The late Professor Remy Presas said, “The check hand wins the fights!” One can check, defend, remove, and blunt the opponent’s attack.

With this concept, one can delay, monitor, lock, and strike the opponent. Examples include the slap-off, clearing, joint locks, posturing, throws, pushing, and pulling. Further, it plays a vital role in your ability to counter.

See the below video for illustrations.

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

As you can see from the above video, the use of the check hand can be quite versatile. I demonstrated methods as follows:

(1) As a defensive maneuver;

(2) One can pull or push, thus placing the opponent in a disadvantageous position;

(3) As an offensive maneuver, such as punching;

(4) Grabbing the cane;

(5) One can use the check hand to bait, thus creating opportunities for the driver;

(6) And disarms!

Given all that one can do with the check hand, it’s sometimes amazing to see players not using it.  I illustrate this below:

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

From my teaching experience, not using the check hand is often due to inexperience. This drives me crazy. It’s practically Arnis malpractice. As a result, I will often set aside time to work on this concept.

Students generally have an easier time defending against the backhand side. Due to the weapon and non-weapon hands being parallel against a backhand attack, it is much easier to “steal the lead” on this side. 

In contrast, utilizing the non-weapon hand on the forehand side is much more difficult. It is this particular skill set that I emphasize the most to my students. For beginners, I will begin with angles #1 and #3 and highlight the following:

(1) Block;

(2) Bring the stick to your left shoulder;

(3) Check training partner’s weapon hand with your check hand; and

(4) Counter strike.

This particular sequence is endlessly practiced until there is no thought to using the non-weapon hand.  Using the check hand is more difficult against the forehand thrusting angles, such as #5, 6, and 10. To successfully defend against those angles requires reading the opponent’s body language, timing, footwork, body torque and the check hand.

Once this becomes a habit, then I will introduce the tactical and strategic use of the non-weapon hand as illustrated by the first video above.

Actively using the checking hand will enable you to go with the flow and counter an opponent. As indicated above, one can push, pull, punch, bait, grab a cane, and disarm with the check hand. However, this is only looking at the small picture.

In a broader sense, the non-weapon hand can be used to interrupt or intercept an attacker’s flow. Once you do this, you will be dictating the action on your terms. 

That’s the name of the game, isn’t it? Whoever has the initiative is likely to prevail.

Put this way, how can you go with the flow and counter without using your check hand? It’s nearly impossible!



2 thoughts on “Modern Arnis Concepts: The Check Hand

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