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“Binas Dynamic Arnis”
by Mark Wiley


During an intimate discussion with Professor Herminio Binas, one cannot
help but to feel his genuine love for all. The Philippine art of Arnis
is a vehicle for personal development. This growth is exemplified in the
metamorphosis that has occurred in Professor Binas over the past
seventy-odd years of his experience. In his teens he liked to compete in
challenge matches with other renowned Arnisadores. During his early
adulthood he was responsible for the capture of war criminals as a
member of the Philippine Constabulary. He also instructed the Philippine
military in his method of boloplay. In his senior years, Binas has
abandoned the thought of Arnis as an offensive fighting art and looks to
it solely as a means of self-preservation on many levels.

Professor Binas is best described as possessing an idealistic nature. As
such, some individuals of lesser personal development have mocked his
enthusiasm and life's philosophy. Binas, at the age of 81, has a wisdom
that only seventy plus years of practical martial experience could
produce. He has been witness to an abundance of violence and death, he
has also felt a great deal of love and respect. Within Binas' extended
family, one finds doctors, nurses and accountants. Herminio, though
having never completed high school, is a recognized professor of Arnis,
an art and science in which he excels. In fact, in 1986, Professor
Herminio Binas was certified as the "grandmaster consultant" by the
Negros Occidental Arnis Federation and the National Arnis Association of
the Philippines.

Professor Herminio B. Binas, Sr. was born in Iloilo, Philippines in
1913. As a young boy he practiced Japanese Karate. After three years of
dedicated training, he found himself incapable of defending himself
against the weapon wielding Arnisadores so common in his barrio. This
realization was actualized by a number of skirmishes that ended in his
defeat. The last of which found the young Binas laying face down on a
dirt road with a group of boys relentlessly beating him. Frustrated and
disillusioned with the apparent rigidity and limitations of the
traditional martial art that the practiced, Herminlo, age thirteen,
picked up a stick and dagger for the first time. He began to improvise.

Over the next ten years, Herminio continued to develop and perfect his
method of Arnis. Like many provincial Filipinos, Herminio was never at a
loss when naming his art which has been known by such names as Maharlika
Dynamic Combat Martial Art: Philippine Setting, Supreme Dynamic Combat of
the Philippines, Binas: Filipino Perfected Style, Binas Supreme Dynamics
and finally Binas Dynamic Arnis. With the advancement of his system and a
mass of practical experience supporting it, Herminio became notorious
throughout Luzon and the Visayas. In 1941 he was called on to act as an
instructor to the Bob Battalur of Negros Occidental, Philippines. He served
under Lieutenant Deonisio Orille of the Silay-Saravia Hawaii-Philippine
Company.

The Dynamic Arnis system of Herminio Binas is reminiscent of the
classical espada y daga styles of Luzon, northern Philippines. These
classical sword and dagger systems, as mentioned earlier, evolved from
Kali by way of the Spanish rapier and dagger styles. The primary are of
study in Dynamic Arnis are the espada (sword), solo doble baston (single
and double sticks), espada y daga (sword and dagger), baston y daga
(stick and dagger), daga (single dagger), mano-mano (unarmed combat) an
the bayonet.

Heavy cutting and whirling strokes are the characteristics of Professor
Binas espada y daga techniques. Tadyakan (footwork) encompasses the
atrakada abierta (side-step), retirada (pendulum step), and lastiko
(weaving and pivotal movements). The weapon techniques are taught in
four geometric patterns: the multiplication sign (x), the plus or
addition sign (+), the circle (o), and the infinity sign, also called
"figure eight". Defensive maneuvers encompass the techniques of pasunod
at salag (passing and parrying), hiwa derecho (direct strikes), sangga
payong (umbrella block), and sangga cruzada (crossing block). The
training of these skills consists of one person initiating a continuous
attack while the other employs the appropriate methods and combination
of footwork, defense and counter striking maneuvers. The empty hands are
trained in the principal skills of disarmada (disarming) of the stick,
sword, dagger and bayonet. After effectively disarming an opponent,
intricate trankadas (lock and control techniques) are employed to subdue
the opponent. When pitted against another unarmed opponent, techniques
aimed at immobilizing the head are used as a means of immediately
controlling the opponent.

As a result of numerous unarmed confrontations against weapon-wielding
assailants, it is no surprise that disarming techniques have become the
hallmark of Binas Dynamic Arnis. Through constant study, analysis and
practical experience of possible attacking methods, Professor Herminio
Binas has perfected three principal methods of instantly disarming the
armed opponent. He terms these methods as lightning disarming (kidlat
agaw), blast disarming (bugso agaw), and self-rebounding disarming
(katawan agaw). Lightning disarms are socalled after the speed which is
required to effectively insert or intertwine your weapon or arm around
that of an opponent to effect the disarm; the blast disarm is socalled
because the quick, jerking motion of the Arnisador's arms in opposite
directions "blasts" the weapon out of the opponent's grip; the
self-rebound or body disarm is so-called because you use the body of
your opponent to disarm his own weapon, hence injuring him in the process.