What is Escrima?
Escrima is a weapons based martial art from the Philippines. The use of a weapon can easily compensate for disadvantages in strength and body mass. Training in weapons brings an enormous and immediate increase in fighting prowess. It also provides essential knowledge about how to defend against a weapon.
Escrima is unique as most other martial arts start with empty-hand defence while only teaching weapons at a very advanced stage.
Escrima students are taught how to use weapons from the very beginning with weaponless hand techniques being seen as secondary to the art.
The usual training weapon of Escrimadores is a rattan stick, however the concept of transition allows to see the stick as a proxy weapon, which can be substituted with almost an object (lighter, newspaper, umbrella). Within the EWTO medieval weapons are also taught in the more advanced student grades.
For more information about our Escrima check out the EWTO website: http://www.wingtsunwelt.com/artikel.php?id=945
History of Escrima?
Escrima get its name from the Spanish word, “skirmish” which describes the martial art practised by the Fillipinos at the time of the Spanish conquest which was taught as military training for the children of the warrior class. It was only by the use of firearms that the Spanish were able exert control and the practise of Escrima was outlawed and driven underground.
After the Americans took over in 1898 the probation was repealed and during the second world war when the Japanese took over the Phillipines many Phillipinos fought alongside the Americans in guerrilla units with the machete being used in many close quarter battles. After the war many phillipinos emigrated to the USA and Escrima entered the martial arts scene.
Escrima is headed in the EWTO by Master Bill Newman who has been teaching Escrima since the 1970s and who was one of the original teachers of Escrima in Europe. His representative in Ireland is Sifu Stefan Weber who gives seminars in Ireland and who is responsible for the training of Irish instructors.
The Escrima student program is divided into 12 grades before instructor level. The basic level (1 st to 4 th grade) introduces the student to the basic strikes and counter strikes using the single stick which then progresses to disarms, locks, punches and kicks.
The intermediate level (5 th to 8 th grade) sees the student pressure test what has been learned in the basic level with the introduction of sparring and their skills are developed further with the introduction of double weapons such as two sticks or stick and knife. They are also taught blade awareness at this stage and the ability to develop short range power.
The advanced level (9 th to 12 th grade) deals with multiple attackers, fighting at different distances, use of the machete, staff and the concept of transition. This last concept teaches the student that while the training is done with traditional Escrima weapons, the skills thus learned so far will enable the student to make use of any object as a weapon.