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. 🙂