One of the major concepts of Modern Arnis is “stealing the lead.” If the opponent presents his stick, you can steal the lead, usually by grabbing the stick. This is illustrated by the video below when I grab Alex’s stick and counter him. 

I just grabbed Alex's cane.

I just grabbed Alex’s cane and am countering him! To see the video, click here.

Learning to grab the cane is easy to learn but difficult to learn and apply. Grabbing the cane is an essential skill toward proficiency in Modern Arnis.

When do you grab the cane?

Ah, that’s the crux, isn’t it? I offer three basic methods of grabbing the cane.

(1) When your cane makes contact with your opponent’s cane: this may only be a brief moment in time. With experience, you will be able to spot this opportunity and take advantage of it. Be prepared to grab the cane. Here’s an example:

The two canes are in contact. Good time for either Alex or myself to grab the other cane.

The two canes are in contact. Good time for myself to grab Alex’s cane. Likewise, Alex is in a position to grab mine as well.

(2) When your opponent extends his cane: Whether it is a forehand strike or a backhand strike, the cane is within your reach. Why not grab it?

When Alex extends his stick on angle #7, this is a perfect time to grab it. Ditto for other angles.

When Alex extends his stick on angle #7, this is a perfect time to grab it. Ditto for other angles.

(3) When your opponent executes a sweep stroke: his cane is coming toward you, why not take advantage of this opportunity? The results can be beautiful. 🙂

Alex is executing a sweep stroke. This is a good opportunity to grab his cane.

Alex is executing a sweep stroke. This is a good opportunity to grab his cane.

Once you’ve grabbed the cane, do not let the opponent regain the initiative. Counter your opponent and finish the game!

As noted above, grabbing the cane is one of the ways to steal the lead. The converse is true; to prevent your opponent from stealing the lead means negating his/her ability to grab the cane. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? This takes a lot of practice. Preventing your opponent from grabbing the cane and stealing the lead is the focus of Bamboo Spirit Flow Drills 3 and 4.

The same goes for life, doesn’t it? When an opportunity presents itself, GRAB IT! Or as my lovely departed Aunt of mine once said:

“If cookies are being passed around, take one!”

The same thing isn’t it? 🙂

The mind-bending part about all of this is that an opportunity to grab your opponent’s cane may turn out to be a trap or a bait designed to finish YOU.  But that’s a post for another day. 

In conclusion, it is essential to develop the skill to grab your opponent’s cane. It is harder than it looks and takes a lot of practice to perfect. Once this skill is refined, your ability to counter your opponent will explode!

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