Symbols of Senkotiros Arnis
Many times, simple symbols or shapes or can trigger a level of understanding in the mind of an individual, where it could not otherwise be achieved. A complex idea or an abstract concept can be understood by relating it back to a simple shape, common to all people, ingrained in the mind. The simplicity of the shape can somehow soothe the mind and trigger the comprehension of the complex interactions of the martial arts.
The movements in Senkotiros Arnis can be broken down into several simple shapes. They are presented here to assist the beginning practitioner with their understanding of the basic concepts of the style.
Circle - The circle symbol represents the circular movement of Senkotiros. Movement in an encounter follows a circular pattern as one maneuver around an attacker. This circular pattern of movement is called the Tayada. Many times, the hands working together follow circular patterns as well, and the body often torques with a circular movement.
Triangle - The triangle represents the footwork of Senkotiros. Many times the footwork patterned to defend or attack follows a triangular pattern.
Cross - The cross symbolizes the defense applications of Senkotiros. The style teaches that there is only one method of defense: to cross the baston with the opponent's. This is explained in greater detail later.
Star - The star represents the five angles of attack and defense. These five angles are represented in each line of the star.
Senkotiros Arnis, Basis and Highlights
Senkotiros Arnis is unique when compared to many forms of the Philippine martial arts in that it is taught and practiced to be a free-formed style of martial art. In its purest form, the movements, counters and fighting techniques of the style are based on some very simple rules and concepts. These rules and concepts are the building blocks of the style, rather than the patterned or repetitious responses and techniques common to many other styles. The response to an attack is based on what the Senkotiros practitioner feels and senses in response to what is presented by the attacker.
Many Philippine martial arts teach patterned movements as the method to respond to an attack. If the attacker does this, you do that, is often the way encounters are dissected. The responsive techniques are practiced over and over. The Senkotiros practitioner, however, does not respond to an attack with a single prescribed or predetermined technique. The Senkotiros Arnis practitioner views a counter attack as a response with an infinite number of possibilities. In any combat encounter the interactions are unpredictable, complex and varied instantaneously. Senkotiros looks upon the response to an encounter as the ability to respond to anything, with anything. The actual movements or techniques are based more on the dynamics of the situation and combined with what the practitioner senses at the given moment of the response.
The style is taught and practiced in such a way as to allow the experienced practitioner to react and respond instantly to the situation presented by the actions or movements of his opponent. What the practitioner sees, feels (with the hands, arms and arnis stick) and hears is combined with the intuition he has developed over the course of the training. It is commonly referred to as the Sensitivity Concept.
This heightened level of awareness comes naturally as the practitioner comes to understand the complex interactions of his and his opponent’s movements. The Senkotiros Arnis training helps the practitioner to integrate this with the physical techniques that one is taught in the Philippine martial arts. Such traditional techniques such as distance, angle of attack, hand and foot position, footwork, etc., when combined with this high level of sensitivity, enables the Senkotiros practitioner to respond in a way that is sudden and devastating.
Senkotiros Arnis Principles and Theory
Several of the more important principles and theories presented here are at the foundation of the style of Senkotiros. These are based on the teachings and philosophies of Professor Max M. Pallen.
Unique Aspects Of Senkotiros
Senkotiros Arnis is a fighting style. All Filipino martial arts were ultimately developed to defend their homeland from the many invaders they encountered over hundreds of years. Many modern day styles of the Philippine martial arts have come to emphasize different elements of arnis. Some have come to stress elements of other martial arts such as locking and jujitsu type moments. Further confusing this, the Philippine martial arts has been integrated into other martial arts styles and presented as a part of those styles.
Senkotiros Arnis emphasizes fighting and is based on the traditional method of self-defense practiced in the camarins of the Bicol region of Southern Luzon, in the Philippines. The style represents a fighting system that addresses all aspects of combat (from all distances or ranges) between individuals with much emphasis on striking (with the baston or hand).
As a testament to this, the Senkotiros Arnis system has produced several WEKAF World Champions and its practitioners are always competitive in national and international competition.
The Five Angles
Senkotiros Arnis measures strikes different from other arnis styles. Strikes are measured by angle and direction. Striking areas are more simply illustrated. Senkotiros targets the most vulnerable areas of the body such as joints (fingers, wrist, knees, etc), shallow bones (forearms, shins), nerve endings or pressure points, and vulnerable areas of the body (eyes, nose, ears, groin, solar plexus, etc.).
Senkotiros Arnis measures all strikes by three factors:
The direction of the strike (from the right or left side, or from overhead).
The angle of the path of travel of the tip of the baston (horizontal, angled downward or angle upward). The motion of the strike created by the rotation of the wrist.
Senkotiros Arnis has only five strikes, each measured as described, by direction and angle. Each can be delivered from the right or the left side of the striker’s body. They are referred to as "The Five Angles of Strikes."