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The Basics of

Filipino Martial Arts

By Marc Lawrence

The Basics of Filipino Martial Arts

By Marc Lawrence © October 2010

Originally the Filipino Martial Arts were not true Martial Art but a village art
designed to help repel raiders. Each village or Barangay did not have standing
armies to protect them but had a Datu or Chief and small core highly trained
fighters that served as his protectors and would be sub-leaders of the village.
These men also had other responsibilities such as raising food from farming
fishing and hunting. These men also were poets and musicians at the time of
festivals. The village had families and the men of these families would train and
practice their village art as well having to provide for their families. The original
arts were broken into separate fighting arts, like swordsmanship, archery, spear
and shield usage, stick-fighting, knife fighting, hand to hand fighting and
With cultural exchange through trade and settlement with the Chinese
brought in the gun-powder and the casting of brass and bronze cannons. This
added to use of artillery, steel for swords and amour for those that could afford it.
Many of the villages built different types of defensive fortifications against raiders
for many places. The raiders came from Japan, China, Borneo, as well as
neighboring islands. The Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese were just another
group of raiders to the people of the Philippines.
Pangamut refers to skill of persons hands, typically used in the description
of empty hands fighting. The term Pangamut was recorded by the Spanish in
1800 in the book De Los Delitos (Of the Crimes) by Don Baltazar Gonzalez. He
credited Datu Mangal the father of Lapu-Lapu with bringing the fighting art we
call: Arnis, Eskrima or Kali to Mactan Island. He said that it was Sri Bataugong
and his son Sri Bantug Lamay brought the fighting art to Cebu. It was Mangal’s
son Datu Lapu-Lapu who developed a style called Pangamut. Datu Lapu-Lapu
was considered by Spanish as criminal as he killed Magellan and did not submit
to the Spanish Occupational forces. Datu Lapu-Lapu is considered by his people
as a Hero as he and his people held off the Spanish invasion. The people of
these islands considered the Spanish as Pirates or raiders..
Today the Filipino Martial Arts have evolved into over 100 different styles.
The common thread in most of them is they can be grouped into three complete
self-defense systems which utilize sticks, swords, empty hands and other
weapons. It is the original mixed martial art that based upon simple, non-flashy
battle tested methods of fighting. They were designed to use natural efficient
motions and exploit the weaknesses of your opponent’s body. A complete
Filipino Martial Arts system being taught to student contains certain basic things.
First you lean to use a rattan stick, it is known as the poor man’s weapon and
punching bag. The real purpose of the stick is used to teach your body how to
move for attacking, defending, counter attacking, grappling and throwing. The
next part is when you learn to use and defend against blade, like a bolo or knife,

and then last but not least you learn to use your hands and feet like the stick and
the knife. Within a complete system you will find it has hand to hand, hand and
foot fighting as well as wrestling methods.
Some styles are very complex like Modern Arnis and Doce Pares as they
are multiple systems blended to teach a system with multiple weapons and
methods, other are as simple like a barrio system with just five or six strikes with
single stick only with no training on the use of blade or empty hands methods.
Some families still have fighting systems that have no name but still just as
effective as well known ones. Some Martial Art academies offer stick-fighting
training to supplement their core art like Karate, Kung Fu, or Taekwondo. Each
has its strength and weakness. Some systems just do drills, some spar with
padded sticks only; others spar with rattan sticks and safety gear.
The Filipino Fighting Arts are just as good today as they were then. This is
because the Filipino Martial Arts are built on battling a variety of foreign invaders.
It works amazingly well against any style of Martial Art today. The United States
Army included portions of FMA in its training manual for soldiers.
Today in the USA there are local, regional, national and world
tournaments in FMA. These tournaments are the way many clubs test their skills.
In the greater Los Angeles area there are roughly 25 groups or clubs that teach
the Filipino Martial Arts. There are Filipino, Filipino-Hawaiian, Fil-Am and
American teachers that share their love for FMA. A fair number of the American
teachers in the Filipino Martial Arts are married to Filipinas and share the art and
culture with their children and students.

What makes up the basics of Filipino Martial Arts known as Eskrima Arnis
or Kali? This art is a complete fighting art with the primary focus being on the
weapons and the defense against them. The basics are made up of simple
mechanical principles, good body mechanics and the economy of motion. Let’s
break these down into areas of study. In order to be a good FMA fighter, a
student must have good basics.
The fighting system was originally used to train fellow villagers in a short
period of time for combat against other island villages and foreign invaders. The
typical time available between rainy time was just a matter months. There was no
time or reason to teach flashy techniques or train only those with special abilities.
The people had to become proficient quickly or perish in battle.

The traditional arts are known as Kali, Eskrima or Arnis, stick, knife and
hand to hand fighting was developed over a period of many centuries in the
Philippines as her people fought for their independence from foreign invaders.
Each skirmish with a new culture added to the Filipino Martial Arts as the warriors
developed techniques to combat foreign styles. Subsequently, more than 100
different Filipino Martial Arts styles developed, which can be grouped into three
complete self-defense systems which utilize sticks, swords, empty hands and
other weapons.
This book does not take the place of training with an Instructor/Master/
Guro but to supplement the training as this fighting art is one that needs to be
learned by hands-on practicing. In the old days, a Guro would spoon feed you a
little information at time, so that you could digest and remember it. Practice every
day you can and play with everyone you can and you will grow. Each body is
different so just because you cannot do the technique just like another guy’s
does not make it wrong. Make sure the motion is clean and smooth before trying
to be fast. FMA is about finding your own way! Put together your own toolbox of
good techniques. Have anyone teaching you explain the concepts behind their
method or combination.

Table of Contents Book#1

1. Overview
2. Stick striking patterns
3. The stick & its purpose
4. Grips & stick sizing
5. Stances & body positions
6. Ground angles
7. Body Lines, re-angling, attacks & blocks
8. Arm angles & lengths
9. Ranges of fighting
10. Types of strikes- use of the weapon hand
11. Blocking
12. Counter Attack Defense
13. Using the live hand
14. Hand checking-Counter checking
15. Basic disarming concepts
16. Stick grappling & throw basics
17. Empty-hand methods- Fight or Wrestle
18. Hubad & Combinations
19. Empty Hands verses stick
20. Stick verse knife technique
21. Basic knife technique
22. Basic pocket knife training
23. Basic bolo training
24. Basic Espada Y Daga training
25. Basic Sinawalli-Double Stick fighting
26. Basic History overview

1. Overview-Types of FMA Weapons- Use & Strikes for Sticks, Bolo and
Knives and other Weapons

In the basic level FMA training weapons consist of three types, sticks,
sword/bolo and knife. Everybody is introduced to the stick; the stick is an impact
weapon primarily, and is used as thrusting weapon. Impact strikes are broken
into forehand and backhand strikes. As a thrusting weapon it is used in a forward
thrusting motion or rearward motion. Forehand and Backhand strikes can be
linear or curving type. There are full beat, half beat and quarter beat strikes.
Each has its time and place for application.

Many of the types of weapons used in FMA training

The length of the stick dictates the reach of the weapon and the amount of
maneuverability you have around obstacles. It is recommended that all students
should practice in variety of areas such as the typical open park area, around
trees, in halls or tunnels, around parked cars and alleys. If possible with safety
equipment have a student be in the middle of a crowd in a gang style attack.
The thickness of the stick does affect the amount of transferred energy; an
example of this is the thicker the stick the heavier the impact, the skinny the stick
the whippier the stick. The hardness of the stick adds to the force of the impact
due to the weight of the stick.

2. Stick Striking Patterns
Every system and style has a method the use to create angles of attack.
Each one has their own good reasons for it. It is not the place of this book to
address the hundreds of systems and why they chose those angles to fight and
defend. You must study with a Guro or teacher to fully understand why. The
purpose of this book is to teach basics common with all FMA systems in their
core mechanics.
The five classic systems were, Estokada, Kruzada (Cruzada), Sinawali,
Rendonda (Redondo) and Abaniko. Each of these based upon movement
patterns. The classic basic striking methods were Rompida (up & down
movements), Abaniko (back and forth fan movements), Banda Y Banda
(horizontal movements) and Rendonda (circular X-movements).

The FMA fighting systems are based on the triangle principle. The ranges
of striking are based on triangles. There are triangles in the footwork, there are
lines of attack and defense, there are circles and there are “T” in the body. To
understand each of these in a basic concept will help you learn to fight better.
The foot work, blocking, striking and empty hands are all based on
triangles. The center of the body is also based on this for good fighting balance.
To build a strong house you must have good foundation. Footwork is critical to all
fighting systems; good footwork equals good body mechanics. Good body
mechanics equals a good foundation.

3. The Stick & its Purpose

The stick is a training tool, as well as weapon at the same time. The stick
is just a poor man’s training tool that trains the user for the motions of a blade
and empty hands (hand to hand) fighting. The strikes and blocks motion of stick
fighting translates to blade or to the knife or to empty hands.

The Stick and its Parts

The stick has four parts to it. There is the tip, the blade portion/section, the
handle, and the butt. It you fully understand the stick as an impact weapon, as a
lever and as a blade, then you will fully understand the stick.

Tip Portion Blade Portion

4. Grips and Stick Sizing
Grips- The grip on the stick is critical in retaining your stick when fighting.
Too big or too small will cause many problems in your arm! Your proper grip size
is measured from the middle of your palm to the tip of your third finger. Use a
paper tape measure to make the measurement. Wrap this tape measure around
your stick once; it should be the same if too small, use bicycle handle bar foam,
sports grip tape, or even pipe insulation foam tape to increase the diameter. If
you stick is too large get a smaller one. It is better just to buy the correct
diameter stick.
I like to use an overlapping thumb grip; it is natural and common grip.
There is also straight thumb, side thumb and reverse overlapping grip. Each grip
has specific application to provide the maximum effect.

Over Lapping Grip

Overlapping- To find your basic grip position, put the stick in your left hand with
the butt even with the bottom of your hand, close all four of your fingers, then
wrap your four right fingers and overlap your thumb. This is natural grip or over
lapping thumb. Some systems believe that you should only have two fingers of
stick length showing as you could possibly be disarmed if you have more sticking
out. As the butt of the stick is used to hook and strike you need to have some.

Straight Thumb Grip

Straight Thumb- The basic straight thumb is done by putting the stick in your left
hand with the butt even with the bottom of your hand, close all four of your
fingers, then wrap your four right fingers and put your thumb straight up. This grip
is used in Espada Y Daga for the knife grip. This grip is also called a foil grip.

Side Thumb Grip

Side Thumb- The basic side thumb is done by putting the stick in your left hand
with the butt even with the bottom of your hand, close all four of your fingers,
then wrap your four right fingers and put your thumb bent against the outside
stick. This grip is used for a rapid reverse technique of the stick or knife.

Reverse Grip

Reverse Grip- The basic reverse grip is done by putting the stick in your left
hand with the butt even with the top of your hand, close all four of your fingers,
then wrap your four right fingers and overlap your thumb. The reverse grip is
used when you would strike some with a Punya/butt strike, it is also used when
you are knife fighting and throwing a punch with the knife to cut them with a jab.
This grip is also called an Ice-Pick grip.

5. Stances & Body Positions

Fighting Stance
In three main types of FFA the stance is basically the same. Remember
that all stances in FMA are fighting stances. The typical stance is with your
weapon hand forward. If you are right handed then you will have your right hand-
weapon hand is forward and your right foot forward. Your left foot is facing
forward about shoulder width apart from your right foot. Do not use an L stance.
Your knees are slightly bent with your feet planted flat on the ground.
In FMA there are stances but better term should be body positions. You
are not rooted in any one position for any real length of time. You have a natural
stance this allows your switch to left or right stance/position quickly. Your primary
stance is a basic forward stance. I will list the stance/body positions as follows:

 Natural stance
 Forward stance
 Deep forward
 Deep forward diagonal stance
 Forward diagonal stance- right
 Forward diagonal stance -left
 Side diagonal stance- right

 Side diagonal stance- left
 Rearward diagonal stance- right
 Rearward diagonal stance- left
 Reverse stance
 Deep reverse stance
 Cat stance
 Hook stance
 Attention stance

Natural Stance Forward Stance

Attention Stance Deep Forward Stance

Reverse Stance Cat Stance

Hook Stance Side Diagonal Stance Right

Deep Reverse Stance Side Diagonal Stance Left

Footwork and positioning is critical for the generation of power and the
avoidance of attacks. Footwork needs to be divided into four areas; these are
stationary, linear, shifting and curving. The stationary positions are natural,
forward, diagonal, side shifting, rear shifting, cat stance, and hook stance,
reversing. Footwork can be sliding, cross stepping and normal walking.

Male & Female Triangles overlapping the cross

6. Ground Angles
Ground angles are described by use of the male and female triangle when
describing the attack and defense used in FMA. The teacher must also show the
circle around the triangle to explain clearly re-angling. When two fighters meet all
of their weapons are facing each other. There are 10-12 weapons of each fighter

facing each other at that point. If both stick fighters stand there like two boxers
slugging it out then you have two male triangles facing each other. If one fighter
is offensive and the other is defensive then you have a male triangle meeting a
female triangle. When a fighter re-angles while attacking and the defender stays
stationary then the attacker circles the defender. If both stick fighters fight like
fencers then they are linear and use thrust attacks. The teacher must have the
student practice re-angling on a tire bag both right and left sides to have them
fully understand. The teacher can then have them practice checking/jamming
while re-angling. The teacher must also have them practice with the Plus sign on
the ground do their foot works. This teaches the student the footwork needed to
re-angle in quick stable manner.

