As has been alluded to before, Modern Arnis has a very broad knowledge base and can be broken down into parts to be studied as follows (1) traditionals; (2) Balintawak roots; (3) empty hand translations; (4) joint locks (5) ground controls and (6) study of the anyos (forms). On top of all this, one must not forget the “the flow” and the concept of “counter for counter.”
The traditionals would consist of espada y daga (crossada and palis palis) and movements such as figure 8, reverse figure 8, banda y banda, rompida, double zero, reverse double zero, abanico double action, abanico hirada, planting rice and so on. Then you need to consider Professor’s study of Balintawak and its’ influence on Modern Arnis, particularly in the tapi tapi that he taught in the decade before his untimely passing. When you fuse the traditionals with the tapi tapi, you are playing with a vast amount of material. Yet another layer is added when left handed material is factored into the equation.
I loved the way Professor translated stick movements into empty handed movements such as block check counter, de cadena, sinawali boxing, reverse sinawali boxing and other material. I have discovered quite a few connections between the above and my kata movements from Chung Do Kwan TKD. Many times a light bulb would go off when I see a connection.
Add in the influence of Professor Wally Jay through the joint locks. I remember one seminar where Professor used me as uke for the standing center lock. Oh man, talk about painful. My fingers were not right for about a month after that. Professor’s joint locks were incredible and he had beautiful flow. He also insisted that we learn the ground control techniques of Modern Arnis, which has been expanded by the various Masters.
Lastly, he insisted that we know the anyos (forms) of Modern Arnis. There are some who just go through the motions of the anyos and are content with the partner training drills of Modern Arnis. I think that is doing themselves a disservice in this regard. The anyos contain a great deal of self defense techniques ranging from joint locks, sweeps, throws, standard and reverse sinawali boxing, guntings, grappling moves and countermoves. It would be well worth the time to learn the anyos and spend time on them.
The most important lesson, however, that Professor left with us was learning how to make connections between various concepts. “Making the connections” is probably one of the most fundamental underlying concepts of Modern Arnis. If you don’t have this, then all you have are tons of unrelated material. Learn to connect the material and you’ll be much better for it!