Sikaran Pilipinas


SIKARAN is a term derived from sikad (kick). In the active form of the Tagalog language, when the consonant is between two vowels the D is replaced with R, hence the term SIKARAN (instead of Sikadan). The term was used because the system relied heavily on using the feet for kicking. Farmers having well developed legs favored and emphasized the use of the feet. By imitating animal behavior, they developed kicking techniques that were given colorful and descriptive names.

However, maneuvers using the hands for striking, joint reversals, takedowns and throws are much a part of SIKARAN as kicking.

There were originally three SIKARAN kicks. Each kick had a particular target and a particular classification.

The first kick was the padyak ng kalabaw (carabao stomp to the knee to break it). The kick was classified as pangbalda (disabling) also known as pangbali (breaking). The rationale to this kick was if the opponent “can not stand he is helpless and as good as dead.”

The second basic kick was sipang kabayo (horse kick with the hind legs). The kick was classified as panglumpo (paralyzing) or panghilo (stunning). Any part of the body below the head, but above the knee was the target. The terms panglumpo and panghilo were used interchangeably when the sipang kabayo was used.

The third kick was called the pamatay (killing)) or kick to the head. The original head kick was the biyakid (Spinning heel kick). SIKARAN fighters found out that by spinning the body they can kick with the heel, targeting the side of the head and even the back of the head. The spin creates more energy and with the element of linlang (deception) by turning the back to the opponent, greater effectiveness of the kick was achieved. They called the spinning heel kick Biyakid, the gerund (verbal noun) for Biyakin (to split).

Biyakid became the favorite kick of most SIKARAN fighters because it was a very effective technique at any fighting range. The favorite target was the head (temple and back of the head) comparing it to a coconut. The temple is a fused joint in the skull and theoretically, applying sufficient force against it may cause it to crack (like a coconut). The back of the head houses the cerebellum and the joint that connects the spine to the skull. Adequate force on these targets, or any part of the head for that matter, may instantly knockout or “kill” the opponent.

By controlling the intensity and force of the kick, it was possible to produce any of the desired effect of pangbalda / pangbali (disabling / breaking), panglumpo / panghilo (paralyzing / stunning), or pamatay (killing).

SIKARAN fighters always maintain that: If a person is baldado (disabled) he cannot fight and is therefore as good as “dead;” if a person is lumpo (paralyzed) he is as good as “dead”. If a person is patay (dead), he remains dead.

However, this does not mean that a particular kick was limited to a specific outcome or a blow to an explicit target will have a definite result. Any of the kicks may disable, or may paralyze or may even kill the opponent. The intention in the application and not the technique, determined the consequence.

From these kicks, other kicks evolved. Characteristics and mechanics of different kicks were mixed and matched to develop other kicks.

With the increase of participation in SIKARAN contests, other parts of the foot, such as the bilogan or ball of the foot; the balantok or instep; the limpyak or edge of the foot; and even the talampakan or sole of the foot were used. Likewise different kicks which were less deceptive but equally effective, were developed and became part of SIKARAN.

A modification of the biyakid (spinning heel kick) is the sipawit, which uses the back of the heel in a hooking motion without the 180 degrees spin.

From the sipang kabayo (back thrust heel kick), the sipawid (diagonal thrust heel kick) and later on the sipalid (side kick) were developed

The pilatik (front snap kick) came about from the paltik (snap) of a whip.

The jumping kicks were a development from the damba (horse kick with the front legs).

The Sipa ng Lulod (shin kick), used to attack the knee is now called Sipakot (roundhouse kick). From the Sipakot ng lulod (roundhouse shin kick), the roundhouse kick using the ball of the foot and the roundhouse kick using the instep came about. From the Sipakot (roundhouse kick) Sipakan (crescent kick) was added both as an offensive and defensive kick. From this kick, the Sipang baliswa (reverse crescent kick or twisting kick) emerged.

Borrowing kinetics from sipang Baliswa (reverse crescent kick) and mixing it with Padyak ng kalabaw (carabao stomp), the Sipang alanganin (oblique front thrust kick) was developed.

Of the original kicks of SIKARAN, biyakid and sipang kabayo are the original terms still being widely used to describe the kicks. The term “flying kick” is now the accepted term for dagit ng agila. With the acceptance of Taglish (Tagalog-English), some of the kicks are called by their English names.

First generation students of Meliton Geronimo (Grandmaster of SIKARAN), however, still use dinagit (the act of swooping down) for “flying kick.

To avoid confusing one kick with another, kicks used in present day SIKARAN have now specific and definitive Filipino names.