7. Body Lines, Re-Angling- Attacks & Blocks

FFA/FMA is not boxing where two fighters just stand there and fight it out.
That is not true FMA only sport play with full armor. Fight as if you have no safety
gear! FMA is not fencing where the fighters lunge and thrusting is the objective.
As the targets are from head to foot, then adjusting the angle of one’s body is just
as important. Your opponent is attacking you and they have a center line that all
of their attacks must cross to cause damage to you. If you can control the
centerline you can control the fight! This can be done by blocking their in-coming
strike, parrying their strike away, by stepping to the side out of the way, by check
and passing their weapon arm away. This too is body angling. Think of them in a
three dimensional triangle that is coming at you like a wedge. Timing is
something that you must develop when fighting, when to moving and cut when to
move out when to weave, when to bob, when to dodge, This must be done with
practice sparring. Some of the techniques are known as Elastico some will call
the old man’s dodge. The bob and weave is done when you are checking,
passing, countering and re-angling at the same time.

Angling the body bobbing and weaving is better than blocking as you do
not get hit! Another method of body re-angling is an old man’s dodge. This takes
time, practice and stretching. The stance is very important so you are deep and
then able to slip out of the way just as your attacker swings. This means that your
footwork and reach are correct to hit with the tip but then get out of the way. The
body is re-angling that the range is re-set.
The alternating low and high attack by rapidly changing from deep stance
to jumping up and striking the top of the head is method of body re-angling.
Another variation of this done by the fighter in kneeling position, drawing a semi-
circle in front of them, to determine the range and the jumping up and striking.
Another variation of this concept is from crouching position simple striking the
ground with a backhand and then ricocheting off the ground and quickly striking
your incoming opponent. Another simple method of re-angling is done with your
foot works by re-angling via foot work stances and reversing your direction.
Basically the concept one of getting out of the way quickly, this can be done the

student learning to be fighting on the balls of their feet and being able to rotate

8. Arm Angles and Lengths

Arm angles and length when striking at Largo, Meda and Korto ranges a
teacher must explain about when fighting adjust and change. When you teach
your students to re-angle and adjust their bodies then they must re-adjust their
arm angles to adjust their strikes. The male triangle is good example of the
concept of this. As you get closer to the point then the sides get narrower, when
then so is same as your arms. A teacher must demonstrate this with the arms
while blocking and striking. The student may need it drawn and explained in
concept shown to fully grasp this concept.

Re-angling involves footwork, body positions, arm positions, arm lengths

and fighting ranges. This subject is not one that should be glossed over in
training but it should be made second nature to the students.

9. Ranges of Fighting

There are basic three ranges of fighting Long range called Largo, Medium
range called Media and Close range called Korto (Corto).
Long range-Largo is when you can strike with the tip of your stick to your
opponent’s hand. This range has no hand checking or passing. The Medium
range Media is when you can hit your opponent’s arms/body and check the
weapon hand. At this range you can punch and kick as well. You can usually
sweep the leading leg durring this time. Close range-Korto is when you can hit
the backside of your opponent as well as use elbows knees when fighting. You
are able to wrap their leg and sweep, grapple and choke with the stick.

Largo Range

10. Types of Strikes

The striking is typically done by one of three areas of the stick depending
upon the type of strike. The tip strike (the last 3 inches) is used to deliver the

most energy. The blade portion (middle section) is used for (media) medium
strike or a parrying block. The butt (under your grip) is used for butt strikes and
The tip is most effective for power strike with speed. It is also used in
certain strikes in slicing motion followed up with tip section strike. The tip
section, the last six inches is most effective for chopping strikes and hammering
strikes. The blade portion is most effective for punching type of strike and slicing
type of strike. The butt is most effective for a hammer fist type of strike.
There are basically five basic strikes in FMA. These are a forehand strike,
backhand strike, a forehand thrust, a backhand thrust and straight thrust.
Basic Strikes are liner in pattern. Intermediate are linier, then
curving/redirecting. Advanced strikes are curving then-short redirecting circular
strikes. Your sparring pattern is the same as your fighting/training pattern for
medium and long range fighting.

Forehand Thrust Forehand Strike

Backhand Strike

Strikes- Strikes are broken into three basic groups based upon the
direction of travel of the strike. These are forehand, backhand and thrust strikes.
It does not matter if the strike is linear, curving or reversed it still five basic types.
All strikes generate the most power through proper body mechanics. Stick strikes
are impact strikes. To generate power basically power is generated in the feet
properly spaced through feet/leg rotation and is transferred to the hips and into
the shoulders, and finally into the arms. The wrist proves the snapping motion.
The weapon hand gives direction and targeting to the strike. The energy is
generated by rotating your body and stick together. The weight is transferred
from the forward leg to the rearward in quick rotating motion. 70% was on the
front and 30% was on the rearward. That is reversed when you strike. To make
this happen you must be on the balls of your feet with about ¼ inch of space
under your heels. This works for all linear strikes in the largo, and media ranges.
This will not work for your curving strikes power generation. Curving strikes
power is generated in by the rotation of the arm and wrist, a quick snapping
motion. You start with the butt up and tip down to snap the shot in quickly.
Remember sky to ground, always strikes from sky to ground or upwards strikes
ground to sky.
If you do not put your body into it as you strike, then you are just using
your upper body or only your shoulder. It will not be powerful and you will tire out
Your knuckles serve as the blade edge reference to the strike with stick.
Strikes are done with three parts of the stick: tip, blade and butt.
The strikes are done with different parts of the stick. The tip of the stick is
used for linear sticks. The last three inches are use in certain curving shots like
arcos and Circulos. Witiks and Pitiks are done with the tip. Thrusts are done with

the tip. Blade strikes are done with the blade portion in slicing motion. Butt or
Punya strikes are done with the butt end in quick jabbing motion, hooking motion
or done in hammering motion.
When you are fighting in Korto range the tip is used in hammering motion,
but you must shorten the length of your grip on the stick Use a hammering
motion like you would to drive a 16 penny nail with framing hammer.
For the most transference of energy, the tip strike is most effective. How
you strike is adjust according to the range you are fighting. Your range of motion
is shortened as you get closer to your opponent. Remember to attack the fangs
of the snake first! Go for the hands then the knees.
In the grappling range you can use a two handed (hands on both ends)
inward strike using the blade portion to drive the person’s body into you. This
should be mixed with locks and chokes.

Plancha strike
Plancha- It is blade strike is done with the blade portion of the stick, It is done as
an under-hand liner strike that is done like a jab punch and you wipe the stick
across as you step angle off side. Make sure you step off with the foot that is side
you are going to strike for power delivery.

Songkiti strike
Songkiti- The thrusting motion generates energy through two methods a straight
lunge thrust or a curving re-angle motion known as Songkiti. This is used to
target soft areas of the body like the eyes, throat, solar plexus and groin. A
properly done Songkiti can put the diaphragm into spasm in one motion.

Punya strike
Punya- A Punya done to the same areas in close quarters fighting (Korto) can do
equal damage when done with force. Just quick short motions can cause your
opponent to be disabled quickly. This motion can be done to trigger a gag reflex
in the throat when done to the throat at the Sternal Notch. The same motion can
be done to the base of the jaw by the ear; this will cause intense pain without
permanent damage.

Punching- The basic is a Meda strike and is delivered like jab. There are five
basic punches and two advanced method punches. The 5 basic are the hammer
fist, jab, cross, hook and uppercut. 2 advanced punches are the spinning back
fist and hammer fist-elbow strike. Power is generated from the hips into the
shoulders then the arms. A good punch is aimed 6 inches past the body. One
must image that they are punching through the body. A hammer fist is the same
motion as the forehand and backhand strikes only if using the weapon hand you
are striking with the butt of the stick. If you are striking with a fist it is with base of
the fist. A jab is the same as media strike; the only difference is that stick is what
hits your opponent instead of your fist. A jab punch is done straight at your
target. A cross punch is done across the body to the opposite side of your
opponent’s body. A hook punch is done as name in implies with a hooking
motion. An elbow strike can be added when one throws hook punch. For
maximum impact if you use the checking hand to stop/ hold your opponent and
then hit them with the hook. With stick in your hand you are using butt of the stick
for the strike. A spinning back fist is done when you reverse from the hawk
stance, and change direction and strike with a backhand strike.

Witik strike
Curving Strikes- The curving strikes group basically consists of Pitiks, Witiks,
Circulos, Arcos and side winders. A Pitik is done in flicking motion of the wrist by
the weapon hand, it is a tip strike. This strike is usually done to distract but can
be extremely effective when done to sensitive areas like the breast. A Witik is
done with a wrist snapping motion like you would do with a wet towel. There are
inside Witiks and outside Witiks, inside done in a forehand motion and an outside
are done in a backhand motion with wrist. A Circulo strike is done with the wrist
and forearm in a circular motion. For maximum effectiveness you start with you
forearm with the butt of the stick straight up and the tip is brought forward in
clockwise motion rapidly. You follow all the way through on this strike. An Arco in
just two Circulos are done one right after another. Twirling strikes are best to
keep crowds back. These are effective for multiple opponents when using edge
weapons. Sidewinders are done similar to a Circulo except that it goes opposite
side from where the strike originated from. You start with the butt up striking
curving manner hitting first the spot where you first hit in combination. A
Sidewinder is usually the third strike of the combination.

Re-angling strikes- The Abaniko or fan strike in done two basic methods-
Traditional and Modern. Traditional is wide striking pattern of 360 degrees of arc,
to be really effective you must have total body mechanics for the rotation of your
body when tip striking with your stick. Modern is a short quick strike done with
just the wrist and a forearm in quick rapid manner. This is usually done to the
face mask of your opponent with quick follow up power shot to the body.
Ricochet strikes are true re-angle strike done from bouncing the stick off the floor
and quickly into an on-coming opponent, or off your opponents stick and into
your opponent’s facemask.

11. Blocking

The ability to block is as important as the ability to hit! Anybody can hit but
not everybody can block because they are not trained to. Learn to block quickly
and counter strike. First learn to get in the ready position quickly. This is how to
block in the Meda range. The stick is in the right (strong or dominate) hand at
angle to makes up one side of the triangle. Left (weak) hand (checking hand) is
ready to check at an angle to makes the other side of the triangle. Your palm
edge (the meaty part) should be against the stick so you do not get struck by the
recoil of your opponent’s strike. Your hip is squared up makes the third. Your
stick should never be further than the width of your hand spread wide, away from
your body. This allows you to have efficiency in motion a critical concept.

Basic rigid block

Always start in the ready position. Basic blocking is as follows: Your stick
is in your strong hand, grip is four fingers width up from the bottom. Your left
palm edge should be against the stick so you do not get struck by the recoil of
your opponent’s strike. Your left hand should be in about the middle of the stick
to reinforce it. Your stick should be about the width of your hand spread wide
from your body for quick blocking.

Angles of Defense

When you are blocking you are shielding up against attacks. The most
basic type of blocking is very simple concept called making a door- there are four
sides to the door. The teacher has the student block the top, the right side, the
left side and the bottom at the groin level. This will works for media range

Striking blocks

Blocking- There are two basic blocks reinforced and augmented. There are rigid
blocks and augments blocks. Reinforced blocks are used at two ranges, Largo
and Media. A basic skill that should be taught to students is the importance of
angling their stick in all of the blocks of Largo, Media and Korto ranges.

The ability to block is as important as the ability to hit! Anybody can hit but
not everybody can block because they are not trained to. Learn to block quickly
and counter strike. First learn to get in the ready position quickly.

Rigid Block

Basic Method#1 -The stick is in the right (strong or dominate) hand at

angle to makes up one side of the triangle. Left (weak) hand (checking hand) is
ready to check at an angle to makes the other side of the triangle. Your palm
edge should be against the stick so you do not get struck by the recoil of your
opponent’s strike. Your hip is squared up makes the third. Your stick should
never be further than the width of your hand spread away from your body. This
allows you to have efficiency in motion.

Flat Roof Block Angled Roof Block

Largo Block Blade style
Largo Range Blocking- Method #1 When you blocking at the Largo
range you use an overlapping thumb grip and reinforce the wrist with your empty
hand, angle your stick outward to take the shock strike. This allows you to have
fast counter strike. When teaching blocking, start with have the student reinforce
the tip and keep the stick straight. Have them progress to reinforcing the stick
with the meaty part of the palm. They should finish with a reinforced wrist on the
weapon hand. When blocking in the Largo range against edged weapons like the
Bolo verses Olisi take the hits toward the tip to one third of the stick. It is
extremely important to have your stick angled outward. You want the blade to
bite into the stick not skip off and cut you.

Method#2-Largo Range Block Flat Hand Method This method has its
roots in blade fighting with bolos. It is done as follows: the weapon is in your right
hand and the left hand is flat, palm out at the mid-point of the blade (blade would
be flat) of stick. The small finger and the base of the thumb is lined up with the
stick straight up. This allows the defender to block, check and parry quickly. This
allows for efficiency in motion which is critical in FMA.

Method #1- Meda Range Blocking- When blocking at the Meda range
the stick is kept close to the body, sometimes it necessary to have the butt
against the body. The stick is gripped with the overlapping grip. The stick is
reinforced with meaty part of the palm or edge of your hand. One school of
thought feels strongly that you should be low (hand width above your other hand)
on your re-enforcement of the stick and another strongly feels that you should be
half way up the stick with your hand flat. Keep the stick angled outward slightly to
take the impact. If you are going to plan to disarm your opponent then you may
block with your stick and reinforce the stick with the meaty part of the forearm.
Your stick is angled slightly outward. This allows you to snatch and grab their
weapon or check their weapon.

