One of the fundamental concepts taught in Modern Arnis is obstruction removal. Removing the obstruction is both an offensive and defensive maneuver. Among the vital obstruction removal skills are the slap off/pull off, clearing, and lifting.

As one might surmise, obstruction removal involves the use of the check hand. I believe that the check hand is a general concept. On the other hand, obstruction removal is a more specific concept relating to the use of the check hand.

As noted in the first paragraph, there are several ways to execute the obstruction removal.

The most obvious example is the slap off/pull off as noted in the video below. The obstruction is Joel’s check hand. To finish off Joel, I need to remove his check hand either by a slap off or a pull off.

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

The second most common version of obstruction removal involves clearing the opponent’s stick during tapi tapi play.

“Clearing” is the act of moving or removing an opponent’s cane to create a tactical or positional advantage. “Clearing” is illustrated in the below video.

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

If you look closely, you will notice that “clearing” mirrors the slap off. In the gif below, you will see that my check hand first cleared Dref’s stick and then slapped off his check hand. In essence, I performed the obstruction removal two times in quick succession.

The original video is here.

Lifting is another way to execute an obstruction removal.

An example would be where you execute a tapi tapi block, and his strike comes in on a high line. At this point, you can lift his stick to create an opening for a hit.

This video at this point. In this gif, I had lifted Dref’s cane in the expectation of creating an opening. Had it succeeded, I would have thrust him. He countered by pushing down on my lifting hand. I responded by executing palis palis with a punyo shot to his ribs. By lifting, I was removing an obstruction to a possible target.

In summary, obstruction removal is an essential part of the Modern Arnis toolbox and offers numerous ways to create openings and positional advantage for the player skilled in this concept. Like any skill, proficiency takes time and much practice!

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