Modern Arnis is the translation of the original Filipino system, Arnis. It translates to “fist” or “strike” in Filipino. When translating from English, Modern Arnis means “striking with the fist”. This system is basically a system of martial arts developed by Remy Presas.
His aim was to develop an efficient self-defence system and an injury-free martial arts training method so as to preserve the old traditional Arnis system. He created six disciplines, namely, Hapkido, Jujutsu, Kata, Nage-ryo, Shuai Jiao and the empty-hand style of martial arts. Hapkido is an eclectic martial art form that mixes various disciplines of fighting in one, whereas the other forms are primarily based on the internal combat with an external struggle. Thus, Hapkido practitioners are supposed to be experts in hand-to-hand combat methods.
The first discipline introduced in the Modern Arnis was the Hapkido, which means “the way of the fist”. This martial art includes various self-defense techniques like the basic self-protection moves like kicks and punches and some light strikes, but it doesn’t include the use of weapons or any of the more brutal techniques used in Kung Fu or other martial arts. Instead, the emphasis in Hapkido is the internal power of the body. Therefore, it doesn’t include any kicks or strikes using the fist, thus, making it a more lightweight martial art. Some proponents even say that a real Hapkido practitioner should be able to move without stepping.
The second discipline in the Modern Arnis system is the Empty Hand.
This form of martial art, unlike the Hapkido, focuses more on the use of the body in combat. Some would say that the absence of a weapon makes the empty hand system less difficult to learn, but this is not entirely true. Because you have no weapon to defend yourself with, you will have to learn how to use your own body weight to defeat an opponent. For this reason, many Filipino martial artists consider the Empty Hand system to be less demanding than Hapkido.
In the Philippines, there is a practitioner called a grandmaster. A grandmaster is allowed to teach only one thing: the art of self-discipline. Thus, anyone who becomes a grandmaster is expected to instruct only the best students in the line of duty. This is how a grandmaster instructs his students in the principles of the Modern Arnis.
The teachings of a grandmaster are passed down from one master to another. Thus, only very experienced and highly skilled martial artists can call themselves masters in the line of the Modern Arnis. However, just being highly skilled does not assure you of enrolling into a reputable school. For you to become a grandmaster, you should fulfill all the conditions put forth by your grandmaster, such as age, physical prowess, and talent.
Another important condition for you to become a grandmaster is to master the use of the rattan stick. Unlike Hapkido, the use of the stick is not prohibited in Filipino modern arnis. However, many instructors strictly forbid the use of the stick when sparring. This is to prevent the opponent from slipping out from under your strikes and to discourage any unnecessary fidgeting while in a heated battle.
There are many more conditions that you have to meet to achieve expertise in Modern Arnis. Some of these included: being physically fit, having a healthy mind, and knowing how to defend oneself. In addition to this, I also believe that there is a difference between Martial Arts and Karate. Many people have argued that Martial Arts is self-defensive techniques, while Karate is primarily a sport where the goal is to win. Still, there are a few differences, including via books, that the latter did not have. With this said, you would be able to see that while both forms of Martial Arts can help you with your fitness and safety concerns, they are not the same.
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