Visayans Combative Arts Seminar featuring Pinakatay Arnis and Viñas Arnis, two traditional systems that are distinct in their own right. Nov. 20, 2016.

pinakatay-arnis-logo-small2Hello FMA enthusiasts! Master Mackler of Viñas Arnis and Kuya Wesley (aka Bunal sa Engkanto) of Pinakatay Arnis Sigidas want to express their gratitude for those of you who joined the first joint seminar conducted in the Phoenix area. These two systems originate from the Visayan region of the Philippines with Pinakatay Arnis Sigidas coming from Cebu and Viñas Arnis coming from Bacolod. This initial seminar was intended to introduce these systems to the Phoenix community while also providing an opportunity for other FMA practitioners to establish an understanding of some deeper principles within these two systems.

Primary Vinas Arnis Logo

The seminar lasted over four hours and was broken out into one hour segments with small breaks in between. Content taught was divided between Master Mackler and Kuya Wesley switching each hour. They both worked together demonstrating the importance of promulgating Filipino Martial Arts while also enabling and supporting each other’s specific system. The Viñas Arnis system was taught the first and third hour and the Pinakatay Arnis system was taught the second and fourth hour.

Master Mackler started the seminar with a quick introduction of Viñas Arnis. He discussed the linage starting with the late founder GM Joe Viñas and the first inheritor and current GM Wilson “Nonong” Viñas. The founding location and date were mentioned, Talisay in 1932 with the system quickly moving to Bacolod Negros Occidental soon after. The more well-known club name was also mentioned, “Lapu Lapu Viñas Arnis”, with a founding date of 1963.  It was explained that the North West area of Negroes Occidental had a rich culture with many different systems old and new. Examples include older systems such as the “Tolosa System”, and the “Serfino System” to more morden system such as Tapado, Yasay Sable, Oido De Caburata, Modern Arnis, and others.[2]


After the quick introduction Master Mackler’s first hour was focused on an introduction to the Viñas system. This included topics such as starting positions or “guards”, the initial basic 7 strikes and their association with points to strike on an opponent, and then the intermediate 7 strikes and their association with circle quadrants and elevation. With each part taught principles and concepts were injected into the curriculum with drills added in to reinforce each idea.


The third hour introduced more advanced principles and concepts such as evaluating risk, distance and timing, reading your opponent, and how to cut your opponent without being cut. These were reinforced using the initial and foundational items taught within the first hour while adding in continued footwork and flow drills. The drills were meant to allow for some flexibility in a freedom of movement to emulate a more realistic sense of fighting. The importance of continued movement through foot work was emphasized.


Kuya Wesley then came in and introduced his system into the second hour of the seminar. He introduced the lineage of Pinakatay Arnis Sigidas (PAS), what PAS means and what it stands for. He shared how PAS is a “continues flow system” used best effectively in close quarter fighting using its unique multi-angular lines of attacks with the “witik/pitik” method of wielding the stick in succession at a very fast speed. He taught the system in a “crash course” style as his intention was to expose the audience to the depth of the system.  Even though the seminar was original meant as an introduction of basics, Kuya Wesley felt it important to also share advance principles and concepts. What is normally learned over years within the system was taught in this one seminar for the sake of exposure and knowledge exchange.

He further showed how unorthodox the movements are and how bluffing/deception is one of the essential skills developed in the system. He explained the principles of parallels, the fraction techniques, the segmentations and the bizarre motions that would make any participant wonder what else is next. He went into disarms that are very common, explaining and breaking down the details and principles for anyone to consume. He also covered PAS footwork used, the body motions used in generating power while in “witik” mode, an introduce to the concepts of unblocking any block, and the use and importance of the free hand and the weapon hand, and the use of elbows and palms to clear well protected areas of the opponents body to penetrate a stinger strike or a kill strike.


At one point Kuya Wesley was asked how power is generated from a simple witik at which point he demonstrated the proper mechanics and power of the strike.

