Originally posted by DoctorB
.... Professor teaching stances... oh wow, now that is a change from the times I was with him through 1994, it sounds like he had gone back to basics and resetting the curriculum... was he in the process of moving away from the "art within your art" approach? Sounds like to me, but of course we will never know for sure.
I see within this entire discussion is the problem of rote replication vs. open thinking and movements.
On a copuple of ocassions I have had people get upset with me when I went outside the "drill" and was told, "You can't do that, it's not part of the drill!" I remember all of things that you mentioned and I still use them, plus a number of other things from different areas of the arts.
I've had the good fortune of training with Bram in Florida and New Orleans in the past. I've never met Dr. B, but he is of the era of my original instructor Lee Lowery. Several interesting points/observations from these comments:
First, I doubt the Professor ever intended to abandon the notion of 'the art within your art' Around the time of the training/shooting for the last video series, I believe the Professor was reevaluating aspects of the system. Footwork is central to most of the techniques and drills, locks, strikes and finishes. The Professor's footwork was so evolved it seemed nonexistent to the causal observer. His body angling, weight distribution and efficiency were clearly that of a person who devoted their lifetime to daily training. He moved and generated power in a similar way to masters of internal practice. For us mere mortals, stance work, body positioning and angling are a much more conscious effort.
I believe the Professor knowing this was central to the preservation of the art decided to include it in both the video series, along with his emphasis to black belts at the last 3 or 4 camps I attended prior to his illness.
The art within the art concept, as well as the emphasis on footwork changed as the student demographic changed. In the early 1980's, many of the Professor's initial students were master level instructors in diverse disciplines. These were folks who had a solid grasp on stance, movement and angling and could apply these concepts to Modern Arnis despite the diversity of their base styles, hence the phrase 'art within your art' As time went on, less of his students had that level of foundation, so a return to basics to provide a solid base for everyone seems like a natural step.
On to the contrast of rote replication and free thought/movement. Again, to actually have a degree of free thought and movement, one needs a degree of mastery of rote repetitive concepts. Whether martial arts, other sports, surgery, cooking, whatever: the ability to free think/free play only develops fully after a mastery of the basics.
The old slam/jam guys make connections (flow) much more easily and can deviate from a rote pattern because of their understanding of the basics. Even the Professor had basic fall back techniques that could come out of any drill/series or free play. The new video series places emphasis on abercidario, corridas, angling, and other basics that provide a conceptual springboard for free play. In short, there is an interdependency (a yin/yang if you will) between free thought, and an initial understanding gleaned from a significant amount of rote replication.
Aside from making people happy and relaxed, this is why the Professor often started with single Siniwali. It is a rote replication drill which has many important aspects of the art at the ready. After a few thousand reps, you can see the avenues for free play. The secret of Modern Arnis was given away every time I trained with the Professor Practice, practice (fractice)