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Read Part I: Sinawali Mapping - Making Sense of Double Stick Patterns

Functionalizing Sinawali for Combat
By Pete Kautz 2004

Two problems present themselves immediately when looking at using the sinawali in a combative (free fighting) mode.

The first is that most times the sinawali is practiced in an isolated fashion. Sinawali is done mainly "to do sinawali" and not incorporated with other drills. To remedy this problem, we want to work the sinawali patterns out of other exercises.

The second problem is that sinawali is mainly practiced from the classical chambered position, with one stick over the shoulder and the other under that same side arm. While this chambered position is good for its purpose of learning, one doesn't go into a fight standing in this position. Thus, the student must learn to deliver their sinawali patterns out of an open guard structure.

Here are just a few of the many double weapon drills we utilize in the Alliance Modern Arnis Program to bring out this more combative aspect of the sinawali. Enjoy!

Drill 3: Numerado into sinawali - feeder matches the sinawali - against the #1 strike

In this example, a left-hand cut / parry is followed with a
right-side double-sinawali stabbing counter which the feeder matches.

Drill 1: Sinawali from the open position
To practice this drill, the student starts from an open position with the double sticks. Both hands are kept up (like a boxer) and they are kept in constant movement to avoid making them easy targets. From here, the student practices delivering specific sinawali patterns on the left and right side. Deliver only the first few strikes of the sinawali when doing this - don't go through the whole sinawali more than once or twice. Instead, keep it short and powerful, like a boxer working their basic combinations on the heavy bag. The point here is to learn to get into the sinawali from wherever your hands are.

Drill 2: Numerado into sinawali
Once the student can comfortably go into the sinawali out of the open structure, the next thing is to work with a partner and practice defending against their attacks and immediately countering with the sinawali. To do this, the numerado exercise is utilized. In numerado, the attacker strikes through the 12 angles first in order, then later in a random manner. When the attack comes in, the defender must either evade, block, or pass and then go into the predetermined sinawali pattern on whichever side they chose. Depending on which hand does the defensive action, the left or right side of the sinawali may be more convenient to go to.

Drill 3: Numerado into sinawali - feeder matches the sinawali
When the second drill is under control, the attacker now tries to match the defender's sinawali pattern at the end. So, as before the attacker delivers one of the 12 angles of attack and the defender evades, blocks, or passes the strike and counters with sinawali. The attacker must try and see which side the sinawali is coming from and match it with the identical sinawali, hitting stick to stick. This really ups the skill level involved for the feeder and develops quick reactions.

Drill 4: Broken rhythm sinawali
In this drill both student's train the sinawali, but utilize a broken-rhythm rather than the symmetrical cadence normally associated with sinawali. It is best to start this drill out with a leader and a follower, but as skill improves either student should be able to change the rhythm. Move around, add pauses between strikes, speed up, slow down, etc. Try and make the sinawali feel more like a fight than a performance. Focus on short bursts of activity rather than continuous flow. This is a challenging drill that will test how well you really "know" the sinawali.

Read Part I: Sinawali Mapping - Making Sense of Double Stick Patterns

If you like this kind of work, also be sure to check out this older article:

Deadly Dualities
Exploring Mathematical Probability
& Connecting the Lines of Combat

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