Major Differences between . . .

Discussion in 'Kombatan' started by Rich Parsons, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    What are the major differences between Modern Arnis via GM Remy Presas and Kombatan via GM Ernesto Presas?
  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I'd like to hear more about this too! Kombatan seems to place a much greater emphasis on double stick than does Modern Arnis, but shares with it so much more--single stick and stick-and-knife techniques, karate and jujutsu influences, and so on.

    Are there anyos in Kombatan?
  3. armas

    armas Junior Member

    Here is a common structure for a student of Kombatan:
    Sinawali drills from open position to closed positions. This will teach the students linear movements and circular movements. It will balance out the left and right sides for a better well developed student/practitioner.

    From there a student will learn that in Doble baston there are 5 major techniques in combat. In these techniques we show variations, combinations and posibilities. This is taught in an intermediate to semi-advance level. We teach the student the palit-palit(aka palitan drill/give and take). Here we put together what we learn to put everything together. Respect of distance, techniques, rhythm, footwork, timing, coordination, speed, accuracy, etc. We feel that the doble baston is essential in a development of an arnisador.
    Like the Modern Arnis teaching of GM Remy we also have the same disarms.
    There are more drills for the student to learn. We try to mix it up. This is pretty much a synopsis of GM Ernesto's system of teaching in doble baston.
    In solo baston we like to mix the Classical arnis and the modern arnis curriculum. Like all other systems of arnis, kali and eskrima we have to learn that all systems of arnis has its use in the 3 major fighting ranges. We do learn the details of each Classical arnis system. The reasons why we are learn the classical or old arnis is to understand the Modern or new arnis systems or evolutions of the Presas family discoveries.
    Here I feel that the drill of Palit palit and freestyle drill (tapi-tapi) teach us to put together everything we learn. IN GM Remy's tapi-tapi it is a deeper understanding of movements in the medio-corto range. GM Remy's system has stick traps that convert into locks/trankadas to the wrist, elbow joints and more. Our tapi-tapi emphasizes body locks to takedown. Gm Remy's evolution in tapi-tapi is very very deep.

    In espada y daga (a medium to close range weapon) we have 12 major techniques or counters to the 12 strikes. But there are also the variations in techniques. We are taught to flow in espada y daga that the palit palit, and bigay tama will develop this aspect of the arnisador. There are trankadas/dumog, disarms and takedowns also.

    Daga sa daga/Knife fighting. Here we elaborate and have an extensive curriculum. Included are techniques, disarms and unarmed disarms vs. knife.

    Then dulo dulo/palmstick is another. Dulo dulo came from the Dos Puntas estilo . Where in you hold the stick in the middle. This shows you how common sense can be a tool to another system of arnis.

    The Bankaw/Bo staff is our long range weapon.

    Then Mano Mano/Filipino emptyhand fighting is based on the principles of arnis, jujitsu, and judo. We employ stop hits, trapping, dumog/locks, and hagis/throws.

    GM Ernesto has studied from the legends of arnis, kali, eskrima. GM Antonio ILustrisimo, GM Ben Lema, GM Jose Mena, and more. I got to witness this while in the Philippines. And the research and evolution never ends. I believe that's what makes the Presas brothers different. They don't stop. But there is always the similarity. I always say this when asked of the difference between the two systems. It's the personality of the two GM's that makes the difference.

    Hope this helps,
  4. Alakd'an

    Alakd'an New Member

    Very interesting observations. Please continue to post more info on GM Presas Kombatan. I am a Modern Arnis practitioner and always looking for insights to the Filipino Martila arts particularly Modern Arnis. Salamat! Ben Harrison
  5. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member


    excellent post on Kombatan.

    Some other observations about the differences.
    1) Kombatan has a greater emphasis on double stick drills, espada y daga and the dagger or knife work.

    The double stick system has a 14 and a 24 count feeding drill, and this is used to teach different blocking/striking responses, disarming techniques and or takedowns.

    In the espada y daga there are a number of different prearranged resposnes of several moves (almost like a mini kata) that are practiced solo and then with a partner feed. Much more classical feel to it than the little EYD that I have seen or been taught in Modern Arnis.

    2) The empty hand aspect of the system has a more combative feel to it, more karate like in the block, hit, takedown and finish.

