Lightning Scientific Arnis

Lightning Scientific Arnis is a Filipino Martial art founded by Benjamin Luna Lema in 1937.

GM Lema was born in Mambusao, Capiz on the island of Panay in the Philippines on March 19th, 1919. Starting at a very young age he learned his Arnis skills from his father as well as from other masters.

Lightning Scientific Arnis is a system that is derived from the classical styles of Tersia, Serrada, Cadenilla and Espada y Daga. GM Lema’s fighting method is one of intercepting and redirecting attacks. The LSA fighter will move to the side of his opponent and blanket him with a barrage of continuous strikes. The checking hand is constantly pushing, pressing and controlling his opponent which keeps him in a constant state of imbalance.

In advanced practice the empty had will be armed with a dagger.

Ideally, an altercation should end quickly with a quick burst of strikes, rather than getting into a long exchange of blows with your aggressor. Fitness and endurance play a significant role as Lightning training is geared towards crashing in and bludgeoning your adversary with a rapid burst of high magnitude strikes thereby denying them the ability to strike back.

Traditionally, Lightning Scientific Arnis does not have blocks. Offensive action is preferred with interception as the favored “defensive” tactic.

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GM Lema video

Three Facets of Serrada
Serrada is a fundamental concept in Lightning Scientific Arnis and governs virtually all applications of the movements of the system. When literally translated from Spanish, the word means “closed”.

Serrada has three major features:
Stance – The weapon is placed across the torso in a backhand chamber, thus closing the body. This allows you to execute a number of backhand strikes as well as charge certain attacks.

Position – You are re-positioning yourself so that your line of attack is not directly in your opponent’s line of fire. In order for your opponent to effectively fend you off, he must reorient himself and you are preventing this by constantly moving.

Action – By landing the first shot and dictating what your opponent’s structure is, you are effectively “closing” that avenue and essentially “blanketing” their motion. This is done through the use of chained strikes in conjunction with checking and cramming motions as appropriate. The opponent is not able to react or counter attack as you are commanding the timing and disrupting their balance.

The tactics you choose to apply when engaging an opponent are dependent upon both the attributes and skill sets of the fighter. Your attributes and skills determine which tactical concept of Serrada can be applied.

Lightning Scientific Arnis drills are aimed to develop all of these attributes, training is focused not only on the mechanics needed to generate power and speed, but also seeks to ingrain positional and range sensitivity.

GM Lema died on January 5th, 2003.

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Video of Lightning Scientific Instructors in the Philippines
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