Understanding arnis disarming

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The attacker (left) delivers a strike to Nicolas’s right temple. Nicolas responds with a vertical block with the tip of his stick pointing down.

The attacker (left) delivers a strike to Nicolas’s right temple. Nicolas responds with a vertical block with the tip of his stick pointing down.

Being whacked on the hand in a stick fight means serious trouble. A story on one of the duels fought by the late Grandmaster Angel Cabales published in Dan Inosanto’s book The Filipino Martial Arts reads, “Stick fights never last very long and this one ended when Cabales broke open the man’s knuckle. The blow lacerated an artery and the blood pumping out of the man’s hand kept him from continuing.”

The best disarm is always a direct hit on the weapon hand therefore, this is something that every arnisador must watch out for. This is simply limb destruction commonly referred to as “defanging the snake” among Filipino martial arts practitioners.

But besides directly hitting the opponent’s weapon hand, disarms can also be accomplished by twisting a joint (commonly the wrist, elbow or shoulder) beyond its normal range of motion or forcibly toward the opposite direction of its natural bend. An effective way of doing the latter is by putting a fulcrum under the joint to facilitate dislocation (the fulcrum can be a limb or a weapon such as a stick).

In the following photos, Punong Lakan Garitony Nicolas, the founder of Modern Arnis Mano-Mano Filipino Martial Arts demonstrates a basic disarm in a single stick fight scenario.


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