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  • Peter Lewis

The Single Weapon Category of the Filipino Martial Arts

Bagsak Salok – Downward diagonal strike with thrust

Perhaps the most basic motion when using solo baston (single stick) is bagsak salok (downward diagonal strike with thrust). This technique has various forms of delivery and can be performed with a vertical or diagonal alignment. The current review and analysis will consider the diagonal version of the bagsak salok technique. The name is derived from two words with bagsak referring to a downward smashing action and salok meaning to scoop, which reflects the action of the upward thrust portion of the bagsak salok technique. The diagonal version of bagsak salok is informed by and is part of the basic sinawali (double weapon) technique of magbabayo (downward X) technique. Bagsak salok can inform and develop the intermediate techniques of de cuerdas arriba bagsak (high to low rebounding strikes with downward strike) and sima bagsak (hooking parry with downward strike). The technique further evolves into the advanced methods of sima bagsak salungat (hooking parry with opposite side downward strike), Estrella boklis abaniko bagsak (star defence with upward strike, fan strike and downward strike) and bulalakaw bagsak (comet with downward strike).

Structure and mechanics

The solo baston technique of bagsak salok consists of two techniques that travel on the same diagonal line and in opposite directions. Bagsak salok commences from a right stance with the stick held in the right hand and in a high chamber. The first motion bagsak (downward strike) starts from a high right abierta (open) position and travels to a low right serrada (closed) position at waist height. As the first strike is performed, the right foot steps back into a left stance with the hips twist towards the left to gain maximum power in the strike. At the conclusion of the bagsak technique the tip of the stick remains pointing forwards towards the opponent and throughout the motion, the strike leads with the middle knuckles for a blade orientation. The second movement commences with a simultaneous step forward with the right foot as the stick thrust diagonally upwards from the low right serrada origin towards the high right abierta conclusion. This second movement travels along the same line as the first bagsak technique, but in the opposite direction and leads with the tip of the stick.


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