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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Risk Management

One fundamental principle of Modern Arnis (and thus, Presas Arnis, which is mostly Modern Arnis anyway) is the concept of countering the counter.

That is, anticipate the attack, have a response, know that your opponent can also anticipate and counter your counter-attack, what those counters your opponent might use are, and then have a plan for that.

There is no 100% guaranteed winner technique in our toolbox. Everything has a flaw, and everything has a counter.

And that's pretty much what you spend your life studying. Attack, counter, counter to the counter, counter to the counter to the counter...

It means that there is unending and incredible depth to the art, one in which we are encouraged to explore.  

It also means that you spend a lot of your time in mitigating and managing risk.

Sometimes you put yourself in a position where an opponent who's paying attention and sees the weakness can exploit it.  This could be intentional, as a bait or a feint of some sort. Thus, you put yourself in that position - risky as it may be - because you will take advantage of his exploitation of that hole with some planned counter to HIS counter. Maybe whatever the opponent is going to do is less of a problem for you than what you're planning to do to him.  For example, leaving open a hole on the low line - hips or knees - where I get an easy shot to the head. I'll take that trade any day of the week.

It's all a game of risk management.

This is where we might get into variances between people. I prefer taking the risk of one technique versus the risk of another, and you might disagree for any number of reasons.

It doesn't make me wrong and you right. Both choices have risk. I just like my odds using technique A versus you liking your odds using technique B.

This is also why you have to move beyond the basics and the simplest, most obvious counters.

People don't always make the simplest, most obvious choice. They can and sometimes do choose a much more difficult to execute, high-risk counter to your response.

Since you don't expect it, and haven't trained it... it's much harder for you deal with. Thus, for them, the element of "No way anybody would choose that" surprise overcomes the risk of their counter.

That's when you get into some pretty funky stuff and some extreme possibility. To outsiders, it looks ridiculous sometimes, like you're training something that'll never happen.

Yeah, well... all we're doing is going further down the path of risk management, looking at the range of options, and trying to develop ways to deal with them.

It's the old "expect the unexpected" approach.

It all boils down to risk management. Over time, we get good at it.

How do you think about risk in your training? Do you train for the the more extreme, less-likely scenarios? If so, why (and if not, why not)? Let us know in the comments!

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