After learning the 12 angles of attack, the student will next learn basic defences against those angles. In Modern Arnis, this is called the “block check counter” drill. Several skills are taught while going through this drill. Among them are proper footwork, proper blocking form, proper use of the check hand, use of the center line, and counter strikes.
In practice, we always block cane on cane. In combat, instead of blocking a cane, striking the opponent’s wrist and forearm area would be more appropriate.
Professor Presas stressed the importance of using the check hand in this drill either for grabbing the opponent’s cane or to check the opponent’s weapon hand. In his view, not effectively using the check hand resulted in dire consequences for the defender.
In the most basic version of this drill, I teach the slice block where your stick blocks your opponent’s cane and recoils, in a slicing motion, to the top of your left shoulder while your left hand is checking your opponent’s cane hand. Against angles 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, and 10, the counter strike is an angle #2 strike. In defending against angles 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, and 12, the counter strike is an angle #1 strike. This is illustrated in the below video.
Proper footwork is important. For example, in defending against an attack from angle #1, the defender needs to step to the right, with his right foot, at a 45 degree angle. This will put the defender in a position to defend against the attack and counter. In contrast, if the defender steps into an angle #1 attack with her left foot, she will likely will be hit.
The video shows the basic version of the “block check counter” drill. There are a number of variations of this valuable drill depending on the type of block being emphasized and different counter strikes. In addition, variations of this drill can depend on which hand the attacker and the defender is holding the cane.