In present day SIKARAN contests and competitions, as in the olden days, the use of hand techniques is limited to blocks and parries. This led to the mistaken notion that SIKARAN only uses the feet, which started the term “foot-fighting art of the Philippines.” This erroneous idea was brought about by the emphasis on foot techniques by the SIKARANistas of old.

Hand techniques, however, are used extensively and are integral parts of SIKARAN in self-defense applications, where there are no rules except to survive and win the fight. Aside from the use of the hands for thrusting and striking, the hands are also used for takedowns and throwing.

It is not very common to use the hands as an initial attack in SIKARAN. A SIKARAN fighter normally attacks with the legs. Hand techniques are used mostly as a follow-up to leg techniques or as a continuation technique of a block or as a counter-attack.

The main open-hand weapons are the Dalibat (spear-hand), Kamayga (knife-hand), Kamaylid (ridge-hand), Palad (palm), Sakong-lad (palm heel), the Kamayri (fore-knuckles), also sometimes called Kobra (cobra) and the Panipit (pincher formed by the thumb and fingers).

The main closed-fist weapons are the Kamao (fore-fist), the Kamaypok (bottom-fist) and the Kamaykod (back-fist).

The preferred SIKARAN closed fist technique is the suntamay (vertical punch), where the thumb side of the fist is facing up or turned just a few degrees inwards, at the completion of the punch. Due to the position of the fist in relation to the wrist, the forearm and the elbow, it is possible to deliver a powerful punch with less chance of injury to the hand or the wrist. Power is generated by the snap of the elbow, the twist of the hips, the forward momentum of the body and the follow through in one imperceptible motion.

Present day exponents of SIKARAN have adopted the suntribuson (“corkscrew punch” where the fist is pulled to the side of the body and delivered turning the fist 180 degrees inwards).

The Bisig (forearm) is also used, not just for blocking but also for striking and so is the Siko (elbow).

Joint reversal techniques in SIKARAN are applied against the wrists, the elbows the knees and the ankles. They are applied to disarm, to control or to break the joints. Joint reversal techniques, although a very important part of SIKARAN as an art of self-defense, were allowed in competitions and contests of SIKARAN of old, only if they were a legitimate part of leg techniques. In present day SIKARAN competition, joint reversal techniques are not allowed.

Throws and takedowns are an important part of SIKARAN as an art of self-defense. They were allowed in contests in SIKARAN of old, but only if they were a legitimate part of leg techniques. In present day SIKARAN competition, throws and takedowns are not allowed.

There are three main throwing techniques in SIKARAN. They are the Hagis Pasang Araro (over the shoulder throw), the Hampas sa Lupa (body slam) and the Hagis Pasang Bigas (hip throw).

Likewise, there are several takedown techniques in SIKARAN. The most common are the Pawalis (leg sweeping), the Pagapas (leg reaping), the Patid (leg tripping), the Sipa sa Alak-alakan (kick against the back of the knee), the hilang pababa (pull down) and the tulak pababa (push down).

There are several SIKARAN techniques, no longer allowed in contests and competitions and are therefore becoming obsolescent. The two most popular techniques of SIKARAN rarely seen today and unknown to most new practitioners are the suwag ng tamaraw also known as sibasib ng tamaraw (head butt) and the daluhong ng unggoy (monkey attack). Ka Rumagit explained that these two techniques were actually “contributions” to SIKARAN by the indigenous mountain people of Luzon who were shorter in physical stature than regular Filipinos.

One variation of the sibasib ng tamaraw is by jumping forward and with the forehead strike the opponent’s nose. This technique effectively disrupts the breathing. Another variation is by hitting the underside of the chin with the top of the head. When grabbed from behind, the back of the head is also utilized.

Tamaraw is a type of wild buffalo that can only be found in the Philippines. It is smaller and leaner than the carabao (water buffalo), its domesticated relative. A Tamaraw is very ferocious by nature. Unfortunately, it is also almost extinct and now can only be found in the island of Mindoro in the Philippines.

The daluhong ng unggoy is delivered by jumping and kicking the opponent’s hips with both legs at the same time poking the opponent’s eyes with the thumbs as you grab the sides of the heads with your fingers. Another variation of this maneuver is the dukit ng mata (gouging off the eye). As the kick immobilizes the opponent, one arm securely holds the opponent in a headlock while a forceful penetrating thrust of the forefinger of the other hand is applied in the corner of the eye socket to gouge it out.

Unggoy is a small wild monkey that is known to attack people viciously without cause or warning. It cannot be tamed like the tsonggo its domesticated cousin, which some people keep as a pet.

The basis for the SIKARAN blocks is the pagaspas ng labuyo (flapping of the wings of a wild fowl). All downward motion blocks were called salag buhat araw (blocks from the sun) and all upward motion blocks were referred to as salag pamayong (umbrella blocks).

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