Footwork

Matt Stone

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I have only been studying arnis for under a year, and while the footwork has been instructed and discussed at length, I would be interested to hear how other arnis players train their footwork, and to what degree it has an effect on their fighting methods...

In the kung fu that I have studied for years, footwork methods are very important (doesn't matter how hard you can hit if you can't get close enough to land the strike), and the patterns of movement in Modern Arnis are identical to some of the things I have already studied. When I studied Pekiti-Tirsia years ago (for a very brief time), about all I practiced was the footwork patterns...

Anyway, any anecdotes or insights into your training would be appreciated.
 

Rich Parsons

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Originally posted by arnisador

Modern Arnis generally doesn't stress footwork as much as it should, I think.

Arnisador,

No disrespect, as you know I also train in Modern
Arnis. I am curious as you stated it was not
stressed as much as it should. Was footwork
stressed on some techniques and not others?
Was it stressed early on or more recently? Was
it stressed by certain instructors and not others?
Was it stressed only at certain seminars, such
as those with Wally Jay and Small Circle JJ?

I know a lot of questions, but I am curious of
you point of view and opinion.

Thanks

Rich
 

Guro Harold

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Originally posted by arnisador

Modern Arnis generally doesn't stress footwork as much as it should, I think.

I tend to agree with you Arnisador. However, Modern Arnis as taught by MARPPIO definitely stresses traditional/classic footwork. Man, the drills they teach and the emphasis on chambering before you forward or backstep challenged me at their seminar here last April!!!
 

arnisador

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Mr. Parsons asks a fair question. Certainly Mr. Hartman has always stressed proper footwork with me. But if I had had to learn it from seminars and camps I don't think I ever would have learned it, and all too often at such events I see people stepping with the wrong foot in the 12 angles of attack, or making a token "step" that looks more like a dance step, or standing square on all the time. I feel the message isn't getting through--it's being said, yes, but it's being insufficiently emphasized/trained. In fact, I never recall the footwork being trained per se, and relatively few people seemed to work the ideas of it from block-check-counter into their free-form practice.

This is a broad brush and I'm sure you could name many counter-examples, as could I--but the percentage of Modern Arnis practitioners with decent footwork seems somehwat disappointing to me. It can't help that the anyos reinforce inapprorpiate footwork (but give solid stances in return). I'm not sure if it's fair to expect Modern Arnis footwork to be as "on" as that of a karateka, but how often do you see one of them not stepping/standing as their style dictates?

Mr. Hartman and I were watching some Modern Arnis videos earlier this month--I was disappointed with the stepping of some of the students helping the Prof. demonstrate. People in much too deeeeep and immobile stances, people literally jumping up in the air to switch stances, and steps to the wrong side (say, always stepping with the right foot no matter the situation).
 

Guro Harold

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Hi Arnisador,

I appreciate good footwork and consider that proper footwork is stressed at our school as well. And I agree with you that it is not stressed alot in MA seminars.

The drills if done correctly and free-flow sparring tends to tell on you if your footwork and body position is not correct for the indications that you stated above.

I was adding that if someone wants to see and experience the traditional and classic footwork training, maybe the need to consider taking in a MARPPIO seminar.

When you go to their seminars, you sweat, you burn, and you learn in regards to proper striking, striking styles, and footwork.

I appreciated what I learned and it added depth and roots to what I had previously known.


Palusut:asian:
 

Yari

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Originally posted by arnisador

Modern Arnis generally doesn't stress footwork as much as it should, I think.

I gotta agree to some extent. But that's probably because I've done other arts, and then the foot work didn't become an issue when praticing Modern Arnis. But still I don't think the foot work was so important (ie. toes pointing correctly, only that the movement was correct was important). I think it has to do with the mentality behind.

/Yari
 

dearnis.com

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part of the problem with footwork in Modern Arnis is that too many people watched what professor did rather than what he was doing. What I mean by that is that Professor never wasted any movement, and the steps in his footwork patterns were minmal; he moved enough to gain advantage on his partner and no more. He did not take big steps, or over-emphasize his steps except on moves like diving and walking throws.
For the rest of us mortals bigger more obvious steps are important, but this was easily missed when trying to follow what his hands and sticks were doing.
I think it is fair to say that just because it is taught in a modern arnis school or program doesn't mean it is modern arnis. I once had a student in a school where I was a visiting instructor tell me (none too politely) that I was teaching the 12 angles wrong because the feet should not move AT ALL! With that in mind is it any wonder that some folks see modern arnis footwork as being minimal to non-existant! (Footwork; we don't need no stinking footwork!)
 

Yari

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Originally posted by dearnis.com

(Footwork; we don't need no stinking footwork!)

Step on the guys foot and do an abinico, and se how he feels about foot work.... :D

/Yari
 

Cruentus

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dearnis made a lot of good points.

One of the downfalls of an art that is primarily Seminar taught is that some of the little things, and the basics are not addressed like they would be in a school, or regularly scheduled class.

