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Hello All,

I do not want the discussion of the Master Joel Juanitas interview to descend in to anarchy.  GM Malmo has forbid the arguments on previous occasions, and nobody in their right mind needs to rehash the arguments because things like this happen very frequently in all sorts of dominions from martial arts to the corporate world.  In the corporate world, IBM has splintered many times from IBM, in to Oracle, among the most notable.  Projects started at major universities have become corporations against the will of the institution, such as the split between Stanford and Cisco.  Some universities have taken note of these issues and have started their own incubators, where they fund the ideas and get in on the ground with large holdings of stock.

While this video does not break new ground, I think that is a great opportunity to discuss something very interesting about martial arts in general.  Consider a more interesting subject matter, that being Martial Arts Lineage.  If the "Bahala Na" style schools survive, in it's many forms, it will be due solely to the practitioners over more than a century.  Will the teachings of Bahala Na and Bahala Na Multi Style survive more than one century?  How about two?

Note that according to Mark Wiley in a 2012 interview, he notes that Escrima / Arnis styles do not typically go back more than one to two Masters.  In fact, in his research, he found that in the Philippines and the U.S.A., rarely does anyone go back more than two generations because they themselves become Grand Masters and renamed the art after themselves or some aspect of the art that they mastered.  The names of the individuals that led them to create the art are dropped, and not even written down...thus losing some very important details about where the arts originated from.  The video is pretty enlightening.  It should be a call to action, to register practitioners who reach a certain level, such as guro, master and grand master!  This is a golden opportunity because these splits are going to keep on coming.

In Chinese arts, this is somewhat different, especially for the art of Wing Chun / Wing Tsun.  In some of the styles (Wikipedia link) or branches, they can trace back many hundreds of years, all the way to the founders who were monks.  It should be noted that the main branch of Yip Man has been broken several times, and there is a great deal of infighting to this day, but for the most part, there are no pure Wing Chun competitions that I know of where they can prove without a doubt as to which school is the best. This is not the case in Filipino styles where competitions are common and applications to combat are known.  They have even set up a global registry for practitioners of Wing Chun and that people can look and find the lineage that they belong too.

For the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon do, they have splintered in to WTF, ITF, ATA and ITA.  In some cases the training from one style is recognized and in others it is not.

Just some food for thought proving blood is thicker than water in some instances where practitioners are still practicing their base arts, and in others such as the Filipino styles they are rapidly changing, integrating, and removing old school styles.  In the corporate world, this is known as "Eating your own babies" because you modify the next product to crush the product just released before a competitor can.

Does anyone think that Filipino styles have peaked yet or will we see continued growth because Filipino schools or styles have just become popular and many have yet to emerge from the underground?


Thomas Moderator

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I am not asking simply how long Bahala Na, and Bahala Na Multi Style are going to be around, but how long will any current Filipino Martial Arts School be around!

Watch the Mark Wiley in a 2012 interview, where he notes that Escrima / Arnis styles do not typically go back more than one to two Masters.  Do you thin this is true regarding your style?

Do you see your FMA style lasting 100 years?  200 Years?




Interesting question.  I suppose one has to ask further "what constitutes a style" before you can answer your questions about that style lasting. Many FMA styles are based on a cult of personality as much as a codified series of techniques.  In addition, what is often set up as a style is actually an organization and administrative structure.  This is the case with BNMA.  Leo Giron's style of escrima is called Giron Arnis Escrima.  The organization he founded to administer the curriculum was Bahala Na Martial Arts Association.  The association has a constitution and by-laws that govern the dissemination of the curriculum and the requirements for advancement.  There are other organizations that have similar structures.  Sometimes (often), observers confuse the organization with the curriculum.  The organization can go on in perpetuity while the curriculum changes slightly with each incarnation of a Grand Master - who rightly puts his/her own stamp on the system.  This can lead to historical disharmony as later graduates who practice a new and modified curriculum do not perform techniques the same as early graduates.  If this growth is not managed properly, it can lead to splintering and animosity. 

I have also observed in my experience that the FMA style of teaching is much less about conformity to a pure, historically accurate reproduction of technique and more about finding your own personal interpretation of the fundamental concepts.  This allows for creativity and personal ownership but it can also risk dissent and conflict.  GM Giron literally ordered all of us graduates to "make the art your own".  Each of us can perform the exact same technique in a totally different manner.  It was one of the most exciting and enlightening things I encountered as a student.  There were times when I had as many as ten graduates teaching me the same technique ten different ways and they were somehow all the same and all correct.  This made GM Giron's school a lesson in diversity and creativity.  It also led to a lot of friendly disagreements. 

I am sure every school has the same issues.  But, FMA's penchant for individual ownership and creativity rather than conformity to a standard make it difficult to see any single school lasting more than two generations; as Dr. Wiley seems to have discovered.  As for the Giron legacy, I enjoy the diversity while watching the various schools and students grow and develop.  I think the key to a lasting legacy is embracing diversity while maintaining the historical core concepts rather than forced conformity to a standard.  That way you can enjoy both the old and the new rather than discarding the former in favor of the latter.  But, that's just my opinion.



Guro Motta,

The YouTube recording was interesting when Dr. Wiley said that possibly there should be a group of Masters rather than a Grand Master if you want to keep the organization going.

I think what is going on here is there is no way to perpetuate the art, with the founders name, if you do not make it open enough for everyone to be involved in the control of the organization.  Maybe some of these organizations, that have been criticized for being overly deep organizations are really the way to guarantee a living organization!

