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The umbrella block is often used against an overhead attack, otherwise known as angle #12 in Modern Arnis. While I covered the technical aspects of this technique in the video above, I did not mention the psychological issues associated with this block.

A full force overhead attack can be terrifying, especially for the beginner. Not only is the assailant coming at you with full power, but also he is also being assisted by gravity. I often see beginners freeze on the spot when seeing an overhead attack. Practice will eliminate the fear of an overhead attack and the subconscious freezing.

As can be seen, by the video, four elements comprise a successful umbrella block. First and, most importantly, is footwork. Without proper footwork, an overhead attack may grievously injure you. I cannot emphasize how important it is to move as soon as you spot an overhead attack. I often remind the students in the children’s class TO MOVE against a #12 attack. Unfortunately, I need to tell them to move frequently. Hey, it’s my job as an instructor. 🙂

The remainder of the video concerns the technicalities of the umbrella block itself. Bringing the stick up through your center line, angling your weapon, and keeping it in front of your head are all critical to a successful defense.

However, none of that matters, unless you move! A perfect execution of the umbrella block means nothing if you haven’t moved. Chances are that the attack will crash through the block and make you the second coming of Humpty Dumpty.

Overcoming any potential freezing may require consistent pressure testing in class. Stress inoculation, in other words. I will first keep it simple. As the student becomes more proficient, I will start mixing the angles up so that he/she has no idea when the #12 attack is going to occur.

How long it takes to grasp the technical aspects of the umbrella block may vary from student to student, but I am more concerned with addressing the psychological issue and getting my students to move without freezing and without thinking.

Over to you, how did you feel when you first learned the umbrella block? Fear? Apprehension? Uncertainty? Let me know in the comments below!

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