Wednesday, August 26, 2015

True to Form

Like many other martial arts, Modern Arnis has forms (kata) - we call them "anyos".

We have forms with a weapon, and forms that are empty hand.  There are four (well, technically five, when you string them together) weapons anyos, and ten empty hand anyos.

Me doing Anyo Tatlo in competition. Hey, I took 2nd place!

We are lucky in that Professor left us recordings of the anyos as he originally created them, as well as we still have plenty of his first generation students teaching the anyos.  There's very little ambiguity or guessing as to what's going on.

Some of us love the anyos and teach them as important and integral parts of the art. But some of us aren't as wild about the anyos and don't teach them at all.

I fall somewhere in the middle ground of those positions.

I think the anyos can be very helpful, but, I am glad we do not spend an inordinate amount of time and emphasis on them as other arts like the karate or taekwondo families of martial arts do.  I think if you do that, you end up trying to cram students into a specific interpretation and way of doing the anyo, and I'm not entirely certain that's what is supposed to be happening in our art.

If you look at the videos below, you'll see a bunch of variance in how the anyos are performed.  As my teacher tells it, Professor was good with that, as a person with a background in, say, a hard art like Karate is going to do a form very differently than somebody with a background in a very different tradition, like Kung Fu.

Like the rest of the art, we can make the anyo conform to each individual Arnis player.

So, here's Datu Tim Hartman with Anyo Isa - the "classical" version and the version they do in the WMAA.  I use this as a reference video often.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Here's Anyo Isa from the World Modern Martial Arts Academy.  Note how this version is 100% a blunt weapon interpretation (versus sword) - I like this one a lot.

Click here if you can't see the video.

And here is a classic video of all four anyos from the late Bob Quinn. This is another video I use as reference all the time.

Click here if you can't see the video.

As you can see, all three versions are similar, but not identical.  Heck, we see variance within our own school - and that's ok!

So tell me about your forms, if you have them - is there only one way to do them, or are you more flexible?  Do you know what the meaning of each movement is?  I'd love to talk about it!