Espada Y Daga means “Sword and Knife“, but the expression is used by most of the Instructors of The Philippine Kali to refer to every fight in which one hand holds a long weapon and the other a short weapon.
Espada Y Daga is part of one of the Philippine martial arts areas or FMA (read the post about the 12 areas of Filipino kali).
It is usually used to train the rattan stick and aluminum training knife.
This unique idea of fighting with a short weapon and a long weapon at the same time is an area of the Philippine warrior mentality!
It’s something incredible because it requires incredible use of footwork to compensate for distances and management of two weapons of different lengths to control.
Guru Dan Inosanto says that:
“It’s an exaggeration,“In the Philippines, if your opponent was empty-handed, you must have a knife. If he had a knife, you must have a knife and a stick. If he had a knife and a stick, you must have a knife and a sword, and so on “.
You always have to have the advantage!.
There are dozens of Filipino styles, most of which include some variation in the use of the “short and long”.
Many different combinations of weapons fall into this voice, including the practice of Espada Y Daga with a shield in one hand and a sword in the other or the stick or dagger in the other.
Guru Dan Inosanto teaches his students to practice the art of the Espada Y Daga with different combinations of weapons, including:
- sword and knife,
- the stick and dagger,
- the shield and the sword, and
- the shield and knife.
Dan Inosanto says that:
“You can put a book in one hand and a broomstick in the other and art is always able to still work.”
This approach is something extraordinary!.
A little bit of history but without exaggeration!!!
The Espada Y Daga is a system or technique that has been developed and perfected in the Philippines.
The focus of this method of combat is to be able to go in and out of long, medium and short distances to trap the enemy and kill.
Although, it is an indigenous fighting method in the Philippines, one of the inspirations of this art is the evolution is said of the Fencing of Western Europe, especially Spanish; as you can see from the Spanish name of “Espada Y Daga”!
One of the few cultural and war influences that have come to this day that the Spanish conquistadors and Italian mercenaries (yes!!! we were there too) have left to the Filipinos are the Spanish names and some of the techniques and names of the combat systems popularly known as Kali or Arnis or Escrima.
Filipinos imitated the Spanish version of Espada Y Daga and soon find the weaknesses of this method and insert a way and an approach to make complicated offensive moves that the Spaniards could not counter because they were not used to.
To be able to coordinate those skills with the sword and knife together consisted of many hours of tutorials for the development of correct reflexes and good fluidity in using two weapons together to attack, parry, control, deflect, dodge, sink, push, hit tip and cut.
Included in this formation is the incorporation of the geometric leg game, the hooking of the body for the evasiveness of being able to close in attack and without being killed.
Various blocks, joint levers, take down and Dumog are normally added once a student has demonstrated good fighting skills.
Both the Espada and the Daga are employed at the same time with a beautiful plot that moves smoothly and in tune and makes this vortex of movements very deceptive and fast to get a sudden and precise exit shot to “finish the job!”
The study of Espada Y Daga improves your skills in the use of the single stick, improving the aggression of the Alive hand (or free hand, living hand), as the Espada Y Daga hand knife is trained to be more offensive.
The movements of Espada Y Daga can be carried well and easily even in double blade techniques, both in Pakal (Ice-Pick – point down) and Sak-Sak grips (Hammer – point up).
The techniques of double blade can then be carried in individual knife techniques … Etc…
Espada Y Daga, also known as “Punta Y Daga” or “Olisi Y Baraw”, it is a modern discipline of Kali and Filipino martial arts (FMA) that is believed to have been influenced by Spanish fencing, particularly by the Spanish style of Sword Side & Dagger used by the conquistadors who invaded the Philippine islands in the 16th century, and not the Rapier and Dagger styles used for duel and for self-defense purposes.
It is believed that the indigenous peoples who were in tune with the Spanish rulers were enlisted in the Spanish forces to help fend off regular invasions by the Muslim pirates of Mindanao and Sulu.
Once recruited into the garrisons it is believed to be Spanish fries and commanders have taught them the fighting skills for new recruits of natives, who in turn have adapted this style of combat and combined with their own indigenous fighting skills of the Philippines.
Espada Y Daga is an area of Kali that focuses on the involvement of an opponent (s) in narrow (Short), Mid (Medium) and Long (Largo) distance.
Typically the strongest or dominant hand (usually the right hand if you are not left-handed) holds the long weapon (sword or stick) and in many styles will serve as the primary weapon.
The weakest hand (usually the left hand if you are right), or out of the way, handles the short weapon (dagger or knife) and is used for both offense (push and deviation) and defense (block, control and closure).
The training typically begins with drills that teach the coordination of the two weapons together and gun control.
The incorporation of footwork (leg play), capture, closing, and take down are normally added once the student has demonstrated proficiency in applying the basic patterns/sets taught.
The training of Espada Y Daga is generally studied after the Solo Baston(single stick)and/or Doble Baston (double sticks), with Hand (empty hands) and Dumog (wrestling) and is taught to advanced level students.
The number and variation of the disciplines taught will vary from Guro (teacher) and style.
Aspects of Espada Y Daga
Espada Y Daga contains in itself both the knife and the stick in the concepts of combat.
Movements are combined simultaneously in a vortex of action.
It’s something incredible and fascinating in the practice of percussion and cutting weapons.
Kali instructor Paul Vunak claims Espada Y Daga is one of the most challenging aspects of Filipino systems.
