Reader Hernan asks about the role of evasion in Big Stick Combat.
The greatest application of evasion with the big stick is the late GM Giron’s larga mano style. In his style the
proponent maximizes the reach of the long stick by long stances, and stretching out to hit the opponent’s closest target, usually the weapon hand. The larga mano stylist may oppose the attack or blend/merge with it. Correctly applied, the attacker is trying to get at the long stick stylist, but can’t get anywhere close to him, and gets hit as he tries to get near. The lara mano stylist will pop in and tag the opponent, then fade back out of reach (retirada style).
I believe that the larga mano style is best understood in the context of a long, bladed weapon. GM Giron poses with a panabas, a machete mounted on a stick, and GM Somera’s larga mano video features him using a long sword. With a long blade, a hit at a distanvce can create a crippling injury, such as slashing an opponent’s wrist. The long blade cannot be grabbed.
With a long stick, though, the same dynamics of the long blade larga mano stylist may not apply. Strikes with the stick may not be incapacitating at long range, and the end of the stick can be grabbed.
Although larga mano is a valid style, I decided against including it in Big Stick Combat, for several reasons:
1) Larga Mano needs space, which may not be available in the city or indoors.
2) A long stick can be grabbed at a time when the larga mano stylist is stretched forward.
3) Larga Mano requires leg flexibility and strength (which makes it great as an exercise), which some people may not have.
4) Larga Mano adds a degree of complexity to a style. I opted for simplicity.
To the extent that I evade, I step out to the right or to the left, in what Filipino stylists call the “female triangle” (V).
GM Estalilla’s concept is not to evade, but to move right into the teeth of an opponent’s attack and merge with him while blasting him in the head. This is audacious, and certainly takes guts to execute it. My concept is typically similar –move directly into an attack, smothering it with overwhelming power.