“When in doubt, hit them!”- Master Chuck Gauss

There are several surefire counters. One of them is hitting as discussed below.

If you are not able to view the video, click here.

A surefire counter to most techniques is to simply hit your opponent, either with the cane or with your check/alive hand.

In the above video, I illustrate a simple way to prevent an opponent from grabbing your cane. Either hit them, with a thrust or a hit to the noggin, or keep the cane out of range. Keep your opponent busy to even think about closing the gap, countering, hitting or anything else that he/she might be thinking of. Hitting is a surefire counter!

As one can see in this fantastic clip of the legendary GM Antonio Illustrisimo and his student, the late GM Tony Diego, Tatang Illustrisimo displays the concept of hitting several times by intercepting GM Diego’s attacks with various striking methods. Indeed, he stops GM Tony Diego dead in his tracks, before he is able to launch an attack.

If you are not able to view this video, click here.

For those of who have practiced, trained and taught Filipino Martial Arts for several years, this is not exactly a profound revelation. However, it may be for those who are starting out or learning their way around their respective system. 

There are those who get caught up in the counters. “What’s the counter to this?” or “How do you counter this move?” Some get so caught up in knowing and memorizing every counter in the book. Some become very good at these counters. I had this mindset years ago.

Ultimately, it becomes pointless to stuff your head with all kinds of counters.

Instead of counter techniques, one needs to get into the counter principles.

One of those counter principles is at the beginning of this article, the quote by Master Chuck Gauss: “when in doubt, hit them!” If, at a moment during sparring/sumbrada or tapi tapi, you are not sure of how to counter someone, hit!

Hitting is a surefire counter!

If one explores their respective art, one will be able to determine, through practice and guidance from an instructor, the principles of countering. This will, in turn, lead to the discovery of strategies and tactics to implement these principles.

The strategies and tactics of countering are usually dictated by simple techniques. Simple moves.

It does not matter if the move is banda y banda, rompida, figure 8, reverse figure 8, high palis palis (GM Illustrisimo does this particular move several times in the above video).

Keep it simple. If a counter has multiple components, it’s not likely to work.

Yes, it’s fun to explore the various counters that Filipino Martial Arts is well known for. The experimentation helps to expand your horizons and to see the possibilities.

However, it all comes back to simple counter principles. 

Simple principles, such as hitting, which in turn, employ simple moves.


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