How does one define Modern Arnis?

Discussion in 'Modern Arnis' started by pennkempo, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. pennkempo

    pennkempo New Member

    I had the opportunity to ask the question of Rich Parsons over the weekend and was fairly satisfied with his answer, but I'm curious how other people would answer this:

    How does one define what Modern Arnis is (other than the obvious "it's what Remy taught")? In particular what makes Modern Arnis unique among the various Filipino martial arts? Perhaps another way of asking the question would be to say, "How do I tell if two people practicing are doing Modern Arnis versus some other FMA?"

    We all know that the body can move in only so many ways. All complete arts have some form of striking, grabbing, trapping, etc. So, is the difference in strategy? Training methodology? Purpose?

    I surprised myself when I realized I couldn't easily enunciate a good answer to this question.......

  2. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Hmmm, Now I wonder what I said ;)

    Seriously, I would like hear what people think.

  3. kruzada

    kruzada Punong Guro

    To answer this question we have to understand the reason why the late GM Remy A. Presas founded Modern Arnis in the very beginning in the P.I. and the reason why he added to the art with his own innovations in the U.S.

    GM Remy wanted to make the practice of Arnis suitable for Physical Education programs in High Schools and Colleges in the Philippines so that the art would not die out in the land of its birth.

    He also wanted to organize his system so that it could be taught in a defined progression with Belt ranks and structure akin to the Japanese martial arts. He did this so that Arnis would be accepted in countries that already had a Karate and Judo presence, as was the case in the Philippines.

    He further developed his own innovations in Modern Arnis to appeal to those practitioners in the U.S. that were enamored of the joint locking techniques in Jujitsu and the close quarter trapping of Arnis and Wing Chun.

    So all in all the reasons that motivated GM Remy to transform the classical styles of Arnis that he had been taught into what we have come to know as Modern Arnis today, give us the answer to the question "what is Modern Arnis"

    It is a Filipino martial art that is geared towards Physical education, developed so that the art would continue to flourish in the Philippines, and spread throughout the world. Modern Arnis encompasses both the classical art of Arnis and its modern evolution. It is this duality that makes the art unique among the various FMA. It is an art that emphasizes fluidity, adaptability and creativity; allowing room for growth and personal expression. Preserving the art of Arnis in a manner suitable to all cultures, without compromising its integrity.

    It is all of these things but it is still nothing without a full understanding of GM Remy's vision and reasoning. He was first and foremost a proud Filipino, as well as a visionary with immense charisma. He was his art, and Modern Arnis will never be the same without him.

    Rich Acosta
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  4. DavePaj

    DavePaj New Member

    what is MA

    Is there any information in the MA community about whether the Professor was teaching the same modern arnis in physical education settings as he did to his more senior students on the seminar circuit in the US and abroad?

    I ask this because the Professor's adaption of Arnis to a participant friendly version is somewhat analagous to the institutionalization of karate in Japan. This resulted in an art that was very different than its predecessors. Does this mean that all modern arnis is like this, or only during the belt ranks ... perhaps once a student demonstrated they were able to surpass this the professor would convey a different vision of Modern Arnis?

    so, in conclusion, are there different modern arnis's based on who experienced it and what the professor felt they were capable of?
  5. kruzada

    kruzada Punong Guro

    I cannot comment on what GM Remy taught here in the U.S. and in other countries, but I will elaborate on what is taught in the P.I.

    Modern Arnis is the largest FMA group in the P.I., it has more practitioners and instructors there than any other Arnis/Eskrima/Kali system. This is largely due to it's inclusion in educational programs all across the country, and the untiring efforts of GM Remy's Master students that continued to spread the art in the P.I. after GM Remy moved to the U.S.

    It is true that many students who learn Modern Arnis in a P.E. setting have a comparitively limited amount of knowledge of the FMA when compared to students enrolled in a regular ongoing program at training halls such as the IMAFP headquarters in Manila, where students train 5 to 6 days per week. Students who study Modern Arnis in the Philippines as part of a P.E. program, know only a small part of what is taught in the IMAFP curriculum.

    IMAFP Black Belts, however, have a well rounded knowledge of Modern Arnis ranging from the basics to classical Arnis such as Sumbradas, advanced Doble Baston and Espada y Daga forms and applications (taught only by IMAFP and Arnis Masters in the provinces), as well as advanced Tapi-Tapi. They also learn a wide range of weapons such as the bankaw, dulo-dulo, sangot and others. In addition to this some Black Belts are taught styles that the Senior Masters specialize in outside of the Modern Arnis curriculum, such as Tres Puntas, Doblete Rapelon and Cinco Teros. Many of the Modern Arnis Masters in the Philippines mastered other forms of Arnis before they studied with Grandmaster Remy, and in some cases had the opportunity to learn styles from other FMA Grandmasters in Manila and in the provinces.

    There is alot more in the IMAFP curriculum, but this is all I can recall off the top of my head.

    The Modern Arnis Masters in the Philippines have a wealth of knowledge that is open to all practitioners of the Filipino martial arts. It would take two lifetimes to explore what each Master has to offer, and an additional lifetime to master what you have learned.

    -Richie Acosta
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2005
  6. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Hey Dave,

    How is it going?

