Sinawali practice is an integral part of Filipino Martial Arts. I am amazed to see how little some understand the value of sinawali. Some don’t get beyond the double stick practice of the patterns or the “pattycake” empty hand version. There is much to be mined in the empty hand applications of sinawali.

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The late Professor Remy A. Presas was always fond of saying “you see, it is all de same!” when demonstrating empty hand applications of stick concepts, such as single sinawali.

When one views Wing Chun videos on YouTube, one will often see similar parrying techniques. In the below video, you will see Master Wong parrying his partner’s punches. The parry is what we Modern Arnis players call the “sinawali parry.” Different name, same thing!

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The late Professor Presas often looked for the commonalities between different martial arts and told us to look for the connections. He would say “you see, this is sinawali parry!” and then proceed to show us the connection between a Filipino Martial Arts concept and another martial art, for example, Wing Chun. It is unfortunate that some martial artists often prefer to look at the differences and contrast their style with other styles. Instead, they should be looking at the similarities. In doing so, their martial horizons will be substantially expanded. Conversely, looking for the differences may blind one to other technique and conceptual possibilities.

In looking for similarities, this means either cross training or reaching out to fellow martial artists from different styles. In either case, one will be looking for commonalities between your style and the other style. Or in the case of training with a fellow martial artist of another style, you will be sharing information and looking for similarities.

In any case, you will be connecting with another martial artist in a search for commonalities that can expand your knowledge base. I think that this is a wonderful experience. Not only are you expanding your martial horizon, you are also connecting with another human being with a shared interest.

In this day and age, this can serve as an example for others focused on differences and divisive politics, martial or otherwise. This was the singular genius of Professor Presas. Not only did he look for similarities between martial arts, he also connected with thousands of martial artists worldwide through his seminars. He was not only one of the great martial artists of all time, he was one of the great networkers that I’ve ever seen. He showed us how to make the connections between martial arts concepts, such as sinawali applications as an example. More importantly,  he also showed us how to connect with martial artists from different backgrounds. I think that the latter was his true gift to the martial arts world.

In looking to expand my understanding of sinawali, I drew upon Chinese martial arts such as Yi Quan and Wing Chun. Not only did I expand my martial horizons but I also expanded my circle of martial arts friends. In a lot of ways, the fact that I gained new friends is more enjoyable than my expanded martial knowledge.

Do you think the same way? I’d like to hear from you!

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