I have personally witnessed much of what the author describes. However, I do not feel that the generalities mentioned exist within all FMA styles. Each individual needs to evaluate for themselves what a teacher/style offers. If something seems to be lacking, question and look for the answers to why.
From my own perspective, I do not denigrate or bad mouth any style/teacher to promote myself. I let what I teach speak for me. My instructors gave me valuable guidance, direction, and knowledge while helping me to develop my skills and abilities. Their teachings have yet to let me down. :)
My personal opinion is that any 90% of the training that you do... should be for functional purposes and you should be apply them...if you ever had to fight.
the other 10% more or less should be to develop other atributes that can help you develop flow and timing and chaining techniques or arts together..... and for the the sake of the "Art"
With that being said..it all goes back to the training method... some training methods are better than others...and some instructors are better than others.
On another note if the author is Gatdula from Sacramento i have met him a couple of times and he has paid a few visits to Stockton and have heard his views on training for years.
I also beleive you should respect your elders, cross train and absorb what is useful!
I agree that if you train... you should "train for the truth". Or why train at all.
In response to the article, the following thoughts are hopefully helpful and constructive to others.
Without "commercial" then how are people going to know of your system(s), in this case FMA.
Without "information sharing", how are you to grow as an individual or as a martial artist.
As "standing alone, " how or where was the information derived from that you have a system(s)/style(s) to study?
"Either you can fight or not is the basis of a sound system." Take any system out there and not every practitioner of the said system is a capable fighter. Does that mean that the system(s)/style(s) is sound or unsound?
"Especially FMA practitioners are sissies." Generalization is often a fallacy in of itself. Who are you to be the judge of people of whom many are strong enough to raise and provide for families?
"99%" of empty hand FMA is doo doo." Where did you get this number?
"What you guys put on youtube makes us look bad." This is a personal preference as there are good & bad in contents that is out there. But to say that it is bad is simply incorrect. There are insights and instructions to be learned from those videos.
If you do love your country (Philippines) & Arnis, then offer suggestions to make it a stronger art than simply downgrading it. As a metaphor, you complain that a car has a flat tire but do nothing to alleviate the situation, mainly taking out the bad and replacing it with a good tire.
"A few tough MFs teaching the art gives us credibility." First of all, anyone referred to as MF is not credible. There is much more to a system than "toughness." Where did etiquette & morality in your system go? Some of these basic principles is what allows us to have what we call "civilization" which in turn allows you to have this forum on your views.
"Paul Vunak uses balls & the Dog Brothers uses BJJ." The concept of mixed martial arts is nothing new to an FMA practitioner. We will use whatever is needed to get the job done. If it is BJJ in particular situations or balls, then that is what an FMA practitioner will use.
"Patty cakes." If you are fighting as "patty cakes," then a point is missed and you are probably getting beat up. This is a drill that helps develops attributes. And should you not use this drill and favor another in its place does not mean it is ineffective. Different people/styles/systems tends to have their specialties and emphasis.
"The empty hands are not sticks." If you are using empty hands as sticks, then you are missing the point of the lesson while there is a good chance that your hands are now useless and injured. Empty hands are not sticks, but many of the stick techniques and concepts are readily translated to empty hands.
"All those drills are good for is to impress women and out of shape surbanites." Many FMA practitioners are women who do not want to impress other women. Many eskrimadors have been to the boxing gym and is not out of shape. Graciella Casillas, a female, holds two world titles in two different sports which are boxing and kickboxing, sports which she retired from undefeated. She credits FMA largely for her success. Drills is not fighting, but it does develop attributes & techniques. Some of these attributes are timing, range, ambidexterity, footwork, fighting instincts, defense, offense, counters, etc.
"The problem is people are creating systems as they go." This can be a problem but not neccessarily. I see no problem in people organizing the wealth of knowledge they possess. Unless there is a form of organization, there would be chaos. Can you imagine our streets without traffic rules?
"Something they have not used in a fight." Are we to actively look for a fight especially knowing that regardless of skill & experience, there is always a chance for defeat or even imprisonment. Just because many are not "fighters" means we should no longer train or teach? Should the military always use live bullets during training? How much smaller would the actual army be after many have not survived training. Yet training methods are constantly made & reevaluated to come close to reality. So this too should be applied to martial arts even if you are not actually fighting all the time.
