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Filipino Martial Arts Education

To understand what Filipino martial arts Education is all about, it is important, first to know who Louelle Lledo is, and second to know his motives and intentions in calling his approach to teaching, Filipino martial arts Education.

What is Armara Arkanis Sistemang Praksiyon? Amara is the acronym for ama (father, male or positive) and mara (mother, female or negative). Arkanis, on the other hand means an art combining empty hands (ka for kamao) and stick fighting (ar-nis). Sistemang Praksiyon is the philosophy involved in the Bernarte Bokil system to differentiate it from the other Brokil systems. Brokil is the term for stick fighting in the province of Pampanga. Some Brokil systems are simply called sinawali. Delfin Bernarte calls his art Brokil, and his system “Sistermang Praksiyon,” which came from his favorite expression, “praksiyon-praksiyon lang.” This term probably comes from the fact that his blows only takes a fraction of a time to deliver. When mastership of the system was passed on to Louelle Lledo, he decided to call his system Amara Arkanis Sistemang Praksiyon Filipino Martial Arts Education, combining all the empty hand, sword, and the stick techniques he learned from the other arts.
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FMAdigest - Vol 4 No 4
FMAdigest - Vol 4 No 4
July - September 2007
FMAdigest Special Edition - FMA Education
FMAdigest Special Edition
FMA Education - 2009
FMAdigest Special Edition - Sword & Stick Society
FMAdigest Special Edition
Sword & Stick Society - 2009
FMAdigest Special Edition - Amara Arkanis
FMAdigest Special Edition
Amara Arkanis - 2010
FMA Informative Issue No #18
FMA Informative Issue No #18
FMA Education
Dream Becomes Reality

Fundamental Core of the Filipino Martial Arts

The Fundamental Core of FMA - Click Here
Apex and MIBOME in Filipino Martial Arts - Click Here


The first topics in learning a subject are often called the “ABCs” of that subject. In Filipino they are called the Abakada, while in Spanish they are known as the Abecedario. In the traditional cultural Arnis de Mano, the first lesson is the Abecedario.

The Abecedario is a set of techniques, which were so arranged, to defend against the basic five offensive movements, the four strikes of kruzada and the forward thrust to the heart, which originally was called the sinko-bocales, and later on sinko-tiros.

There are many Arnisadors, who claim to be Masters of sinko-tiros. However, not all of them are aware of the origin of the term sinko-tiros. Originally, sinko-tiros were called sinko bocales which corresponds to the limang patinig (5 vowels) in Filipino language, which are A-E-I-O-U.

In as much as there were no formal or written program of instruction, the study of Arnis de Mano was tainted with an esoteric aura. This state created the belief, that only the “initiated” can learn the “complete curriculum of “true” Arnis de Mano. This belief led to some schools or styles that do not practice the Abecedario.

An entire school of fighting may be based on a small set of powerful basic techniques that can be used in a wide range of circumstances and applications. This small core set is an Abecedario or Abakada. When all the implications of an Abecedario or Abakada are understood, the student may have mastered a system.

In Amara Arkanis, the Abecedario, is considered part of progressive techniques, on account that they are combinations of different maneuvers. It is for this reason that Amara Arkanis program of instruction, starts with the basic techniques individually, until the underlying principles of each technique, is understood and applied. Only after the underlying principles of the basic techniques are learned and grasped thoroughly, should the student be introduced to combinations of techniques and maneuvers, in the progressive phase of training such as the Abecedario.

The Abakada or Abecedario of Amara Arkanis Sistemang Praksiyon, Filipino Fighting Art, is a process of combining various elements of the art to learn effective sets of basic engagement techniques. It is intended to develop the student’s understanding of a particular technique, and his ability to use that technique in a set of drills.

Sets of drills in classical Abecedario were arranged in a series of rhythmic and patterned quick and lively bodily movements performed to music. Traditional classical abcedario are divided into three phases with descriptive terms. This classical Abecedario is an important and necessary lesson to really understand and appreciate Arnis de Mano. Many Arnidasors, however, have totally ignored the practice of Abecedario.

The first phase of traditional classical Abecedario is Depensa Natural (Natural Defense), which are sets of defensive and offensive techniques (or both at the same time), against the most basic offense in Arnis de Mano, the sinko-tiros. The second phase is Depensa Opensiba (Defensive Offense) or the application of a defensive and an offensive technique. The third phase is Contra Opensiba or the application of the counter offense for the “killing blow.” Depending on the school or origin of the style, there are other techniques or steps in Abecedario that carry other emotive names. From the first phase, the maneuvers evolve to the second phase and then to the third phase. The maneuvers, should be practiced, in that evolution, so a better understanding of the techniques can be achieved.