    To me the empty hand aspect of the system has a more combative karate like feel to it. In fact it would fit right into a American (karate/TKD) blended system with the hitting and striking. There are 20 different techniques found within the system (striking techniques and kicking techniques) and these are practiced solo and then also in a free flow pattern with a partner in a give and take fashion. But there isn't the empahsis on the multitude of different locking techniques that GM Remy had nor the emphasis on the lock flows development.

    3) There is a greater emphasis placed on speed development. GM Ernesto stressed speed motion (which meant fast fast fast) in all areas of the art.

    4) In Modern Arnis there was a more of an emphasis in tying the Sinawali drills to empty hand techniques, a method to learn locks, blocking, traps etc. etc.

    In Kombatan there isn't that same emphasis, Sinawali is used to teach double and some Single Stick, but the empty hand aspect isn't there. However the sinawali responses are practiced in the form of responses to the 14 and 24 count feeds.

  6. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member

    More differences

    1) In MA I remember practicing the responses to single stick feed of all 12 angles of attack, in Kombatan the are certain angles fed for particular responses. Say abaniko and redondo follow up, the figure eight, sungeti, etc. etc. Even though the same 12 angles of attack are found in both Kombatan and MA, it is broken down into sub systems of say the abaniko and redondo follow up and so on.

    This actually seems to be a better way of practicing it to me.

    2) In Kombatan there is a common thread of a drill called Palit Palit and I believe it is the heart of the system (so to speak), while in Modern Arnis the same could be said of the Tapi drill. They are completely different with different intentions.

    Palit Palit is a give and take free flow drill that utilizes different weapons pairings (same weapons vs each other, different weapons vs each other, empty hand vs weapon, empty hand vs. empty hand). Palit Palit helps teach range, movement, targeting, endurance, flow, etc. etc. Whereas the Tapi drill can be used to teach many of the same things it comes at it from a completely different perspective.

    The closest drill in Kombatan to the Tapi drill is GM Ernesto's Freestyle pattern. This drill is similar to GM Remy's Right vs. Right Tapi pattern but it has more movement (generally) between both practictionars and the passive person responds with more than just a #1 or a #2.

    3) In Kombatan the empty hand techniques also translate to the defensive responses to the 14/24 count drills of the double stick. Again this helps to tie in the double stick/double knife to empty hand.

    4) In Kombatan the weapon Anyos are more complex (longer and more techniques to them).
  7. KombatanNYC

    KombatanNYC New Member

    These are some great posts! It’s always good to see someone else’s perspective on the arts we study. I think one thing worth mentioning is the variations within the system depending on where and by whom the student is taught. For instance, Master Jan Jan (Ernesto Jr.) places a very heavy emphasis on chambering. The techniques and form from his training maximizes the utilization of a stick as a stick in efficient linear motions. Seeing Grandmaster’s movements, you can easily recognize the classical influence, which I believe passes itself directly into the techniques. Though many instructors may not emphasize the connection between mano mano and the sinawali’s, I believe this to be inherent in the training itself. For instance, double sinawali teaches the student deca dena even if only in the muscle memory. Depending on the instructor, these connections may come to light even if not overtly.

    One thing I really love about Kombatan is that it is a complete art. There is all ranges of combat from long range kicks, to locks, all the way to ground techniques. Likewise, the advanced student will come to understand both modern and classical interpretations of movement and technique. Even without the kattas, espada y daga can be practiced as a slow and meditative short form. We train slow and “speed motion”, which creates split second reaction and 0-60 type responses.

    I would really like to see first hand how Modern Arnis is trained. My only contact with the art, unfortunately has been though people trained strictly at seminars and who have never actually studied directly under someone of knowledge for any length of time. What I have witnessed is that the students I have come across have no idea where their strikes are coming from. They have had poor footwork, and very very sloppy form. That said, these are not characteristics I consider to be true of the art. I would like sometime to see some high level practitioners and get a real taste of the Modern Arnis.
  8. armas

    armas Junior Member

    Boar man is right in all his observations. I replied with a more of a birds eye view of what you might want to expect as a non practitioner of Kombatan. There are alot of things to offer. The bottom line of kombatan practice is FLOW from one weapon to the other to emptyhand is all the same. It's showing the connection of all the weapons taught to the emptyhand.

    Boar man we do have a locking flow too. Maybe it was not shown to you. But the trend is the same as GM Remy's. Just not influenced by small circle Jujitsu.