Professor barely went over how to correctly punch, strike, kick, or step. Most of the people coming to Modern Arnis had a different base style, where it was assumed that they learned those things. When you only see your teacher once a month in a seminar format, spending 6 hours on stances isn't what people were paying for.

This caused a ton of issue's, especially w/ testings and forms. It was kind of funny to watch 3 people doing Anyo Isa with different stances (and different methods of doing the same stance) throughout the form.

I can't write long, so I'm going to sum this all up...

The importance in MA, I think, isn't with fixed "Stances" per say. When you get to a higher level of skill and combat, focusing on whether you should have one stance over another is irrelavent.

The importance is balance, weight distribution, body placement, successful execution, and awareness (specifically of your weak points of standing a certain way). Professor had all of this when he would do the art.

So, I'll even go out on a limb to say one could execute angle one from either leg being foward....in combat someone might have too whether they want to or not. I can throw an angle 1 with my left leg foward, but I have to stand a certian way to ensure that I don't fall over (balance), that I know where my weight is distributed, that I am in a good position for the attack (placement), that I can follow through and hit my target with assurance (execution) and that I don't hit my own leg, or that I am not thrown off balance by my opponent (awareness). I usually find myself in an X like stance when I execute this properly, but what is more important is not the stance, but the concepts behind it.

Anyways, gotta go!

Later :asian:
 

thekuntawman

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for how i teach my students in kuntaw and eskrima/arnis, it is hard to say in words how we teached it, but i will try here.

i use what i call "superior position" to the opponent. superior position is who is on the opponents outside (behind the front foot) even if, especially if he is at an angle, while the opponent is not prepared to defend himself. your superior position also depends to what technique you want to throw at the enemy when you get there. so if you are using the modern arnis #2 strike (inside temple), your superior position to throw this hit, is not from in front of the opponent, but a little to the oustide of his foot, but you also have his front hand busy.

front hand busy: blocking a hit you just threw, but he didnt pull it back yet, OR parryed with your back hand, OR in the middle of a hit, and you just evaded it, OR he is retracting his hand after a strike. etc.

so back to what i am saying, the superior position depends on what your opponent is doing, or what he just did, and what you want to do next, and how fast can you get there.

the basics of footwork should be devided into attacking and attacking opponent, attacking a retreating opponent, closing your distance to launch an attack, "playing around" your opponent (preparing for an attack or counter attackings), counterattacking a opponent moving in, counterattacking an opponent who is still, evading an opponent for superior position, and entering the striking distance for superior position. if this is confusion, i can explain more about it, but i think its pretty self expalining. footwork is more than how to do certain footworking movements, but how to use them. the beginner should spend 6 months to one year learning how to move in basic positions, forward/back, 45 degrees outside/45 degrees inside, moving the back foot for attack and defense, how to shuffle, how to step, how to skip, and how to switch step. the second year is how to make the complicated movemtns like, pivoting with retreat, pivoting before attacking, slipping and weaving, one leg up (chicken fighting) and kneeling.

but for some basic advice for how to train your footwork remember this, the footwork movment you make is not the important one, what is important, is that you get there fast, you get there when the opponents eyes and hands are bisy or distracted, and that you have the best position to the opponent where he does not have the ability to clearly see what you are doing and cannot easily counter you. so what i am saying is, to think about strategy for footwork, not fancy ways to do it.
 

Rich Parsons

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HI All,

I have to agree with what many of you have said
together. Many people started out in Modern Arnis
from another style and had the basic stances and
footwork from their style. ANd many times the
Profesor taught MA as the The Art with in your Art
to allow other not to have to completely relearn
new foot work and techniques. GM Presas had the
tendacy to build upon what was already there.
Just a note that GM R. Presas was also ranked
in KArate and Judo either Ju-Jitsu. Being 1:00 AM
I will verify and clarify later. So, he had no
problems recognizing other styles techniques and
allowing the practictioner to use them.

As, for the Seminars, Paul said it well, people
were not paying for footwork but for the other
stuff he taught.

As, for the Professors footwork being minimal
I would have to agree. I would also have to agree
that I believe that this was a combination of
the art his Grandfather taught him and that by
Moncal, Maranga and GM Bacon of the Balintawak
Self Defense Club, in his early years.

Sorry for the ramble.

Rich
 

Rich Parsons

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Originally posted by thekuntawman

for how i teach my students in kuntaw and eskrima/arnis, it is hard to say in words how we teached it, but i will try here.

i use what i call "superior position" to the opponent. superior position is who is on the opponents outside (behind the front foot) even if, especially if he is at an angle, while the opponent is not prepared to defend himself. your superior position also depends to what technique you want to throw at the enemy when you get there. so if you are using the modern arnis #2 strike (inside temple), your superior position to throw this hit, is not from in front of the opponent, but a little to the oustide of his foot, but you also have his front hand busy.

front hand busy: blocking a hit you just threw, but he didnt pull it back yet, OR parryed with your back hand, OR in the middle of a hit, and you just evaded it, OR he is retracting his hand after a strike. etc.

so back to what i am saying, the superior position depends on what your opponent is doing, or what he just did, and what you want to do next, and how fast can you get there.

