Page 122 of Professor’s “Pink” Book (Modern Arnis Philippine Martial Art “Stick Fighting” by: Remy Amador Presas) (1997) ISBN 0-9657796-0-2.

There are some in the Modern Arnis community who give short shrift to the practice of the Anyos (forms) of Modern Arnis in favour of stick and knife work. That’s understandable as stick and knife work is quite enjoyable! However, one may be overlooking the tremendous value in the Modern Arnis anyos (as well as any other form or kata). A karate friend of mine once described kata as “the 17th century version of a DVD” in the sense that the concepts and principles of various fighting techniques were encoded in the kata. To overlook the anyos of Modern Arnis is to overlook some of the concepts and principles of Modern Arnis that are embedded in the anyos.

Some may have Bruce Lee’s statement about forms in mind when overlooking the anyos. He thought that forms were pointless and was akin to swimming on land. To be fair to him, he made this statement back in the 1960s when knowledge of how to extract concepts, principles, and techniques from forms was not as advanced as today. In contrast, Professor Presas stressed the importance of the anyos in Modern Arnis. In particular, I remember him telling us at the 1999 Michigan Modern Arnis camp how it was important it was for us and for him to practice the anyos.

One small aspect of the anyos concern takedowns and throws.  Consider this video by Iain Abernethy:

Interesting to see how shifting into a cat stance results in a sweep at 0:26 of this video, eh?

Now there’s an interesting avenue of investigation. The horse stance, front stance, cat stance, crossover stance, and other stances can all be a part of takedowns, sweeps, and throws. Now, go back over the Modern Arnis anyos and focus on those “useless” stances sprinkled throughout and analyze, as best as you can, what type of takedowns they would be used for. For purposes of this exercise, ignore what you are doing with the upper extremities in these anyos. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a TON of stuff in there.

Consider the below videoclip. Can you spot some of the stances that you would see in an anyo or kata?

Given the fact that Professor had Judo rank and was rather fond of sweeps, throws, and takedowns, it would behoove the Modern Arnis practitioner to look for anyo movements that can translate into takedowns, sweeps and throws. It’s clear that there is much contained in the stances of the Modern Arnis anyos.

See if you can spot them. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “The Stances of Modern Arnis Anyos

  • July 28, 2015 at 9:11 am


    Great article and good points. I still teach the Modern Arnis Anyos (both stick and empty hand) and I believe they are useful to teach both techniques and concepts to my students. Funny thing is though it was the Professor’s influence that helped guide me into taking an interest in forms. My back ground was in karate/TKD prior to the FMAs and I had learned forms in both arts (Wado and TKD) as well as kobudo forms.

    After I starting learning the anyos and then seeing the Professor demonstrate the applications on VT and DVD I started investigating my TKD forms and became a believer in kata. Since then I’ve looked into others like Iain Abernethy, Dan Anderson, and Tony Annesi, and it has opened up a whole new area of study for me.

    As for throws or off balance techniques found in the anyo, I believe you can find them all over the place. For instance in Anyo Isa I teach the opening Brush Grab Strike motions with more of a bladed type footwork to emphasize the position for a take down (like diving throw) (Dan Anderson was the inspiration behind this). Then one night when practicing it in class with Jackie and Kevin Bradbury, we discovered/applied the return stepping motion as a sweep from the BGS movement prior to executing the 2nd BGS. The turn as you downward block (moving into the wrapping motion) can be take down (Iain Abernethy was the inspiration here). The pivot into the knife hand block (after the elbow strike) can be a off balancing move or take down (again inspired by Dan). These are just the easy ones to describe.

    • July 28, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Mark, thanks for reading the post and commenting on it! I agree with all you said in your comments. There is much to be found in the anyos and unfortunately, is overlooked by many folks. I believe that this was Professor’s intent….to broaden beyond the stick aspects of the art and he did this brilliantly. Again, thanks for stopping by!


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