In the traditional cultural Depensa Natural Abecedario, which was designed to be a “dance,” maneuvers follow the natural motion of the body in the transition and the continuity of the techniques from one to another. Each technique carries a descriptive name and may be a defensive or offensive tactic or both.

The footwork in the transition and the continuity of the motion from one technique to the other and the hip movement make it a beautiful dance. When combined with the abaniko technique, after each maneuver, at the same time banging the sticks together in rhythm with the music of the agong, the Abecedario is quite a spectacle. The beauty of the art, hidden in a dance form, was never regarded by the Spanish authorities as a fighting art, giving the Masters of old the ability to train in the open.

Although Abecedario and Abakada, may be used interchangeably, in Amara Arkanis, the Abecedario is called Abakada, so as not to confuse it with the traditional cultural Abecedario. They have been simplified and divided into three classifications with each classification sub-divided into three phases. The first classification of the Abakada is known as the Amara Arkanis Linear Abakada. It is a combination of the basic linear defensive movements, like the ginunting and the traditional classical maneuvers using linear offensive movements, such as the kruzada, abaniko and the sinawali.

The second classification is known as the Amara Arkanis Circular Abakada. It deals with the combination of tersia amara and the traditional circular classical maneuvers, such as the redonda, doblete and the figure of eight

The third classification is the Amara Arkanis Sistemang Praksiyon Abakada. This abakada was developed by Delfin Bernarte as a set of drills based on sistemang praksiyon.  Louelle Lledo named this abakada but is only taught to Black Sash Degree holders, after they have mastered the other abakadas.

The first two Abakadas are defensive movements against sinko-tiros. For simplicity, the defensive maneuvers are divided into five steps: The first step is a defense against the upper forehand strike. The second step is a defense against the lower forehand strike. The third step is a defense against an upper backhand strike. The fourth step is a defense against a lower backhand strike, and the fifth step is a defense against a straight thrust to the heart.

The defensive techniques, is the gunting maneuver. Gunting (scissors) is a cutting instrument utilizing two blades working in opposing forces. Ginunting is the gerund for gunting. In the Filipino stick-fighting art, both words may be used interchangeably. Ginunting, although a maneuver that normally use doble baston, may also be executed using empty hands or a single stick and a single hand

Technically, the basic ginunting maneuver should be executed in a single motion, coming from opposite directions. One motion blocks the attack and the other disarms or counters the attack

Through the passage of time the ginunting maneuver took different forms and executions. The maneuver may be executed in a one-two motion, but may also be classified as ginunting technique. It may even be executed in a one direction motion, yet still be called a ginunting as long as the technique is applied using doble baston.

In itself, ginunting maneuver is a “defensive” technique with less than lethal result. Some Arnisadors consider ginunting as “de-fanging” technique. In Amara Arkanis, it is considered a “preparatory” tactic to set up for the “killing” blow. There are instances when “de-fanging” is the better part of defense without necessarily “killing” the opponent. It is for this reason that Amara Arkanis has reserved the Abakada as the first progressive system in the application of techniques.

With just minor modifications, simply because Arnis de Mano is a weapon-oriented fighting art, like the original Abecedario, Amara Arkanis Abakada is applicable in doble baston, espada y daga, solo baston and empty hands.

It is true that a tournament fighter may become a champion with just a single technique, but this is because tournaments are held in a controlled environment. It is true also that there is a possibility that this single technique may get one out of harm’s way in a defensive situation. However, it is also true that a better fighter may anticipate your one technique, successfully defend against it and use it against you. This is where knowledge and understanding of the complete system of Filipino fighting art becomes a necessity.

In real-life, real-time conditions, the need to defend oneself will not always take place in an ideal locale. Circumstances and weapons may differ and vary. Skill in the complete system of the Filipino fighting art is not only advantageous but also important.

One has to bear in mind that there are probably as many fighting maneuvers as there are dialects in the country. There are claims that there are at least a minimum of 24 major styles and as many as 72. By limiting your skill to a single style of fighting, you are limiting your chances of survival in an all-out confrontation to the finish. Not only is this situation disadvantageous, it is outright hazardous.
© Amara Arkanis Copyright by Luis Rafael C. Lledo, Jr. All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this text may be used or reproduced in part or in whole without the express written consent of Punong Guro Luis Rafael C. Lledo, Jr.