Principles of Arnis

R

Rommel

Guest
AldonAsher said the following: "The bottom line is, we focussed our training together towards principles and concepts, and not on specific techniques. Every style has it's own specific techniques and structure. But principles and concepts encompass individual styles."

Can you elaborate on these principles and concepts? What I like about systema is that it is focused on 4 main principles: 1.form 2. breathing.3. relaxation. 4. movement. I spoke with a sambo master and he said that he style was focused on 3 principles: 1. balance. 2. flexibility 3. timing. I would like to hear what principles have helped everyone in this thread with regard to arnis as I also practice this art along with my systema as both mix very well. Even Alex Mckluckie and many others have discovered this as well as my friend Pat Consing, a Sayoc Kali instructor.
 
Not to speek for anyone else, but when folks say their training is based on principles, I think they usually mean they they try to get to the idea or concept at the root of the technique, instead of just memorizing or "collecting" techniques.
 
Whn I studied karate, it seemed as though one was given many examples of proper technique and had to extract the principles--hard but rewarding work, needing to see the forest when given the trees.

When I started Modern Arnis (with Mr. Hartman), I was given the principles first and invited to innovate. When I went to a camp I saw how much this was the Professor's way. It was very different, being given the forest and asked to poulate it with trees!

I see value in both approaches. I am quite comfortable with the FMA approach now and really like it--but must occasionally remind myself to teach principles as it's all too easy to fall into a routine of demonstrating a technique but not explaining the 'big idea' behind it. Modern Arnis is, to my mind, based on a few sweeping and unifying 'big ideas' and I like that.
 
When teaching, I will go for techniques first and then the explanation of the principle behind the techniques. This gives the student a frame of reference for the principle. The other way around, I find, takes longer for the student to learn.
Yours,
Dan Anderson
 
Originally posted by Dan Anderson
When teaching, I will go for techniques first and then the explanation of the principle behind the techniques. This gives the student a frame of reference for the principle. The other way around, I find, takes longer for the student to learn.
Yours,
Dan Anderson

I think this is the downfall of some systems, trying to teach only principles and no technique. A forest is nothing without trees. First you have trees, and eventually you understand the enormity of the forest. Going the other way around, you just have open space, en empty orchard, and you have the monumental task of planting all the techniques and hoping that they grow...

When I was in Japan, I was shown some Bujinkan Ninjutsu stuff by someone alleging shodan rank. While his intellectual understanding of the principles was sound, his technique was less than effective. I think it was due to their approach toward "no technique."

When I trained with John Lehmann, he stressed both - learn the technique, but understand there is more to it than just technique. I really got quite a lot out of that.

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
A way that Remy Presas would teach would be show a base technique, then show many of the variations ("You can do it this way, too.") and then end up back at the base technique he wanted us to work on. This was his manner of teaching us that there is a principle upon which many variations can be worked.
Yousrs,
Dan Anderson
 
Yes, that's the 'invitation to innovate' I was speaking about--the many variations that made it clear what the basic underlying principle was.

I agree that one must be careful not to create academic martial artists with book/theoretical knowledge only! We always had techniques to work though.
 
the best way to train a student is to teach the technique first, and the concept last.

an example is like teaching a kid philosophy before you teach him "see jane run". in the martial arts, people need something he can use first, without thinking to much. when you show them to many variations and ideas, you end up with a guy who knows a million ways to show you how to defend, but he cant do any of them in a real fight.

i notice the philippine martial arts is getting like aikido. too many smart people who do it, and too many ideas get made up about it. martial arts is simple. you learn how to hurt your opponent, and you learn how to stop him from hurting you. the hardest part is building your skills to be able to do it. but with this fancy way everybody likes to learn (i call it tms, too much seminar/too much silat) you learn these complicated moves, that looks really neat you can turn your opponent into a pretzel, but you have to do it against a weak attack, and you have to do it in slo mo.

a lot of concept is good, but you need a foundation in real technique if you ever want to use them.
 
Originally posted by thekuntawman
i notice the philippine martial arts is getting like aikido. too many smart people who do it, and too many ideas get made up about it. martial arts is simple. you learn how to hurt your opponent, and you learn how to stop him from hurting you.

