Modern Arnis and other FMAs

Master Black Belt
Dec 27, 2001
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Rich asked a while if I would post a discussion of the differences/similarities/relation between Modern Arnis and Sayoc Kali. After thinking how to answer for a bit I think the better question, and the broader one, if how does Modern Arnis fit with the other arts you study, Filipino or not.
I would also stress that I am a newcomer to Sayoc Kali; while it is the art that takes the bulk of my training (as opposed to teaching) time, I simply havent seen enough to honestly answer the question. For a detailed discussion of the theories and concepts behind Sayoc Kali I would refer interested persons to the FAQ page at
All that being said, I'll start with my teaching meothod as it relaets to Modern Arnis, and how my other training blends in.
I teach Modern Arnis as a primary art at two locations, and as an adjunct art at a third. (primary within my program, not the host school as a whole).
The short outline is that I use Modern Arnis as a vehicle to teach Mr. Dillman's pressure point theories within a broader background, and integrate assorted other pieces as they fit. For me, Modern Arnis is the art within my art not because it blends with everything else, but because it is at the core and underlies amd supports everything else we do.
In developing Modern Arnis Professor synthesized a solid Filipino based system of self defense, but did so in a way that more material could always be added (and then so that you would see that you didnt really add anything; it was already there..)
What I have drawn from Sayoc Kali at this point is teaching methodology first and foremost, and as far as Modern Arnis, a lot of small tweaks to make the art "blade safer."
Hope that helps /clarifies somewhat.
Note: Replies I am not interested in: first the Pekiti Tersia/ Sayoc debate; it has been beaten to death elsewhere and I am not interested. Second: personal issues with Mr. Dillman; there is enough of that on the karate board; if anyone wants to explore how tuite blends with FMA I am very open to that.
For me, Modern Arnis is the art within my art not because it blends with everything else, but because it is at the core and underlies amd supports everything else we do.

I like and agree with what Chad is saying here. Although I teach and train Modern Arnis as a primary art I have studied other styles of martial arts in the past but find that MA is what works best for me. With MA as a core it allows me to follow up an initial Modern Arnis technique with finishing moves from other arts to take a situation to completion. Professor would always show a technique but unless the move ended in a lock or finishing trap you were left to your own ending or finishing moves. Although Modern Arnis is a complete art it did not stress punches, knees, kicks and elbows as do the oriental arts. They were there but it was assumed you knew that. Therefore the addition of Kenpo, Okinawan or other styles when added to Modern Arnis make it a formidable system.
I know from looking at their curriculum that Datu Hartman's Organization has made all the empty hand elements mandatory in their training and for different belt ranks as well.
Knowing how to finish your opponent off should not be a mystery to those training in Modern Arnis. I think this is an area where many Modern Arnis instructors need to look at and make sure they are not overlooking it.
Re. Filipino arts and other arts:

I was fortunate to be introduced to a teacher who taught Filipino martial arts (Pekiti Tirsia Arnis, San Miguel Eskrima) as well as Chinese Internal martial arts. Consequently, I currently teach San Miguel Eskrima, and am a student of Xing Yi Quan.

Further down the road, I met another teacher who teaches his own art, Estacada , and who interprets his in-depth experience of Filipino martial arts and Kajukenbo (Emperado method) through that art. Consequently, I am also a student of Estacada, Estacada-Weapons, and Estacada-Kajukenbo (3 aspects of the same art).

This is not as confusing as it sounds. Both teachers (who have a friendship and training history between them) are internal boxers who understand the Filipino martial arts thoroughly. In addition, all of the arts that I study place a premium upon internal body mechanics vs. techniques, and all complement each other in some way.

You can find out more at:


Steve Lamade

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