Behind any effective martial art are sets of working principles. That is, a fundamental truth, or law, from which applications of movements are based. Here, we’re presenting a look at the Abenir Kalis system and its set of principles for effective application. This is an excerpt from Bong Abenir’s new book, Eskrima Street Defense.

The Abenir Kalis system is primarily a blade based martial art which derives its bulk of techniques and fighting principles from the arts of Kalis Ilustrisimo, Yaw-Yan and Silat. The art’s founder is this book’s author, Maestro Bong Abenir, who has fused these systems in order to come up with his own training system. He has also added techniques and strategies discovered as effective during his live sparring. Most of the techniques that were effective during a full sparring session without protective gear were thoroughly observed by him, to see whether their efficiency was replicated many times and would, therefore, be included as part of the repertoire of Abenir Kalis techniques. Abenir believes that during a fight, wherein everything is sudden and happening so fast, that you may not have time to think but must instead rely on your quick reaction to respond to any attack or situation you are in. What’s more, the empty hand fighting system could be practiced anytime at any stage or level of the practitioner. 

The weapons progression is used in conjunction with the empty hand training progression in order for the practitioner to get a “complete education” in the variables possible with the major techniques and tactics employed in Filipino martial arts. The major characteristic of Abenir Kalis is efficiency. It is a very pragmatic and practical system. It does not waste time with unnecessary movements but instead goes right through the heart of the problem when dealing with an adversary. We make sure that the practitioner is able to fight or defend himself in just a few sessions of training within the system. Although it does not mean achieving mastery of the skills and techniques within the system in such a short period of time but rather the skill and confidence during a street encounter is what we are after (learn to fight first, then work on the finer points of the art later). That is why we do a lot of live drills during the first sessions and help the student analyze the different strategies and tactics that could be employed during a street fight. It does not matter much how well you execute the techniques during a fight as long they hit the target. People are not concerned with how beautiful or skillful you employ your techniques but rather with who is left standing after the encounter. Only after learning this comes the formal training for the purpose of mastery and teaching of the system. This is based on the following principles. 

The Principles of Abenir Kalis

  • Don’t waste moves; be flexible.
  • A parry which does not incorporate an attack is wasteful movement.
  • A defense is an attack, an attack is a defense.
  • Overwhelm your enemy with multiple attacks.
  • Striking directly at the enemy’s flesh is preferable to blocking the enemy’s weapon.
  • Your fighting position should be designed to make you a difficult target to hit.
  • Don’t be overconfident; be alert at all times.
  • Be fiercer in your attack than your enemy.
  • Be strong in your defense, and powerful in your offense.
  • Move with speed and precision using correct distance against the enemy.
  • The faster you hit the target, the better.
  • Hit the nearest targets and those open to you.
  • Attack when you see an opening.
  • Employ your defensive skills when needed.
  • Attack, attack, attack until the assailant ceases to be a threat to your safety.
  • Hand techniques should correspond with footwork.
  • Avoid wide movements in delivering your blows. Strike without telegraphing your attack.
  • Wrist locks and disarming techniques are only incidental. A strike could cause a disarm that only counts as one beat which is faster and more practical to use than complicated locks during a heated encounter, especially against multiple opponents.
  • Only engage in a fight if no other option of escape is possible.
  • Run if you must, fight if you must
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