Ten Basic Knife Strikes in Philippine Martial Arts

Few styles of martial arts are more involved with weapons training than Filipino Martial Arts, or FMA. For one thing, FMA (kali, arnis, escrima) begin be first teaching techniques with weapons, before moving to empty hand. So if you're interested in FMA, you need to build your familiarity with handling weapons and weapon striking. These ten strikes are a good place to start!


First, get the correct stance. If you are right-handed, hold the knife in that hand, with a right foot lead. This puts the knife between your body and your opponent. Your left hand is your "live hand" and should he held up at throat-level to protect your head and neck.

For the strikes, use this image of an analog clock for reference:

  • 1.Downwards right-to-left slash. Imagine that you are slicing someone across their face, or from their jaw, across their throat to their collarbone. This is a diagonal strike from 2 to 8.
  • 2.Downward left-to-right slash. This strike, combined with the first strike, should make an X in the air. It is from 10 to 4.
  • 3.Upwards right-to-left slash. Turn your wrist so that the blade is facing upwards. This slash goes from 4 to 10.
  • 4.Upwards left-to-right slash. After the third slash, rotate the point of your knife around so the tip is down.
  • 5.Thrust to the chest. Keep you knife chambered at your right shoulder after the fourth slash. Stab it straight out (into an opponent's chest).
  • 6.Cross-body slash. Imagine the knife is still in your opponent's chest. Roll your wrist slightly clockwise so the edge of your blade is angled to the left, and slash down and across, right to left. End up with your knife chambered at your left shoulder, with the tip pointed outwards.
  • 7.Thrust to the chest (other side). Stab straight out from your left side, into the right side of their chest.
  • 8.Cross-body slash. Rotate the tip of the knife slightly counterclockwise, so the edge is angled to the right. Slash left to right across the opponent's body.
  • 9.Vertical slash downwards. Cut down 12 to 6.
  • 10.Upwards thrust. From your blade chambered at your side, thrust up, driving the point upwards into an opponent's soar plexus.

Watch the full video by Master Julius Melegrito here:

Ten Basic Knife Strikes in Philippine Martial Arts www.youtube.com

Master Melegrito is the founder of the Philippine Martial Arts Alliance and the Philippine Combatives curriculum. He teaches seminars around the world, including double stick, single stick, knife, sword, and empty hand training.

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