Method#2- Shield Block High

A shield block is different than the basic type in method #1. The stick is
placed behind the arm on the center of the forearm. The body is turned to meet
the strike. The body and stick rotate away allowing you to block the weapon
strike, parry and check/grab you opponents arm and follow up with quick counter
strike. This method has its root in the bolo/ blade as well.

Method#3 Shield Block Low
A low shield block is also called the bolo strike. The weapon is pointing
down with weapon reinforced by the live hand forearm. This allows for block,
check, control method and counter striking quickly.

Method #4 Umbrella Block Payong

The Payong block has its roots in blade. With your opponents stick striking
at your head, you are able to block the strike, check you opponents arm, reverse
the direction of the strike by going around your head and shoulders and striking
your opponent in the head. This move was done using the flat of the bolo and
was brought around using the flat to strike the side of the head and stun your

Augmented Block High Line Augmented block Low Line

Korto Blocking- When being attacked with an inside Witik a downward shield
block works well for low line attacks when combined with a live hand checking to
your opponent’s shoulder. For high line attacks us a shield blocks. Follow up
quick shot to the body.


Parrying- Is type blocking that is used when defending against an Estokada to

the upper body/chest or the legs. The block is sliding block using the edge of the
stick, allowing the energy of the slide across the weapon in striking edge to edge.
This prevents breaking the stick from a stick to stick collision. The strike used by
your opponent is a slicing strike. This strike can be parried and check at the
same done with practice of a coordinated effort of the weapon hand and empty

Additional blocks that are useful for certain attacks; straight low block for
low kicks to hip or groin, reinforced wrist roof block- for blocking hits to head and
allowing a rapid counter strike. Remember that this based upon right hand to
right hand fighting. This then changes when you are using your left to their right,
and this again changes when you fight with your left to their left hand!

12. Counter Attack Defense

Counter attacks are done when your opponent attacks you first with a stick
and you block and counter. Basic counter attack is to block and then deliver and
counter strike to an open area of the body. This is done with a block check/pass
and counter strike.
When your opponent punches or kicks at you (usually a punch) during the
fight, instead of snaking them you pass the weapon and snake and lock the
attacking limb. Another method is employed when they punch after striking
during the media to corto range transition. First block the incoming weapon,
second pass the weapon away from your body, third you block the punch with
your weapon.

Sumbrada is simply a counter flow drill. The main goal of the Sumbrada
drills is to learn how to always remain "covered" while moving from range to
range, structure to structure, and technique to technique. Sumbrada training
bridges the gap between the learning of technique; and isolated sparring, is not
full power sparring. There is a HUGE difference between the two. Sumbrada also
is teaching you were your eyes should be watching. As well as teaching you use
your live hand in conjunction with your counterstrike and your eyes.
A simple Sumbrada drill can be made from a simple three, four, five or six
counter, striking pattern with one being the attacker and one being the defender.
Then you switch so that you flow back and forth. Here is an example of a simple
three count: Side A feeds a forehand shot to the shoulder, Side B blocks, Side B
feeds a backhand Side B blocks, Side A feeds a thrust to the body, Side B
parries and counters with curving strike to the head to Side A. Side A now blocks,
Side B now feeds a forehand to Side A’s shoulder. Side A blocks and Side B
feeds a backhand strike to the opposite shoulder and Side A blocks. Side B
thrusts at Side A’s Abdomen and Side A blocks and then counters to with curving
shot to Side B’s head. This is simple counter for counter flow drill that teaches
you how to deal with medium power while blocking & parrying then counter
attacking! Sumbrada is used with Stick practice, Blade practice and Empty
Hands play.

Close Range Fight Tricks

When fighting in the Corto or Close range fighting distance you can block
the body. You can pin them down first by stepping on their foot and then using
your elbow to pin their weapon arm against their body.
When being body block by someone else, you push back and strike with fast
strikes to the face/head. The counter is to push/make space/check with your left
arm and use your right arm against the body with a stick on the left side for Witik
strike to opponent’s body start low at the knee, then ribs, then to the side of the

Counter Strikes
Counter strikes are done two ways. First is by blocking then counter
striking. The second is a parrying block with re-direction. Counter strike principle
is simple. It is this, just do the reverse of the strike that your opponent is doing.
Remember that counter striking is a pattern system not always rigid fixed body
point system. Remember to attack the weapon hand!

13. Using the Live Hand or Empty Hand

Ok, so now we get to the live hand or empty hand as it is called. Here are
my thoughts and tips on its usage: Yes, the Manongs were right and the use of
the empty hand is critical when fighting. Your empty hand should serve a variety
of functions like re-enforcing, checking, jamming, pulling, hooking, pushing,
deflecting/passing, grabbing, opening, punching and blocking. These skills are
not style specific but are general in nature with FMA system that teaches Arnis,
Eskrima, or Kali.
First, your hand should be on your chest in the guard position. You hand
should be shaped like “C”. If you are blocking at the largo to media range you
should be over the weapon hand, re-enforcing it still in a “C” shape. Your arms
are extended outward.

Note the Re-enforced stick

Re-enforcing- “Kalasag” When you are rigid blocking with your stick, use
the meaty part of your palm resting against your stick. Your arms should not
extended, keep your elbows tucked in alongside your body. Remember that you
are block with stick at the media and corto ranges.
Checking- When you are checking typically your hand come from behind
the weapon and stopping the forward motion of the stick. Your hand is in a “C”
shape and you are catching the stick and hand together at the hand. Do not wrap
your thumb in. The check is light like you would use to catch a light bulb, not like
ball. Allow your hand to stay in contact with light pressure and move with your
opponent’s weapon hand to set them up for disarm.

Note the jamming of the weapon and hands

Jamming- “Ipit” This done when you can anticipate your opponent’s
strike and can throw in your empty hand to jam the weapon. This is to keep them
from swinging the strike. This is done throwing up your hand and jamming before
they swing on the forehand strike. On the backhand strike you jam the forearm
downward, you can also hammer fist downward on their forearm. When you are
being thrust at, use an inward jamming motion with a “C”-shaped hand. Jamming
is also done with your empty hand & arm. You basically cloths line your opponent
across the chest, with your elbow at the arm/ shoulder level as you come in this
jams the weapon arm and your opponent’s forward motion.
Pulling-“Hatak” This done when you can grab the stick after you have
blocked it. You just pull stick and rotate your body. They may or may not let go.
You can also simply grab the guy’s cloths or body protector sleeve and pull them
off balance. This is done by pulling them in the direction they are already
Hooking- The hooking with two fingers known as the Kowit is done
typically after you have checking the incoming weapon/ weapon hand. It is done
with two fingers, the pinky and ring fingers. This is typically done in an
inward/downward or outward pulling method. Typically it is used to pull your
opponent off balance and leading to a disarm. Hooking with your empty hand to
your opponent’s neck and pulling forward throws them off balance. Your hand is
shaped like a hook.

Note the Pushing on the weapon arm

Pushing- It is just as it sounds to push on you attacker on their weapon

hand shoulder in tournament. In real life it is to the face or the jaw, pushing it
upward and back. This is simple tactic that is highly effective. Your hand is open
and in the C shape when pushing against the jaw or face. Use more of an open
palm when pushing on the shoulder.

Deflecting/Passing- Deflecting by the empty hand is done when your “C”

shaped hand comes downward and deflects your opponent’s weapon hand
down. You can deflect your opponent’s weapon wand outward. This is done in
Songa-Wakli motions. This is done in a circular motion. By deflecting your
opponent’s weapon hand you make and opening for you to strike them.

Note the grabbing of the weapon arm at the wrist

Grabbing- “Agaw” It is just as it sounds, first you block and check then
you grab their weapon. While you hold it then you hit them as they try to pull
away on their weapon. Grabbing can also be done by grabbing their gear and
pulling them toward you, this takes them off balance and then you hit them.
Sometimes when you clash with your opponent you can quickly grab and pull his
weapon away if their gripe into to firm.
Opening/Spreading- “Hubad” is to make an opening in your opponent’s
defenses by deflecting and passing their weapon hand away and this makes the
opening. It is done with your empty hand in a “C”-shape.
Punching-“Suntok” When you are fighting and you have blocked your
Opponent’s stick and weapon hand you can punch them with you empty hand
with a jab, hook, a cross or an uppercut. Make an opening by setting them up to
block and check then hit them with your fist from the other way.
Blocking- Using your Empty Hand to block, if you’re busy attacking and
you are checked by your opponent, use their empty hand against them. Block
their arm with the meaty part of your arm. This technique will only work at the
corto range and it is a ridged block. This works for forehand and backhand
Distracting- Using your empty hand for distracting is done when you are
getting ready to spar. You move your fingers like a spider’s legs up by your face
to have your opponent focus on this instead of on your weapon hand.
Remember that everything I have just described are mental tools. Build up you
tool box of skills and learn use all of your tools when you fight.

14. Hand Checking & Check-Counter Checking

Hand checking is an important part of blocking. While blocking, you check

your opponent’s weapon hand with just enough pressure to stop motion. Check
the weapon and the hand at the same time. Two fingers to the weapon and two
to the hand., this one method another is just check the hand. If not, check the
arm. Remember to pass on the inside. If you cannot check the hand like
catching an egg, then you counter strike. For all blocks on the left side of the
body it is for forehand strike. For all blocks on the right side, it for a backhand
strike. Passing needs to be done sometimes to clear the weapon to counter
strike. This is done by checking the weapon hand, then giving it a quick
downward push/slap, then counter striking at the same time checking the
weapon hand again.

15. Disarming Your Opponent

Ok, the simplest disarm is based upon the thumbs up, thumbs down
principle. Your thumb is upward when gripping, you are strong, when your thumb
is pointing down it is weak as your grip is weak. So the simplest disarming is to
stop the person’s strike with a block and grab the stick rotating the wrist outward
& downward. This method will work from a forehand or back hand strike.

Snaking Disarm

Note the Vining of the weapon arm wrist

Snaking or Vining disarms are done on either side of the body. These
disarms are also core to many other concepts such as stick grappling, stick
throws and other fighting methods. The method for disarm is different for weapon
hand side (right) compared to the checking hand side (left). With all disarms to be
effective, first you must block the incoming hit

Weapon hand side-The disarm method must be done in two moves to be
effective. Step 1 Block the hit with your weapon. Step 2 Check the weapon hand.
Step 3 Snake quickly your weapon hand until you are wrist to wrist with your stick
up; apply pressure to push your opponent’s wrist outward. Step 4 Rotate your
body, away from your opponent in circular motion at the same time strike your
opponent’s weapon forearm with a hammer fist or elbow or stick strike.

Checking hand side- The disarm method must be done in two moves to
be effective. Step-1 Block the hit with your weapon. Step-2 Check the weapon
hand. Step-3 Snake quickly your checking hand until you are wrist to wrist with
your fist is thumbs up; apply pressure to push your opponent’s wrist outward.
Step-4 Rotate your body away in circular motion at the same time strike your
opponents weapon forearm with the butt of your stick or elbow.

Strikes that are below the waist, for the disarm method to work; the weapon hand
must be brought up at least your mid -chest to work correctly.

Basic stick grappling- Leg Sweeping

16. Stick Grappling and Stick Throws

The stick can be used for close quarter’s combat method like hooking,
grappling and throw when executed with timing.
Things do have a tendency to change when you are grappling with weapons.
Stick grappling is a complex art it has a variety of special moves that you employ
on your attacker for instant, using the stick for locking in, come-alongs, levers,
choke holds or leg locks this techniques are at the disposal of stick grappler.
The grappler that wants to employ stick grappling needs to know how to
close the distance, closing the distance is one of the most dangerous parts of
combat being on the receiving end of the stick isn't any fun, you need to close the
distance and take control of the weapon hand. A combination of techniques can
be use when you are in close, using the butt (punyo) of the stick can be use to
strike to the vital areas of the head for instant, the temples, eyes and throat, a
distracting and damaging technique can lead to a take down with the stick. I
prepare using take downs and throws that damage’s my attacker so it set him up
for your finishing technique for instant securing your choke or just delivering a
precision strike.
To incorporate the body locks while stick grappling, the body lock is
accomplished by placing the stick around the body. Then using it as a lever to
pick-up your attacker and slam him to the ground. This must be executed quickly
or your attacker will slip out or grab you stick and used leverage against you. The
body lock is performed by to placing the stick at the thigh and bringing it up into
the groin area, lifting with the stick and dumping your attacker to the ground.
The single leg attack with the stick can set-up leg locks for instance
placing the stick behind the knee or ankle joint and tripping the attacker to the
ground making him more acceptable to leg locks and levers. Remember to get
out and train with these techniques so you become natural and fluent in stick
grappling range.

Forward Hooking- The butt or Punya method is done as throw based upon the
principle that were the head goes so goes the body. The technique is done like a
J-wrap in empty hands to the back of the neck, but you use the butt of the stick
quickly and throw them forward. It is best to use this in combination with a knee
to the face as you quickly pull them down into it.

Note the Punya hook to the neck

Reverse Hooking- The butt or Punya method is done as throw based upon the
principle that were the head goes so goes the body. The technique is done like
reverse J-wrap in empty hands to the back of the neck, but you use the butt of
the stick quickly and throw them forward. It is best to use this in combination with
a knee to the face as you quickly pull them down into it.