In the fourth hour Kuya Wesley went even deeper with the PAS system. He started by mentioning the essence of fighting intelligently as a key in gaining an advantage in any engagement. He demonstrated how unorthodox angles of strikes are executed and mastered. He made it clear that the PAS system masters movements that are awkward and looks seemingly ineffective while in actuality become efficient and powerful. He explained the importance of practicing with live and dynamic partners to fully understand and appreciate the PAS system. He expressed his belief that without a realistic set of training that practitioners might be missing opportunities to really understand the depth of knowledge being taught to them.

In the end Kuya Wesley used analogies, examples, drills, and free flow engagements to drive home every piece of knowledge shared about the PAS system.

It was clear that Master Mackler and Kuya Wesley have a lot of passion about their systems and the desire to help and promote Filipino Martial Arts. There will be more seminars and they look forward to sharing their knowledge and invigorating new and existing practitioners.

[2] All systems to the North West region of Negros Occidental area are not referenced

GM Nonong will be returning back to his Filipino home coming this October to take care of some personnel business. Before he returns I brought him out to Phoenix, AZ on September 17th for a short visit. Here are some of the activities I setup for him. Image credits goes to “Kuya Bunal” Wesley Crisostomo, Guro Jay Sowell, and Magdiel Rivera. 1

On September 18th 2016 MS Russell T Mackler of Viñas Arnis organized a question and answer event with Grandmaster Wilson “Nonong” Viñas at Encanto Park in Phoenix AZ. The event was intended as an open forum for local FMA practitioners to ask any questions they liked regarding Viñas Arnis and knowledge of Grandmaster Nonong before he traveled back to Bacolod Negros Occidental Philippines. Some of the questions asked included subjects on entering, Largo Mano, footwork, timing, distance, Oido, and other topics. The event lasted for two hours and finished up with lunch at a Puerto Rico restaurant. We would like to thank participants from DTE (Direct Torres Martial Arts), Kada Anan Martial Arts, and Pinakatay Arnis for their curiosity and their questions.


GM Nonong and Guro Jay


GM Nonong and Guro Mike


GM Nonong working with Guro Cisco


MS Russell Side session on Oido


Group Image



The following day on September 19th 2016 GM Steve Dough of FMA Informative invited “Kuya Bunal” Wesley Crisostomo, MS Russell T Mackler, and GM Wilson “Nonong” Viñas to his home to enjoy some delicious home cooked Filipino food. We enjoyed the day discussing Filipino Martial Arts and reminiscing on past events associated around FMA activities. Thank you GM Steve and Vicky for the wonderful food and company.


MS Russell, GM Nonong, and GM Steve


“Kuya Bunal” Wesley Crisostomo, GM Steve Dowd, GM Wilson “Nonong” Viñas, and MS Russell T Mackler

Monday evening September 19th 2016 we were invited over for dinner and discussions on combat oriented swordsmanship with Maestro Greg Hinchcliff of “Loyal Order of the Sword”. GM Nonong and MS Russell sincerely appreciate Greg’s hospitality and knowledge. We had a great evening discussing swordsmanship, thank you Maestro Greg,


GM Nonong, Maestro Greg, and MS Russell

Tuesday September 29th 2016 GM Nonong spent the day discussing our Instructors manual, Viñas Arnis, our families, and finally signing Instructor Wilson Alvarado’s Certificate. GM Nonong will be hand carrying the certificate to Instructor Wilson, Congratulations!


During the evening GM Nonong and MS Russell went to Maestro Richard Marsden the co-founder of “The Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship”.  Maestro Richard was generous in spending time explaining different HEMA, (Historical European Martial Arts), based systems to GM Nonong. We sincerely appreciate everything Maestro Richard. “Kuya Bunal” Wesley Crisostomo also joined us as well which we sincerely appreciate.


“Kuya Bunal” Wesley, Maestro Richard, and GM Nonong


Thank you GM Nonong, see you in the Philippines next year!

All images Copyrighted by their perspective owners with verbal or written permission to use the images.

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