the basics of footwork should be devided into attacking and attacking opponent, attacking a retreating opponent, closing your distance to launch an attack, "playing around" your opponent (preparing for an attack or counter attackings), counterattacking a opponent moving in, counterattacking an opponent who is still, evading an opponent for superior position, and entering the striking distance for superior position. if this is confusion, i can explain more about it, but i think its pretty self expalining. footwork is more than how to do certain footworking movements, but how to use them. the beginner should spend 6 months to one year learning how to move in basic positions, forward/back, 45 degrees outside/45 degrees inside, moving the back foot for attack and defense, how to shuffle, how to step, how to skip, and how to switch step. the second year is how to make the complicated movemtns like, pivoting with retreat, pivoting before attacking, slipping and weaving, one leg up (chicken fighting) and kneeling.

but for some basic advice for how to train your footwork remember this, the footwork movment you make is not the important one, what is important, is that you get there fast, you get there when the opponents eyes and hands are bisy or distracted, and that you have the best position to the opponent where he does not have the ability to clearly see what you are doing and cannot easily counter you. so what i am saying is, to think about strategy for footwork, not fancy ways to do it.

Just my 2 cents worth,

I happen to like this post. I think some of the
words are different from what I use and have been
taught but I think I understand the intent.

The 45 Degrees to the opponent and superior body
positioning, are terms I have used and been
taught.

To stress this, is good stuff, when done correctly
against an opponent out of position you can hit
or attack your opponent yet, the opponent most
likely will not be able to touch / hit you because
of their own body positioning. Yes they can move
to get into position to attack you, but their
movement allows you to move also, and the dance
continues.

I know I have not demonstrated properly in words
what is best done in person. For this I am sorry.

Ask for further clarification if you so desire
it.

Rich
 

arnisandyz

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One thing that I did notice is that the Professor had a very "shifty" footwork. Meaning to say he would slightly shift his weight from one leg to another just enough to get in and out of range ). I am guessing many people were busy watching his hands and trying learn the techniques, they assumed his base was stationary.

Most of the people I have come across doing only Modern Arnis did not demonstrate to me an advanced understanding of footwork. In addition, many people who cross train in modern Arnis probably come from a Karate or TKD base (I'm guessing) and there footwork is different from FMA based footwork.
 

Guro Harold

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Please excuse my ignorance in this matter. If you have other references in this subject, please post it.

Arnis Footwork References:
-----------------------------------
Pekiti-Tirsia lists some of their footwork patterns. Please refer to their website for the descriptions.

http://www.pekiti-tirsia.com/docs/overview.html


Books on Kali Illustrisimo - touch on their footwork systems
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Siniwalli by Reynaldo S. Galang - Great sinawali reference!!!
Secrets of Kalis Illustrisimo by Antonio Diego


My Experience in Modern Arnis is that most students mainly concern themselves with the forward triangle, which is necessary for learning the basic strikes and blocks, and body shifting.

The Professor even embedded a little Sikaran in the system but few Modern Arnis practitioners are not aware of what it is. It appeared that he was painfully effective with this as well. The concept was taught/grouped into leg takedown techniques.

Palusut
 

Datu Tim Hartman

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Originally posted by arnisandyz

One thing that I did notice is that the Professor had a very "shifty" footwork. Meaning to say he would slightly shift his weight from one leg to another just enough to get in and out of range ).

This comes from the Balintawak.
 
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Matt Stone

Matt Stone

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Since I started this thread, there has been a lot of good discussion.

I have another question, and I hope I don't rile anyone by asking it, but...

I was watching video of the Anyos being performed, and when I compare those forms (I am a supporter of forms practice, by the way, just so everyone knows and doesn't attack me as one of the folks that says forms are crap) with the footwork I am learning as part of Modern Arnis, it is immediately apparent that there are differences...

I know that oftentimes the technical data in a form is hidden or codified in such a manner as to provide a mnemonic tool as opposed to a graphic representation. However, footwork is usually the most graphically depicted element in a form, since it plays such an important role in understanding the application of the techniques that accompany it...

So why do the Anyos move more like Karate forms and less like the drills?

Just curious (and way new at the Arnis game...).

Thanks!

:samurai: :samurai:
 

arnisador

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Originally posted by Yiliquan1

So why do the Anyos move more like Karate forms and less like the drills?

The answer is because they are...

...drum roll...

...karate forms. They are modified Shotokan karate kata (the Professor was also a high-ranking Shotokan practitioner). The footwork and techniques in them are largely Japanese, though at some points you'll notice Modern Arnis modifications.

You'll find some more discussion of this here.
 

dearnis.com

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In fairness the form/anyo video was shot quite a few years ago. For many people the anyos evolved to something "more" Filipino and they began integrating what they were doing in other areas of the art into the forms as well.
I think Palasut made a good point about the emphasis on the forward triangle; Professor did a lot more than this, but for me, at least, I had to go to other teachers/systems, see what they were doing, and then come back do apprectiate how subtle Professor was in applying the same things.
 
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