    Our Classical arnis has systems of teaching where you need to know its basic strikes and the responsed/defense to it and its corresponding classical striking. Ex. Force to force abanico doblada, Sungkiti, Palis palis doblete, Ocho ocho and Hirada Batanguena. These are Classical arnis styles in itself. That are learned and combined as one.

    Our Modern arnis curriculum also has its own system. Where we deal with releasing techniques/weapon retention, locking/dumog or trankada, Takedowns, Disarming, etc. Here we play fight using Palit palit and freestyle or tapi tapi drill.

    Share some more guys!
  9. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member

    Good insight and I have enjoyed your posts. I added numbers on your posts to make it easy to address.

    1) Making the connection between all of the different weapons and or weapon combination to empty hand is what I really liked about Kombatan. As I have only gotten to train with GM Ernesto through seminars I'm sure that I have missed out on a lot of his material. But I think a key to his system or the heart so to speak if I had to pick one drill would be the palit palit series. Because using the format (progression) of the drill it can be applied to almost any weapon or mepty hand.

    2) In the seminars that I attended with GM Remy and with GM Ernesto, GM Remy had a much greater emphasis on the lock flows. I do seem to remember some lock flows with GM Ernesto but not to the degree that GM Remy taught. I'll check my notes though and see what they were.

    3) I thought this was a simpler way to approach the subject matter for this defense or this response (say ocho ocho) than there are five (or whatever the number it is) angles that you defend against. Or for the Sungkiti there are these angles fed etc. etc.

    Simply because these responses work better off of those angles of attack.

    4) In his seminars I never knew it to be broken down in Modern Arnis, I guess I refernced things more to the drills and the weapons used unless he stated we were doing this subsystem (classical arnis with the ocho ocho or whatever). I do remember us doing his policing techniques which dealt a lot with releasing the stick from grabs (is this what you refer to as weapon rentention?) and then hitting and locking the person down.

    I just wish GM Ernesto would come to the states more often.:wink2:
  10. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member

    Kombatan NYC
    I added numbers to your post to address it.

    First off good post and thank you for contributing to the thread, I'm glad to see some other Kombatan practictionars on a board. I have only gotten to train under GM Remy or Ernesto at seminars so my perspective is limited in scope and I look forward to hearing from someone who has trained directly under someone who trained with either GM Ernesto or another instructor for a long time in the compete art.

    1) I agree with your post here. It's been wierd but seeing the movements of GM Ernesto, Jan jan, and some of the other instructors of Modern Anris, Tito Willy, Bambit Dulay, even Dieter (who was with GM Ernesto for many years before switching to GM Remy's system), or Dr. Remy Jr. they all have a look to them. To me it looks what I imagine is closer to what is the root of the art or how it was taught in the Philippines. More classical. But there is definately more footwork, deeper stances, faster changes of moving in and out.

    Sadly often times at seminars I see the same thing with the hands, little to no chambers when doing the Sinawali drills. I think this is do to the way it was taught with GM Remy not really stressing the chambers like GM Ernesto did. Also with the way that many times the empty hand sinawali series was taught I think the students drift toward having no chambers. Again because the emphasis was on practicing the drill for locking instead of making the emphasis on this being a strike and or a downward block etc. etc. Of course this could be also that during a seminar only X amount of material could be covered and that was why it wasn't stressed. It was left to the instructor to do it.

    2) At the seminars I went to with GM Ernesto he always wore us out with the "COME ON BE LIKE ME, OK, FASTER FASTER, COME ON" he always was trying to get us to go faster.

    3) From again my limited view of really only seeing people at seminars I have gotten to see some of the higher level instructors like I mentioned above and the closer I think to them studying in the Philippines for any length of time the more they have a certian look to them. However for the American instructors the Master of Tapi Tapi and others whom I've seen the higher they are (more time in the art) the more foot work, better chambers etc. etc. I have seen. But I believe there is still a difference.

  11. armas

    armas Junior Member

    Boar man,
    I know what you mean. I trained with GM Ernesto in the Philippines with Jan Jan. They are like my family. You know what is strange? If any of the Modern Arnis people saw Jan jan and compare them to GM Remy they have the same mannerisms. There are alot to say about the two arts. When GM Remy was still alive our dream was to unite the brothers. To unite the arts. A dream may come true throught the next generation.