Locks- Locks are used in stick grappling techniques. There are wristlocks,
chicken wings, arm bars, ankle locks, leg bars, chest bar and chokes. These are
done in conjunction with strikes to soften them up and with quick motion take-
downs or restraint. These locks are done in conjunction with the empty hand and
will be cover in detail separately.

Triangle lock on wrist

Throws- Throws & sweeps are based upon the idea of disrupting your
opponent’s balance. This is done at the head-neck level, chest level and knee
level with your weapon hand and stick. There are other sweeps and throws that
are done with your empty hand Vining, hip throw and with leg wrap.

Punya Throw-The butt or Punya method is done as throw based upon the
principle, that where the head goes so goes the body. The technique is done like
a J-wrap in empty hands to the back of the neck, but you use the butt of the stick
quickly and throw them forward. Combine with a sweep to the leg.

Knee Sweep-The knee sweep can be done as simple as after striking

your opponent at the ribs then insert your stick behind the knee and pull while
pushing on the chest with your empty hand at the same time.

Basic Chest Throw

Chest Throw-The chest throw is done after softening up your opponent

with strikes, your stick is inserted at the chest while pulling them forward and off
balance. You are disrupting their balance at the chest level. Sweep their leg as
you throw them.

17. Empty Hands Methods (Fight & Wrestle)

To most people and martial artists, the Filipino Martial Arts purely
concentrate on the use of Sticks, Knives and Edged weapons. To those who
have some knowledge of the arts they know that it contains a large section of
empty hand fighting skills. The concept of Empty Hands means that your do not
have a weapon and have to use your hands and feet.

Basic check and Jab

These empty hand skills are derived from the movements with the weapons and
are taught within the framework of weapons techniques. The first concept is that
your hand and arm is the stick. The hand is the tip, the arm is the blade and the
elbow is the butt, just like the stick has a tip, blade portion and butt. The only
difference is the stick has a handle section.

Flowing attacks are commonplace where once you close the gap you hit
and hit until your opponent is incapacitated. Remember the art revolves around
the flow, you must be like water, moving from one obstacle to the next, you either
go through it or around it. This may well be due to the fact that most fights in the
Philippines involved weapons and you could not afford to let your opponent gain
the advantage over you.

In the Empty Hands methods you must look at the body on where it is
weak just like with knife fighting. The core of the body is soft and cannot take
very much damage. Think of limb destruction and soft spots on the body. The
joints are weak; the areas just above the joints are weak and easily damaged. If
someone kicks at you hit them on the ankle, if they punch at you parry them and
strike their wrist or elbow joint. Remember that your opponent can fight you if
they cannot use their limbs, by attacking joints, soft areas of the body and
pressure point area they will not be able fight.


Footwork is one of the key things that bind all the various fighting areas
together. This is basically around a boxing format with the notable addition of the
triangular footwork patterns. As any Eskrimador will tell you the footwork is the
primary means of evasion to an attack.

Right forward

Male and Female footwork is based around two triangles placed on the
floor in the shape of an X. If you stand in the centre point, the triangle growing
away from you is the female triangle and the triangle going behind you is the
male triangle. If you keep one foot in the centre and step out into a boxing stance
to one of the points or backwards keeping your lead foot in the centre you will
gain the basic footwork.

Male & Female Triangles overlapping the cross

If you add a large square around the X pattern you can then practice your step
and slide around the X then go through the X and make your own patterns up.(fig

Basic Cross for practicing footwork

The shapes can either be made up from sticks placed on the floor or you
can use tape to mark the pattern out with on the floor. I prefer using sidewalk
chalk outside to practice this.

Basic Cross for practicing footwork with Right & Left marked for training

The arrow is the tip of a spear. If you imagine a straight-line attack
towards you, such as a right jab or a thrust, the line is the shaft of a spear, you
can step to side of arrowhead to avoid the attack.

Direction of Attack

Striking with Empty Hands

Basic empty hands is just close range fighting. Your kicks are medium to
close range fighting. Basic empty hands strikes are done with the use of a
hammer fist. The hand is a closed fist and the striking portion is bottom of the fist
or the knuckles in cutting fashion. Your fist is the end of the club or stick and your
forearm is the stick. Your other hand can do the same for fast 1,2,3 striking
pattern. When applying energy in striking go from sky to ground with flow through
to apply full power to a punch.
Other kind of punches do put your wrist and hand a risk of being injured.
The jab punch, cross punch, hook and upper cut punches must use the first two
knuckles when striking.

Ready Position -Empty Hands Checking & Attack-Knife-edge Hand

Knife Edge Strikes

The knife edge of the palm can be used with practice, strike the meaty
part of the palm edge, cutting through just like the stick or the bolo. You must
build your hand to do this correctly. Practice striking with your hand like the stick.
Use the same body mechanics and areas to strike. The adjustment is to strike
key targets like soft tissue and vital organs instead of body structures like you
would with an impact weapon.

Palm strike/Upper cut to jaw
Finger Jabs & Palm Heel
Finger jab to eyes, use straight thrust or a curving Songkiti these are
basic techniques but they work well. A palm heel strike could be substituted just
as easily, and strike right above the eye to outside, this will stun the person and
they will see a flash and be slightly disorientated. Open hand fighting is found in
Tapi-Tapi method of fighting empty hand fighting. The strikes are with the edge of
the hand or the palm. This method is very effective in close quarters fighting and
can be combined with hooking, grabbing and pulling and using elbows and knee

Wrist Checking Ready Position X-Block

Empty hand blocks are either double palm blocks, check and pass, palm
block arm block and counter strike. These are call soft techniques by other
fighting arts. FMA uses re-direction of force or force reduction rather than force to
force. Force reduction is done when you double palm check the arm striking at
you. The targets for this are the wrist, forearm, or elbow. Block and counter
method is another concept. This is using one arm like the stick to block in rigid
block to opponents forearm, palm block to wrist then counter striking with the
hand of the stick arm or using an elbow for the strike. A good basic disarm
against a forehand strike is the empty hand using palm check/forearm block/
strike to the inside of weapon arm, and a counter strike to your opponent’s neck
with the a hammer fist from the inside arm.

Double Hands- Chain of Hands


In FMA fighters do not kick very high, instead they prefer to kick at waist
level and below, the primary targets being the thigh, knee, and shin. The kicks
are not very pretty to watch but are delivered with body weight behind them and
usually from punching range. Punching range is when you can touch them with
your hand.

You may be asking yourself "Why Punching Range?", this is because at

this distance you will be trying to counter your opponents attack and the kicking
techniques are used to distract your assailant, destroy his mobility and if possible
take them to the floor. You should be able to put these low level kicks in while
punching or locking

Remember FMA kicks are not fancy or high kicks. They are kicks that are
never above the waist! The foot & leg is just like the stick! It has a tip, blade and
butt. The top & bottom is the tip, the shin is the blade portion and the knee is the
butt of the stick. Again there is no handle. First is a simple kick, it is a front kick
done with the toe of your shoe. If you are wearing no shoes or sandals, so use
the ball of your foot. Lift your toes or you will break them. Remember to imagine
that you are kicking through your target when your kick. Put all of your weight into
it as you kick.

Front kick targets are the following:

Shin- This stops them in their tracks
Knee- This jams the knee and they cannot walk
Thighs- This paralyses the thigh muscle so they cannot kick.
Groin- This paralyses with the most pain.
Hip- this catch them coming in stops them

Heel Kick - This is delivered with the sole of the foot, usually from the rear leg to
the knee or the shin. This type of attack will cause instant pain and is intended to
stop the forward motion of the attacker. This kick will also keep pressure on the
opponent whilst allowing yourself time to maneuver into a better position.

Front / Point Kick - The Eskrima front kick is generally delivered with the ball of
the foot or the toes. This gives more penetration to the kick. The kick can either
be used as a straight attacking tool or as a counter attacking tool.

Shin blade Kick - The shin is usually delivered in a roundhouse fashion, either
to the side of the thigh, or to the front of the thigh which has to be felt to be
believed. This is usually delivered to help bend your opponent over. The kick to
the front of the thigh is delivered from the side.

Low Round Kicks

Low round kicks are done with your body rotating with your leg to make a
powerful strike. The shin bone becomes the stick striking the side of the knee or
even just back/side of the knee.

Low round kick targets are as follows:

Knee- This causes the leg to buckle.

Thigh- This paralyses the thigh muscle so they cannot kick. The knee is
primarily used to attack the thigh. The points to attack are the Sciatic Nerve
("Dead Leg"), the back of the thigh (Hamstring) and the front of the thigh.
Kneeing the front of the thigh is usually done to stop your opponent moving
forwards. This is not to say that obvious targets such as the groin are not taken
advantage of. The knee is also used in pushing attacks to off balance your
opponent, this is done by pushing your opponent’s knee either to the outside of
his body or by pushing the knee straight back. This is sometimes done in
conjunction with a foot trap to provide a lever. Remember that Basic FMA
teaches striking and blocking patterns not fixed target points when stick fighting.

Stamping is also another viable form of attack. As said before this is
usually done in conjunction with another form of attack to keep your opponent off
balance and confused. Using the stamping or pinning of the foot while stick
striking them and checking or pushing.

Wrestling-Disrupting the Body

The body is like three boxes or three stones stacked on top of one and
another. The head is the top the chest is the middle and the hips to the legs are
bottom. Disrupt this and they will fall down. The head is the steering wheel to the
body, were it goes the body will follow. When the head and arm are combined to
be spun, the body spins like a top. When the chest and the legs are moved in
opposite directions the body falls down. These are the basics of FMA wrestling.

Sleeper choke with body disrupting

Hooks with Hands and Feet

Simple hooks with your arm and hand or your foot can have dramatic
effect when done correctly. Simple hooks can be done with timing to the neck or
the feet. The hooking action should lead your opponent to collide with a solid
object like your knee, elbow or fist. So set them up with quick 1-2.

Neck Hook
Remember that the head will follow the body so use a quick J wrap of the
neck as you get out of the way. Pull their body toward the ground. Stand on one
leg. Use your opposite knee and jam them into it as you pull them down into it.

Feet Hooking

Pull their body off balance by grabbing your opponent’s foot with yours.
This can be done any time your opponent’s foot is opposite of yours. While
distracting your opponent with an attack to the body advance toward them and
quickly hook with your right their left foot right behind the ankle and pull quickly
toward them you. The hooking action should lead your opponent to collide with a
solid object like your other knee, elbow or fist.

Arm Vining
Arm Vining is done off of an outward parry at the Meda to Korto range just
like the stick motion, using the Vining motion inward toward the body with your
weapon hand & arm and use your Empty hand to put out and down ward
pressure on their arm or shoulder driving them downward.

Leg Vining
Leg Vining is done when you are having wrestle with a opponent at close
quarters, you will vine your opponent’s lead leg with your lead leg and tip their
upper body opposite of the direction you are sweeping their leg.

Feet Hooking

Pull their body off balance by grabbing your opponent’s foot with yours.
This can be done any time your opponent’s foot is opposite of yours. While
distracting your opponent with an attack to the body advance toward them and
quickly hook with your right their left foot right behind the ankle and pull quickly

toward them you. The hooking action should lead your opponent to collide with a
solid object like your other knee, elbow or fist.


18. Hubad

Hubad- a Visayan word to spread, it vulgar term meaning to spread a

women’s legs apart for sex. Be careful where you are using this term. Some
people will take offense to it.

Hubad can be practiced in many forms and in any number of counts. The easiest
method is probably 4-count. It is difficult to explain in words but I will do my best.
It is best to be shown and have someone walk your hands through using the dad
teaching method.

The simplest way of understanding is going from Horizontal motion to Vertical


1. Your partner throws a straight right punch at you.

2. You parry his wrist with your left palm.

3. Now scoop his wrist to his inside zone with the back of your right hand. This
should be in front of your left hand.

4. Slap his arm down with your left palm.

5. Punch towards him with your right fist. The sequence now reverses and your
partner has his turn.

This is a basic Hubad drill but at even a slightly higher level it includes
changeovers from right arm to left arm and also changing from the outside of the
arm to the inside.

Basic Combos

Your weapon arm is like stick and elbow as the butt of the stick across
bicep to destroy the muscle. The empty hand would parry the wrist and secure
the arm. If the opponents arm was straight then the elbow could be broken
instead. It is just a basic Arm-bar method. Step into the outside, and parry the
arm away. Secure the wrist/ weapon hand by grabbing. By wrenching your
weapon arm elbow down the bicep, essentially a FMA wrestling technique the
opponent can be bent over for a knee strike to the rib cage. The right hand is
primed for a follow-up punch to the neck or side of the head.

Punch and Kick Combinations
Yes, you can punch and kick while stick fighting, There are not many
competitions that allow it but it is practical to practice as in the Philippines, you
can punch, kick, Punya and sweep in stick fighting match.
Train for real life self defense combat. In order for the kicks to work you
should be in largo to media range. A simple basic combo would be a forehand
and back hand strike to the neck or shoulders and front kick to the Hip joint. Use
a front stop type kick. I have found this to be effective to disrupt my opponent’s
balance. If you lower the kick into knee or ankle, you can stop their forward
attack and they cannot run after you.
A punch can be timed into stick fighting. I found that you can use your
media strikes to the upper body. A forehand and backhand stick strike then follow
in with a left jab or left cross works well when someone is trying to disarm you
with Vining. Also just basic double strike (forehand backhand) and punch with
stick in your hand, makes your fist solid.

19. Empty Hands verses Weapon

The basic use of the empty hands involves two methods; one is double
palm blocks, with control & counter strike, the other is one hand open palm and
the arm is used for blocking just like the stick. This is done from the inside or
outside depending upon where the strike is coming from. These methods when
combined with a disarm technique are very effective, but must be done quickly to
be effective.

