December 18, 2014

Book Review: "Eskrima Street Defense" by Bong Abenir

Scratching your head trying to figure out the perfect stocking stuffer for the one stick swinging, balisong flipping martial artist on your list?  Tambuli Media's most recent FMA title "Eskrima Street Defense" by Bong Abenir just might fit the bill.  An affordable addition to any collection, Abenir's first book offers a direct approach to dealing with weapons in real world situations.

One of the first things that sticks out is the no nonsense approach Bong takes to the applications, incorporating fast powerful strikes with fast takedowns all the while utilizing his environment.  All keys when speaking about true self defense.  Offering common situation such as knife attacks, choke attempts, multiple attackers, as well as strikes Bong Abenir does not waste time going into complicated locks and convoluted flows.  Rather he takes a very pragmatic approach offering fundamental, simple movements that can be applied with purses, scarves, umbrella's, etc.

The pictures are laid out well and for the most part are very clear as to what is going on, though I would have liked to have seen numbered progressions for ease of reading and following.  Overall the book is written well but seemed a bit rushed, and offered minimal explanation.  I can't help but feel Abenir has a LOT more to offer and would like to see the result of some serious time spent on laying out a comprehensive treatise.



At just over $21 "Eskrima Street Defense" is a perfect sized stocking stuffer for the stickhead in your life.  Though I feel Tambuli has stronger, more comprehensive titles on Filipino Martial Arts, they remain the leader in publishing and disseminating knowledge focused specifically on SE Asian arts.  The importance of exposing these arts and teachers to the world cannot be understated.  Prior to Mr. Wiley talking about Bong Abenir I had never even heard of him nor his system.  I cannot help but wonder how many more arts are out there that are dying every single year simply because those teachers/fighters have not had the outside exposure to document their art!  A huge thank you is due to Mark Wiley and Tambuli Media for helping keep these arts alive at the very least in print form.  For instance my old friend Dan Medina just released his text on Derobio Escrima, a rather closed off / reserved art up until now.  It is amazing that we finally have a publisher propagating these lost arts! 

Click here to order "Eskrima Street Defense"

The Principles of Abenir Kalis
  • Don’t waste moves; be flexible.
  • A parry which does not incorporate an attack is wasteful movement.
  • A defense is an attack, an attack is a defense.
  • Overwhelm your enemy with multiple attacks.
  • Striking directly at the enemy’s flesh is preferable to blocking the enemy’s weapon.
  • Your fighting position should be designed to make you a difficult target to hit.
  • Don’t be overconfident; be alert at all times.
  • Be fiercer in your attack than your enemy.
  • Be strong in your defense, and powerful in your offense.
  • Move with speed and precision using correct distance against the enemy.
  • The faster you hit the target, the better.
  • Hit the nearest targets and those open to you.
  • Attack when you see an opening.
  • Employ your defensive skills when needed.
  • Attack, attack, attack until the assailant ceases to be a threat to your safety.
  • Hand techniques should correspond with footwork.
  • Avoid wide movements in delivering your blows. Strike without telegraphing your attack.
  • Wrist locks and disarming techniques are only incidental. A strike could cause a disarm that only counts as one beat which is faster and more practical to use than complicated locks during a heated encounter, especially against multiple opponents.
  • Only engage in a fight if no other option of escape is possible.
  • Run if you must, fight if you must

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