Vicente: The stick is arnis?-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
IT IS always said that arnis is a weapon based combative art. And with that said it is often mistakenly assumed that the popular stick is its weapon. Well that may be true on a shallow perspective of the martial art of arnis. It may sound confusing but as I always say in my lectures on arnis, “With or without anything held by the hand, it is still arnis.” This always raises eyebrows from my students and will soon drool for my elaboration.
The human body, for a well versed martial artist, is already a complete arsenal that could be manipulated as a weapon like no other. Anything that is not naturally part of the human body becomes an augmentation weapon. The parts of the human body have their functions which contribute to the overall function of the whole. The barehanded techniques in arnis is actually considered by many martial artists as one of the most complex, unique and complete in all martial arts discipline. Although some would have hesitations in accepting it, more and more martial artists are seeing its relevance and are indulged in learning the Filipino martial art.
Weapons like blades and others become a tool to superimpose the secret of the art, making the weapon as the cover to what really makes it deadly and that is the human body. The practice of blades as part of the art becomes a facelift of the art but may become brutal even in a controlled environment. So came the birth of the stick that was first thought by our ancestors as a way to hide the arnis fighting art most especially its bladed weapon component. The use of the stick was introduced to mimic the bladed weapons which was first used in dances and plays like the moro moro.
It was later found out that the use of sticks has a benefit not seen in the use of bladed weapons. The strikes using sticks could come from any side and any direction and from any angle while the bladed counterpart is only limited to the sharp edge of the bladed weapon. But whether holding a blade or stick, it is still the human body that controls it.
So in conclusion the stick is just a representation of the art of arnis and does not completely summarize the aspects and principles of the art. Although popularly arnis is associated with the use of stick, be it rattan, kamagong, etc. it should always be made understood that arnis is a system and not just using bladed or wooden stick.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 15, 2013.