Arnis, Kali and Escrima use a targeting system in order to identify and respond to an attack. This mental map gradually builds and fills with offensive and defensive options for each angle.
The five fingers – are the foundation of all fighting. Perhaps the most simple and versatile it best represents the blows likely when fighting with an axe and shield as was done throughout the islands from circa 638bc until the Spanish invasions of the 1600s. Number 5 is a rising thrust beginning below the groin and may end at any point on the opponents center line. This most likely began as a sneak attack under the opponents shield using the spike on the back of the traditional axe.
Stabbing – was the primary style of the Spanish fencers. The number five is often moved up to the center of the abdomen as a straight thrust instead of the upward sweeping thrust of the Cinquedea. 6,7,10 and 11 are pronated and suppinated hooking thrusts that begin above the zone of confusion and were most likely used to thrust into the gaps of a soldier’s breastplate and helmet.
Slicing or dividing – is a trait most often seen from Japanese swordsmanship. Combined with the other angles it forms a complete picture of the various attacks. In some styles, #1 or #2 might be the originating angle for the head hit, but when a two handed weapon is used the powerful reinforced downward or upward motion is difficult to parry forcing proper footwork to dominate ones defensive strategy.
The total combined map allows practitioners to call out and respond to all the available angles during exercises.