|Introduction to Black Eagle
Black Eagle Eskrima is a system founded in the styles of Eskrima de Llave, Eskrima de Avanico and New Generation. The techniques, training and applications of Black Eagle are trained and employed through solo and paired drills to cover long, medium and short ranges.The weapons of Black Eagle Arnis-Eskrima include the single stick, double stick, staff, single dagger, double dagger, short sticks, chain and empty hands. The style also incorporates the use of swords and sword drills and a flail called ‘de Cadena’.The drills for each category are sub-grouped into the three styles that make up the basis of this system: Eskrima de Llave (the key), Eskrima de Avanico (the fan), and New Generation. It should be noted that these styles are not taught as isolated entities, but rather as conceptual components embodying elements of what once were separate systems.Pangamot is the term used to describe the Black Eagle empty hand component. It includes extensive locking techniques focusing on the wrist, arm and shoulder, but finger locking remains a black eagle specialty. Striking techniques incorporate punching, elbows, low line kicking and also knees. Pangamot also includes leg reaps and sweeps, and throwing exercises called four direction throws. Black Eagle Pangamot also includes a limited groundfighting capability with various leg and arm locks.
Rank in Black Eagle Eskrima is divided into four levels: Beginners, Junior Instructor, Senior Instructor and Master. Progression through the ranks is in most cases a matter of talent, and not dependant on how long a student has been a practitioner of that art (such as is the case in other systems). Advanced students can learn various parts of the curriculum at any time they like. There is no strict progression in the teaching of Black Eagle eskrima, and thus, no set time limits to class length or achievement of rank.
Training methods in Black Eagle are numerous and varied. These rang from solo and pre-arranged partner practice to freestyle improvised movements. Black Eagle rejects the rythmic symmetrical siniwali patterns found in many other systems. Instead, students are trained in a drill called double cane clatter. This drill, with movements derived from sword and dagger, teaches the student to control an opponents weapon. The students move backwards and forward, switching stances and varying the angles and nature of the strikes, blocks and counters. The broken rhythm of the sticks (which is a good indication it is being done correctly) gives this drill its name.The battle attack drill involves a simple striking pattern of multiple forehand and or backhand diagonal, horizontal or figure eight slashes. To perform this drill, students begin in a ready posture. On the instructors command, the students charge forward, slashing rapidly with this pattern. This drill is repeated over and over. Students are not to look at their stick while swinging, but rather past the stick at an imaginary opponent. Another set of drills trains Black Eagle practitioners to defend against the primary striking patterns used by contemporary schools such as Lapunti, Balintawak and Doce Pares. For example the attacker may feed continuous vertical circlestrikes (the redonda of La punti) and the defender will learn how to counter with the New Generation striking patterns. The drill develops in the students a sense of timing for when to hit an opponents hand when employing such a technique.Where pre-arranged solo forms are concerned, Black Eagle has them for empty hands, single stick, double short sticks, double sticks, and staff. These serve to train the amara (stick motion), hand exchanges and footwork of the student.Black Eagle Arnis-Eskrima also makes use of two-person forms known as exhibition fighting. These forms were actually introduced into the system so that the club could have captivating movements to demonstrate in public, as they contain fancy elements. However the two-person forms do contain the bases of advanced principles and drills disguised beneath the flashy movements. These are explained to advanced practitioners but are virtually invisible to most viewers. The two-person forms are taught in the following combinations: empty hands against empty hands; empty hands against single dagger; empty hands against double daggers; single stick against single stick; double sticks against double sticks; double sticks against staff; and staff against staff.Back and forth, is another core drill important to the development of the Eskrimador. Partners take turns in attacking each other with a dagger or stick, and then disarming and countering.For fitness, power and speed development of the single and double stick in sparring, a tyre dummy is used to strike at. Rounds of one minute are typical, but can range anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The tire is worked at long range with single and double stick, medium range with the checking hand, and short range, with elbows, palm heel strikes and punyao (butt of the stick) strikes.
Free-sparring is practiced in both long and short ranges, with single and double sticks and against both single and multiple opponents. Many forms of protective equipment have been experimented with over the years, some very light. This still contiues to evolve. Black Eagle Eskrima sparring advocates bruising contact to maintain a semblance to reality. Sparring is done in various ways. In short range, practitioners start facing each other with their hands touching each others weapons. While short range sparring, they always consider that a blade may be in play and so do not attempt to crash body to body, rather they try to keep at arms length. They learn how to hit at short range without exposing their arm to a counter strike or disarm. A skill called hiding the hand. At long range, sparring is less structured and relies on the students’ freestyle attributes. At first fighters attempt to stay at long range, but, depending on the opponent reactions and counters, they move in and out of long, medium, and short ranges blending techniques from the three basic styles as required. Multiple opponent sparring finds one person in the middle of a circle comprising three-to-four students. Using multiple opponent techniques from the solo form, the defender has to keep the others at bay, avoid getting hit, and strike them as they come in. Additionally, the multiple opponents learn to work together to outmanoeuvre the single person.