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Espada y Daga (also known as “punta y daga” or “olisi y baraw (cebuano))” is a modern discipline of Eskrima and the Filipino martial arts (FMA) believed to be influenced by Spanish swordsmanship, in particular the Spanish style of Side-sword and Dagger used by the Conquestadors who invaded the Philippine islands in the 16th Century, and not the Rapier and Dagger styles used for dueling and self defence purposes by the Spanish upper classes as was once believed.
It is believed that the indigenous peoples who were sympathetic to the Spanish rulers were enlisted into the Spanish forces to help fend off regular invasions from the Muslim pirates from Mindanao and Sulu. Once recruited into the garrisons it is believed the Spanish Friars and commanders taught their fighting skills to the native recruits, who in turn adapted this style of fighting and combined it with their own indigenous fighting skills.
Espada ‘y’ Daga is originally a Spanish term literally translated as “sword and dagger”; this discipline of the FMA focuses on engaging an opponent(s) in close (Corto), mid (Medio) and long (Larga / Largo) ranges (see main article on Eskrima).
Typically the stronger or dominant hand (usually the right hand) will hold the long weapon (sword or stick) and in many styles will serve as the primary weapon. The weaker hand (usually the left hand), or off-hand, wields the short weapon (dagger/knife) and is used for both offense (thrusting and sliding) and defense (blocking, checking and locking).
Training typically begins with drills teaching coordination of the two weapons in striking and checking patterns. The incorporation of footwork, body angling, locking, and takedowns are normally added once the student(s) have demonstrated competence in their application of the basic patterns/sets.
Training Espada ‘y’ Daga is generally precipitated by solo baston (single stick) and/or doble Baston (double stick), with mano mano (empty hands) and dumog (wrestling) being taught to advanced students. The number and variation of the disciplines taught will vary by guro (teacher) and/or school/style.
The Cabales Serrada Eskrima and Doce Pares Eskrima styles are well known for their focus on their teaching of Espada y Daga. In particular the San Miguel Eskrima of the late Momoy Canete is considered to be one of the oldest styles of Espada ‘y’ Daga taught today.
Lightning Scientific Arnis founded in 1937 by Benjamin Luna Lema is a system that revolves around the concept of Tercia Serrada Cadenilla y Espada y Daga which is a method of intercepting and redirecting attacks and blind-siding the opponent by going to the off-side and blanketing him with a barrage of continuous strikes while the checking hand constantly pushes, presses and controls his opponent putting him in a constant state of imbalance. In advanced practice the empty had will be replace by a dagger to escalate the technology eventually as the practitioner progresses through the discipline.
Many other styles have been known to teach Espada ‘y’ Daga in their curriculum with the degree of focus on the subject varying from style to style.