    Master Bambit was my senior instructor in IPMAF at Quiapo. He is an exceptional person. Quiet deceiving and deadly. He is like a big brother to me. Master Cristino Vasquez is another person alot of people are missing. Once you meet these people you will understand more of the evolutions of KOmbatan and Modern Arnis. Master Rene Tongson's eloquence and his Tres Puntas estilo. Great talents. Another is Master Mark Santos who is young but very knowlegdable. These people are the people behind the Kombatan and Modern arnis in Manila. Not to mention Master Robas and Master Dagooc and Master Dantes.
  12. Enoch

    Enoch New Member

    Great Posts, Thank-you for the information.

  13. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member


    In your previous post you stated
    "There are alot to say about the two arts. When GM Remy was still alive our dream was to unite the brothers. To unite the arts. A dream may come true throught the next generation."

    Yeah it that was my dream and others when we were training with Hock (back in the mid 90"s) that they might unite. Sadly that didn't occur.

    However not wanting to drudge up old wounds about the conflict between the brothers,

    1) Were or are there instructors over in the Philippines who trained under both brothers or trained in both systems?

    2) If so did they blend the two, meaning if they went from Kombatan to Modern Arnis did they tend to blend in the releasing techniques (Police techniques), or teach more on the espada y daga, or more on the double stick etc. etc.? Or from Modern Arnis to Kombatan?

    sorry my wife wants me to go to the hospital to get my daughters stiches out I'll finish the post later.
  14. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member


    I guess what I was trying to ask was, in a post earlier it was stated that Kombatan has Modern Arnis as part of the curriculmn. With Modern Anris being a whole system unto itself, so far in this thread we have discussed some of the differences between the two systems. So I was wondering are there instructors who have switched between both systems/schools/masters etc. etc. And if so do they blend in anything from the other system?

    And if you don't mind what part of Modern Arnis was part of the Kombatan curriculmn? Or let me ask it this way.

    1) I have heard that "Modern" arnis was different from "Classical" arnis because in "Modern" arnis you treat the weapon as an impact weapon and you can grab it and use it for locking, hitting the person etc. etc. Where as "Classical" arnis is used more in the method as if it were a edged weapon and you don't grab it.

    So in you might have the "classical" systems ocho ocho, sungkiti, abankio, etc. etc. and then the more modern approach where you not only block but then grab and do you disarms locks etc. etc. Is this a proper understanding of the terms or the idea behind the "Classical" and "Modern" names.

    2) Or does Kombatan take part of the Modern Arnis (as taught by GM Remy) and incorperate that into the teaching or method of Kombatan?

    Just wondering.
  15. armas

    armas Junior Member

    I will try and answer your question in the way we were trained. We are Modern Arnis don't forget that. Kombatan is only a name for GM Ernesto's Modern Arnis. GM felt that he was tired of the people comparing his curriculum to his brother GM Remy. So we started as Modern Arnis and we are Modern Arnis. But under GM Ernesto Presas.
    IN GM Remy's art:(ONly my observations)
    1. Doble baston is not thoroughly explored. But taught as a means to develop the left hand or alive hand in solo baston.
    2. The tapi tapi drills are left and right. More on trapping the limbs and the use of small circle jujitsu principles to achieve the locks.
    3. Espada y daga is very simple. We do combination movements of the espada y daga as mentioned are like mini forms.
    4. We don't have the hanging lock.
    5. I could be wrong but GM Remy mentioned to me that he wanted to go full circle. Meaning he taught some or all of the senior instructors under him Balintawak. He showed us alot of this(Noticed I said show. Not teach us).
    GM Remy is a secretive person. This is a quote from GM Ernesto that his brother was secretive and selective. Meaning he may have not taught everybody the same thing. Some had learned the more kept favorites of GM Remy(some might call it secrets. But there are not much secrets in modern arnis or Kombatan)ONly keys to get to the meaning of all movements.
    There are more but I think this might be the first things you will observe.

    Now Modern arnis as taught to us does is trained in almost the same matter as GM Remy's curriculum.
    1. We don't do what you call rapid fire. It is a good training method. I like it and have integrated it into my training.
    2. We concentrate on teaching the students all techniques using a feeding of six strikes.
    4. We have palit palit used in all ranges and all weapons or combinations of weapons.
    5. We have anyos for solo, espada y daga, doble baston, balisong.
    6. Our knife taught to everyone. GM Remy scolded Master Mark Santos and me because he saw us teaching the daga to the NBI agents. He asked us not to teach the Presas Family daga arts. Because he promised his father he would not teach it to the public. But GM Remy did teach it to some of his students.