But that is a concept. There are a million ways of accomplishing that simple concept.

the hardest part is building your skills to be able to do it. but with this fancy way everybody likes to learn (i call it tms, too much seminar/too much silat) you learn these complicated moves, that looks really neat you can turn your opponent into a pretzel, but you have to do it against a weak attack, and you have to do it in slo mo.

OK. While I agree that there are a lot of folks out there who have gotten all their FMA training from seminars and who barely have any clue about what FMA is ... what the heck does Silat have to do with it?

Mike
 
Originally posted by Rommel
AldonAsher said the following: "The bottom line is, we focussed our training together towards principles and concepts, and not on specific techniques. Every style has it's own specific techniques and structure. But principles and concepts encompass individual styles."

Can you elaborate on these principles and concepts? What I like about systema is that it is focused on 4 main principles: 1.form 2. breathing.3. relaxation. 4. movement. I spoke with a sambo master and he said that he style was focused on 3 principles: 1. balance. 2. flexibility 3. timing. I would like to hear what principles have helped everyone in this thread with regard to arnis as I also practice this art along with my systema as both mix very well. Even Alex Mckluckie and many others have discovered this as well as my friend Pat Consing, a Sayoc Kali instructor.

Some of the principles I was referring to are:

1. Footwork and Mobility
2. Zoning
3. Range awareness
4. Economy of motion and body mechanics
5. Flow

Focussing on principles have been very instrumental in my growth in the FMA. For example, my friend Andy (ArnisAndyZ) and I found how to link many of the drills that we knew (ex: hubad, palusut, sumbrada, knife tapping) in flow. We could start with one, switch to another, and then go back to the original almost effortlessly. In doing so, we had access to the many of individual techniques associated with each drill. We weren't stuck in the basic patterns of each drill anymore. The flow became more random and yet still very controlled even at higher speeds. And since we weren't thinking, techniques (locks, throws, takedowns, disarms,etc.) would just come out spontaneously. Our sensitivity got much better. We also could start to feel the right moment to do a technique or when we had lost it.
 
Someone told me an analogy that really helped me understand what conceptual training is about.

You can teach your kid to stop at a road and look to the left and right before crossing the street but without explaining why he should do that (conceptual) the physical skill doesn't have a purpose.

Another one is that you can tell you kid not to do drugs, but it will do no good unless you explain the effects and consequences of drugs so that they will be able to make there own decision when the time comes, instead of just doing it because dad said so.

So basically, you can have a skill set without ever having conceptual knowledge (just doing the physical movement) but you can''t sucessfully have conceptual knowledge without being able to do the physical movement. Conceptual knowledge (principles) is gained by studying the physical movement (techniques). The refinements and adjustments you make to make it work for you will define your individual style.
 
Originally posted by Dan Anderson
When teaching, I will go for techniques first and then the explanation of the principle behind the techniques. This gives the student a frame of reference for the principle. The other way around, I find, takes longer for the student to learn.
Yours,
Dan Anderson

And I agree with you. In teaching the FMA, I do show techniques, drills and a healthy dose of the basics. With all due respect, I think you and thekuntawman have misunderstood me. I was referring to my individual training, not how I teach the FMAs.
 
Originally posted by pesilat




OK. While I agree that there are a lot of folks out there who have gotten all their FMA training from seminars and who barely have any clue about what FMA is ... what the heck does Silat have to do with it?

Mike

silat, like the FMA is done very differently here in the US than it is done at home. just like you will find the dutch who do silat very differently than the indonesians and malaysians. i believe this is due to the seminar business.

of all the silat men i know, most of them practice juru and langka, and none of them do the very long and complicated technques i have seen done by seminar silat people. if you find, for example, the silat practiced by the group at the indonesian embassy in washington dc, you will see that there training involves a lot of punching and striking targets full speed and full power, and lots of sparring (which is how i practice my kuntaw). another friend of mine, sheik aludin, who is malaysian, trains like a thai boxer. yes his style has many complicated movements, just like my own, but the students in his gym do not learn them until they have been training for many years, and have a strong foundation in striking and blocking. i have a friend who lives in virginia who teaches a small group, and they participate in karate tournaments. they are kuntaw, and practice langka and sayaw, but do not emphasize the fancy movements preferred by dutch teachers.

