Senkotiros Arnis Training Principles
One might consider family an odd quality to find listed as a basic principle of a martial art. The Senkotiros Arnis Grandmaster and his closest Lakans (Black Belts in the Philippine martial arts) are a group of men and women dedicated to the cause of Senkotiros and traditional values such as home and family. While many martial artists will pass their art on to any who can afford to pay, only the finest people and those most dedicated to the perpetuation of the style, reach the highest ranking in Senkotiros Arnis. The Lakan Disciples of Senkotiros are spread all over the country, but are bound by a common respect for the Grandmaster and a love of Senkotiros Arnis. They look upon each other as brothers and sisters, their group as a family, and their leader as the head of this family.
Senkotiros Arnis is based on the natural movement of the body. As the practitioner comes to know and understand these natural movements, he begins to move in a seemingly effortless manner as the techniques are executed. This is just not limited to the execution of physical techniques, but rather depends on the mind and inner spirit of the person as well. One must be at peace in their mind, relaxed as they move and in tune with their body. When all this occurs, they have achieved the Flow. The Flow is smooth, graceful execution of movements in harmony with the mind. Practitioners that have achieved this will know, as they will feel it. Achieving this level of harmony with the body and mind is the goal of every practitioner of Senkotiros Arnis.
Something happens deep within the subconscious mind whenever a weapon is picked up or one looks across another person holding one. Adrenalin starts to flow; the inner mind becomes excited and forces the body to become quick to react. This is most likely from millions of years of the development of the human mind. It is part of the preservation instinct that we all have. It brings on a level of sudden and jerky movements instead of the smooth flowing movements required for the smooth execution of Senkotiros and other martial arts. This is very common in lower ranking students new to the Philippine martial arts.
This reaction can affect the quality of our training and limit the ability of our mind to absorb information and distracts our muscles from learning the movements. Train slowly, in a relaxed manner and atmosphere to relax the body and mind to focus on the teachings and beauty of the art. The weapon should not become a threat to ones self, but a tool to learn the movements and beauty of the art.
Any technique unto itself will not produce speed. Learning proper execution of a technique will produce speed. Senkotiros Arnis practitioners train slowly; they learn the moves the way they should be learned--then speed things up!
The Concepts Of Movement
The circle concept refers to the many movements in Senkotiros Arnis that use a circular motion. This circular motion is applied in many ways and many of the hand combinations and the footwork follows circular patterns. The strikes, twirling patterns, and the baston-open hand combinations follow this type of pattern. The Circle Concept represents all of these motions and is an important concept in understanding the movements and patterns of Senkotiros Arnis.
The torquing is the circular movements made by the entire body while executing the offensive and defensive movements of Senkotiros Arnis.
The torquing movements are found in the striking motion, the shielding (defensive) motions, and footwork and in the simultaneous use of the hands. A common philosophical element in Senkotiros is to move off the center of the attack, or off of the center of the force applied by a punch, kick or grab. Movement to escape, jam or counter the attack can include backward and forward movement, either on a straight line or at angles, is a common and effective method of response in many styles of the martial arts. Senkotiros uses all of these but also emphasizes a torquing type motion against an attack.
Cushioning Or Absorbing
Cushioning or absorbing is a method that is often used in close range fighting to help extend an opponent and draw them in close to the body of the Senkotiros Arnis practitioner. This is done to get better position for a counter attack. Intercepting an attack and then cushioning its force inward for a counter such as disarming, locks, traps, takedowns, etc, is a staple for the defensive and countering applications of Senkotiros Arnis. It is a key component in Shielding and in the Methods of Blocking.
Levels Of Sensitivity
Seeing Without Seeing
Seeing Without Seeing is a byproduct of the Sensitivity Concept. As one develops this higher level of awareness and sensitivity in the outer appendages, they began to sense the movements of their opponent through this interaction. The Senkotiros practitioner begins to feel where the person is going, how they are turning, if they are going to strike or kick, and which hand or foot they may be attacking with. After a time, reactions are made instantly in response to the information picked up by other parts of the body, not just the eyes.
Often times these movements are picked up by a contact made during the interaction of the encounter or may be sensed with a simple touch of the open hand. The movements, angle and direction of an attack can be understood with one's own body, if one knows how to sense these things, without depending on the eyes.
Anyone can see the advantages to this type of perception in the martial arts. The reaction time can be cut to split seconds. One responds based on actions that are sensed in the attacker and are picked up on in an instant. One can almost respond with the proper counter before the attacker has even completed the attack. The effects can be devastating.
When one reaches this level of sensitivity and can execute it to a high level, it is said that they can see without seeing.