Describing a curriculum is challenging and fraught with pitfalls, particularly in the approach to Escrima taught by Mr Latosa. A curriculum is often thought of as a set of drills, and progress becomes described as one’s ability to accumulate and execute drills. The drills become an end in themselves, rather than what we’re trying to get from them. Our curriculum is the skills we seek to acquire and the ability to execute them, not any one set of drills. There are hundreds of drills and drill variations in Fillipino martial arts- some good, some flawed- and as many ways of executing those drills as there are moments in their practice multiplied by their practitioners. Whatever method you use to train, if you frame it in the context of core principles, your practice and skills will be enhanced. Working towards getting better at these core principals, we hope to find common ground- a ‘style-neutral’ approach where all can improve no matter what background they come from, as long as these shared values are recognized.
- Power– The ability to hit hard in all ranges- long, medium, and short. Using every available method to maximize how hard you hit, and to continuously have that ability available to you. Power must be expressed so that you maintain balance.
- Balance– The ability to move fluidly in any direction and take pressure from any direction without losing the ability to move and express power. Proper balance helps evolution of power.
- Timing/Distance/Speed– These are fundamentally linked ideas when viewed in relation to another body. Knowing when to act depends on knowing where someone is or will be. In relation to yourself- the internal timing of your use of your balance and whole body is the expression of power. Speed is not simply a matter of having more fast twitch fibers but the ability to move quickly (an expression of power) at the right time and place. It requires the ability to recognize the instant when opportunity presents itself and act- and as such is dependent on both balance and focus
- Focus– Probably the most important and manifold of our principles. There are many meanings to the word focus. Reading an opponent’s balance and range is a manifestation of focus. Your balance and power should always be focused towards your opponent during engagement. At the same time, you can’t pay so much attention to a single goal/opponent that you lose track of the big picture- the terrain, other assailants, non-combatants, etc. Maintaining balance, is, in a sense, a form of internal focus.
- Transition– The unitary principal. Transition is the idea that your mechanics and approach are maintained across ranges and weapons.
- The Box– broadly, the idea of a broad focus , a zone which you can cover and act on. The ‘box system’ refers to a method of aggressive defense discussed in the ‘methods’ section
- Zoning– expressing power to a zone, to a defined place rather than simply hitting through. This allows us to practice more safely with speed and power and teaches us to avoid losing balance by assuming that a target will be there to decelerate our hits.
- The Figure 8– continuous motion, however small. The mechanics of constantly regenerating balance and power through constant motion and understanding of the power curves available to you
- Pre-emptive hitting– Getting there first. Simple, direct, effective. Good to get good at.
- The Box System-Hitting up the same line as an incoming attack perpendicular to the incoming attack.
- Passing– Moving in to let and helping a hit go by
- Jamming- Moving in and choking a hit
- Largo Mano- Moving out and letting a hit go by
- Empty hand
- Palm Stick
- Single stick
- Double stick
- ‘Shield and spear’
- Heavy weapons
- Improvised weapons