Filipino Martial Arts - Espada y Daga

Generally considered as the backbone of the Filipino martial arts (FMA), espada y daga (sword and dagger) is an advanced form of sinawali (woven or to weave), where skills have previously been developed using doble baston (double sticks). By its very nature, espada y daga demands a high degree of accuracy to ensure that the correct blade awareness and alignment is maintained throughout all techniques. Fully benefitting from the ambidextrous development of skills through the practice of sinawali, this category further requires the intricate adjustment of range to cater for the longer espada (sword) and the shorter daga (dagger). This chapter will explore some of the espada y daga opportunities presented by five of the core sinawali techniques, namely magbabayo (to pound or downward X), langit at lupa (heaven and earth), bulalakaw (comet), putakti (hornet) and luha redonda (teardrop thrusts with whirlwind). Some of the many applications of the sword and dagger category are explored in this analysis.


Perhaps one of the more basic movements of sinawali (woven or to weave) that is translated from the doble baston (double stick) practice to that of espada y daga (sword and dagger) is magbabayo (to pound or downward X). However, this fundamental technique provides a crucial foundation of coordination and understanding of how the espada (sword) can be used in conjunction with and supported by the daga (dagger). As previously identified, magbabayo is derived from the two solo baston (single stick) techniques of abierta bagsak (open side downward diagonal strike) and serrada bagsak (closed side downward diagonal strike). When translated to the espada y daga category, magbabayo provides scope for activities with the daga, such as laslas (slash), palis (parry) or saksak (thrust) techniques.

Commence magbabayo (to pound or downward X) in a right stance, with the right espada (sword) held in a high abierta (open) chamber at shoulder height and the daga (dagger) held at chest height with the palm down. Using the right sword, deliver abierta bagsak (open side downward diagonal strike) which travels from a high abierta origin to conclude at a low serrada location at waist height and with the sword turning to point to the rear. Immediately engage the left daga by executing a palm-down saksak (thrust) over the top of the right arm and traveling from the high abierta start towards the centreline at middle height. Retract the daga to the chest high abierta chamber and use the sword to cut with serrada bagsak (closed side downward diagonals strike) with a trajectory from a high ­serrada beginning and concluding in a low abierta position close to the right hip before progressing to a high abierta chamber. Once the serrada bagsak has passed the centreline and nearing conclusion, deliver a left palm-up daga thrust which travels from the middle abierta origin towards a middle serrada location at chest height.

Espada y Daga - Sword and Dagger

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