“How do you do these counters to the disarms?”
“It’s easy; you just have to relax and practice them over and over.”
During one class, I was teaching some counters to the #1 disarm taught in Modern Arnis. I taught these counters in the context of some principles that I wanted to impart to my students.
If you are not able to view this video, please click here.
While demonstrating the counters, I explained that the most important component in countering a disarm is relaxation. If you don’t relax, you will likely not be able to counter the disarm. Conversely, if you are stiff or resist an opponent’s technique with muscular strength, your counter attempts will likely fail. Stiffness and resistance have the magical effect of restricting your ability to see the openings for a counter.
Learning how to relax is a pre-requisite for a successful counter to a disarm.
Rather than bombard my students for various principles for a counter, I just tell them “first, you need to relax” and make this concrete through a few counters.
If you are not able to view the video, click here.
The first video contains four counters to the first disarm in Modern Arnis. The second video shows three counters to the second disarm. In teaching my students, I spread these counters throughout the class. This way, they have ample time to practice each counter and learning what it takes to succeed.
Only then will I tell my students the three basic principles involved in the counters demonstrated in the aforementioned video:
- Sacrifice your stick if necessary;
- If you have the opportunity to grab your partner’s cane, do it! This will usually lead to a counter.
- If you can grab your own cane, there may be a counter there.
Can you spot these concepts in both videos?
In addition, I emphasize to my students that
- There is usually more than one counter available at any given time.
- Learning to counter a disarm takes time and much practice.
As mentioned above, relaxation is crucial to pulling off a successful counter. I like to think of this as a metaphor for life. For any stressful situation, being as relaxed and composed will be key to a successful outcome. Thinking on your feet as opposed to instinctively hunkering down will enable you to negotiate your way through difficult times as well as disarms.
To summarize, relaxation is key. Translating “you must relax!” into concrete examples is also key for the students. Most importantly, tons of repetitions of some counters will drive home Professor Presas’s admonishment for us to “go with the flow” and “counter the counter!”