On the outset, instinct is defined as a natural or acquired tendency, aptitude or talent. A good example is the instinct of doing the right thing at the right time. Thus, instinctive means prompted or done by instinct. Hence, instinctive action is an act driven by instinct. In the martial parlance, it is also referred to as muscle memory.
A Balintawak Eskrima weapon strike should be less than 2/10th of a second for it to attain its optimum effectiveness. The stemless strikes of Balintawak, delivered without winding up is about two times faster than the ordinary Arnis strike.
Hence, thinking prior to blocking an Eskrima strike becomes futile. The thought process cannot respond fast enough to intercept the intention of an Eskrimador; as to what target he would hit and when he would unleash his blow.
Image: Fulgent Opiso (left), Michael Soriano (right) – Sparring
According to physicsforum.co; “humans usually take a few tens of milliseconds to respond to something because the brain has to process the information.” If further states that the maximum temporal resolution of a neuron is about one or two milliseconds.
To bridge this gap or limitation in our response action, we need to further develop our natural instincts. One way of developing instinctive action is by training on a series of repetitions in movements and techniques; as in Corridas and group techniques. Break the rhythm of movements to avoid the mechanical tendency of making robotic movements.
In APO Balintawak Eskrima, Meditation is also useful in developing one’s instinctive action. Meditation helps you control your mind and develop your focus on a specific situation like combat. Your mind must be focused but not fixed so as to interrupt your ability to act instinctively. Let your mind flow so you can see the whole picture; not just the tree but the forest. Nothing should come to you as a surprise. You should be able to effectively defend, counter, and re-counter all the moves of your opponent in an instant.
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