Daga is the Filipino knife fighting system. Knife defense is a known specialty of Kali and Eskrima. Filipino knife fighting techniques have influenced police and military knife defense strategies all over the world. In our schools, Daga is not taught during the kids class; only adults. Our Daga curriculum is as follow:
- Basic anatomy (arteries, weak spots, etc.)
- Basic 5 angles
- Evade principal + triangle footwork
- Palm down block principal
- Parry principal
- Block and parry principal
- Clockwise disarms
- Strip disarms
- Basic drills (loop drills, etc.)
- Advanced drills (reactive knife, etc.)
- Angle 6 (advanced)
- Aluminum knife fighting
- Knife against knife
- Karambit against knife
Today’s need for knife fighting and defense is not as high as in the old days, and even though danger is still present, especially in the big cities, I like to thing at Daga training in term of cultural classes, along with Kampilan, Barong, Kris, bolo training… A way of honoring the warrior traditions and culture of the Philippines.
Daga is also one of the best way I know to improve our empty hands skills. Of course, some people living in Manila, NY, London may think: “What is this guy talking about! I see knife fights everyday in my neighborhood! Daga training is for Daga fighting!”
And they are probably right. But I like to see things that way and tell to myself: The more people will train FMA with peace and culture in mind, the best it would be for humanity… for our children.
Even though I just came back from Baguio, Philippines, where I taught a 2 days seminar to professional martial artist and police / military officers, mostly based on blades, and that it HAS TO BE realistic and efficient. But the mentality behind training; the state of mind of the Kalista or the Eskrimador in peaceful times could, and should be a “Peaceful Warrior’s one”!
At least, that’s my vision… my hope for the future.
(Originally published in FMA Digest – Permission given by FMA Digest)