Technique: The Power of Diagonal Strikes

Diagonal strikes have advantages over horizontal strikes. If one does Cinco Teros (“5 strikes” or “5 shots”) in an X pattern, you have a simple means of outlining the major strikes one may encounter in a fight. GM Giron’s Bahala Na group uses the basic X pattern in long stick larga mano applications. The Portuguese staff art of Jogo do Pau also uses the X pattern.

Using GM Estalilla’s terminology, we can break attacks down to just 5 types of attack:

1) An overhand right blow, or an overight

2) An overhand left blow, or an overleft

3) An underhand right blow, or an underight

4) An underhand left blow, or underleft

5) A thrust

But what about horizontal blows? I believe that the diagonal X pattern teaches more effective strikes.

Depicted above, the horizontal strike is easily blocked by the defender. In fact, he almost has to do nothing.

Here I attack with an underleft strike. Note how it tends to come up under the defender’s guard. While he can block the strike, he has to work at it.

But let’s ask, “Why am I using a stick?”

“Why am I only hitting one-handed?”

Here I am striking at the same underleft angle, but I am using a baseball bat. I am also hitting two-handed.

This is the power swing in baseball. I will talk more about baseball and the martial arts in upcoming posts, but in baseball, too, the power strike is not horizontal, but ascending.

Although I can execute an underleft strike to the knee with a short stick, I must crouch, which places me in a vulnerable position.

With the long stick it is possible to strike with an overleft or underleft to the opponent’s knee, without crouching, and prepared for an immediate follow up.

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