C-hand grab with Forearm disarming of Knife

A good basic disarm against a forehand strike is the empty hand using
palm check/forearm block/ strike to the inside of weapon arm, and a counter
strike to your opponent’s neck with the a hammer fist from the inside arm. You
must step into your opponent’s attack to make this work. I like to combine this
with a fast neck hook to your opponent and slam their face into your up-coming

Another good basic disarm against an inside strike in the palm check to
the weapon hand/wrist and the forearm block strike to the outside of the weapon
arm and the counter strike cloths lining them to the neck/throat backward and
sweeping their lead leg outward. To make this work you must step outside.
Parrying can used in conjunction with palm check method, it as simple as
a check and pass, one handed or check and pass two handed. One method
parrying is a scissor motion. You can strike with one hand pass with the other
against a forehand strike, going from open to closed position. On the backhand
strike you are going from closed to open, use the back of your empty hand to
scoop and you would strike with your weapon hand to the inside of your
opponent’s arm.

20. Stick verses Knife

Surprisingly the stick is great defense against a knife that is medium to

small in size. Remember you have the reach, but you must keep the person with
the knife out of his knife range to cut you but so you can hit them. Practice in the
Largo range. When you start to see the knife come out; strike quickly de-fanging
the snake. Be the first strike with strike to hand/wrist. Then hit the knee, step
sideways angling and hit them in the back of the head. This should drop them.

21. Basic Knife Concepts

Knife Fighting Patterns

Knife fighting patterns or strikes should be done in the same striking
pattern like stick fighting. Your range for knife is must closer than stick. You must
fight medium to close range with a knife. The hand is great first target so a
shorten range version of the long distance is now your medium range pattern.
Your medium range is now your close range striking fighting pattern. Remember
that this is for a slashing pattern. OK, really important that all real knife fights are
a tiger fight, both tigers get hurt and one will die. Be careful, a real knife fight
there is no guarantees.

Basic Knife Fighting

What is knife? A knife is a cutting tool and the shape of the blade dictates
how it will cut. The handle will dictate how it is held for efficiency. Knifes are
divided in three basic group based on size- 1)bolos & machetes, 2)hunting &
fishing knifes, 3)pocket knives & tactical folders. Swords are in a different group
as there are short swords and long swords.

Fighting with big knifes like bolo or machete like driving a truck. It takes
special skill to operate correctly. In largo and media range a big blade is best.
Hunting a fishing knives are like driving a four door sedan. They can maneuver
and work in limited spaces. They can be used in largo media and limited in corto.
Small knives are best for close quarters work and the blade can be hidden. This
means that it is more difficult to defend against.

Knife Grips
How you hold a knife will dictate how you will cut with it. There are three
basic grips used in knife fighting; these are called sometime by weapon names.
These are ice pick, fencing foil grip and bolo grip. There proper names are as
follows: Reverse grip (ice pick), Side Thumb (foil grip) and overlapping thumb
grip (bolo grip). The under thumb grip is used in the islands with special shaped
knife that is known as a Toloy Kilid blade or Spear side blade.

Ready Position-Straight Thumb Reverse Grip-Ice Pick

Stances & Body Positions

Your stance should be in the fighting position, with your live hand at your
chest. You should be leading with your blade ready to cut. You live hand is there
check your opponent’s weapon hand and arm. Practice with your knife low and to
your side and in the drill position. Remember to switch your feet as your legs are
target too!

Knife Fighting Patterns
Knife fighting patterns or strikes should be done in the same striking
pattern as stick fighting. Your range for knife is closer than stick fighting. This is
because your weapon is shorter than your stick. Your fighting triangle has now
gotten smaller. You must fight medium to close range with a knife. This is due to
the weapon’s length. The hand is great first target so a short range version of the
Largo Pattern. Your Media range with the knife is same distance as your Corto
range striking fighting pattern. This is for a slashing.

Over-Lapping Grip Overlapping Grip close-up

Ready Position –Drill Position

Blocking with Knife

Blocking with knife is done similar with a stick but you must get the body
out of the way of the blade. Avoidance by moving your body out of line is critical
to keep from being stabbed by thrust from a straight thrust attack or slash. Block
the knife by blocking your opponent’s weapon hand and forearm with your knife.
Not blade to blade as seen in the movies. Remember to strike the limb then re-
angle slash the body.

Avoidance and counter attacking

Cutting, Blocking, Checking and Passing

Remember that you must cut the attacking limb first if possible to defang
the snake! Blocking with a knife is cutting the limb as it comes in at you.
Checking like Songa and Wakli drills are important with a knife to check and pass
the weapon and then open (Hubad) up your opponent’s defenses.

Checking and Passing with counter attack

Do not stay stationary; re-angle quickly off the weapon side of your
opponent. You must get past their weapon and to the side. You must practice re-
angling by leading with your left foot instead of the right. Just like running by
someone. Remember to keep circling. Do not stay stationary.

Typical Starting Stance Simple Re-Angling

Largo -Long Range

Remember the concept of defanging the snake. Apply that concept when
attaching the hand. Cut it! If the hand is cut deeply it can not hold a knife.

Your Meda (mid-range) stick pattern should be applied as would with the
blade portion of the stick. This means that the strikes are slashing cuts not power
tip strikes. A knife is cutting weapon not an impact weapon. Remember if you are
using sticks that your middle joints on your fingers are the same as the blade
edge when practicing.

Checking and pinning with Meda Punch

22. Basic Pocket Knife Tactics

You are a relative beginner and want something to fit neatly with what you
have already learned, I recommend using your existing stick pattern. You already
know it. Do not go buy someone else’s DVD and learn a new system. Most
people carry a 3.5-4" folding knife or sub-folder and so I will assume that's what
you're doing as the same.
Simply following the basic angles of your system but making them much
tighter and smaller will take you pretty far so long as you practice stopping your
opponent's attacks and make sure that you don't get caught by them. That
means that footwork is just as important as angles of attack.

Remember that slashes with a 4" blade are often less than optimal due to
the adrenaline flowing causing you to make contact with your fist and the fact that
you will often make contact with clothing. That said, slashes have their place,
Thrusts are more important that slashes with a 4" folder, due to their size.

Most people don't keep their knives very sharp. You would do better to
invest in a sharpening system and keep your knife sharp enough to shave with!
That way, just making contact with your knife is going to cause damage. The
usual legal statements apply. I don't carry a "tactical" folder; I carry a pocket knife
that I use it every day as a work tool. Use you like hand to check and control their
weapon hand and move in quickly with the attack.

23. Bolo Training Basics

A Bolo is about 29-32 inches overall and is used for cutting cane, vines
and other camp/agricultural uses. It does not have a hand guard like most
swords used in battle. Bolos are made for the person using them so they are
made in left hand or right handed; this is indicated by the bevel of the blade one
side or the other. Modern ones typically have a knife edge instead of bevel edge
of agricultural tool. Most bolos have rounded end not a point thus making them a
hacking tool not a thrusting tool like sword. Remember that any contact with the
edge of the blade is cut. So a quick slicing motion is just a good as chopping
Using a blade requires the use of many skills. The concepts needed are
three things combined, spacing, use of the blade and re-angling. First is the use
spacing between you and the blade. Remember that any impact by a Bolo is a
cut! It is different when a stick might just knock you down or break a bone and
the Bolo will cut you! Second is using the flat of the blade to block and deflect all
blows from the blade. Do not block with edge of your blade as it will quickly
destroy the cutting edge. An experienced blade fighter will block with the flat of
the blade and then strike with the edge with quick counter strike. The third is re-
angling against your opponent strikes. Practice this skill with a wooden blade at
first, and then use a metal blade with a dulled edge. You will need a trusted
student to work with!

The use of Largo blocks and counter strikes is necessary for the safety of
your hands and fingers. Keep you blade forward to keep you hands from being
struck. If you use Media blocks and Counter attacks you must attack quickly and
close the gap. This would be a check, counter strikes and disarm your opponent.
Remember that your blocks are not ridged blocks but parrying blocks.
The curving strikes are done to keep back multiple opponents. Circulos is
a curving strike, done like in single motion done in downward or upward motion.
It is tip strike done in fast curving strike motion. Arcos/Ruyda is similar to a
circulo except that there are two strikes. There are double arcos these are for left
and right side.
Parrying the blade is probably the best technique for countering an attack
by a Bolo but it is a high level method of blocking requiring expert timing. This
particular skill should be practiced with stick first, then wooden sword or Bolo. An
experienced blade fighter will block with the flat of the blade and then strike with
the edge with quick counter strike.

24. Basic Espada Y Daga

Olisi Y Daga

Espada Y daga is one of the areas that in FMA have had great
controversy due to many feel that it was influence by the Spanish method of
fighting with sword & dagger. I feel that it is the Filipino reverse engineering
process to the problem.
Simple Espada Y Daga is done with Cinco Terros or the five strikes four slashes
and one thrust. The idea is that in Largo Mano- Long hand that you take out the
hand then thrust to the body.
1. Your opponent attacks with a right forehand slashing attack. Deliver a
simple up and down tip slice to your opponent’s wrist.
2. Step Left and deliver a daga thrust in a curving motion to your opponents
3. Your opponent attacks with a right backhand slashing attack. Deliver a
simple up and down tip slice your opponent’s wrist.
4. That is simple five count counter attack.

25. Basic Sinawalli -Double stick fighting

Sinawalli is the method of fighting with two sticks; the term comes from type
screen that was woven together. There is some discussion that this method was
influenced by Indian settlers and sailors that came to the Philippines. Properly
taught Sinawalli contains double stick methods, double sword fighting methods,
double knife fighting methods, hand and foot fighting as well as elbow and knee
use at close quarters. The basic concept is that one of your weapons acts as a
shield and the other as weapon and you switch from side to side while fighting.
There are methods of fighting from both open and closed positions. Properly
taught Sinawalli involves fighting patterns and angles just like many other FMA
systems. A study of this method is not to be taken lightly and it takes time to
properly master. There are drills that can be done by one person and by two
people, these needs to be taught one on one.

Basic Sinwalli starting positions

Basic four count drill goes like this: From the open position with stick each
hand both players start in the open position, One- right-handed forehand
strike/parry by both and both players right hands go to closed position. Left hand
weapons are still in the open position. Two- both players use their left hand and
deliver a left-handed forehand strike/parry and both players are in the closed
position. Three- both players deliver a left backhand strike/parry both players’ left
hands now are in the open position now. Four- both players deliver a right
backhand slash/parry. Both fighters right hand is now in the open position. This is
practiced first by standing in front of each other, and then does this while fighting
in circle using shuffle steps. Once you have completed this practice this while
using cross steps or hooking steps.

26. History-Overview

When one studies FMA a person must study the history & culture of the
Philippines to understand the people who developed this art. Being an island

nation and having to deal with raiders from other island plus traders for many
place had a huge impact on the styles. The history of any fighting art is a
reflection of the society and culture from which it was formed. The Filipino Martial
Arts are no different. To fully understand this unique martial art, it is best to take
a brief look at the history of the Filipino people. FMA is a blend of martial arts,
having origins and counter methods from and against Indonesian, Malaysian,
Chinese, Spanish, American, and Japanese fighting arts.

The Philippine Archipelago situated at the crossroads of Southeast Asia,

the Philippines are located near the equator above Borneo and below Taiwan.
With a population estimated at 60 million, the Philippines are larger in area than
Great Britain, but smaller than Japan. There are 7,107 islands. The total area of
the country, including inland waters, is approximately 115,600 miles. The island
nation is in the Western Pacific and has a population of almost 70 million people.
The three major regions of the Philippine Archipelago: Luzon (North), Visayas
(Central), and Mindanao (South). There are 11 large islands: Luzon, Mindanao,
Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Masbate.
There are 87 different dialects of Filipino. Filipino is the national language.
Besides dialects, English is the language of business and education. Spanish is
spoken--to a lesser extent. The people, who settled in the many islands, came
from India, China, Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

The first peoples of the islands- an early pygmy tribe called Negritos
journeyed west in search of food and game and eventually settled in the
Philippines. Primitive Negritos came by means of land bridges from Central Asia
during prehistoric times, were the first settlers. Their favorite weapon was and
still is the bow and arrow.

The next group of people, who found a home in the lush mountain slopes
were called the Proto- Malay. Their origins are unclear but their features were
said to have tied them to the Mongol race. Their preference for mountain living
would seem to add credence to that belief. From 200 BC, the Malays from
Southeast Asia came to Indonesia and the area now called Philippines bringing
with them the long knife. They are expert fighters with the daggers, spears and
the bow and arrow.
The tall, burly and sea-loving Indonesians were said to be the next group
of people to settle and they are believed to be the first to arrive by boat. This is
seen in the boat designs that are still used today. The forerunners of the various
Polynesia tribes (People of many islands) the Indonesians were fearless sailors
who took wives and interbred with the cultures already established.
The next immigrants were also Indonesians but they were shorter and
darker skinned than the Indo-Aryan group that preceded them. They too,
interbred with the established cultured and relied on farming and fishing for their
Around the 5th Century, one of the earliest of the great Asian empires
began to form. A group called the Brahmins came from India to Sumatra and
created the famous Hindu-Malayan Empire of Sri Vishaya. They conquered and
colonized many lands, and their fame and influence were felt all over Asia and
the Pacific. After Colonizing Borneo, the Sri Vishaya invaded the Philippines.
Superior weaponry and organization enabled them to conquer the early Filipinos
and many of the fled to more distant islands. Others moved deeper into the
mountains and forests to escape the invaders. Yet many stayed, made friends
with their new rulers and eventually the two cultures merged.
The Sri Vishaya had a great impact on the development of the Filipino
culture. Aside from being skilled warriors, farmers and seamen, they brought a
more advanced civilization to the islands by introducing new laws, the calendar, a
written alphabet, a new religion and the use of weights and measures. The
people from Sri Vishaya became the Visayan people of central Philippines.
A Second Malay migration, which began in the early years of the Christian era
and continued until the 13th century, brought other bladed weapons. Extensive
trade relations with China in the 9th century brought T’ang Dynasty martial skills.
During the Sung (960 – 1127) and Ming (1368 – 1644) dynasties, migrations to
the Philippines were heavy and large Chinese colonies were established in
coastal areas.

