WHAT IS ESCRIMA?
Escrima the fascination of armed combat
Weapons training has been a fixed part of the EWTO's activities since Grandmaster Kernspecht invited the two Escrima pioneers Bill Newman and Ren้ Latosa to Kiel in 1977, and subsequently published the first book about this Philippine martial art together with them. The opportunity to learn Escrima is particularly positive for students who are interested in armed combat, as in the WingTsun system the long pole and the double broadswords are only taught as part of the most advanced training programmes. On the basis of Philippine martial arts concepts, Escrima is now taught with the following areas of emphasis which enable students to pursue their individual training objectives:
- Medieval Weapons
Self-defence using blunt or bladed weapons is as old as human civilisation itself. Long before man learned to work with the first metals he was using sticks, clubs or large bones as weapons, with an enormous and immediate increase in his fighting prowess. The development and refinement of hand-held weapons and their effective use over many thousands of years was driven by this existential advantage. It was only with the invention of firearms that this progress more or less came to an end. In present-day European society self-defence with impact weapons has gained a new importance, as the use of a weapon can easily compensate for disadvantages in strength and body mass but is also subject to very strict legislation. Under the guiding influence of Grandmaster Bill Newman generations of skilled escrimadores have developed a Philippine fighting style into a modern, weapon-based martial art which fully meets the requirements for effective self-defence in western society.
Demonstrating and testing one's fighting prowess in tournaments has a long tradition in Escrima. In early days, EWTO already organised competitions for escrimadores, and their procedures and rules became the model for stick-fighting tournaments in general. Right from the start those responsible for the development of the competition guidelines sought to ensure that the greatest possible realism was combined with the lowest possible risk to those taking part. Nowadays referees are trained to operate within in a strict set of rules by attending special seminars. Before every tournament the contestants too are required to take part in special competition seminars during which GM Bill Newman personally prepares them for the event. Competitors fight in different weight classes, which are in turn divided into "Beginners" and "Advanced". Each competitor is obliged to wear heavy protective gear consisting of a helmet, chest protector, gloves and shinpads, while the sticks are thickly padded. These protective measures prevent injury even when very heavy blows are struck.
Escrima Mediaeval weapons