What is the soul of Arnis?

“The soul of Arnis is self defense, it is its reason for being.
Arnis is not for aggression nor for taking advantage of an untrained opponent. It is used only to defend one’s self when attacked.
Arnis should only be used by people who are by nature good at heart.”

Grandmaster Remy Amador Presas, Founder of Modern Arnis

in his book, Modern Arnis, Philippine Style of Stickfighting, 1974


Related post: Last night, a Grandmaster made me feel guilty


4 thoughts on “What is the soul of Arnis?

  1. Mio December 14, 2013 / 10:18 AM

    The soul of arnis is the socio-humanistic character of the art that moves the serious practitioner to break one’s shell of indifference and respond appropriately, using coercive but calibrated defensive armed action, to preemptively shield himself and others from an oppressive condition.

    Ilan ang mga arnisador na nagbibigay ng kaunting oras para magbantay sa komunidad bilang volunteer tanod sa gabi o madaling araw para ang mga naglalakad sa ganitong mga oras mula sa trabaho ay makauwi ng matiwasay sa kanilang mga tahanan?

  2. Lester Usapdin August 15, 2014 / 7:01 PM

    I think the soul of arnis is a savage art. It’s intend to kill as soon as possible, in a minimal effort with any weapon available.

    As GM Diony Cañete said: “Eskrima is an art of the poor people, the art of the bum.”
    For me, it’s an art of the criminals that shifted to be used by civilized people to promote protection, peace and order in the society.

    • thedeadlydance August 19, 2014 / 9:04 PM

      I find the word that you used, savage, interesting that I consulted merriam-webster to appreciate its full meaning: Not under human control, lacking restraints normal to civilized human beings, wild, uncultivated.
      I can’t explain my reaction to Arnis being called that. On one hand, I like it because it describes the art as fierce and wild. On the other hand, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. I still can’t pinpoint why. I have to think some more….
      Thank you for this, Lester.

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