Still another great empire, called the Majapahit Empire formed in Java
around the 12th century. Influenced by Arab missionaries who were spreading
the Moslem faith and who conquered them in the latter part of the 15th century,
the Majapahit Empire took over the Sri Vishaya Empire and spread the Moslem
religion into the Philippines. They settled most heavily in the southern part of the
islands and became known as the Moro (Muslim) Filipinos. Fiercely independent
and proud, they still exist as a distinct culture.
At the start of the 14th century, a 3rd Malay migration began and continued until
the middle of the 15th century. These people, the ancestors of the present day
Muslim Indonesians and Filipinos were religious fanatics, steeped in
Muhammedanism. They favored blade weapons but were skilled with sticks,

bows and arrows of various designs, as well as explosive projectile weapons
from guns to cannons.
States such as the Indianized Rajahnate of Butuan and Cebu, the dynasty
of Tondo, the august kingdoms of Maysapan and Maynila, the Confederation of
Madyaas, the Sinified Country of Mai, as well as the Muslim Sultanates of Sulu
and Maguindano. These small states flourished from as early as the 10th century
AD, despite these kingdoms attaining complex political and social orders, as well
as enjoying trade with areas now called China, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam,
and Indonesia, none encompassed the whole archipelago. The remainders of the
settlements were independent Barangay allied with one of the larger nations.
In the early 16th century, the Spanish invaded the Philippines. The first famous
foreigner to encounter Filipino sticks was Ferdinand Magellan. According to
Philippine history, Magellan was a pirate. He burned their homes and tried to
enslave their people as part of the Great Spanish Conquest. It was on the small
island of Mactan, Cebu, several hundred south of Manila, where Magellan was
stopped by a fiery chieftain Lapu-Lapu and his men. Villagers in cotton cloth
fought the armored Spaniards to the beach. They battled Spain’s finest steel with
pieces of rattan, homemade lances and fire-hardened sticks with points.
Magellan died there and the statue of Lapu-Lapu on Mactan credits Lapu-Lapu
for Magellan’s death.
The islanders seldom crossed the boundaries of their own regions and
often fought civil battles with neighboring regions. The large Spanish forces
found this weakness and conquered each small area as individual nations. With
such tactics, the Spaniards used Filipinos from one region to quell uprising in
another, pitting the fighting skills of the Filipinos against each other. The Filipinos
eventually conquered themselves and elements of the Spanish language, arts
and religion crept into their culture. It took the Spaniards only 11 years to
conquer two-thirds of the Philippines, but for the remaining 389 years, they were
not able to conquer Southern Philippines, home of the fiercely independent and
proud Moros who fought and kept the Spaniards away.
The Spanish East Indies were ruled as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New
Spain and administered from Mexico City, Mexico from 1565 to 1821, and
administered directly from Madrid, Spain from 1821 until the end of the Spanish–
American War in 1898, except for the brief British occupation of the Philippines
from 1762 to 1764. During the Spanish period, numerous towns were founded,
infrastructures built, new crops and livestock introduced. The Chinese, British,
Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, and indigenous traders, complained that the
Spanish reduced trade by attempting to enforce a Spanish monopoly. Spanish
missionaries attempted to convert the population to Christianity and were
eventually generally successful in the northern and central lowlands. They
founded schools, a university, and some hospitals, principally in Manila and the
largest Spanish fort settlements. Universal education was made free for all
Filipino subjects in 1863 and remained so until the end of the Spanish colonial
era. This measure was at the vanguard of contemporary Asian countries, and led
to an important class of educated natives, like Jose Rizal. Ironically, it was during

the initial years of American occupation in the early 20th century, that Spanish
literature and press flourished.
The Philippine Revolution against Spain began in April 1896, but it was
largely unsuccessful until it received support from the United States, culminating
two years later with a proclamation of independence and the establishment of the
First Philippine Republic. However, the Treaty of Paris, at the end of the
Spanish–American War, transferred control of the Philippines to the United
States. This agreement was not recognized by the Philippine Government which,
on June 2, 1899, proclaimed a Declaration of War against the United States. The
Philippine-American War which ensued resulted in massive casualties. Philippine
president Emilio Aguinaldo was captured in 1901 and the U.S. government
declared the conflict officially over in 1902. The Filipino leaders, for the most part,
accepted that the Americans had won, but hostilities continued and only began to
decline in 1913, leaving a total number of casualties on the Filipino side of more
than one million dead, many of them civilians.
U.S. colonial rule of the Philippines started in 1905 with very limited local
rule. Partial autonomy (commonwealth status) was granted in 1935, preparatory
to a planned full independence from the United States in 1946. Preparation for a
fully sovereign state was interrupted by the Japanese occupation of the islands
during World War II. The Republic of the Philippines became independent in
1946. The story is continued today in modern history!

I want to thank a lot of people who have shared with me over the years, various
tips and methods of FMA. Each one of them has added to my knowledge, I have
added it to this book on the basics of FMA. Sometimes it was just a day or an
afternoon working out or sharing at seminar. Having been a student as well as a
teacher, I stopped to listen & learn good ideas and concepts from many people in
FMA. Thanks for sharing and sparring with me.

This list based upon memory so if I forgot you it was by accident.

Grand Master Felix Roiles- Pakamut International

Master Kris Paragas- Pakamut
Master Allen Santos-Pakamut
Master Sunny Sanico-Pakamut
Manong Espi- Cinco Terros/family system
Guro Luis Isadero- Cacoy Doce Pares
Master Greg Park- Choson Karate & Basic FMA
Master Erwin Mosqueda- Doce Pares Multi-System
Grand Master Dionisio Canete- Doce Pares Multi-system
Punong Guro Steven Dowd -Arnis Balite
Supreme Grand Master Ising- Atillo World Balintawak
Master Leo Gaje jr- Pekiti Tirsia Kali
Master Toma Roswig-Modern Arnis
Guro Felix Valencia- Lameco
Tuhon Ray Dionaldo-FCS
Sensi Prince Loeffler- Ocho Terros
Master Instructor Ronald Manrique-Eskrido USA
Sensi Jeff Sumasarrio- Jedokan Martial Arts
Grand Master Darren Tibon-Angles Disciples Serrada
Guro Roger Agbulos- ASTG-LAMECO
Guro David Gould-LAMECO
Guro Jay Deleon- Modern Arnis
Master Ramon Ruba-San Miguel Eskrima
Master Joe Tan- Modified Tapido
Master Lito Conception- Kombatan
Master Elmer Bais- Tres Manos Bais
Master Frank Rillamas-Serrada
Guro Jeff Finder-Serrada
Grandmaster Alex France-Kombatan
Master Ronnie Saturno- Saturno Serrada
Master Jerry Preciado-Serrada
Master Gabriel Asuncion-Serrada
Master Rino Baldinado Balintawak
Master Jesse Dancelle Dalen Ti Ilokano Arnis
Guro Terry Joven Bahalana Na Multi-Style
Master Michael Giron Bahala Na Multi-Style

Grand Master Mike Del Mar Del Mar Eskrima
Master Carton Kramer- Pedoy Eskrima
Master Kenric Onoyama- Mamalias Eskrima
Master William “Ronald” England-Ola a Nalo Jungle style Eskrima

About The Author

Marc Lawrence is a Mataw Guro or Master Teacher and a member of Mataw

Guro Association of the Philippines and the United States. He is Master is
Pakamut Fighting Arts System. He is certified as an Instructor by the Arnis
Professionals Association of the Republic of the Philippines. He is the founder
and Punong Guro of the Modified Pangamut System. He has received a life- time
achievement award from the Academy of Masters. He is the 2011 President of
the United States Filipino American Federation. Books and Magazines Written:
PAKAMUT-The Original Filipino Fighting System of Stick, Knife & Hand to Hand
Combat, FMA Digest Special Editions PAKAMUT, Doce Pares, Homemade
Training Aids, misc. articles on events.

How to Make Your Own Filipino
Martial Arts Supplies!

Marc Lawrence– Master Pakamut
Filipino Fighting Arts

Building Your Own FMA Back- Yard or Garage Studio

With a bit of island ingenuity, a practitioner of Filipino Martial Arts can

construct their own studio with quality training aids and weapons. A basic studio
can be set up in garage, backyard or other location. I have one constructed in my
backyard, another at work in a storage area. The focus of this book is for a
Filipino Martial Arts practitioner to be able set up anywhere and be able to
practice their art with locally available tools and equipment.

I will break down this into four areas, these being first striking aids,
second are striking and cutting weapons, third is projectile weapons and the
fourth is accessories like sheaths and shields.
The first area should be striking aids; these are critical to a practitioner
building proper skills. The first striking aid I would recommend building is the
Island style tire bag for stick practice. The second striking aid I would recommend
would be a freestanding punch bag. The third is a knife throwing / arrow backstop
The second area should be striking and cutting weapons. These have two
categories: sticks (Pakal and Olisi) (practice sticks, padded sparring sticks and
fighting sticks and staffs are one and the other is knifes (Baraw) and swords
Bolo, Kris, and Lahaut).
The third area would be projectile-weapons. These have four categories:
Blowguns, Slingshots, Bow and Arrow and Spears.

Tire Bag for FMA
This one of the most basic training aids. You can make this out of recycled
lumber and used tires. I got my lumber from concrete form frames.
If you can work with tools and do basic carpentry you can build your own.
You will need six car tires-same size, (I used 15 inch) and six 2x2 or six 2x4 and
some bolts and screws and set of 4 casters.
Full length view

Side View
Build your base first 24 X 24 inches as an X shape brace, notch them so
they lock. Run a wood screw to lock them together. Flip this over drill four holes
for the four caster wheels then flip it back. Now from the center of the X brace
measure 7.5 inches and then bolt on your first upright. This is based on a 15 inch
tire size, adjust to the tires you have

Base and Cross Brace

Then do the same on the opposite side, and then do the other two. It
should look like and X with four fingers sticking out. I recommend through-bolting
but if you have to use drywall screws they will work. I get them free from crates.

Internal View

Cross Brace and Bolts

Construct another X brace no wider then the tires are. Now install it at
knee level. (Adjust this height based stack of tire’s measure height.) Make a third
X brace at 15 inches and install it about 12 inches from the top. If you want a
finish put on your stain and varnish and let dry overnight. Mount your first tire on
the bottom and stack the next five up. You will have about five foot 8 inches tall

Finished Product
Over time the tires will compress, adjust for this with a top made of plywood to
compress them or adjust your measurements for this change.

Making Hanging Stick for Practice

This is simple project, I used old Olisi put small hole in the center. I
installed a screw eye, but you could just drill all the way through and just put a
knot on the top and bottom to hold it in place I used a piece of scrap cord to hang
it in the garage. I used some small pulleys that I found from some old hanging
blinds and rigged it up to adjust for myself and my sons.

Free Standing Punching Bag

Empty hands training requires a punching bag for practice unless you
have a banana tree like my wife’s uncle Ray. I am not that lucky; he had one and
had the kids practice punching the banana bunches till their hands were sore. He
said that the green banana juice helped your sores hands feel better.

I looked around at what I had to work with and with a little island ingenuity
I came up with this freestanding bag system. I started with a cut-down 55-gallon
plastic drum for my base. I had sacks left over concrete mix and 5-foot section of
4-inch schedule 80 PVC from my neighbor the contractor. I talked with relatives
and came up with old foam pads. You can use old egg crate hospital matrices,
old commercial shipping pads, or carpet padding. You would need a lot of carpet
padding. All I needed was to assemble my project.
To make the post stand up I had to make a large clamp out of scrap wood
and some old bolts to stand up and center the center post up while pouring the
concrete. I saw cut gaps into the wood so that the clamps did not move while
pouring it. I used a torpedo level to check the center post on all four sides. I
mixed the concrete in my old wheel barrel with a shovel and poured it in the half
barrel. I used an old 2x4 to tamp the wet concrete down until I had all four sacks
in. That was 240 pounds on concrete in the base. Yes, those who can really
punch and kick will rock a little bit. I finished the surface with a bricklayer’s trowel
that I got at a yard sale. I let the concrete dry with my homemade clamps in place
for one I removed the clamps.

I went to a fabric store and bought a can of foam glue. The stuff is like
spaying spider webs but works great. Follow the directions on the can! Spray in
on the pole first and then foam as you wrap it. This is two-person job. My older
son helped me do this.
Once it was completely wrapped, I had my son use some duct tape to help
hold the foam in place with while the glue cured. Again this part is a two-person
job, because you need four hands to do this! Two hold the foam while the other
wraps it. If you do not have access to foam glue, make two small holes ¼ inches
or smaller at the bottom of where to foam ends on either side. This is for nylon
cord. You will need a coat hanger or wire to fish the cord back to the top. You
can tie it off to hold the foam.
While the glue is curing make a cover out of fabric like canvas or other
heavy material. Mine came out to 18 inch wide by 36 inches long on the
punching bag portion. If you cannot sew find some one who can, the duct tape
does last long out in the sun. I cut the base flush to the concrete with saw and
rough sanded the edge of the drum base at the instance of my wife. OK so it did
look better when finished. But do not tell my wife she was right. I would never
hear the end it.

