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Lightning Scientific Arnis is a Filipino Martial art founded by Benjamin Luna Lema in 1937.
Lema was born in Mambusao, Capiz on the island of Panay in the Philippines on March 19th, 1919. He learned his Arnis skills from his father as well as from other masters. He died on January 5th, 2003.
Lightning Scientific Arnis is a system that revolves around the concept of Tercia Serrada Cadenilla y Espada y Daga which is a method of intercepting and redirecting attacks and blind-siding the opponent by going to the off-side and blanketing him with a barrage of continuous strikes while the checking hand constantly pushes, presses and controls his opponent putting him in a constant state of imbalance.
In advanced practice the empty had will be replace by a dagger to escalate the technology eventually as the practitioner progresses through the discipline.
The organization in Manila, Philippines is headed by Lema’s daughter Patty L. Caballero.
Lightning Scientific Arnis has a wide repertoire of techniques ranging from Solo Baston, Doble Baston, Baston Daga, Espada Y Daga, up to unarmed combat. It covers a wide range of skills for all fighting distances. All-in-all, it is a complete fighting system.
Manner of Striking– A set of 13 strikes that teach the various targets and the corresponding appropriate attacks for each.
12 METHODS– 12 prescribed attack patterns that combine the 13 basic strikes taught in the “Manner of Striking.”
Bigay-Tama– Semi-Free and Freestyle attack and defense patterns that combine the aspects of Defense and Counter-Attack through simulated combat that puts the practitioner through sets of randomized attacks that he will have to identify, defend against and counter at full impact and high speed.
Club Assault A set of 42 Defenses that include Stick versus Stick Disarming, Emtpy-hand disarming versus stick, locks, holds and reverses.
Serrada– A fighting concept of intercepting the opponents attack and redirecting it off of the centerline while moving to the back of the opponent by jamming the attack with one’s own combination and blanketing the opponent with strikes.
Serrada may be done in various weapon combinations:
- Baston Serrada – One Stick
- Doble Baston Serrada – Two Sticks
- Baston Daga Serrada – Stick and Knife
- Espada Y Daga Serrada – Sword and Dagger
- Empty-Hand Serrada – Unarmed
The legacy of LSAI
In 1937, Grandmaster Benjamin Luna Lema, together with 20 other arnisadores, founded the Lightning Scientific Arnis International, in Roxas City, Capiz. It was the habit of these young men to go from place to place, seeking to learn from the best arnisa-dores they could find, and in some cases, challenging them to a test of skills.
Since its inception in 1937, the association and style had grown in terms of membership. Currently, there are member clubs and practitioners all over the Philippines and in different parts of the world.
In the Philippines, there are chapters in the different municipalities of Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region; Davao City, Davao; Roxas City, Capiz; Calapan, Mindoro; Laguna; etc. Outside of the Philippines, there are clubs in Singapore, the UK and in the USA, notably in Seattle, Washington.
The passing of Mang Ben, as he was known, followed by the subsequent passing of his successor, Maestro Elmer Ybañez, left a heavy burden on the shoulders of their students.
In response to this situation, several of the remaining students banded together in order to continue the legacy of Mang Ben and to promote and propagate their beloved style.
Thus, in 2005, the senior students started to meet and plan out the directions LSAI would take in order to keep the flame alive.
Initially, those involved in the current efforts to keep LSAI going as an entity in-cluded Masters Romeo A. Santos, Rizalino Estacio, Vicente Sanchez, Romeo Valleno, Romy Valenzuela, Juanito Villeno, “Boy” Villeno, Pio and Jimmy Paclibar, Roland Dantes, Felipe P. Jocano Jr., Nathan Ben Dominguez, Jon Escudero and Joey Quiriones.
It was recognized that the heir to the style and therefore the leadership of the system was Mang Ben’s oldest son, Joseph Luna Jr., currently residing in Washington, USA.
In the Philippines, his sister Mrs. Patty Jean L. Caballero acts as his representative and oversees LSAI activities. Ate Patty, as she is affectionately known, serves as the guiding light of LSAI, with Jon Escudero serving as the Secretary-General.
The above named masters continue to meet on a monthly basis in order to both share and keep the knowledge alive and to coordinate activities designed to promote and propagate LSAI.
Foremost among these is the Lema Memorial Cup, an LSAI-only tournament intended to foster friendship and fellowship among Mang Ben’s students.
Other activities include future tournaments open to all arnis clubs regardless of style, and sharing sessions in which both older and younger practitioners share and compare what they had learned directly from Mang Ben.
Following is a list of students to whom Mang Ben had granted master’s rank during his many years of teaching. Note that this list is probably not complete as there may be other masters who may not be presently known to the current generation of students.