Wednesday, June 25, 2008

KAMUT: Triangles of the Hands

Kamut (hand) is not the same as kamot (scratch), and it does not also share the same meaning with kumot, a blanket for Tagalogs and for Cebuanos, a scratch or a fight between women that involves face-scratching and hair-pulling. In Philippine languages, a change in a vowel sound or a stress results to a different meaning. Cebuano, if you observe its sound, pronunciation, and stress, has only three vowel sounds: a, i, and u. I am not really sure how Sugbu became Subu, and then Cebu.

Hands too have triangles of forces, although they are mostly light or subtle. To understand triangles in fighting, one should know the interplay between two kinds of triangles: humpak (loose) and tumpak (solid). Toes, fingers and, insteps are loose triangles, while the heels, sides of the feet, and heels of the palms are solid triangles. Humpak triangles produce light forces, and their functions is to complement and protect the strong force. Tumpak triangles also do the same thing-- to complement and protect the weak one.

Basically, fingers are used to pull (hila) or push (tulak), and the heels of the palm also called sakong hit or strike. In my dialect, we call that heel under the wrist pad from Cebuano's palad-- meaning, palm. We also have a name for a palm heel strike-- lusngo. I don't wonder why we have a word for it. Traditional grapplers and wrestlers use such technique, a combination of gouging and hitting. And we call pushing someone to hit the ground tukmod and when he hits the ground, we also have a name for it-- sukamod. Only a fighting culture could have such specific names for fighting movements and flow.

Thumbs are interesting. They have triangles of their own, and they are some of the pulses in the human body. They could be week or strong. A thumb's function is for grabbing and picking like other fingers, but it is also used to press soft tissues or hit eyes. I saw a street fight once where a Bisaya, who knew pangamut-- way of the hands-- used the heel of his right palm to strike the face of his opponent and thumb to hit his eye-- it was a two-in-one technique, and there was an obvious flow in his moves.

Hands are used often to parry-- this move is called tapi or tapik. Some call is sagang (intecept), sabat (counteract), salo (catch), etc. Some martial art systems think of parrying as just pushing away or deflecting punches, hits, and strikes. There are FMA practitioners who parry and at the same time grab, pull, throw, and push in a continuous flow. The use of kalasag (shield) has the same series of moves-- it parries, deflects, pushes, pulls, grabs, throws, and even hits. In some cultures, a shield is seen as an extension of a hand and arm that also attacks and protects.

The commonly used hand triangle is the one located from the side base of the little finger to the two points of the side wrist. Yes, it's a triangle. It is as hard as a palm heel. Show offs use it for breaking things. Its most effective use is for striking a sensitive part of the neck in a chopping, hacking, thrusting, or slashing position.

If one is in a tight situation where a hacker is about to strike him with a bolo and he has nothing to protect himself and no time to disarm his attacker, and he wants to extend his life so he can still fight and hopefully disarm him, he should use that side of his hand, but when he parries, he has to make it sure to place his hand near its handle. The damage is lesser that way-- the blade just below the handle, oftentimes, is not sharp and the force of the weapon is lesser in that area.

Even if that side of his hand is hacked, he still has more time to live and fight since hemorrhage is not that quick with a hand that is mostly fleshy and bony and has no major muscle or artery. As long as he still has a thumb, a finger or two, and a palm heel, he can still make a fist, grab, pull, push, and throw. He can still disarm his attacker. Oftentimes, arms are used by desperate victims to protect themselves from a bolo strike, but it does not really help. Arms have lots of muscles and arteries that control the movement, strength, and life of the hands. Besides, a broken arm means one has a useless hand.