By Ramiro U. Estalilla, Sr.
This section shows the simple (as opposed to compound or complex, and distinct from composite) method or way of doing the Eskrima Art of the Barons. As there are many ways of killing and cooking chicken, so there are many ways of doing and practicing the Filipino martial art of Eskrima. Among them is the way the Filipino leaders called Ka (a term of respect for elders and leaders) Baroang (Baruang or Barwang).
One way of presenting Kabaroan (the term is both applicable to the person as practitioner and to the art as a style or system) is the utilization of weapons in fighting battles: long-range, medium-range, and short-range weapons.
The foregoing outline reveals the width and breadth of Eskrima Kabaroan as a system of fighting arts. Literally, it presents a cross-section of the whole spectrum of the Filipino martial arts that are weapon-based.
We could have presented first the compound (double) weaponry, instead of the simple (single) weaponry for the simple reason that, analogously speaking, people normally start learning to use both hands and feet, or both eyes and ears. If that’s debatable, it’s all right to disagree in a free country.
We zero in and expand on double weaponry. Regardless of the type or kind of weapon before the advent of gunpowder and the invention of firearms such as pistols, rifles, revolvers, machine-guns, bombs, and cannons, the non firearm weapons (blunt or bladed) of any kind, type, shape, length, or form may be classified under two categories: weapons of equal length and weapons of unequal lengths.
WEAPONS OF EQUAL LENGTH
Under “weapons of equal length” falls the following double weapon subclass or subsection: 1. Double Dagger or Short Batons; 2. Double Batons or Short Canes; 3. Double Truncheon or Pang-or; 4. Double Bladed Swords or Kampilan; 5. Double Bangkaw or Shield Staff; 6. Double Spear or Pika/Sibat
WEAPONS OF UN-EQUAL LENGTH
Under “weapons of unequal length” comes the following double weaponry subclass or subsection: 1. Sword and Dagger or Espada y Daga; 2. Shield Staff and Truncheon or Bangkaw and Pang-or; 3. Shield Staff and Spear or Bangkaw and Pika/Sibat; 4. Shield and Bangkaw or Kalasag and Substitute Shield; 5. Compound Weaponry for Long and Medium-Range Combats; 6. Compound Weaponry for Short-Range Combats
SINAWALI STRIKING PATTERNS
Sinawali refers to a striking pattern with the use of two weapons, whether weapons of equal or unequal lengths. It can also be applied to the use of single weapon in Bambolia style, in contrast with Sencilia.
The Sinawali or weaving pattern of strikes is characterized by interweaving, alternating, interlacing, and/or crisscrossing right- and-left-hand held weapons, and/or high and low levels of strikes, and/or right- and left-side strikes. As long as one of these characteristics is present, it is deemed or considered Sinawali. Any two or more strikes on the same side and level by the same hand weapon are not valid as Sinawali. For example, two over-right or two over-left simultaneously with the same hand are not Sinawali patterns.
Sinawali, or weaving patterns, are derived from the intertwining and interlocking forms of sawalis (bamboo splits, forest vines, cured palm tree leaves, and other similar materials, including wires and plastics today) used for house sidings, yard fences, mats and hats, baskets, chicken cages, etc.
GENERAL CATEGORY OF SINAWALI
There are three general categories of Sinawalis in Kabaroan; Binaston, which consist of using two weapons, canes or bastons of equal length, Binankaw, which involves the use of two weapons of unequal length, Bambolian or Binambolian, which consist of just one weapon such as a truncheon, a substitute shield staff, short or long staff. The three categories equal 100 percent. Each of the three is equal to thirty-three-and-one-third percent.
BINASTON SINAWALIS (FIRST GENERAL CATEGORY)
There are seven levels of Binaston Sinawali: single, double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, hextuple, and septuple. Each level has patterns ranging from five to twenty-eight or more, and available in two-man-form executions and exercises for single or multiple opponent situations while in defensive and offensive techniques or modes, with or without weapons (empty-handed).
For an overview, single Sinawali has fifteen (15) patterns; double has twenty-four (24) patterns; triple has twenty-eight (28) patterns; quadruple has about five (5) patterns; quintuple has five (5) patterns; hextuple has five (5) patterns; and septuple has five (5) patterns.
The important thing is to learn the principles of form (anyo or kata) formation in both single and double weaponry, and discover the rest of the forms and techniques that are available in the systems and arts. Anyway, there is nothing new under the sun, said the wise King Solomon. What one thinks is new was probably known and discovered a long time ago.
THREE MODES FOR ALL SINAWALI PATTERNS
By mode, as used here, for the impact of two weapons, we refer to the manner, way, or method of their impacts analogous to the movement of two automobiles in accidents such as rear-ending, head-on collision, sideswiping or broad-siding. What is the mode (manner) of transportation? We often get the answer as by train, boat, plane, or bus? Or by a broomstick?
What is the mode of the weapon strike? Force against force (meet-meet) is like a head on collision of automobiles. Merging with the force is like rear-ending (merge-merge). Half-meeting and half-merging (meet-merge) with the force is like side-swiping or broad-siding. This is what we mean by mode. The three modes may be used in both single weapon and double weapon, just as you would employ the two generals—Tiradin and Todasan with their majors— evasion and deflection in both offensive and defensive situations and mobilizations as described before.
SINGLE SINAWALI UNDER DOUBLE WEAPONRY (BALANCED PATTERN)
Single Sinawali (weave) is defined or described as consisting of one strike per weapon: one on each side (right and left) of the target. The strike is executed as seen from the striker’s viewpoint.
DOUBLE SINAWALI UNDER DOUBLE WEAPONRY (HIGH-LOW)
Based on the definition of Single Sinawali, the definition for double and the rest of the Sinawalis, including the weapons of unequal lengths and the Bambolian Sinawali, should be easy to comprehend and execute the strikes. Double Sinawali is defined as consisting of two strikes per weapon, alternating or crisscrossing, with a total of two strikes on each side of the target. The five most common out of twenty-four available patterns are here given as examples.
One of the most common Double Sinawali patterns is the high-low pattern. With the Eskrima octagon (lines of strike) in mind as tool of learning and teaching, do with the right hand an over-right meet, followed by a right hand under-left; next, do a left hand over-left followed by a left hand under-right meet. Now you get a total of two strikes on the right side, and two strikes on the left side.
What if you convert or change one strike of each weapon from a meet to a merge? You get a combination of meet and merge. The feeder continues to feed the same pattern of high-low, but the practitioner will change from meeting the low strike to merging the low strike. As you continue to do this pattern, you begin to realize the concomitant or simultaneous defense and attack applications. Remember that this still complies with the Sinawali requirement: alternating weapons, interweaving patterns, crisscrossing, and interlacing designs.
**This article is excerpted from the author’s book, Estalilla Kabaroan Eskrima (Tambuli Media)**
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