Luha Salisi – Criss-cross thrusts

A technique from within the redonda (whirlwind) category, luha salisi (criss-cross thrusts) provides the strategic opportunity to switch sides and rapidly counter with devastating thrusting techniques at different levels. The name of this technique appropriately describes the core motion of thrusting towards opposing corners of the body. Luha salisi is informed by and derived from the fundamental salok-saboy (upward X) and magbabayo (downward X) and includes influences from the intermediate redonda and redonda salok-saboy (reverse whirlwind). The technique is also influenced by the advanced luha redonda (teardrop thrusts with whirlwind) sequence. As with the sister technique of luha redonda, this move also includes the devastating tulay (bridge) and lagusan (tunnel) methods of simultaneously parrying and thrusting.

The technique luha salisi consists of four movements and includes a low thrust, two parries and a high thrust. Luha salisi begins from an open position which provides the strategic advantage of flexibility of action as well as preserving the element of surprise when using this very effective technique. Beginning from a left stance with a high guard, the first move is to parry with the left stick in a motion from a high left abierta (open) position towards a middle level left serrada (closed position). At the same time as the parry is implemented, the right stick makes a slightly upward thrust at stomach height and travels from a low right abierta location towards a centreline target. The second movement uses the left stick to execute a high vertical parry which progresses from the low left serrada position towards a high left abierta conclusion, at the same time the left foot is retracted adjacent to the right foot. The third movement begins by stepping forwards with the right foot and simultaneously completing a high right vertical parry that travels from a high right abierta origin towards a high right serrada finish. Finally and while remaining in the right stance, the left cane completes a chest level thrust over the top of the right arm that travels from a high left abierta location towards the centreline. The combination of the parry and high chest thrust is known as lagusan (tunnel thrust).


Move 1 of Luha Salisi

Weapons categories

The Filipino martial arts are renowned for the development of effective and efficient defensive and offensive strategies with and against a diverse range of weapons or empty-hand scenarios. Once proficient in the core elements of these dynamic and destructive martial arts, the practitioner can feel a degree of confidence in using almost any implement as a weapon. With this unique adaptability it can be difficult to categorise such a myriad of opportunities and this is not the purpose of the current work. To provide a broad understanding of common classifications, weapons could be grouped into four main types to incorporate projectile weapons, flexible weapons, impact weapons and edged weapons. There may be sub-divisions with each classification that further define the overall scope of the Filipino martial arts.


Projectile weapons may include barya (coins), bato (stones), siit (twigs) or a sibat (spear) that can be projected through the bodily mechanics and physicality of the practitioner. Other projectile weapons depend less on the physical attributes of the proponent but rather make use of equipment to enhance the delivery generally in a more forceful manner. Some examples within this category can include a tirador (catapult or slingshot) or pana (bow and arrow or crossbow). The second group of weapons are those of a flexible nature and these can include the panyo (handkerchief), bandana (scarf), Lubid (rope), kadena (chain) or tabok-toyok (flails).


The next group of hand-held weapons possess a hard surface and are classified as impact weapons. While not exclusive, this group of weapons contains a variety of sticks employed by the Filipino martial artist. Within this group are sticks made of rattan cane, bahi (palm) or kamagong (mahogany or iron wood) and weapons can include the commonly used baston (rattan cane of 710mm to 812mm in length), tungkod (short staff of 910mm to 1200mm in length) and the dulo-dulo (pointed carabao horn or kamagong short stick of approximate 150mm in length).


The final group of weapons are edged or bladed weapons and this category is vast within the Filipino martial arts and included a diverse range of single and double edged swords and knives. Some examples of swords employed within this classification include the kampilan (long single edged cutlass with a 635mm long blade), ginunting (a beak shaped sword with a 500mm long blade), sansibar (a slightly curved sword with a blade length of 538mm) and the barong (a leaf shaped sword with a 380mm blade length). Some of the knives within the edged weapon category include the kerambit (a curved or hook shaped short blade), balisong (folding butterfly knife) and the baraw (dagger).

Kalis Kaluban - Sword and Scabbard

The single stick

Regardless of the system of Filipino martial art practiced, the use of solo baston (single stick) is perhaps the most widely seen category of training. This highly adaptable weapon of choice for the eskrimador (practitioner of the FMA) if fast, efficient and extremely practical in terms of combative applications. Additionally, the single stick category is seen around the world in both high impact (live stick) and low impact (padded stick) tournaments. Commonly, the most widely used implement for solo baston practice is the rattan cane, which is very flexible and durable and provide a degree of safety during training. Other versions of the single stick include those made from Filipino hardwood, such as kamagong (iron wood) or bahi (hardwood) and these are more destructive in application and are more applicable to self-protection.


Frequently used to provide a core teaching structure to the Filipino martial arts, the solo baston deepens the practitioner’s understand of anggulo (angles of attack), depensa (defence), galaw ng mga paa (footwork), katumpakan (accuracy) and tiyempo (timing). Practitioners of the FMA frequently undertake partner-based training to hone these attributes within the core structure of their Art, developing defensive skills against 12 angles of attack and using set pumigil (block), palis (parry) and ganting-salakay (counterattacks). Another common training method involves palitan (exchange) in a counter-for-counter manner in flow drill practice, which is used to develop a continual motion from defence to counterattack that is fast, accurate and highly effective.


There are many techniques and applications within the solo baston category and collectively they constitute a highly effective defensive practice. Some of the plethora of single stick defensive techniques include estrella (star defence), sumbrada (roof block), tiklop pana (augmented block within archer parry), pluma (pen defence), sima (hooking parry) or sikwat (low parry). Striking methods can embrace such destructive techniques as bagsak (downward strike), salok saboy (scoop and throw or upward X), planchada (horizontal strike), doblete (vertical circular strike), tulay (bridge thrust) or lagusan (tunnel thrust).



The highly adaptable single stick

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