Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stick Exchange: One Advantage of the Blunt Weapon

I've been thinking about the new "Fix It Friday" post by +Brian Johns at +Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Here, Master Brian is talking about one of my favorite little skills that we have in Arnis - a stick exchange from one hand to the other, here, done off of a punyo entry to the face.

I practice this technique a lot in a variety of ways, because I have found that its easy to short-circuit someone when you are "suddenly" left handed.  It's a great way to disrupt what your partner was planning to do (although of course there's counters to this, and experienced players will just adjust).

I have used this successfully many times, especially against people taller than me, because the punyo entry can "hide" the exchange until it's too late.

Many people rarely, if ever, train with the weak hand.  In Modern Arnis - perhaps because our founder was left-handed - our training is ambidextrous.  We can use our weak hand nearly as well as our strong hand.

These guys know what I'm saying.

So, in thinking about the punyo entry stick exchange that Master Brian talks about above, I was thinking about the obvious - how it's impossible to do this with a blade.

I know, I'm Captain Obvious, but bear with me.

We can, of course, do the punyo entry with a blade, but not the exchange - you can't change weapon hands this way, at least, not very easily!

In my opinion, this is a huge advantage - disrupting the plans of your opponent with a smooth surprise stick exchange is gold.  I've done it successfully many times in free-flow tapi tapi play.

In stick sparring (using soft "action flex" sticks), I often find myself using a "Dos Manos" (two hands on the stick) block, then changing hands to counter attack (which sucks with these sticks as they have a "handle" - I only do this if they are wearing head gear when using these sticks).

So, I think I'm going to be playing with this a little more, practicing inside-to-outside and outside-to-inside punyo entries leading to stick exchange, with both hands.

Four ways to do punyo entry to stick exchange.
Top Left: Right hand outside to inside
Top Right: Left hand outside to inside
Bottom Left: Left hand inside to outside
Bottom Right: Right hand inside to outside
One cool thing is that the inside-to-outside punyo entries are a lot like deflection wing blocks, so you are also practicing doing a stick exchange using a wing block, too.  I have also used to great success - wing block, exchange, and whip that backhand right back out - POW!

So, if you do the punyo entry stick exchange, do it like Master Brian says, and treat it like a blunt weapon (because it is).

I'm sure other weapons arts have similar techniques - if so, I'd love to hear about it!