Last time I wrote about how my first experience with full-contact Eskrima sparring exposed problems with my training. It was difficult for me to keep hold of my stick during repeated full force striking, and my stamina was simply not up to the task. This motivated me to try experimenting with various ESKRIMA STRIKES AND STAMINA techniques on the heavy bag, with the hypothesis that by incorporating these changes consistently into my training, I could overcome both deficiencies.
These weren’t the only things that I found lacking, however. Professor Jeff observed in our early sparring sessions that many of us would attack with simple, single strikes. It was as if we were playing tag: trying to get our strike in as fast as we could, and then trying to get back out without getting hit. Even though we had all been training for a while, it was clear to me there was much room for improvement. This inspired another adjustment to my training routine: the elimination of single strikes. Whenever I practice strikes now, either shadow boxing or against a heavy bag, I do so using multiple strike combinations only.
It turns out that many of the striking combinations and drills outlined in the Eskrima curriculum at NWFA are easily adapted for practice against the heavy bag (again, only with a soft stick and the heavy duty bag on the south wall). Here’s an example of what I have tried, and three things to keep in mind if you want to try them:
First, like anything else you are trying for the first time, it’s important to increase your intensity gradually and know your limits. Like punching a heavy bag, you need to build up the strength of your wrists, and have the proper body mechanics and timing worked out to avoid injuring yourself. If you strike the heavy bag with full power and full speed without this pre-conditioning, you can easily sprain your wrist.
Second, you should try to spend more time on continuous combinations of strikes rather than single or even double strikes. Why? By practicing your strikes in combinations of three or more, over time you will discover that you no longer attack just with single strikes during sparring.
Third, you should vary your footwork and your body mechanics. Quick strikes can be mostly arms and shoulders, power strikes involve dropping your knees and pivoting at the waist. Moving in and out of range with the Illustrisimo or Cabellero footwork while simultaneously striking will benefit your sparring.
Fourth, set the timer. Work your way up from 2 minute rounds to 3, 4, and 5 or more minutes at a time.
ESKRIMA STRIKES AND STAMINA
I’ll end this article by listing some of the combinations that I have experimented with on the heavy bag, taken straight from the first level Eskrima curriculum:
1. Abaniko sa kanan taynga (continuous left and right fan strikes. This is a good warm up).
2. Wetik, hiwa, kurba sa ulo, hiwa (wrist snap #4, slash, curve strike to back of head, slash)
3. Abaniko sa kanan taynga, hiwa #1; abaniko sa kaliwang tayngaat, hiwa (fan strike right hear, #1 slash; fan strike left ear, #4 slash)
4. Hiwa #1, abaniko sa kaliwang taygna; hiwa #4, abaniko sa kanan taynga(#1 slash, fan strike left ear, #4 slash, fan strike right ear)
5. (from closed position-mula sa pinid nga posisyon) Wetik, Hiwa, abaniko sa kanan, abaniko sa kaliwang, bagsak (wrist snap #4, slash #4, fan strike to left and right ear, #12 strike from right side)
6. (from open position- mula sa bukus) Palo’ng kurba sa ulo, hiwa #1, abaniko sa kilwang, abaniko sa kanan, bagsak papuntang pinid ( curve strike to head, slash #1, fan strike to left ear, fan strike to right ear, #12 strike from left side)
Any of the 1-12 striking combinations are good drills. Provided you force yourself to do at least three strikes consecutively.
Different Striking methods
7. Binahagi (broken strikes, eg: #1, #7, #3-all strikes from right; #4, #6, #2-all strikes from left; thrust #8, #9, #6; thrust #9, #10, #7, etc.)
8. Doblete (the double or redonda strikes followed by any strike). This is one of my favorites.
9. Patalon (hit and bounce followed by any strike)
10. Enganyo (feint/faking)
11. Lahat ng palo may halo’ng doce -Ang pangatlong palo ay palaging doce. (The dalawahan double isolation strikes followed by a #12: slash #1, slash #2, #12 from the right; slash #3, slash #4, #12 from the right; thrust #5, slash #4, # 12 from the right; plansada #6, plansada #7, #12 from the left; thrust #8, slash #9, #12 from right; thrust #10, slash #11, #12 from the left; # 12 left; #12 diagonal, #12 from the right.