned it.

For now, let's focus on the high strikes - the forehand (#1 strike) and backhand (#2 strike) to the head, and the vertical strike to the head (#12 strike).

For the angle of the forehand and backhand strikes, we generally do it one of two ways.  Either diagonally across the body (red line 1/2(a) below) or horizontally (green line 1/2(b) below).  Most of us in North America us the diagonal angle.  The direction of the #12 strike is represented by the yellow line.

Of course, you can alter your specific targets - nothing wrong with a #12 strike to the clavicle, for example, or a #1 strike to a hand. 

With strikes, another key feature is that strikes are performed with the punyo (or butt end) of the stick "leading the way" as the strike comes, and as the target is acquired, the punyo moves past the target.

I'm so glad I got over my long-hair phase.
As you can see above, I am performing a #2 (high backhand) strike, and my hand (and punyo) moves past the target range (as represented by the red targets above).  In the picture above, I'm not finished with the strike, so the tip of the weapon must eventually land at any of the red targets to be "complete".

An advantage of this striking technique - where you basically pull the weapon through the target - is that it easily coverts to and from blade and blunt interpretations, simply by altering the angle of the hand as you strike.

With a blade interpretation, you want to keep as much edge as possible against the target. With blunt, you want the tip to strike the target - either of which is accomplished with a shift in the angle of the wrist and hand.  Either way, the angle of the strike is basically the same.

Some Errors that I've seen with strikes are:
  • Striking too high  
  • Poor grip (open thumb)
  • "Fisherman's Cast" - the tip of the weapon leads to the target, versus the punyo
The "Galway" part seen above. Image found here.

So, if you're working on incorporating Arnis in to your training, I hope this extremely geeky discussion of high strikes helps!

Did I miss anything here about high strikes here?  I'd love to know!