Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It Really Is All the Same

We have a popular maxim in my style, a quote from the founder of Modern Arnis, Remy Presas.

He said, "It is all the same."

The meaning of this is that what we do and learn in my style isn't actually terribly unique in the martial arts world.  Much of what we do can be seen in other seemingly unrelated styles like taekwondo, karate, and kung fu.

Given that Modern Arnis is often taught as an "add-on" style to other arts, it's very useful to build upon that idea when teaching new students.  We can relate certain things to what they already know, such as our low backhand strike - a #8 strike - is a down block in karate.  Or that the motion the hand makes for Abanico Corto ( resembles what my taekwondo friends call an "inside outside block".

Here's a video my friend +Brian Johns made about Abanico Corto, so you can see the motion:

It's a convenient shortcut to get people with martial arts training up and running in Modern Arnis quickly.

What we don't talk enough about, in my opinion, is that this is a two-way street. That Arnis study helps me understand and relate to what I'm learning in other styles quickly.

Take kobudo.

I'm in the home stretch for my black belt in my Kobudo group - we're just reviewing and perfecting material now - and I'll be honest with you, it's a difficult struggle sometimes.  I'm working hard with sai and it's not an easy weapon to learn, by a long shot.

I'm not the only one struggling in my class; I think all of us are having trouble.  In class the other day, our teacher said that we had to learn to "flow" with the weapon.

Flow.  It's a concept that's fundamental in Modern Arnis.  The idea that you relax, you move smoothly and with confidence, that power and speed come with good technique.  Being able to flow means you can react to whatever is presented to you, quickly.

To get better at sai - to get better in kobudo in general - I need to flow.  Just as I've learned to flow in Modern Arnis.  I need to practice more to achieve it, but I know what flow feels and looks like.  I learned it with a stick in my hand.

Thus, I asked myself what "flow" looks like in sai.  I relaxed, I slowed down, and I tried to move smoothly.

Sai got easier when I focused on the flow. Actually, all of my kobudo forms and practice are getting better thanks to applying what I know about flow to what I'm doing.


It just goes to show how much insight Remy Presas really had into the martial arts in general.  And it also shows how much we really are alike, even with seemingly very different martial arts styles.

Look for the connections and the similarities when you cross-train, and see what you discover.

It's all the same.

Did you discover some similarities when cross training from style to style?  Tell us about it in the comments!