“The counter locks in Derobio are the most intricate I’ve ever seen.” —Guro Dan Inosanto
By GM Dan Medina
Until recently, Derobio Escrima has been a relatively unknown martial art outside the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands. Th e martial arts community has, with great respect, welcomed this newly discovered and extremely devastating art form. One of the many things that set this martial art apart from others is its counter-to -counter concept. Many martial arts, to some extent, have counters and locks that appear impossible to counter, but this is where the counter-to-counter locks of Derobio begin.
Derobio has taken this ability to new heights. Teaching the concepts of body structure, movement, and the chess-like prediction of the opponent’s next move. The art of Derobio has 144 counter locks which are unique to the system. The locks and counter locks in Derobio Escrima are very complex in their simplicity and work at medium to very close range. These locks are applied to the joints, tendons, muscles, nerves and pressure points, effectively shutting down the opponent’s ability to think about anything but the pain.
This knowledge was generally reserved for the most advanced students due to the amount of experience and control needed to practice these methods. Until recently very few outside of our schools have seen these locks, much less known of their existence.
In the next few pages, I would like to show you just a few of the 144 counters unique to Derobio. Each one teaches a lesson beyond the obvious. You can learn step 1, 2, 3 and so on, but the real lesson is in why it works and how the body responds to it.
Counter to Counter Angle 1
Angle 1 is countered with a passing motion. Defender applies a snake that bites to the attacker’s weapon hand, re-counters with his own Angle #1. Th is is then redirected into the crook of the opponent’s elbow, while at the same time your elbow is brought up and forward over your opponent’s forearm. Now apply downward pressure. Th is technique can be used as pain compliance or as a totally destructive technique that can cause tendon and ligament tears and joint dislocations.
Counter to Counter Angle 6
Angle 6 is parried right to left and is countered with a wrist lock which is applied with the left hand. Th e defender re-counters with an Angle 6 strike. Duck right, then catch and apply a wrist lock of your own, while simultaneously rolling your right hand up and over to the left over your opponent’s weapon arm. Th is will cause a temporary locking situation which will give just enough time to let go your opponent’s weapon as you peel the grab off of your weapon hand which will cause both of your opponent’s arms to be locked and placed in a breaking or hyper extension situation.
This article was excerpted from the author’s book, The Secret Art of Derobio Escrima (Tambuli Media). In this book, Grandmaster Dan Medina will take you on a journey into the lives and history of two of Leyte’s Legendary Men. One was considered to be one of the Philippines most dangerous rebels, a leader of the Pulahan Movement and later a patriot. General Faustino Ablen (aka Papa Ablen). The other was his disciple, Grandmaster Braulio Tomada Pedo, who is not only be remembered for his kindness, physical and spiritual healing, but also for his great ability in Filipino martial arts. In this book Dan Medina sheds light into the deadliness of this bone and joint crushing art.
The Secret Art of Derobio Escrima is the first look into this amazing battle tested art of Derobio Escrima. Not only does it take you through the basics of Derobio Escrima, it also gives you a glimpse into inner workings of countering. This book is written with the student in mind and will take you beyond the basics. It’s designed to walk you through the principles and theories behind striking, blocking, counter attacks and locks. Of great interest is the counter to counter movement of Derobio Escrima, which sets this art apart from other arts. It’s like the standup grappling of the Filipino martial arts with weapons. It teaches you how to move with the opponent’s force, taking and using their energy and flow against them. The stick locks which have made this system famous will make you want to jump out of your skin.