this is not an insult to dutch teachers and FMA teachers who do seminars, i am only drawing the differences. but i believe they are choosing to teach seminar goers the most interesting techniqhes for business purposes, to keep them coming back. to teach the FMA the filipino way, and silat the indonesian way, is not interesting enough for the american seminar goer/student. i do believe this method is bad for the development of the martial arts.

when i say, too much silat, what i am talking about is their desire to make the empty handed "FMA" look like the silat they see in videos, which is so "deadly" in their eyes, so they add what they see there, and innovate new things to tie arnis/eskrima/kali with silat.
 
Originally posted by thekuntawman
this is not an insult to dutch teachers and FMA teachers who do seminars, i am only drawing the differences. but i believe they are choosing to teach seminar goers the most interesting techniqhes for business purposes, to keep them coming back. to teach the FMA the filipino way, and silat the indonesian way, is not interesting enough for the american seminar goer/student. i do believe this method is bad for the development of the martial arts.

I don't think it's a "Dutch" or "Indo" thing in Silat. I think, as you say, it's a "seminar" thing. No matter who's teaching the seminar. I've trained in seminars and in private/semi-private settings with Willem and Victor de Thouars. What they teach in seminars is very different than what they teach privately/semi-privately. It's the same material in a way, but the presentation is very different. And sometimes, the actual material is different.

In my estimation, seminars are very useful as training supplements. They can accomplish a variety of things:
  • get people interested enough in what the instructor does to go train with the instructor
  • get people interested enough in the art to find an instructor to train with
  • Give practitioners of the art a different perspective on what they do so that they can delve deeper on their own

And there are probably some others that I've neglected in the above list. But I think those are good and valid reasons for teaching/attending seminars.

Seminars shouldn't be used as primary methods of training, though. On this, I think we all agree completely. I've met people who have only trained in FMA, for instance, at seminars. These people have a very shallow depth of understanding of FMA, if they have any understanding at all. Same with people who've only done Silat at seminars (or, worse yet, from videos). Same with people who've only done anything at seminars.

But, IMO, I don't think this is the fault of the seminar instructor. I think it's the fault of the person who doesn't seek out deeper instruction. People who go to a few seminars, then add some of the material from the seminars into what they regularly teach. Or, worse yet, people who go to a few seminars, then start claiming to know something about what they saw and "teaching" what they know. Personally, I think this is a misuse (on the part of the person) of the seminar experience.

when i say, too much silat, what i am talking about is their desire to make the empty handed "FMA" look like the silat they see in videos, which is so "deadly" in their eyes, so they add what they see there, and innovate new things to tie arnis/eskrima/kali with silat.

Yup. Anytime that someone learns something from a video (or other non-hands on source) then tries to teach it is a bad thing.

However, there are some people, like my instructor, who have trained in-depth in FMA and Silat. And they teach both. And both come out of them. My instructor (and me, because of my training with him) does both FMA and Silat. When he's at largo or medio range, he's probably doing FMA (with or without a weapon in hand). When he gets into corto, more of the Silat starts coming out (again, with or without the weapon). It's not a clear-cut thing and depends on the energy of the moment ... but that's the general delineation.

A few years back, while at one of Willem (Uncle Bill) de Thouars's annual "Family Gatherings," I was talking to a guy who does Kombatan (from Ernesto Presas). The guy asked about my background. I told him that the core of my FMA material is from the Inosanto blend, but I have had some other influences as well. He said, "Yeah. I started in the Inosanto blend and did it for a couple of years, but I didn't feel like it had enough depth for me."

I said, "Huh. I've not founding lacking in depth for me." And the conversation went somewhere else.

Later, we were playing together. I did a knife technique on him and he said, "Wow. That's nice. Some of Uncle Bill's knife work, eh?"

I said, "No, Uncle has knife work similar to that, but that was straight out of the Inosanto blend knife work."

He said, "Huh. Show me some more of your material from Inosanto blend."

I did. After a bit he said, "I've not seen anyone with that kind of depth from Inosanto blend."

