WTW, 12/31/2009

Wake up your neglected half

Developing the live hand is a step towards fully exploitation of your potential. The ability to use both hands is of great significance. Find out what benefits your neglected side can bring you.

The empty, in everyday situations usually neglected, hand is called "live hand" in Escrima. For right-handed people this is the left hand and for left-handed persons it's the right one.

An important learning step is to become aware of your weapons and their positions. Your weapons should be in a position where you can be sure to use them most effectively to protect yourself. Start as early as possible to train your live hand. That kind of hard labour will be worth the trouble! It will feel more and more natural to use the live hand. As the name suggests, the live hand is not glued to one single spot, not moving at all. It's always moving into a position to disable your opponent as fast and as easy as possible while providing self-protection at the best. When using the live hand, both hemispheres of the brain will be activated and stimulated and new synaptical cross-connections will be created. That way, your brain can transport information more efficiently and will work more harmonious, which in turn will have a positive effect on all aspects of life.

The live hand fulfils various tasks and it expands your possibilities considerably. One important function at the beginning of your Escrima development is to protect your head (brain), eyes, throat/neck, teeth, etc. When using correct timing, the live hand always moves first, even before the weapon or the head moves. Under ideal conditions it's already in the right position from the very start! In case we've made a mistake while countering, we receive a hit to the live hand instead of a hit to our head. During counters the live hand protects you in addition to your weapon. Coming from this position it can be activated in various ways. It provides protection, in case of a recoil of your own weapon. It is important to protect your eyes. It might happen that your weapon breaks or slivers. Easy to imagine the aftermath of an eye injury, most probably for the rest of your life. But also in a fight situation, this will lead to a split second where you'll be distracted and vulnerable. By using the live hand, the chances of getting hurt are drastically reduced.

As mentioned before, awareness is an important factor. Always be ready to use your live hand, may it be for a counter, a counter attack or to control your opponent. Point your fingers of the live hand towards the eyes of your opponent (make your fingers hunt the eyes of your enemy!). When constantly hunting your opponent's eyes your live hand is constantly ready to fire off. The use of the live hand, initially "neglected hand", may feel odd and unnatural in the beginning. That's why you should exercise it right from the start, slowly and intentional.

Besides those two jobs another advantage of a trained and developed live hand is the easier use of a second weapon (for your live hand is already a second weapon). This could be a knife, a second stick, a shield (buckler) and many more. By using two weapons of different lengths, different distances can be achieved which will enable you to fight in various distances.

Controlling lock with the live hand and attacking
with the other hand at the same time.

Control your opponent and be ready.

Short and long weapon.

One weapon attacks while the other is ready to be next. You could also counter with one weapon and almost immediately attack with the other. Both weapons can be used in a fixed pattern (e.g. figure eight), which will allow a power-efficient flow of movements. It's always one weapon that is ready to counter or attack. The live hand itself is an effective weapon. Hits with the palm must not be underestimated.

The live hand amplifies the power of two-handed strikes. An umbrella can be turned into an effective weapon that way. Always try to put all your body weight into your strikes an onto the target, wether you hit with one or both hands. The "lock grip" is another amplifier of power. This grip is not only used when holding weapons with one hand, but also when using both hands. A neglected live hand would dramatically reduce its use and value.

To exploit the advantages your weak side will be enhanced progressively. Its usage gets optimised by the warm-up, the forms, use of two weapons, etc. When speaking of short-power, e.g. when using a palm stick, it's the capabilities of your live hand, which are a crucial success factor in this particular distance. Your enemy can be attacked and be put unter pressure by well-directed pushes and hand checks. When hitting with your palm, i.e. conducting a hand check, you're attacking with the little bone of your hand which is located on the outside bottom area (i.e. opposite your thumb) of your palm. Chances of hurting yourself are marginal and it's apt for quick use. Palm thrusts with the live hand, as conducted in Escrima, have yet another advantage: They protect you, just like any other attack should.

By alternately using two weapons, e.g. palm stick and live hand, it is possible to prevent your opponent's attacks "more easily".

All those advantages are only possible through structured exercises under professional supervision. Our Escrima offers you such an education!

Attackers seek victims, not opponents!
Escrima will make you an opponent!

Text: Jens Nördershäuser
Source translated by: The Navigator