The inspiration behind this part of the article came from watching one of my senior’s you-tube videos.
In the comments section somebody wrote along the lines “You don’t have a Punyo, you don’t know what you are doing, you’re a beginner” etc, etc. Unfortunately this is typical of the kind of diatribe the internet brings.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the Punyo, and the reasons why Bahad Zu’bu players hold the stick so no Punyo is showing. It is these thoughts I will share with you during this article.
In Martial Arts training it’s easy to say “Well, that’s how my instructor and his instructor does it”. The same is true with the punyo issue. If you observe this photograph of GM “Tatang” Ilustrisimo you will see that he also holds his stick in the fashion I describe.
I also came across a photograph of GM Angel Cabales – (founder of Cabales Serrada Escrima) holding the stick the same way.
It would be absolutely folly to categorize either of these gentlemen as “Beginners” – though I guess “folly” is the bedfellow of most youtube commentators who type without due consideration.
Holding the stick at the butt provides more power through torque. Simply put Torque = Force * Length measured perpendicular to the force.
It’s obvious that if you increase the length then you have more torque. As Archimedes said in 200 BC:
“Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth”
This was specifically referring to levers but the same kind of principles can be applied to stick fighting. If you employ the same power of strike but increase the length the stick will move faster and hit harder. Obviously, this can only be applied to sticks up to a certain length as the weight of the stick / distance from the center of gravity increases. In Bahad Zubu when we use the Bio-Stick (42″ Stick) we do use a punyo as the stick can not effectively turn around the fulcrum of the wrist without one.
So, all things being equal holding the stick at the butt provides more power. It is also obvious that it will provide more range when fighting somebody who is holding the stick in the more popular method.
This leads me to ask why use the Punyo at all? From what I know (and please post your own observations from different styles!) is that the punyo is employed in close range to strike with. Also, I have read that by holding the stick with the punyo showing you are also training the dagger as well. I like this concept a lot as it means you are learning two things at once and the same movements can be applied to different weapons – for me a key concept of Eskrima.
The first part of my assumption – using the punyo to strike – can be answered with a video of GM Yuli Romo. From my first article you will remember I discussed the “Relaxed Grip” employed in Bahad Zubu. Being relaxed means that you can allow the stick to fall a few inches and then tighten your grip. This gives you the punyo.
We are taught in Bahad Zubu that “Everything is Situational”. Our use of the punyo is just that – there when you need it.