Practicing sinawali constitutes an important part of Modern Arnis. My students practice a number of sinawali drills ranging from single to double, to heaven, to reverse sinawali. From a physical standpoint, sinawali practice builds hand, wrist, and forearm strength through repetitive striking against an opponent’s canes. Timing becomes ingrained as a result of sinawali practice as well.


If you are not able to view the video, click here.

“Sinawali” comes from the Tagalog word “sawali” which means “weaving.”

In addition, practicing sinawali helps to develop range finding skills. Practicing these drills also encourages one to explore the various aspects of the beat and/or rhythm. In short, sinawali develops tremendous attributes. To learn basic tapi tapi requires practicing sinawali.

For example, Master Chuck Gauss emphasizes the 2 cane vs 1 cane single sinawali drill, inserting sweep strokes, and thrusts. After a number of years, you will eventually dissolve the 2 vs. 1 pattern and become proficient at tapi tapi. As one can see, practicing the sinawali drills constitutes a vital part of Modern Arnis.

If you are not able to view the video, click here.

As alluded above, I teach four basic sinawalis at Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts: single, double, reverse, and heaven six sinawali. Numerous sinawali patterns exist in Filipino Martial Arts.  When engaging in sinawali practice,  you are practicing movements needed for self-defense.

“Single Sinawali” is the simplest weaving pattern practiced with a partner. A right high forehand and then a low right backhand characterizes the right side of this pattern. The pattern is then repeated on the left side.

Unfortunately, some collect many sinawali patterns and overlook the applications. In other words, they are more interested in the patterns than the applications.

As noted in the above video, many applications of single sinawali exist. “Sinawali boxing” in Modern Arnis comes from the sinawali patterns. In the Wing Chun that I have studied, I have seen many similarities between some Wing Chun techniques and “sinawali boxing” in Modern Arnis.

In summary, too many do not appreciate the value of sinawali practice. Packed with practical applications, the practice of sinawali deserves attention.


2 thoughts on “Single Sinawali

  • June 5, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Hi again Brian,

    good write-up. Also, you show the single sinawali with a body turn, i.e. proper body mechanics. I only wish you had emphasized that in the text a bit, because, like you also allude to, that is the greatest problem I see students, sometimes teachers, too, having with any kind of sinawali. They can get so excited about the hand motion patterns and only concentrate on those, that somewhere along the way, the whole body motion gets lost and forgotton pretty often.

    Keep up the good work!

    • June 6, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Hi Fabian,

      Thanks for stopping by again and commenting! This post came out in 2013. You’re right about the body mechanics and that’s something that I emphasize in my classes. It takes awhile for them to catch on to it. 🙂 I just have to stay on top of them. Some of the 6 and 7 year olds are starting to catch on to the body mechanics. Yes!!



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