    Here is a comment I noticed about many old school masters of the PHilippines and I can be wrong. They do not say who they studied with. It may be because they feel you will instead study with their teachers. But GM Ernesto did train with GM Antonio Ilustrisimo, Jose Mena and Ben Lema. These are influences of KOmbatan/Modern Arnis. I am witness to this.
    Kombatan should give credit to the Senior masters of Modern arnis of the Philippines. Because they are our brothers and instructors. BUT because of politics are now part of IMAFP. (Samuel Dulay, Cristino Vasquez, Rene Tongson,Mark Santos(ex IMAFP member). These Senior masters have helped GM Ernesto in developing the system of Kombatan. They are part of our brotherhood.
    Please don't take all my statements too seriously as to think. I am claiming something or acting like I know everything. This is to answer a question. The statements here is not to offend anybody just my way of explaining things to you. I also do not mean to insult anybody. That is why I mean do not take it seriously. To us we want to unite both arts to go full circle. Let's try and help each other n our growth in the Presas famity arts.

    Hope this helps.
  16. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member

    Thanks armas

    For your replies and your insight.

    How long did you study Kombatan in the Philippines, or how long have you been studying Kombatan might be the better way to ask it?

    Reason I ask is that I always thought of GM Ernesto's system different than GM Remy's. I thought they had some commonality between them and that they meshed well togehter but that they were and are two different systems really.

    When I look at GM Remy's older books they have many of the same stances, techniques and look about them. But to see GM Remy and GM Ernesto and their teaching methods drills etc. etc. (especially in the 90's when I started with both of them), I see a difference in the systems.

    However I have long believed that GM Remy changed his art when he came here to the states and that the further removed from the Philippines (longer time) and that the older he got the more it would change. So maybe that is the difference I see.

    I don't know just random thoughts. Any input on this?

  17. armas

    armas Junior Member

    Boar man,
    I think I already answered most of you questions. It only depends on how you look upon both arts. It really does not matter how long you have studied the art. It is how you understand it. Comparing the arts is good. Find what works for you. The differences are just the flavor put in by both GM's. I have been in the art of KOmbatan since 1989.

    I'll be honest. These are only my observations and my experience. Anyone else will see it differently. What I have shared is not doctrine. Some people reading this will think I am wrong. Some may agree at some extent. Some will totally disagree. So I will stop here and hope someone might want to share more of their experiences and observations.
  18. Boar Man

    Boar Man New Member

    I understand.

    I was asking how long you had been in the art because that helps me understand things in a time line (in a sense). I meant no direspect at all. And thank you for taking your time out and sharing with me (us) your insights, I really do appreciate it.

  19. armas

    armas Junior Member

    I understand what you mean Mark. But when it comes to any art there is no time line. We learn as we progress. And when we analyze the arts too much you go overboard. ONe thing is for sure with the Old masters, They get frustrated when they teach someone who asks too many questions. Here is a guide for you that you can use in any art. Open your mind and learn the art first. Then practice it hard. Once you gain a good foundation, teach it to your family and friends. Teaching will give you a different perspective. Also you will encounter alot of different responses to what you teach. You then will open your mind and try to answer them. It is hard to describe any art without showing what it is. I hope you this in my point of view. I am a hands on teacher. I would rather show you and use you as a partner. Then and only then will you be able to absorb all the teachings.

    I have been where you are and am still in the process of understanding my art. But I will tell you this. I needed a good foundation to understand my art. Like I said I have been in this art of Kombatan/Modern arnis and it is ever evolving. We are students of the arts. Even GM Ernesto comes up with a better understanding of his own art everyday.

    There was a story once about GM Remy watching his own videos and seminars he taught. And he himself never realized his way of teaching and understanding of conveying his art to others until he saw himself on video. Great example for me. Because like you I am always and will be finding a better way of making myself improve. And take this as advise. It will take you a long way. This is my guide to any art I have studied. And I am still a student now learning Balintawak from GM Ver Villasin (son of the late GM Jose Villasin).

    Take care, I am always open for questions.
  20. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I hadn't heard that before! It does make sense though. He of course was a trained (physical) educator as well, so I have no doubt that he was critical of himself!

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