Basic Terminology: FMA

“So we start with a number one florete and a number two florete both with pekiti footwork.”

“Now you can follow a closed top triangle to move from medio to corto, and hit with the punyo.”

“Excuse me, guro, should I be feeding in this drill in saksak or pakol?”

To begin learning a new domain a student must learn a new vocabulary. The Filipino Martial Arts are no exception and the diversity found in the Philippines in terms of language and culture (many indigenous dialects and ethnic groups, plus a strong Spanish influence during the Colonial period) often yields the first challenge for a new student. Below is a list of some of the terms a student may encounter at Maelstrom in the process of learning the various disciplines that fall under the wide umbrella of “Filipino Martial Arts”.

Please note: this list is, by its very nature, incomplete. It is for reference only, and should not be viewed as an authoritative source for either meaning or spelling.

abecedario – ABCs (the basics); usually a set of twelve attacks with a given weapon
alphabeto – weapons forms that mimic the shape of letters of the alphabet
asymmetric drill – any partner drill where the practitioners perform different movements in sequence (often attack vs defense; e.g. “DAKUP Y PUNYO“)
baston – stick
closed top triangle – a triangle drawn with the “point” up (for describing a striking pattern)
corto – short range
daga – dagger
dakup y punyo – an ASYMMETRIC DRILL for partners who take turns with a pattern of two attacks and a defense, followed by two defenses and an attack
doble baston – double stick
doblete – a double strike; two strikes on the same plane with either BASTON or ESPADA
espada – sword
espada y daga – sword and dagger
feed – to supply a technique so your partner may practice something (“I’ll feed a number one strike.”)
florete – a strike with the back of a weapon followed by a “cutting” strike on the same plane with either BASTON or ESPADA
forward triangle – a triangle drawn with the “point” forward (for describing footwork)
galang – respect
ginunting – a short sword with a “forward leaning” blade
gunting – a defensive scissoring motion done with both arms.
guro – teacher
largo – long range (stick-to-hand contact)
medio – medium range (stick-to-body contact)
open top triangle – a triangle drawn with the “point” down (for describing a striking pattern)
open triangle – a triangle drawn with the “point” behind (for describing footwork)
pakal – holding a weapon as when using an ice pick
pekiti tirsia – “close range” or “close quarters” or “to cut into pieces at close range”
punyo – the protruding “short” end of any weapon held in the hand (aka “the butt end”)
redondo – a circular strike accomplished mainly through elbow rotation
saksak – holding a weapon as when using a hammer
sinawali – “to weave”, a continuous circling motion, often as part of a SYMMETRIC DRILL
symmetric drill – any partner drill where both practitioners perform the same movements at the same time; e.g. SINAWALI
witik – a strike with a BASTON or ESPADA accomplished mainly through wrist rotation

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