    Have you heard of the "Pink Book". This book is a good reference for what was taught in the PI, yet it is always best to hear from those there, and then train with them as well :)

    Also another book "The Practical Art of Escrima" was first published in the PI.

    Check both these out. I know Tim has a copy so if you do not find them before you next visit, he should let you browse. I would check e-bay as sometimes you can find the second book I mentioned there.

    The First book can be gotten from Brian Zawilinski if Tim does not have a copy.
  7. Chad

    Chad New Member

    Real short answer....
    Understand that what Professor developed as a PE curriculum in the sixties and seventies morphed a lot as time went on. When Professor came to the states he had to gear his teaching to a vastly different audience; the inclusion of the empty hand anyos would be one example.
    Professor also continued to work with other artists; for example Wally Jay was vastly influential on some aspects of the art.
    Also bear in mind that what was taught as Phys. Ed. was not the sum total of Professor's art, any more than was a brief collection of his seminar teachings.
    I think it is safe to say that for different times and different audiences Professor stressed different facets of the art, but not that there was a deliberate hiding of component pieces as was the case when Okinawan karate was taught to Japanese or Americans.
  8. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    The first question is very hard to answer, other than referring to the Professor's teachings. For the second, though unique is too strong a word, I think that Modern Arnis is distinguished by, to name just a few things, its greater propensity to grab the stick (where many arts might grab the hand, or place their hand on the stick but not grasp it), the Small Circle Jujitsu techniques, the emphasis on block-check-counter/trapping hands, and the extensive tapi-tapi drills.

    For the third question...well, as a rule I think it's hard to reliably tell one FMA from another by watching two people practice unless they do something very distinctive. For Modern Arnis, big clues would include the Shotokan-style anyos, single sinawali (which doesn't show up often in other systems, in my experience), recognizable tapi-tapi patterns, an emphasis on solo baston, and de cadena trapping hands. Smaller clues, to my mind, include fighting at medio-to-corto range, grabbing the stick, tying people's arms up, stick as stick (not usually as sword), and the diving throw. Obviously, apart from the anyos, none of these would be conclusive!
  9. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Hi Richie/Kruzada,

    Which MA master trained in Doblete Rapelon?
  10. kruzada

    kruzada Punong Guro

    Sorry I overlooked your reply, which was sent so long ago.

    SM Samuel Bambit Dulay trained with GM Mena in Doblete Rapelon. I am not sure for how long a time though.

    They were from the same province. So GM Mena encouraged him to study his style.

    I know that other MA practitioners in the P.I. have trained in Doblete Rapelon under Eng. Diaz.

  11. Tarot

    Tarot New Member

    I agree with this and would also include learning left-handed stick work (think right vs. left tapi-tapi). Also, switching grips. For example, you are working with someone and both of you are holding your sticks in your right hand. You get trapped and your counter is to switch hands. Now all of the sudden you can work the stick with your left. I don't think many arts focus on that type of training. :)
  12. eskrimador

    eskrimador New Member

    I`m with SM Bambit Dulay for long years since we were in ARJUKEN of GM Ernie Presas, I never know he trained with GM Mena formally. Maybe he is exposed to Mena`s style due to regular public exposition of Arnis in Rizal Park in Manila. GM Ernesto Presas is the one who trained with GM Mena. If you look on SM Dulay movements it is still an Ernie Presas movement even he trained lately with Prof. Remy. But we cannot deny his dedication to Modern Arnis.
  13. kruzada

    kruzada Punong Guro

    Reply from SM Bambit Dulay


    Master Bambit asked me to post the following reply for him and also he would like to get your email address so that he can correspond with you. You can send it to me and I will forward it to him. My email address is

    From Master Bambit;

    I occasionally trained with GM Mena in 1980, 1991 and some years after. I also trained together with Master Rico Acosta (under GM Mena) when he would visit the Philippines. I introduced Rico to GM Mena and I would also bring many foreign students to train with GM MENA in Arnis. Also during a seminar conducted at the department of tourism, GM Mena was one of our selected instructors.

    There are movements in the Modern arnis classical style similar to the movement of Balintawak, Dikita, Lema Style, Doblete Rapelon, Palis Palis, Illustrisimo, Kruzada, Lapunti, Doce Pares, Abaniko Style/System and many more.

    Each classical style or system has its specific movement, art and concentration.

  14. khd29

    khd29 New Member

    The "pink book", I remember that. I was wondering if Amazon made a mistake withe the color, which was yellow.

    In the early 1990's, my uncle and cousin visited us in NJ and while watching the UFC, we got into a discussion about martial arts, arnis in particular. Before they left for the PI, my uncle promised to send me a book about the art and received it a few months later. It was the Modern Arnis book and IIRC, signed, too. I may have to dig that out of my parent's basement the next time I visit. There was a picture of an elderly gentleman holding 2 samurai swords. Does anyone know his name? Looking at that picture, I thought he was older than my grandfather but he will definitely kick my...

    KRUZADA: Thank you for your quick reply about your school. Looking forward to meeting you and the class.
  15. khd29

    khd29 New Member

    I found the "pink book"at my parents house today. Page 15-16 is loose and a couple of printing problems in the middle but still in great condition. There was no man with 2 katanas, unfortunately- must have been from another book. I am not sure if the signature is original, forged or part of the print. There were 2 though: One in blue, the other in some red tone. I will look for something the late GM signed and compare it to the one I have.

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