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is the system of Filipino martial arts founded by the late
as a comprehensive self-defense system. His goal was to create an
injury-free training method as well as an effective self-defense system
in order to preserve the older Arnis systems. The term Modern Arnis was
also used by Remy Presas' younger brother Ernesto Presas to describe his
style of Filipino martial arts; since 1999 Ernesto Presas has called his
Modern Arnis is the most popular and widely practiced Filipino martial
art in the world today. The system is taught in the public schools in
the Philippines as part of the Physical Education curriculum in many
schools and universities throughout the country. It is derived
principally from the traditional Presas family style of the Bolo
(machete) and the stick-dueling art of Balintawak, with influences from
other Filipino and Japanese martial arts.
One of the characteristics of Filipino
martial arts is the use of weapons from the very beginning of training.
Modern Arnis is no exception. The primary weapon is the rattan stick,
called a cane or baston (baton), which varies in size, but is usually
about 28 inches (71cm) in length. Both single and double stick
techniques are taught, with an emphasis on the former; unarmed defenses
against the stick and against bladed weapons (which the stick is
sometimes taken to represent) are also part of the curriculum.
It is said that, originally, the cane was considered sacred by
practitioners, and therefore an arnis practitioner was expected to hit
his cane at the hand or forearm of his sparring partner and not at the
latter's cane. This also had the advantage of being the preferred method
in actual combat, referred to as "defanging the snake", that is, making
the opponent drop his weapon so that he is less of a threat. However, it
discouraged many would-be practitioners who found this training too
painful and injury-inducing. The result was that the Filipino martial
arts were in danger of dying out; in many areas of the Philippines,
Japanese martial arts such as Karate and Judo were much more popular
than the indigenous systems. Remy Presas' modernization of the training
method was intended to help preserve the Filipino martial arts. He
taught the method of hitting cane-on-cane during practice, which
attracted more newcomers to the art and also allowed the art to be
taught in the Philippines' school system. Defanging the snake remains a
principle of Modern Arnis, however, and in practical application, one
would typically strike the hand or arm. The technique is also used
empty-handed, where it is known as a 'limb destruction'.
Training covers empty-hand self-defense (striking, locking, throwing,
etc.) as well as the trademark single and double stick techniques of the
Filipino martial arts. Other aspects of the art include espada y daga
(sword and dagger fighting), sinawali (double stick weaving patterns),
and tapi-tapi (locking drills with the stick). In addition to partner
drills, Modern Arnis includes the use of anyo (kata), solo forms both
with and without the stick. Emphasis is placed on fitting the art in
with a student's previous training ("the art within your art"), smoothly
reacting to changing situations in the fight ("the flow"), and
countering the opponent's attempt to counter strikes directed at him ("tapi-tapi").
Practitioners are called arnisadors or Modern Arnis players.
In addition to its Filipino influences, elements of Judo, Shotokan
Karate, and Wally Jay's Small Circle Jujutsu appear in the system.