“In the Philippines, if there is a hierarchy of weapons in terms of efficiency and difficulty, Espada Y Daga would be right there,” he notes.
“It’s one of the most complex, if not the most intricate, methods of weapons.”
Filipino styles pay close attention to combat distances.
When without weapons, they apply the following four combat fields: kicks, punches, trapping and wrestling distance.
However, when Kali’s practitioners are armed in the distance of use of Espada Y Daga, the distances for combat expand to include the stick and knife in the fight.
They adapt according to the weapons available.
A friend Andrea Rollo (3 times world champion of stick fighting) one day during a chat asked me this question:
“if you have to choose whether to have a knife or a stick to fight what would you choose?”
My answer had no value because whatever I said in reality the answer was neither because you make the difference not the weapon,that’s what they say in the Philippines.
That’s why the Filipino Kali is very formative for self-defense combat because you get used to using any object as a weapon.
A friend Andrea Rollo (3 times world stick fighting champion) asked me this question one day during a chat:
“if you have to choose whether to have a knife or a stick to fight what would you choose?”
My answer was of no value because whatever I actually said the answer was neither because the difference you make is not the weapon, that’s what they say in the Philippines.
The stick distance begins from the distance where the fighters are able to hit the hand and arms with the weapon.
Due to the average length of the Filipino sticks, this distance is considerable.
The knife distance instead begins at the nearest point where fighters are able to cut off their hand and arms with a blade.
Fighters armed with both a stick and a dagger make use of a third distance known as the “hit-and-cut” range.
The Hit-and-cut distance is the distance at which a fighter is close enough to cut his opponent with the knife, but still so close but not so close to the point that he is still able to hit him with the stick.
Special attributes and functions
“You can divide Espada Y Daga into two sections, one of training and one functional,” Paul Vunak said.
“In the training category, Espada Y Daga has more drills – intricate drills – than almost any other aspect of Filipino combat.”
This is especially true because the practitioner Espada Y Daga must simultaneously accommodate two different weapons and cope with three combat ranges.
The techniques of Espada Y Daga are difficult and require a great deal of time to master them, but the result is a fighter whose speed, timing and “range flexibility” have greatly increased.
Learning how to manage short-range and long-range weapons together at the same time is practical in many ways.
It teaches body movements, leg play, what is called “zoning” (moving away from the enemy and in position for a counterattack), methods of evasion, and attack that apply to many aspects of bare-handed combat, including kicks, punches, capture, and grips.
The study of Filipino styles and the formation of Espada Y Daga teaches you very quickly how much you need to dodge the deadly tip and edge of the opponent’s sharp blade.
Once you’ve learned how to handle the stick and successfully dodge the knife, getting out of a boxer’s cross after a jab becomes relatively “simple.”
3 Methods of training of Espada Y Daga
Filipino styles use many training methods to teach the principles of the Espada Y Daga but among the most important I want you to know are these 3:
- Contra Sumbrada,
- Number and
is a counter-for-counter training method so hit-by-shot, I simplify it, a headshot sounds more familiar??? .
In this exercise, students participate on an equal footing: one attacks, one against attacks, back and forth in quick succession.
Parrying, dodging, etc. depends on the Sumbrada and there are many of them.
Contra Sumbrada is a method to bring you to a higher level of speed and skill overall, it is a very important step in the study of kali.
Over time if you work out a lot with the Contra Sumbrada method, you can triple your reflexes.
Surely you have met athletes with very fast kicks, but even if he met one of the fastest kicks in the world, but the stick of an average student of Espada Y Daga moves much faster.
That’s why I consider as my teacher Tony Ligorio suggested to me many years ago that Kali is a propitious to any martial art.
means “only on one side”, and is an extremely important part in the formation structure of the Espada Y Daga, it is a very important drill.
The Numerada exercise adds elements of complexity to the stick and knife training, including space management and footwork.
Because “just on the one hand???.” What does it mean???
In the Numerada exercise, one of the partners is designated the “trainer” who attacks and is in the center of a circle and “feeds” the “student” with an attack. The student uses leg play and zoning to move along the circumference of the circle, while defending and counter attacking.
Those who defend can move in both directions along the circle, and can move up to half the circumference of the circle.
The coach can attack with any number of stick and sword combinations, along any angle.
“It’s a great drills for leg game development, zoned subdivision – evasion skills, and catching techniques (traps, tie-ups, etc.),” Gibson notes.
“The Numerada also teaches students the defense against multiple opponents.”
The training method known as
requires one partner to “feed” the attack and limits the other to a defensive, non-zoned response. Its purpose is to further improve the reflexes and speed of a practitioner.
Any combination of weapons can be used in training in Contra Sumbrada, Numerada and Cerrada, or with any of the other training methods used in other Filipino styles.
In addition, the complex principles that make Espada Y Daga’s work very interesting are the same universal concepts that govern the entire art of the Philippine Kali, including the fight with bare hands.
With these methods you learn the possibilities that you can express in these arts, you do not always learn answers to predetermined, this is important if you want to really learn the fight with the stick.
Cerrada, Numerada and Contra Sumbrada are versatile training methods; there are thousands of techniques possible with each method.
Kali is a warrior art.
This is why Espada Y Daga has evolved into such a high-level method.”
As Dan Inosanto says,
“Espada Y Daga is not about fair play; it’s about winning and surviving an extreme situation.”
And it’s true because you imagine you have an armed opponent to the teeth.
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