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This is a copy of a response I had to a post. I want to re-post it as a discussion, because I'd like to hear more thoughts from my colleagues.

On the other side of the coin.

I'm happy to hear about the recognition the US government is giving to
the Filipinos. I love the FMA and enjoy trying to speak a little
Tagalog...even if it's using the Tagalog names of techniques.

Recently, in my area a number of FMA instructors (non Filipinos) are
telling me they will no longer use any Tagalog while teaching FMA.
Personally, I don't agree with it. I'm no where near competent with the
Tagalog language, but it exposes my students to lineage, history, and
culture. It pays respect to the Filipino pioneers that helped make FMA
available to us, non Filipinos. It may interest a student to further
explore FMA and the culture of the Phillipines.

Many of my students have at least read about culture, history, and biography. Some have even gone to the Phillipines.


Guro Dave

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I agree with you Guro Dave.
I have the pleasure to train with one of the great masters in FMA here in Michigan. Kat. Puno Bong Jornales.
He does a great job teaching us Tagalog as part of the class.
All of our forms and drills are all in tagalog and starting at a later age it sometimes can be difficult to learn a new language, but I catch on to most of it.
Both my Daughter and I love FMA and we both also had the pleasure of visiting the PI two years ago and plan to return again next year for the WEKAF World championship tournament in Cebu.
I think it is a valuble tool to understand the roots and language of the Philippines while learning the arts.
Hi Mr. Moore,

I've met Mr.Jorrnales. He came to Buffalo, NY with GM Remy A. Presas. GM was doing his Buffalo Summer Camp, and featured Mr. Jornales as an instructor. I enjoyed his instruction and social time quite a bit.

Guro Dave
Greetings from Afghanistan...
In my humble opinion, Tagalog should be a part of our FMA training. PI was the birth place of arnis, escrima. I think,we, should honor our masters and their culture. The drills, the forms and even throw in counting .. For some of us 'ole timers, it was mandatory to learn counting in Japanese (Judo & Karate) and Korean (Tae Kwon Do). I,for one, appreciated the cultural exchange.
Just sayin'
Mr. Trocki,

I remember those days of learning to count in Japanese and Korean, fun times.


Guro Dave
Dear Guro Dave,

The practice of the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is rooted in the various styles from the various Filipino warriors and masters all over the 1,707 islands in the Philippines. For one, the masters from the Cebu, Visayas and Mindanao Regions taught their students using the Visaya/Cebuhano language. The terms such as "dumog" (grapple), "labay"(throw), "sagang" (to defend), "pasulod" (to enter), "bunal" (strike), "sumbag" (punch) and so forth are all words rooted in the Visaya/Cebuhano language. Many of the mastes coming from Iloilo, Antique, Samar and Leyte are either speaking the Waray or Ilonggo language. Many of the masters coming from the Luzon regions use the Tagalog language in teaching their students. The words such as "panuntukan" (the art of punching), "palusod" (to attack), "suntok" (puch), "sipa" (kick) and "sikaran" (the art of kicking) are some of the words rooted in the tagalog language. In my humble opinion, the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is an evolving system and always in the process of constant evolution. No one particular style or system could capture the totality of the horizon of the Art. It is an open Art. The Art has already spread all over the world and has assimilated the various fighting styles from other martial arts. In essence, FMA is not the past anymore but the FUTURE - and that future is still evolving and constantly in the process of "BECOMING". As such, while we acknowledge the fact that the Filipino culture is largely and essentially ingraved and encapsulated in the study of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), we also have to keep an open mind to the teaching styles of others because they also form part of the FMA community and FMA practitioners. I believe in the philosophy of the "Golden Mean" which essentially states that the truth lies not in the practice of either two extreme poles of thought but in the Golden Mean where the synthesis of both extreme worlds meet. Looking at things from the positive point of view, we have to celebrate and be glad because many new practitioners are now studying the Filipino Martial Arts.


Respectfully Yours,

Jessie R. Rocales
Supervising Legislative Officer - Senate of the Republic of the Philippines
Sayoc Kali Practitioner
Honorable Jessie R. Rocales,

Thank you so much for contributing to the discussion.

I agree that ostracizing those with other teaching styles is wrong.

For me, a question arises regarding the "Golden Mean". What is lost when one breaks away from one of the "extreme poles" to meet in the middle?


Guro Dave
I live / train / teach in the Philippines.

Usually I am the only non-tagalog speaking guy in the room / back yard.

We do not have any Tagalog terms. When asked about it GM Yuli Romo (himself a native Bisayan Speaker) said that English where possible should be used. That the art is worldwide and it is commonly accepted that English is a good universal language.

Example: Forehand. Backhand. Transition...

Even if you look at other systems like Kali Ilustrismo there is a real mix of terms in terms / languages in there and even some Spanish remnants. He also pointed this out to me too.

There are 172 languages in the Philippines. Who is to say which one is "Filipino"? Tagalog was only chosen as the national language by President Quezon in 1937.

If you're talking about history and culture in the Philippines than the Bisayan language could be argued more appropriate when it comes to Eskrima. However, if you study say Lightening Arnis for example then it could be "Illongo". So there's 3 to chose from and I'm sure cases could be made for more....

I guess what people gloss over is that "The Philippines" is a disparate nation. The name and organization of which was chosen by a foreign invader. To say something is "Distinctly Filipino" could mean many different things.

I do like looking into the history and culture of the Philippines. However, I believe the best way to preserve the arts as we are taught is to concentrate on the movement and application - and not get hung up on terminology.

After all, their original use was not for a scrabble competition and I doubt way back when the Grandmasters sat down next to each other and got out their notebooks...
Mr. McMahon,

Thank you for sharing the unique perspective you have, quite interesting.

Guro Dave
Simply I would say Daghang Salamat!
As a proud Lumad from Cebu, I felt the burden and the responsibilities to carry on the tradition but as much as possible keep the cultural, historical values so the students would not only deepened their understanding towards the art but values the tradition thar we are trying to share. It is not the physical aspect alone but more of the lifestyle and values that goes with the practice. We learn how to appreciate the labors of our forefathers and my teachers before me. I would pass it on that legacy at it's uniqueness I would to my students. Same thing that they would hope for to carry on that legacy as it was pass unto me.



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