Sunday, June 22, 2008

SAKONG: Triangles of the Heel

A foot is the most common body part that succumbs to martial arts-related injury. It should not have been the case since the strongest part of the body is part of the foot-- its heel.

We call it sakong in the Philippines. Others call it takong. For Cebuanos, it is tikod. We use the same words for a shoe's heel. Every woman knows that it is the first thing that gets ruined in a shoe when used daily because it carries the entire body weight.
A heel of a human is like that-- strong, forceful, and powerful.

It is interesting that sakong is related to sakang (step). It is the same case with takang and tikad or sikad which also mean step or sometimes, stamp or kick. I wonder why there are words for the posterior sole of the foot but not the anterior (front) part. Maybe it was treated as special because it is the first one that lands when we make a step. Words could evolve that way-- from the order of movements.

Even with a footprint in the sand, the most pronounced is the heel. A set of heels, indeed, is where all the forces in the body rush to produce balance.
Because of heels, a human being is able to walk. Bipedalism was achieved because early humans or hominids mastered the use of their heels in relation to body weight, equilibrium, and movement.

The kick of a heel is stronger than the punch of a fist if executed right. Legs are longer than arms, and that length difference, if related to space and distance, results to differences in force exerted and produced. The bones and muscles of lower limbs are also more developed and well-stretched because they are often used for walking.

There are four triangles around the heel area- labas (outside), loob (inside), likod (back), at ilalim (below). A heel can do more combat techniques or fighting moves than a fist. It can kick using its four different parts. It can also break legs, hit the groin, target the solar plexus, hit the face, etc.

The best way to use one's heels is to stamp on an opponent's right foot and use the other heel to break his right knee, and if the opponent in pain drops forward, he can then knee his opponent's face. I know it's brutal, but that's how I was taught to fight with someone taller and bigger than me when diplomacy fails.

As triangles are sources of force, they are also targets of force. A fist, hitting those triangles, can definitely neutralize them. A kick to a kick works but my favorite defense-offense move is to parry and catch my opponent's feet and punch one of the triangles around his heel. The pain is temporary, and it won't last long, but he will definitely crawl or bow down in pain, and that's when I can hit his head.

Try flicking the back triangle of your heel, you will feel a static as if you are electrocuted-- we call that sensation bikog. Imagine if that flick is a punch, I don't think anyone can stand straight and maintain his balance-- maybe after a couple of minutes. In a fight, in a street or in a ring, a second makes a huge difference.

However, with a well-trained kickboxer, who includes climbing the tall coconut tree by walking as part of his training regimen, I don't think a punch or a kick on his feet or heel will work-- if that's the case, go for other body parts.