Filipino Martial Arts - Short Staff

This blog post considers the scope of translating the techniques of doble baston (double sticks) to the category of the tungkod (short staff). A structured analysis of sinawali (woven or to weave) techniques that can be found in most systems of the Filipino Martial Arts can yield extensive opportunities to translate methods for the use of a staff.. A good starting point and to support this analysis, five core techniques from sinawali (woven or to weave) will be presented. These core techniques include magbabayo (to pound or downward X), langit at lupa (heaven and earth), bulalakaw (comet), putakti (hornet) and luha redonda (teardrop thrusts with whirlwind). The analysis and translation of these techniques for use with the tungkod will develop and extremely powerful and destructive range of opportunities for the practitioner to explore. Key to exploring the translation of sinawali methods for use with a short staff is to follow the striking lines of the double stick techniques.


Providing a point of reference for presentation and analysis, the use of the term tungkod (short staff) refers to a weapon that is approximately 1500mm or under in length and is often yielded with a two-handed end grip. The width of the grip is best determined by the practitioner, but the hands are generally held up to 150mm apart and about 150mm from the end of the tungkod. The style of grip will change according to the application and technique being deployed by the Filipino martial artist.

Magbabayo (To pound or Downward X)

This powerful fundamental sinawali (woven or to weave) technique freely translates to the two-handed end grip application of the tungkod (short staff). With a right of left grip at the end of the short staff, begin with the weapon chambered on the right side of the body. Forcefully strike diagonally downward from right to left and from approximately should height to a conclusion at the height of the left hip. this first strike of magbabayo is effectively abierta baksak (open side downward diagonal strike). Raise the staff to a height above the left shoulder to commence the second motion of the technique, which is a downward diagonal left to right strike, beginning at the left shoulder and ending by the right hip. this second strike of magbabayo is serrada bagsak (closed side downward diagonal strike). Ensure that the use of hip twist is fully applied to generate maximum power with each strike.

Sinawali technique translated for use with a tungkod

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