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Today we’re covering a drill called the laser-pointer (or flashlight) drill. This is a very simple little drill to use when squared off against an opponent with a weapon. Please note that it is assumed you also have a weapon.
This is a very effective self-preservation drill. For those of you that have not read the difference between self-perfection vs self-preservation drills, I highly suggest you read that article before continuing on with this one.
The premise of this drill is simple; you want your weapon to be in a position that it can immediately intercept an opponent’s attack. To do this, we simply point our weapon directly at the opponent’s weapon hand at all times.
Whenever their weapon moves, so does ours.
Pretend your weapon is a laser-pointer honed in on your opponent’s weapon.
This drill is most easily illustrated with a knife. Take the knife in your lead hand and point the tip of the knife directly at your opponent’s weapon hand.
The picture quality in these photos aren’t great, but they illustrate the point well wnough. Notice how the defender (person on the right) has his knife pointed directly at the closest (and most vulnerable) target, the hand. As the attacker comes in for the kill, all it takes is a quick flick of your own knife to slice the attacking hand or wrist.
If they move around, you adjust while keeping the tip of the knife always pointed at that weapon hand. When they lash out it is simply a matter of slightly extending your weapon hand to intercept and slash their weapon hand. All extraneous movement is removed by this simple drill. There’s no need to make any large adjustments or movements to their attack because your weapon is already there, ready to bite.
The same drill can be used with an escrima stick, but the setup is slightly different due to the different properties of the weapon (slashing vs blunt weapon damage).
To perform this drill with the escrima stick, you keep the weapon up resting on your shoulder with the pommel acting as the laser-pointer. As with the knife, the pommel of the escrima follows the opponent’s weapon hand (see person on left in the pictures below). When your assailant strikes, you simply swing down with the escrima to intercept their attack. Again, all extra motions have been removed simply by utilizing this drill.
Just like a snake, you are coiled and ready to strike the nearest threat.
There’s a few reasons why this drill is so effective:
- It’s unexpected. Talk about a fight involving weapons and what comes to mind? Someone getting stabbed in vital organs or getting their skull clubbed in. Most people instantly go for the kill instead of simply attacking the nearest target.
- It’s simple & efficient. You know how I love me some efficiency! There’s nothing fancy or complicated to memorize. It’s all gross motor movements. As long as you are pointing your weapon directly at their lead hand, all you have to do is strike when they move in! Ok, it’s not THAT simple, but pretty darn close!
- It’s the most vulnerable spot to attack. Because it’s their closest body part to you, your attacker has the least amount of time to react to a strike towards it. Besides, what is there to guard the lead hand? Answer, nothing.
- It saps your assailant’s resolve. After receiving a deep laceration or solid strike to one hand, a lot of the fight will be taken out most attackers. They’re going to be pain. There’s going to be a LOT of blood. If the injury they sustained was severe enough, they might even need to switch weapon hands, which leads to point 4…
- It neutralizes one (or more) of their weapons. No, not the weapon they’re carrying, but the fact that they can’t use that hand anymore. Break or lacerate the tendons of one hand and then you just need to worry about the other.
Give it a shot with a partner and, as always, let me know if you’re encountering any issues or have any questions.
Stay tuned for the next article where we discuss the complementary principle of “De-Fanging the Snake.”