To attack is great, but what is attack with some efficient defense? Leaning about the blocking techniques in Arnis will definitely take your game up a notch
Interested in the world of Eskrima? You are not alone. Although Arnis is a rather ancient practice, it is gaining a bigger fan base by the hour. Today there are a lot of Arnis enthusiasts who want to know everything about the famous glorious practice.
Getting better at Arnis or Eskrima is all about dedication and devotion. It takes practice and patience to master this interesting art. Moreover, you will have to spend some time learning more about the basics. But it is not just all about learning how to strike. That’s right. To attack is great, but what is attack with some efficient defense? Leaning about the blocking techniques in Arnis will definitely take your game up a notch. They are crucial for the success of your training and this is why you need to give them all the time and concentration needed.
What are the Blocking Techniques in Arnis?
As the name suggests, masters and practitioners use these blocking techniques to block various strikes. In fact, these techniques follow the order of the strikes. In other words, every block is used to stop certain strikes to provide protection from all directions.
These blocking techniques help you….well basically to avoid pain. In the past, Eskrima practitioners weren’t so lucky and didn’t use such blocking techniques. Ancient Filipino Arnis masters used the sword to neutralize their enemies. It was quick swift death. Since nobody ever came back, we can’t really say whether it was painful or not. Grabbing the blade was never an option. But modern Arnis uses the stick as a primary tool and not just as a replacement for the sword. In that sense, blocking techniques actually make more sense. They will protect your body from the opponent’s attacks and turn the odds of the fight to your favor.
So here some detailed information about the basic blocking techniques in Arnis.
12 basic strikes in Arnis:
- #1 – Strike to left temple.
- #2 – Strike to right temple.
- #3 – Strike to the left arm or elbow.
- #4 – Strike to the right arm or elbow.
- #5 – Thrust to the stomach.
- #6 – Thrust to the left chest.
- #7 – Thrust to the right chest.
- #8 – Strike to the right foot or knee.
- #9 – Strike to the left foot or knee.
- #10 – Thrust to the left eye.
- #11 – Thrust to the right eye.
- #12 – Strike to the crown/top of head.
#1 - Blocking an attack to the left side
Practitioners use this block to stop strikes number 1, 3 and 6. This is where Arnis fighters aim to attack the left side of the body. We can’t really list down all the vital and important organs and spots on your left side. Your temple, your heart, your left arm….need we say more? The damage can be real, even if your opponent is using a peaceful innocent looking stick.
While keeping the left hand behind the stick, you should turn your body inward while holding it vertically. The right foot should be kept forward while maintaining the position of the right elbow close to the body.
#2 - Blocking an attack to the right side
In this block, the body is turned outward while the right foot is pulled back to protect against strikes number 2, 4 and 7. Again, it is very important to keep the elbow close to the body while keeping your left hand behind the cane.
Although, there are very low chances that anybody could develop fatal injury during modern Arnis, there would still be some pain. Also, it makes sense that you will not just stand there waiting for your opponent to shower you with strikes.
#3 - Blocking an attack to the solar plexus or chest
Strike number 5 is a serious one that can cause serious damage to the fatal organs. Historically speaking, fighters used strike 5 to kill their opponents in a glimpse of an eye. By powerfully thrusting the weapon hand towards the chest, the sword would puncture the abdomen and any vital organs located in the area. This movement was usually followed by an upward motion that would cut through the body all the way to the head…sounds scary, right?
Today things are so much less violent, but this strike would still cause a lot of pain. In best case scenario, using the stick to practice strike number 5, can use to internal damage. So the practitioner should use his stick to stop the motion of the other weapon to stop it before it hits where it hurts. The stick is held vertically to stop the upward motion of the weapon.
#4 - Blocking an attack to the stomach
This block is mainly used to protect the body against a lower hit or strike directed towards the stomach. Even using the practicing baton, a very strong strike can lead to internal bleeding.
Since you are mainly practicing modern Arnis to stay in shape or simple for the love of the ancient Filipino arts, protecting your body becomes a necessity. By blocking your opponent’s movement, you are simply stopping the stick from hitting the lower part of your abdomen, saving you a lot of pain and time spent thinking about quitting Arnis altogether.
#5 - Blocking an attack to the Lower Body
A strong strike to your legs or knees can throw you off balance. Strikes number 8 and 9 are seriously annoying, simply because you will immediately fall under your opponent’s mercy. Literally speaking, once you fall to the ground what would stop your ruthless opponent from decapitating you, cutting off a limb or standing on your chest? Don’t worry, it never gets that gruesome on the training arena, but if we are talking ancient Arnis then you definitely know that this could happen on any given day.
Don’t worry, it never gets that gruesome on the training arena, but if we are talking ancient Arnis then you definitely know that this could happen on any given day.
In this block, you should use your stick to stop the opponent’s weapon from reaching your leg or knee. The downward block is either practiced outward or inward depending on the direction of the hit and which side of the body your opponent aims to target.
#6 - Blocking to the attack at the center of the head
In the good old days, the overhead shield block would protect your skull from being shattered into a thousand pieces. A strong strike from your opponent’s sword can set the line between life and death. Don’t start celebrating just yet. Although no sharp weapons are used in the training arena, this block is still essential to save your life.
Strike number 12 is a serious one. Your opponent would do it to throw you off balance and turn the fight to their favor. Using your stick and the right technique you can stop this from happening.
Wrap It Up
An enthusiastic inexperienced Arnis practitioner and a sturdy baton represent the fastest route to the emergency room. If you are able to protect your body or the top of your head, you are more likely going to finish your training with a concussion, broken ribs or blurry vision. Learning these blocking techniques will definitely take your Arnis game to a whole new level.
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