The power has to be distributed almost equally, among many different thinking people at the top, and the people that you bring on board, train, and leave in power need to work together.  This takes me back to the "corporate fit" that I hear about so often in the business world.  Can you imagine telling a graduate of an art that they are "not a good fit" within the corporation and that they have to now leave the organization? 

There are some huge FMA organizations now, but they aren't even 75 years old.  It's pretty hard to find out the size of these organizations because they are private! 

Doce Pares refers to a Martial Arts organization founded in 1932 Cebu, Philippines.  Everyone agrees that Doce Pares is global, and huge, and if they survive their current GM passing, the next generation is going to place a school on every corner like McDonalds!

According to GM Bonjoc's last interview, around 1965, Cabales started the public arm of the Cabales Serrada Escrima School.  I wonder if are any incorporation documents were filed with the State of California to see exactly when it was founded.  Nonetheless, the school is not really that big, and it is probably the first American based Filipino martial arts school.

How did these organizations differ...yes, 30 years difference in their foundational date, but there is NO American or European FMA school that is operating globally, that I know of.  American schools are going after "affiliates" who then teach their art.  But they do not own these schools.  Does this all boil down to "cheap labor" and that is how some of these schools are spreading?

Note that I am NOT trying to be disrespectful, but there is no way to get to the bottom of how we can guarantee that FMA styles do not die out.  Referring to schools that can afford to expand as using "cheap labor" is not a cheap shot.



@ Guro Lawrence...

Great reply!!!


"GM Giron literally ordered all of us graduates to "make the art your own".  Each of us can perform the exact same technique in a totally different manner.  It was one of the most exciting and enlightening things I encountered as a student.  There were times when I had as many as ten graduates teaching me the same technique ten different ways and they were somehow all the same and all correct.  This made GM Giron's school a lesson in diversity and creativity.  It also led to a lot of friendly disagreements. "

I truly agree with this own experience was the same... If you really look at all the pass graduates and instructors they all had something to offer & there own interpitations of the techniques, you got to pick and choose different instructors to glean what u needed to graduate..for example if I needed to learn a strong block I would go to Gene... if I wanted to test that block I would ask June to deliver.. if it was a more finess  block or technique I would ask Sam. I had so many instructors to learn from it made me a better graduate and I know I would have survived the testing if I had not.! As for the friendly disagreements there was always "Put the pads on and let's see!"


Get it here while its hot!  Tim Waid is out at PTK.  This is exactly what I am talking about, and there are discussions as to who will follow Gaje and who will follow Waid.

Read the posts and come back here and tell me what you think.  How are we supposed to "report" our lineage?



A very interesting subject, that has been discussed many times in varying degrees. When you really stop and think about it, 99% of the Filipino Martial Arts are blended or multi-styles. I believe it is commonly agreed that most FMA systems contain martial elements from the occupying-immigrating peoples that have been coming to the Philippines for centuries. Some as we know are the Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Indonesian and others have left their martial and cultural footprints. So when the discussion of pure styles or systems comes up, it really must be asked: Are there any pure styles, probably not, are there named FMA systems that have been honed into specific movements that have been passed down for a few generations, yes. Will these recognized systems continue to change and evolve as new masters and grandmasters come and go, yes. Some of the contributors in this thread have mentioned the martial effectiveness of current FMA systems or maybe better termed, the combat effectiveness and will FMA as a whole retain its recognized martial edge, I say only if the current and future masters and grandmasters figure out a way to do this while not endangering the lives of their practitioners. The days of death matches are gone, "we all gotta go to work on Monday". I remember in the mid 1990's after I had been involved in FMA for 15+ years, people were coming to my classes from Karate, Kung Fu, etc, because we were swinging weapons at each other instead of just doing forms or Kata's. Now days, full contact matches/tournaments have flourished, normally using padded weapons or heavy armor-live stick or both for safety reasons. Does that mean the art has been diminished, I am sure in the eyes of some, but on the other hand, we are attracting more people to the art and it is certinally safer for the younger students. In response to the question, will FMA continue to evolve, probably yes, for better or worse. IMO, the more important question is how can we retain the martial ethos of the past while embracing the future. As I stand at my small classes in the public park trying to retain the movements that were passed down to me by my masters, I look across or down the street at the new Tae Kwan Do or BJJ schools that recently opened after extensive building remodeling, which we all know takes a pocket of cash, I have to wonder am I doing it right? Do we want FMA to become mainstream, my students and instructors tell me absolutely not, keep it the old way, small intensive classes in the park, that keep the tradition of the old Escrima alive. Some of us are trying to cling to the old ways as we were taught by our "old masters" and we would have it no other way. I guess to each his own, I know I am comfortable with my pathway.

Master England...

very nice post!


I think you took the words out my mouth master England..well

M biggest hang-up re. armour is the gloves. Far from wanting it in every sparring session, I think it is important to occasionally spar, lightly, without the glove to remind ourselves of one of the core and unifying principles of Filipino (and other S. E. Asian arts).

When one watches sparring sessions or competitions, the armour allows clashes that would be less likely if one was using a bahi stick or a blade. In such circumstances, there's no taking a shot to get 3 in or riddle the opponent with a flurry of abinicos.

This is just something I keep in mind to remember and honour the source.

With no disregard to history, how important is lineage?

FMA is multi weapon / style by nature and many serious students seek training from many teachers. Is the art not stronger because of this?


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