Concepts on the Balintawak Eskrima System of Self-defence

Friday, November 19, 2004

Concepts on the Balintawak Eskrima System of Self-defence

by Dom Lopez

There are three dimensions to defense
1. Avoid getting hit.
2. Stop the opponent’s momentum.
3. To be in a position for quick counter-attack.

To achieve the above objective, there are three tactical rules.

1. Move the target. This is done by bobbing, weaving, bambooing in or out, fading or torquing the whole body.
2. Cover what may be the intended target; this is usually a vital area.

3. When blocking, use appropriate extremity (hand or leg) like a shield. It should act like a barrier between the intended target and the weapon.


Basic stance is three points, front foot ball and heal, rear foot ball of foot. Hands like hidden arm.


Angling is accomplished by one or combination of the following.

1. Head is brought to the side, at the same time the shoulder on that side is elevated to prevent lateral stress to the neck.
2. Head is moved directly backward with an accompanying short backward bend of the spine. This is only used as a quick but limited range evasive action.
3. The body is bent forward or sideways.
4. The knees are bent deeper so that the body is brought vertically downwards boxers call this ducking.
5. Knees are bent as in tying shoelaces and the feet are turned a little in are 45 degree angle relative to the opponent.
6. The rear foot is slid back (not lifted) so that the stance is made wider which will automatically increase the distance between the body and opponent.
7. The foot is slid (not lifted) in a 45 degree angle towards the opponent.
8. Rotating the front foot and shifting the weight so that it is resting on the heel

The obvious and central purpose of bambooing is to prevent from getting hit. However there are vital complementary side effects associated with the techniques.

1. It allows a simultaneous strike with a great colliding force on the opponent.
2. If the blocking is done at the same time with the angling, there is a greater chance of success because the distance has been increased between you and your opponent in effect you have slowed down your opponent’s strike. If blocking is used, there is greater stability at the moment of impact because at this juncture, the opponent’s force is past its target distance thus already a partially spent force.

When bambooing out is used, energy is automatically stored on the rear leg as in a coiled spring. A vigorous push of the rear leg coupled with a strong rotation of the hip towards the opponent can generate tremendous speed.