I said, "Well, then you probably haven't seen a Kali man from the Inosanto lineage. You've probably seen JKD guys who've done some Kali at seminars. There's a big difference between a JKD guy who does some FMA and an FMA guy."

But, again, I don't think this is Dan Inosanto's fault. I think the fault lies on the shoulders of others. Maybe some of the people this guy had worked with simply exaggerated their FMA background. Maybe this guy had misinterpreted what he'd seen presented as "Inosanto lineage." I don't know.

I agree that people who only train at seminars are missing the boat. But I don't personally think that seminars are a bad thing. I think that, if properly used, they can be very good things.

Whew ... that was a long ramble. I hope it made some sense :)

Mike
 
Originally posted by AldonAsher
Some of the principles I was referring to are:

1. Footwork and Mobility
2. Zoning
3. Range awareness
4. Economy of motion and body mechanics
5. Flow

Focussing on principles have been very instrumental in my growth in the FMA. For example, my friend Andy (ArnisAndyZ) and I found how to link many of the drills that we knew (ex: hubad, palusut, sumbrada, knife tapping) in flow. We could start with one, switch to another, and then go back to the original almost effortlessly. In doing so, we had access to the many of individual techniques associated with each drill. We weren't stuck in the basic patterns of each drill anymore. The flow became more random and yet still very controlled even at higher speeds. And since we weren't thinking, techniques (locks, throws, takedowns, disarms,etc.) would just come out spontaneously. Our sensitivity got much better. We also could start to feel the right moment to do a technique or when we had lost it.

Very nice list of principles and I agree with each and every one of them. Now for the bigger question, how many people, even if they can identify these principles actually know how to apply them in practice?

You also used the word "some". What other things are you considering to be principles that you have not mentioned?

My "Self-defense Hand Tools Seminars" are structure around the "flow" principles & techniques; therby making the translation from stick to empty hand to palm stick to kubotan to Gunting Knife. I will be doing a Hand Tools seminar in Buffalo, this fall. More information as it becomes finalized.

Jerome Barber, Ed.D.
 
I apologize for taking so long to respond. I was out of town yesterday, training with my instructor in Kuntao Silat de Thouars. And I've spent most of today trying to recover!!

Now for the bigger question, how many people, even if they can identify these principles actually know how to apply them in practice?

I will not even try to guess. It seems to me, novice that I am, when you can apply the principles, the lines between styles become blurry. Though I have a rudimentary understanding of this and have had moments where I felt this happen spontaneously, I know I have barely begun to scratch the surface.

You also used the word "some". What other things are you considering to be principles that you have not mentioned?

Positioning and Redirection are two others that come to mind. Positioning would be to disrupt your assailant's balance and structure. Among the things you can do to accomplish this are low-line kicks, foot/leg traps, sweeps, and takedowns. This works best for me when I get the assailant's upper body moving in one direction and the feet in another. On this principle I have been heavy influenced by the langkahs and djurus of Silat. While I learned this principle from Sikaran, Silat helped me to use the hands(arms,sticks,knives) and feet(legs) together.

Redirection is moving an attack off its intended path while moving yourself out of harms way. Aikido uses this principle heavily. A good example of this is in the knife tapping or transition drill from Pekiti Tirsia and other FMAs.
 
Originally posted by AldonAsher
I apologize for taking so long to respond. I was out of town yesterday, training with my instructor in Kuntao Silat de Thouars. And I've spent most of today trying to recover!!

Not a problem Aldon. We all tend to fall behind the e-mails from time to time. Thanks for the reply and I agree with your ideas. Keep training hard and you will go far in the arts. I will try to write you privately at a later point and we can discuss these principles further.

Jerome Barber, Ed.D.
 
1. Footwork and Mobility
2. Zoning
3. Range awareness
4. Economy of motion and body mechanics
5. Flow


This might be splitting hairs but these seem more like "aspects" to me rather than principles. A principle would be more like "follow the line of retraction" or "body follows the head". For example "zoning" is too broad to be a principle. Zoning could contain the principles of "face the point of contact" and "chase the outside" or "reposition to dominate centerline".
 

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