Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Review -Balintawak Eskrima, by Sam L. Buot.

Balintawak Eskrima, by Sam L. Buot, Sr. (2015) Tambuli Media, Spring House, PA. 262 pages, 7 by 10 inches, paperback. • ISBN-10: 0692312994

 Balintawak is one of several styles of Filipino martial arts .* Like most, it is a comprehensive martial art that begins training uses a stick but also incorporates knife and empty hand techniques. Unlike many Filipino martial arts (FMA), however, in this art, practitioners practice with a single stick instead of a pair of double sticks. Aside from that, the art appears to be fairly typical. This is a good 240 page book in which Sam L Buot, Sr, explains a great deal about Balintawak. It is divided into different sections. Each section is done well.

 The first section covers history and masters of Balintawak Eskrima. Although much of this is both fascinating and informative, in my opinion, it goes on longer than a typical reader would appreciate. My guess is that the author not only wished to show his appreciation for all who had taught him or taught those who taught him, but that he also wished to ensure that no one would feel slighted or be left out. Still a great deal of valuable information was presented on the social niche and transmission of this and other arts in the Philipines. The next section is 13 pages long and discusses the foundation of the art, a system of 12 strikes.

 The next three sections, called The Defensive Stage, The Offensive Stage, and a section entitled “Balintawak Interpreted: Application of Balintawak,” total 142 pages and cover a variety of techniques and applications of the art. The bulk of the book is demonstrations of techniques. These are demonstrated well with clear text explanations and a reader and a training partner should be able to reproduce them reasonably well assuming they have enough grounding in the Filipino martial arts to see the basic principles on which they are built.

In conclusion, although there are portions of the book, that stretch on longer than most readers might wish, this is nevertheless a fine book that would make a welcome supplement to any Filipino martial arts practitioner’s library.

 • Although the exact terminology is quite controversial these arts are often known as kali, arnis, or escrima, a term Mark Wiley prefers to spell as eskrima, with a K. Therefore, Balintawak could be said to be a sub-style of esrkima (escrima). The author, Sam L. Buot, Sr., makes it clear that he prefers to avoid the term kali, saying it is almost unknown in the Philipines.

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