Details of my free-standing base

Backstops for Arrow Practice and Knife Practice

Making backstop requires that you have enough space and place for were
arrows can go if you miss. If you have a walled back yard you could set up like
one I had as kid. When I was growing up I had a bow and arrow set and so did
my older brother. My dad made us an arrow backstop using three old hay bales.
The targets were made with scrap paper sheets or cardboard. We used my
mother’s pots for templates to make the different rings for the bull’s eye target.
When I was in my 20s I shared an old house with my Grandmother and
my older brother. We lived at the end of block up against the hills. I was teaching
my brother and his friends to throw knifes as part of their training. We needed a
place to practice. I had a backyard that was up against a hill with a lot of rock in
it. I needed a backstop for knifes and arrows. I did not have anyplace to get hay
bales. I solved the problem in another way I got some old 2X2 to make an A-
frame like an artist’s easel for a target stand. I got a scrap piece of plywood in
was about 2 feet by 3 feet in size. I laid it flat on a table. I put one small nail in the
center. This was to hold my cardboard roll in place when gluing the finished
product. I got a lot of large cardboard boxes. I cut them into strips about 6 inches
wide. I started rolling it on edge like a tire from the center outward and glued the
strips ends together. I stopped when I was about 2 feet in diameter. I had a 6-
inch think and 2 foot wide target. This target painted with a grid. We mounted it
on the board with white glue. We let it dry overnight. The board was placed on
the target stand and set against the hill. We used it for practice and were able to
put it away so my grandmother could enjoy her garden. For my boys I recently
got some rounds of Palm wood and they work just as good as the others!

Just do not miss!!

Making a Pakal-Pocket Sticks for Practice

A Pakal is also known as a short stick. It is also called a pocket stick and
can be sharpen and be Doce Puntas! It is very effective weapon that can be
simple to use. When used with certain knife (Baraw) techniques and in Empty
Hands techniques it is highly effective weapon. The problem is that a real one
would do damage to your sparring partners if used during speed type drills.
A training one can be made out of easily obtainable materials. I have
made a number of these out of an old Halloween toy axe handle. It is thin-walled
plastic pipe, ½ inch in diameter like plastic conduit or sprinkle pipe.
To make one I cut a piece at 6 inches long. I sand the edges to smooth. I wrap it
with gray foam pipe insulation that I have scrap from other projects. I use 99-cent
store grip tape to wrap it at four spots. These spots being the following: top,
bottom and two spots in between. These can be given to my boys to practice
without worry of one of them will hurt each other.
A real fighting one like a Doce Puntas can be made from a hardwood
dowel 5/8th inch diameter cut at six inches long. Using as disk sander in vice, turn
the stick like you would sharpen a pencil until you have blunt point on both ends.
Take a propane torch and burn the ends black. Then heat the stick back and
forth until tan overall. Put any bands or other designs you wish and then varnish

Now you will have a real Pakal to go with your practice one

Use the foam ones for practice!

How to Make Your Own Padded Eskrima Sticks for Sparring Practice

Well by this point you have been practicing your Eskrima and would like to
spar but do not want to get injured or at least bruised up. You need to have some
padded sticks for practice sparring.
For kids I start with a very simple padded stick using the Pool Noodles
made of heavy foam. Cut the Noodle in half and will be 24 inches. These can be
used for sparring sessions they make a loud noise and make light contact. I get
them from the 99 cent store. Wear safety glasses with retention straps for eye
protection. These would injury your eyes if hit. So wear safety glasses.
The second version is for adults and big kids. Take the Noodle and insert
a piece of 3/4 inch PVC cut to length. Use duct tape to cover the ends. Using
these for sparring does require eye protection and light hand protection. I would
recommend a Fencing Mask and leather work gloves. You will feel it went hit.
The third version can be made three different ways. I made one with ¾
inch PVC slipped inside standard gray foam pipe insulation. I made another with
a dried hollow cane that grows along the river here. I covered the ends with duct
tape. This type of cane fractures very quickly but I get it free. The last of third
version is made with a worn tire bagging Eskrima stick. Tape up with clear
packing tape the flowering ends and slide it into the gray foam pipe insulation.
You can cover the length with long strips of duct tape. Then seal and wrap the
ends with duct tape. If you want it to last have someone who can sew to make a
sleeve to go over it and put Velcro flap at the end to seal. These feel just like
commercial padded sticks with the exception of the hollow cane due to the
lightness. These sticks when used will require head/eye protection and hand
A fourth version can be made from the thin walled black plastic rods that
are used now with the Halloween props sold at 99 Cent stores. Taking the thin
walled ½ inch diameter rods cut to length and then slide a section of black AC
piping insulation over it. This type of insulation is more expensive. Make a fabric
sleeve so it will last. These sticks when used will require head/eye protection and
hand protection.

These feel just like commercial padded sticks.

Homemade Slingshots and Other Stories

My mother in law, Kris and I were talking after lunch one day about
growing in the Philippines during WW-2. She told me and my sons about how
she and her brother had made slingshots and used them for defense and hunting
small game during the war. She said everything was in short supply, so you
really had use what you had. She said she used wear the sling shot around her
neck all the time so it way handy. She said it was made from good Y-shaped
branch as big as my thumb, with the bands from rim liners of the old cars and
piece of leather from a belt for the sling. I said to her we should make some for
the boys. We ran into some supply problems due to many of these items are not
still available any more.

I thought about it and came up with some alternative materials. We got

some Pen Rose rubber surgical drain tubing for the straps, a piece of old leather
belt from the garage. I found one Y branch to make up one slingshot. I used
nylon construction string line to lash the rubber tubing to the sling shot. This
worked to my older son but not for my younger one. I did not have enough
materials. I made a second one using a coat hanger bent and twisted into the
shape of a Y. I used a pair of pliers to roll over the ends for eyes to attach my
bands. I used the heavy bands that come with the balsa gliders that were left
over from broken planes. I cut the belt piece about 2 inches long and punch two
small ¼ inch holes with sharpen hole punch I made from some old metal tubing.
My younger son took hi with him, when we went camping and used it on targets
he set up. He is trying to be as good of a shot as his Grandma.

How to Make Eskrima Sticks for Practice

To make a good Olisi, baston or stick, first step is the selection of material.
The piece must be straight with no flaws or cracks. The preferred material is
Rattan. Rattan is Palm wood. It is palm wood. The spacing of the growth joints is
very important. The closer the joints, the stronger the stick will be. Water Bamboo
is grass so its strength is in the outside of the wood. If you use Water Bamboo
make sure that it is from the base of the plant. The smaller the water holes in the
center the stronger the stick. Look for close joints it will make a stronger stick.
Hardwoods such like Hickory, Mango, Oak, etc. can make good sticks.
These woods but may have flaws in the grain. Flaws can lead to failure of the
stick. Do not use soft woods like Pine, Fire, Hemlock, etc. These will splinter
easily when bagging or during Sinawali.

Stick diameters should be the correct size. Too big or too small will cause
many problems in your arm! Your proper grip size is measured from the middle of
your palm to the tip of your third finger. Use a paper tape measure to make the
Stick lengths are measured from the armpit to the tip of the finger. This
allows you to twirl your stick without striking the ground or yourself. The Standard
length for many schools is 29 inches to 31 inches. Cut you stick to length with
handsaw. Sand the ends round. With Rattan and Bamboo wood sand with the
grain. Burn the ends and rub smooth. With Bamboo and Rattan be very careful
to remove any branch nubs by sanding so they will not cut your hand. With joints
lightly sand to smooth area. Vanish or paint to finish. I prefer to varnish as a
finish this allows visual inspections.
Some final thoughts; always test yours sticks on bag prior to using for
training. If there is a flaw you missed it will break there away from other people.
Use this information about making sticks to make some pocket sticks and sticks
for the kids to practice with.

Fire Hardening

Fire Hardening is a method of removing moisture from wood by slowly and

lightly charring it over a fire. It is the earliest methods of increasing the durability
or longevity of wood is fire.
Fire "hardening" is not used so much as to actually "harden the wood" as
to "cauterize" the surface fibers and the resins in the wood. My Grandfather use
to do it to tool handles. I still do this to my sticks to stop flowering of the ends.
To make a point, like a spear, arrow, or sword, shape the wood with rasp
and then use a fine pumice stone to finish it smooth. Always go with the grain of
the wood. Then wet surface to raise the broken wood fibers know as whiskers by
wood workers singe them off. Dry the shaped portion over the fire slowly until
lightly charred to harden. This can be done with propane torch or even over BBQ
if that what you have. The drier the wood or course the harder the point or edge.
To make a strong wood blade use a hard wood as possible. Rattan is a palm not
a grass like bamboo. This is type of material is strong on the outside and soft on
the inside. It is pithy and required a lot of drying. It can be made very strong.

Stick Curing & Finishing

Prepare rattan, sand or smoothen the sticks ends. I bought mine from
Franks can Supply in Huntington Beach, California so it is all prepared and so
only sanding the ends is necessary. Using the knife, smoothen out the nodes
(you can also use a disc sander). I found it easier to do with the carpet knife but it
takes a lot longer to finish. Also make sure, if you are using the knife not to go all
the way; you will skin the stick and live an ugly line when torched and baked.
Next, use the propane torch to set the nodes. You can also do this to the
ends of the stick. Make sure you don't burn and the blow torch should be in
constant movement. If you leave it in one spot to long the skin would blister. The
stick will also be hot so wear some oven mitts or leather gloves. The oils will lift
from the stick when blow torched, so after the stick cools down, rub them with a
rag to spread it allover the stick.
Preheat your oven (375' degrees). Bake your stick for about 15 minutes,
depending on your oven. You should always monitor the stick so it bakes evenly.
Steam will come out of both ends of the stick, if this stops then the stick is ready.
While the stick is still warm, using your rags, rub them to buff it even more.
When the stick is cooled down, coat the stick with polyurethane varnish. I
do this to make it water tight and harden it some more.
Materials that I use are as follows: sharp carpet knife, hand held propane torch,
oven mitts or leather gloves, oven, foam paint brush and varnish (satin).

Making a Sarong for practice

Get a length of cloth long enough to go around your waist with enough to
spare for the fold and twice as wide as the distance from your waist to just above
the knee. Fold it over so that the plain side is on the inside. Sew the ends
If you cannot sew worth a darn, take it to a Taylor like I did sew the open
edge along the bottom so it looks finished. Now you can use it for practice and
not ruin a good one. Mine was present from my son that’s pretty much it.

How to Make Staff

Staff is basic weapon that is universal in it is use. To make one to practice

with, it is not hard. If you lucky to have rattan or bamboo growing in your
backyard, it is simple then. Just cut down one piece you like about one in
diameter. Cut it to length and then let is cure till dry. The old timers use to take
sections and put them on the roof to cure in the sun. Trim off the branches and
rough spots. Sand all rough spots smooth. Then finish it by burning ends and
varnish to seal it. Remember to sand or use a pumice stone going with the grain
not cross grain.
Well the rest of us do not have groves of rattan of bamboo handy but if
you are determined to make one out of traditional materials, get in contact with
some of the suppliers of Cane and Rush suppliers and you can make one.
My solution was much simpler, I went to my local hardware store and
looked at their hardwood squeegee and scrapper handles. They are usually five
to eight feet long. Do not use paint roller handles, as that wood I have found
breaks very easy. I only use hardwood, no soft woods like pine or fir.

First I look at each one for flaws and warps. I discard any ones that have
knots or wavy grain. Then I look at the end and stare down the length and roll the
other end across the floor. If it is warped you will see it roll uneven across the
floor and see any bowing or other flaws.
Take the tool handle home and cut to length. I recommend that the staff
should be from the user’s chin to the floor. Sand the end smooth with a slight
chamfer to ends. I lightly sand the staff and stain it or paint it. I will sometimes
wrap the center section about one foot long with black sport equipment grip tape
for practice. This helps when you are twirling and spinning it. This staff will be

great for practice with others but it is not meant for full contact sparring. This staff
would break bones if used in full contact sparring. If you want to spar with staff
use wide joint rattan to make you staffs.
You can make a padded staff out of PVC tubing ¾ inch diameter cut to six
feet long. Sand the ends smooth and square. Get a bag of gray pipe insulation
and slide three sections on it. Wrap it at the ends and foam joints with duct tape
then cover with it with duct tape to secure. This one you can spar with!

