From the book "The Philosophy of Arnis Nicolas System"
Author: Punong Lakan Garitony C. Nicolas
The Proper holding and correct grip of the Arnis stick.
There are different ways of looking in the way a person holds the sticks; it can be on the physical side or principle behind it.
In the physical perspective and importance of holding the stick, is like similar other sports in which holding or gripping put into practice such as badminton, table tennis, basketball. A correct grip is the secret to control, develop timing, improve power, and speed in every blow that is delivered.
While the hold is firm, the wrists have to be flexible. Keeping the wrist in this state will guarantee that the blows are delivered with force and speed.
There are different kinds of holding the sticks:
1) Hold the stick at the very edge
2) Hold the stick about an inch from the edge
3) Hold the stick with a one fist width from the edge
4) Center hold
5) Reverse hold
In philosophical point of view, the stick does not just represent a weapon or an extension of the hand. It represents your knowledge, dignity, honor, the way you think, and the principles of a true Arnisador. I believe that “How you hold the stick is how you handle your life”. What one must remember when teaching the art of stick fighting, are the principles behind it. Though it is pleasing to be an expert martial artist, it is even more rewarding to be a real martial artist that holds true of the rules and way of life of the Arnis system, and lives a life of honor.
When do we grab the stick and when do we grab the wrist?
During training a lot of people are asking questions as to when to grab the wrist or stick.
In reality, there is nothing wrong in catching the stick, or the wrist of your fellow practitioner. The difference between them on the other hand, makes the difference between whether you wish to disarm, or throw and lock your opponent.
Basically, catching the stick allows you to disarm the opponent with ease and leaser risk to oneself. It may also be used when trying to throw or lock the opponent, but there is more risk in attempting to execute the throwing and locking techniques, since your opponent may have the opportunity to counter throw, counter lock, or release the stick and also counter lock or throw. Locking the stick alone is safer, and more common in the disarming the opponent.
Holding the opponent’s wrist on the other hand allows one to throw, lock and disarm safely. It provides the decision of one otherwise the other. Whereas it requires getting closer to ones opponent, it provides more an option and decision, where the opponent is at distance where there is an adequate amount of space to safely throw or lock the opponent, or disarm them.
Locking is easier when holding the wrist of an opponent, as compared to hold the stick, as your opponent has the prospect of releasing their stick, as well as counter attacking.
There are three phases of Arnis such as bladed weapon, stick and Mano-Mano. The bladed is a weapon well-known for its sharpness. This same sharpness causes injury and damage to the opponent by cutting through skin to the deeper parts of the body we can also live the bladed life by cutting away what is not good in our being. We have to be shred of whatever is not contributing to the improvement as an individual as well as development of our life and the lives of others. We have to demonstrate sharpness in making decisions to make sure we do what is right. But if we just let loose of our life, like the blade, we can also become dull and rusty. For us to stay sharp, we must put into practice doing what is right, and think what is right.
The stick is the most basic weapon in the art of Arnis. It is medium in length and made of hard wood. It is a very simple but effective weapon that can be used by almost everybody. We can live our life like the stick, living in humility and simplicity; however, it is too able to make a difference. But like the stick, doing this without rest would also cause us physical, emotional, mental and spiritual stress. If we become aware of, continuous usage of the stick damages it plus later on becomes unusable.
To avoid this we must take care of the stick so we can use it for a longer time. In comparison to our life, we must not abuse our physical and spiritual body for the reason that if we do, we are like throwing our life away. The stick does it damage by hitting it on the essential parts of the body thus causing internal as well as external damage. The same goes with our physical being because we can hurt others physically and emotionally.
The mano y mano is asset of techniques that utilizes bare hands. The hands can be used in different forms to create a lot of striking variations. It can be open or close fist, long or short range, and soft or hard strike. Bottom line is we can do a lot of things by means of our empty hands. If we are holding something, there is no way for us to perform the various mano y mano techniques since we are bound by the weapon we are holding. The same goes with our life wherein if we are not focus in what we are supposed to do and turn out to be preoccupied by other things, we accomplish nothing. If we want our dreams to come a reality, we must make sure that our actions contribute to the vision that we have. Otherwise we are just wasting time.