In this post, I touch upon the slap off/pull off* in Filipino Martial Arts. These are common moves, not only to FMAs but also in other arts.

The slap off/pull off drill is one that is commonly practiced in most Modern Arnis training groups and classes. Professor Presas spent time on this drill in every camp that I attended while he was still alive. It’s a mainstay drill of Modern Arnis. The demonstration in the above video is designed to teach the basic skills of the slap off and the pull off. 

Slap Off

We like to emphasize the heavy check hand in order to execute this technique. After all, you are removing an obstruction in order to hit your opponent. If your check hand isn’t sufficiently heavy enough, the opponent may buy time to counter you.

It is important that you execute the slap off with authority like GM Bobby Taboada does below. Done properly, this is a powerful entry technique.

GM Bobby Taboada executing slap off. Video here.

The slap off is found in many other arts. For example, this is the “pak sao” in Wing Chun or JKD circles. Some have described pak sao as “a slapping hand” technique.

I have been on the receiving end of the heavy check hand on the slap off by the late Professor Remy Presas as well as Master Chuck Gauss. Very powerful.

Pull Off

The Wing Chun/JKD equivalent of the pull off is the “larp sao.” Depending on the lineage, this has been spelled as “lop sao” or “lap sao.” In any case, this is most commonly translated as “grabbing hand.” 

GM Bobby with the pull off.

One of the advantages of the pull off is that you can take the opponent’s balance and exploit the momentary vulnerability. There are so many things that you can do with the pull off, ranging from pulling, jerking, grabbing, seizing, controlling, and setting up for another technique.

The late Professor Remy A. Presas demonstrating both the slap off and the pull off. Video here.

Once the student has learned the basics of the slap off and the pull off, we then can play with the energy of these techniques in various ways through tapi tapi. The student will learn to feel the energy of the opponent and execute the appropriate technique, whether it be the slap off or the pull off. 

The four basic ways that we practice these two techniques are as follows:

  1. Right vs. right cane;
  2. Left vs. right cane;
  3. Left vs. left cane; and
  4. Empty handed

Bottom line, we practice these two techniques ad nauseum.

Over to you, how often do you practice these techniques in class?

*terminology used in Modern Arnis.


One thought on “Slap off/Pull off in Filipino Martial Arts

  • August 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Starting to learn block/check/counter in my art, so far I’m enjoying riding this wave! It’s like a chess game as opposed to simply bashing each other around, LOL. I practice outside of class, especially if I’m a total spaz while learning whatever combination for the first time. Last night while sparring all that practice paid off big time 🙂


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