Making Your Own Bow and Arrows Filipino Style

Grandpa Espi and I were talking about how he used to make his own bow
and arrow sets. He said that back in the Philippines, he used to cut bamboo
about ¾ his height long and as big around your finger at the about 2 inches from
each of the joints. He would let the bamboo dry out on the roof to be ready to. He
said that he would cut the nubs and shoots close and then burn the spots and the
ends. He would singe the ends.
Then he would drill through the end were the bowstring would sit and then
saw carefully to drill hole. He would mark the center of the bow and then wrap
with cord from six inches to the bottom of the mark. This would be your handgrip.
The bowstring was made out of the gut fishing line with loops tied in the ends.
The arrows were made from the skinny bamboo ends. The arrows were cut to
size about 16-18 inches, sanded smooth. The base of the arrow shaft was
notched for the bowstring. The arrow feathers came from chicken wings feathers
that were cut and split then glued in place. He said they would then use sewing
thread to carefully tie the top and bottom of the feather to the shaft.
I said this is great but we do not have any bamboo patch to raid for
materials but with a little island ingenuity we could make some bows and arrows
for the kids with what we had. We dug around to see what we had and we found
some materials. We used schedule 40 PVC pipe about 4 feet long and ½ inch
diameter. We cross drilled the ends with a 1/8 bit then sawed with hack saw
down to the drill hole. We marked the center of the bow. Then we used a left over
piece about 6-inches long of pipe insulation for the handgrip. We used duct tape
and wrapped it to hold it in place. We used the nylon sting line used for
construction work and tied figure eight loops knots in the ends for our bowstring.
We made the arrows out of dowels the diameter of a pencil about 16-18 long.
I notched them with a hacksaw and the sharpened them with pencil
sharpener. I used wing feathers we found from the sea gulls at the beach for my
arrow shaft feathers. The feathers are cut to 2 inches long and were split with a
razor knife so they could be glued to the shaft base. Remember to stay up about
½ from the bottom by notch and divide the diameter by three so you can glue the
feathers in place with proper offset.

Make sure that one of the three feather arrows is horizontal when you
notch it. Glue them parallel on the shaft. I used crazy glue gel to hold the feathers
in place. It should look like a rocket fin if done correctly.

This bow can be very powerfully if this will be used by kids do not sharpen
the arrows but keep blunt and glue pencil erasers on the ends. I made larger one
and used Spectra 80 pound fishing line for the bowstring. When it was fired it
put a sharpened arrow through a roll of old carpet. So be careful.

I notched them with a hacksaw and the sharpened them with pencil
sharpener. I used wing feathers we found from the sea gulls at the beach for my
arrow shaft feathers. The feathers are cut to 2 inches long and were split with a
razor knife so they could be glued to the shaft base. Remember to stay up about
½ from the bottom by notch and divide the diameter by three so you can glue the
feathers in place with proper offset.
Make sure that one of the three feather arrows is horizontal when you
notch it. Glue them parallel on the shaft. I used crazy glue gel to hold the feathers
in place. It should look like a rocket fin if done correctly.
This bow can be very powerfully if this will be used by kids do not sharpen the
arrows but keep blunt and glue pencil erasers on the ends. I made larger one
and used Spectra 80 pound fishing line for the bowstring. When it was fired it
put a sharpened arrow through a roll of old carpet. So be careful.

Training Swords and Knifes for the FMA Practitioner

Swords and knifes are an important part of Filipino martial arts training.
The cost on these can be very expensive and not all are that well made. Having
two boys that are Filipino martial arts practitioners along with their cousin creates
a real demand on equipment. To make good wooden sword or knife it must meet
three things and these being the right size, the right wood and the right balance.
The blade size must be able be wheeled by the user, most kid size blades
should be about 12 inch long overall. The wood should be a good hard wood like
mahogany, maple or other similar wood. I have obtained some beautiful pieces
hard wood from old motorcycle and machinery crates and pallets from Asia and
South America. The grain must be strain with no knots or swirls in the grain when
laid out to the sword pattern. The wooden sword or knife must be laid out evenly
on the wood when shaped or the blade will wobble when swung or twirled. A
well-made blade out of wood is a piece art when done correctly.

To make sword the basic cutlass style blade is good starter blade to make. Other
blades can be made once you have honed your wood working skills. A Kris,
Lahaut or Bolo blade is more difficult to shape and finish. A basic cutlass is good
sword for kids because it has hand guards to protect their knuckles.
The first step is to lay out the shape of the blade on piece of cardboard or
heavy card stock. Next lay out the tang of the blade from the centerline of the
blade. It should be about ¾ to 1 inch wide and about 4-5 inches long. Make sure
it is even or the blade will be off weight. Cut the pattern out and lay it on the piece
of wood you selected for the project. For short cutlass the piece should be about
15 inches long, 3 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Trace the pattern with a pencil to
the wood. Take the piece of wood and clamp it flat. Now using a coping saw
carefully cut out your shape. Next take a 4 in 1 wood rasp and smooth the edges
so it is flat and even. Use a strait edge to check it. Next put a bevel on one side
of the cutting edge side of the blade. Next put a bevel on the other side of the
cutting edge side of the blade. Now clean up the area cut out for the handle.

Start with #80 grit sand paper and sand with the grain the length of the blade until
all of the rough spots are gone. Next use #120 grit sand paper and sand with the
grain the length of the blade until smooth. Next use #140 grit sand paper and
sand with the grain the length of the blade until smooth again. If you are going to
use this for every day practice this finish level is fine. If you want to show it off
finish it with stain and varnish or just varnish

Get a foam brush and give a coat of varnish. Let it dry for at least 1 day.
Take some fine steel wool and slightly rough up the finish. Get another foam
brush and give a coat of varnish again. To make the grip get a piece of hard
wood dowel about 5 inches long and ¾ of an inch wide and cut it in half-length
ways. I have used old hard wood broomsticks. These will make the side plates of
your handle (grip) of your sword. These will be put on after you put on a hand
guard. To make a hand guard get another piece of cardboard and lay out the
shape of the hand guard you want, include the hole on one end to slide the
bottom of the blade into. Lay the pattern on a piece of leather. An old wide
leather belt is good source. Trace with a marker. Cut it out with heavy scissors &
sharp knife. Cut it on an old pine board or thick cut board when using the knife.
Cut slowly so you do not mess up. Take this part (leather hand guard) and slide
it up the tang of the blade to bottom of the blade. Now attach the two side plates
of the grip. If you glue them in place or cross dowel them or do both is your
choice. If you are in a hurry you can use brad nailer instead. Attach the base of
hand guard to the butt of the sword. This can be drill and screwed with two
screws and washers. Again if you are in a hurry a brad nailer will do the job

This is my home-made Pinote

This same process can be used to lay out any blade shape you wish to
make. To make small simple knife for practice you will need 1 ½ round hardwood
dowel. A simple but nice blade can be made this way. Cut a section at 9 inches.
Find the center of the overall length and mark it at 4 ½ inches. Next make from
the tip down 4 inches. This will be your blade section. Go the end and divide it in
half now your have a top centerline. Go ¼ inch from top center line both sides
and mark it. Now cut lengthways twice down to the center mark at 4 inches. This
will give you a ½ inch thick blade. Now cut along the center mark to your
lengthways saw cuts. It will now look like a blade. Round the blade tip so it looks
like knife. Put a slight bevel on the butt of the blade. Carefully put a small bevel
on the top of the grip either side of the blade. To make the grip better do the
following: mark three bands around the diameter at the 1, 2, and 3 inch points.
Take a small round file and make grooves all the way around on these lines half
the depth of the small round file. Sand and finish the knife as you see fit.

Making Your Own Training Knife Out of Wood

So you saw a really cool knife that your friend has or in was on that
teacher had. To make training knife is not hard. First take the one you wish to
copy, lay it on piece of card board or a manila folder and trace it. Second, find a
good piece of wood like mahogany, maple, oak or other good hard wood. You
can find piece the right size used in piano packing boxes, motor cycle shipping
boxes and heavy machinery shipping crates. Some pallets are made of hard
wood and you can use them.

My training tactical folder

Lay out the pattern with the grain of the wood not cross grain. Cut out the shape
with a coping saw; take your time do it right. I used my knife as the pattern.
Now that you have rough shape it needs to be shaped like knife. To get
some lines like a blade. Use a 4-1 rasp to shape the blade like you want it. Take
your time you cannot re-attach wood after your took it of with rasp. Use the
coarse side first, then the medium side to make the shape you want. Now you
are ready to start finishing the wood.
To finish the wood you need to sand it down smooth. You will need sand
paper, at least three sheets, one 60 grit, one 80 grit and one 100 or 120 grit. I like
Flint or Aluminum Oxide for this job. You will need two simple home-made
sanding blocks. You need one flat one made out of scrap wood about 3/4 by 1
1/2 by 3 inches. The other is round dowel scrap 1/2 diameter by 4 inches. Tear
the sheet of sand paper into four sections, use a piece and sand with the grain of
the wood. Use the round sanding block to get it the notched and curved areas.
Keep your lines sharp so it looks good. Then take an old t-shirt and use it a tac-
cloth to remove dust.
To apply the finish coat you will need to do the following things. If you
have small picture frame screw eye screw it in the bottom of the handle. Get coat
hanger, cut it so it is double hook, this so you can apply the finish and not handle
it. Use a foam brush to apply your varnish. After the first coat is dry use fine steel
wool and just take the shine of the varnish. Now tac-cloth it again and then put on
your second coat. When it is dry,use the steel wool again, tac-cloth it again. Now
apply your last coat and let it dry. Yes, you must wait to use it! Let it sit for one
week before using it.

This is my folding trainer made out of wood aluminum

Making a Sheath out of Wood

The wooden sheaths used in the Filipino Swords are really great. In have
examined a number of them and there made simply but very practically. They are
made out of a hard wood like Luwan or Mahogany. Some are not glued but are
banded or wrapped. Let’s say you have great training blade that you want to use
in a Sayaw, but it does not have a sheath. To make one for blade is not as

difficult as you may not think, but does require some wood working skill and
some tools. To make sheath you will need a piece of hard wood as long as you
blade plus 3-inches for the bottom. You can lay out a shape like bird head on the
bottom and cut it out with scroll saw or jig saw. The piece of wood should be
about 1-inch thick and as wide as your blade plus 1/2 inch on either side. You will
need to find the very center of the piece of the wood on the edge and scrip a line
down the center on both sides. You must cut this into two pieces about 1/2
inches thick. This can be done with a table saw of very carefully with hand saw.
Watch your lines. Now lay the two halves side by side so they are mirror image.
Take you blade and lay it on one side. Use the black of the blade and the widest
portion to lay out the inside dimensions of the sheath. Stay about 1/4-inch from
the edge of the wood all the way around. Use straight edge to lay out the front of
the inside line of the sheath. Now use that same pattern in mirror image of one
you just laid out. Check it twice before you start carving out the area were the
blade will sit. The wood is very thin! I recommend that you practice this on piece
of scrap first even if you are using a router or doing it by hand. If you router it out
proceed slowly so you do not bust out an edge and have to start over. When you
are done carving out the wood check it with your blade. Now do the other side.
When you finish both sides check it with blade it should fit without jamming. Sand
and finish just like the training knife I talked about. If you wish to make silver
bands like used in the Philippines you just need Aluminum cans, a pair of
scissors to cut the can into strips, pair of pliers to fold over the end. Make the fold
and latch on them. They use nail to stake it in place with several divots. That
what make the design marks. The nail end also makes it spread out and hold

My Pimote and its new sheath

Making Shields

I have several Filipino shields and have looked the manufacturing methods. They
are now made out of plywood, they about 3/8-1/2 inch thick; the plywood is
soaked in water then molded to a curved shape. The center rounded piece made
out of wood and is glued and braded to main body of the shield. The straps are
attached to two half round dowels that are nailed and braded to the front main
piece. The two straps are made of heavy belt leather. They are painted and the
ends have a rope boarder that is glued and nailed. If you just want buy a shield
contact Spar Gear. I think the website is, and they stock them.

Front view Rear view

Making Nun chucks or Tabak Tuyok

A rice flail or Tabak Tuyok was used to knock the rice away from the stalk
but most know this as nun chuck from Martial art movies. To make trainers is not

very hard. I used some scrap aluminum tubing, some old shoe laces, ¼ inch drill
bit and bit island ingenuity. The correct size Tabak Tuyok should be as long as
your forearm, the width of your palm and your forearm again. So hold a pair in
your palm, draped over both sides of the palm and measure a commercial pair. I
drilled the aluminum about 1 ½ inches from the top, looped it through back and
forth, then tied it off with square knot. This worked OK but was very light.
I made second pair for my older son. I made second pair with PVC, black
handle bar foam, 36 mm film containers, some scrap wood dowels and a scrap
piece of chain. The PVC was cut as long as his forearm was, I drilled at 1 ½
inches down, my ¼ inch holes, then I made my wooden pieces about 2 inches
long for the chain. Each wooden piece I had centered drilled, inserted my chain
and made a pin from a nail to hold it. I inserted it into the PVC flush with top.
Then I drilled the wood using my ¼inch holes as a guide. I used some ¼ dowels
pieces as cross pins. I cut them off with hack saw and them sanded them flush. I
used some dish soap to lubricate the PVC and slide up the bike foam even with
the top. When it dries, the foam will not slip. Last but not least I slipped on the
black film containers. I used some white glue to hold then in place, you could use
hot glue instead.

Final Thoughts

All of Filipino Martial Arts is based upon simplicity and using available
material on the island with limited resources. Using this principle you can
manufacture most of what you want and need from left over materials. I strongly
believe in re-use and recycle of items. Use pictures and talk to other crafts on
how they made something. I would suggest talking with craftsmen like finish
carpenters, metal workers, fishing rod makers, and historical re-enactors for
ideas and suggestions on making items.

If you real want fun project you could make your own weapons of the
Philippines Plaque with scrap plywood for the plaque, paint, varnish, scrap wood
for blade handles and aluminum from soda cans for the blades. You can get the
plans from a picture on the web, and the cans can be cut with scissors, that how
it is done in the islands. But that is another story.


Salamat Po,

Marc Lawrence
Mataw Guro
Modified Pangamut
United States and Republic of the Philippines