"Functioning art...result is functional limb destruction & loss of "garbage techniques" such as empty hand sinawalis." To make a tactic such as limb destruction functional depends on one's training, preferences, and abilities. Some can make it work while others cannot and some do not use it at all. If you fight in sinawali patterns then we may as well resort back to warfare again being fought in chess piece type battles. As a metaphor, art such as a drawing are composed of one major ingredient. Lines. Lines of all colors and length put together is what you perceive as a drawing. Empty hand fighting in essence are composed of patterns. Many patterns to different degrees intermingling with each other makes up what is referred to as FMA empty hand. Its final form can look like boxing, kungfu, etc.
As to seminar & testing format, I will leave that can of worms unopened. Suffice to say that there are pros and cons and far too many generalities.
I believe the article could have been more constructive. I also believe that despite pros and cons, some sort of training is better than none. I have a firm conviction that each method has their purpose, strengths and weaknesses and that many have been unable to understand or perceive the basic concepts & principles of arnis.
Eskrima without a doubt has many competent fighters and innovators who are constantly testing and reevaluating their systems and training methods and it is because of this that FMA will stay strong and will become even better for the future generations to be PROUD of.
Very well thought out and presented view point. =)
Wow! Wish i had your gift bro! See ya saturday!
I also agree that the article could have been more constructive than destructive. Although the author offered some alternative viewpoints, the way he was expressing himself in the article would turn most people away, even though many of his points I felt were valid through my own experience.
We all see the descrepancies in various training methods being displayed from a variety of styles and individuals. We also have descrepancies in our own arts and in ourselves, no one is perfect.
I used to be critical of a lot of what I saw and I had many debates with others on the topics of discussions. I pissed a lot of people off and I felt bad about it afterwards. Being honest to myself I realized that if I was going to be critical of others, I had to prove my point to them by puttting my money where my mouth was. If you say that someone is playing pattycake, offer a challenge to prove your point. Either you'll prove that you can beat that person or you will get a beat down yourself. But just because you beat that person, doesn't mean that their art or training method stinks. Lets take boxing for instance; Most boxers train the same way and yet there can only be one champion. If a person has a losing record, does it mean that their style of boxing is no good? Of course not, boxing is boxing and some boxers are better than others.
So to make generalized statements about any martial art practice is not smart and pretty arrogant.
I hope what I wrote makes sense :)
I read intently the article over and over again in order for me to understand its message and content before giving my remarks. Also, I did my little research and understand that the author of the abovecited article (I will not, for civility sake, mention the name) is a kuntaw and escrima teacher.
Forgive me, my brothers and sisters, for saying this but I am compelled by virtue of circumstances to deliver my piece to defend the honor of FMA. It grieves my heart to say this but I sincerely believe that the abovecited article is loaded with misplaced arrogance, pride, deep-seated conceit, self-glorification, self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, self-profession, uncalled-for statements and full of dirty and insulting words coming from its author against the kali/escrima martial arts/style of other FMA schools. There is a way and manner of giving remarks or comments that need not have to resort to insulting or degrading ones comrades.
On the issue as to the quality of the content of the kali/escrima/arnis videos posted in www.youtube.com - all I can say is welcome to the new and global world of information technology (IT) wherein various forms of information all over the world are now accessible in the internet. This I say, the last time I double-checked, our human existence is this finite world is still founded on the fundamental principle of liberty and freedom of choice of each human individual, regardless of creed, religion, doctrine, faith, color of skin, customs, mores, culture, tradition, ethnicity, economic status and belief system. As such, no one particular individual in this world of human existence can dictate and impose upon another the type of content, nature, method, process, mode, style, quality, form, outline, approach, and manner of presentation of any kali/escrima/arnis video that will be posted in the www.youtube.com or any other FMA site all over the world for that matter.
While there is such a thing as freedom of speech, this fundamental principle is equally coupled with the internationally accepted fundamental principle of civility, good manners and respect for the rights and dignity of all human person. In this particular case, the rights, dignity and honor of our comrades in the field and art of kali/escrima/arnis. TO SAY THEREFORE THAT “MANY OF THE KALI/ESCRIMA/ARNIS VIDEOS POSTED IN THE WWW.YOUTUBE.COM ARE GARBAGE” IS PURE DISPLAY OF PRIDE, BLATANT DISPLAY OF CONCEIT AND AN ARROGANT WAY OF SELF-GLORIFICATION, SELF-PROMOTION, AND SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT. For one, many of the forbidden and deadly moves and techniques of kali/escrima/arnis grandmasters in the Philippines are not normally revealed in videos. Our old grandmasters in the remote provinces in the Philippines are very jealous in showing their techniques to the general public, especially in videos. And because of this, what you get in www.youtube.com are only promotional materials, as expected, but not necessarily garbage!!!
On the issue as to the statement that “All those drills in FMA are only good for in impressing women and out-of-shape sub-urbanites.” This I say to the author of the article, “I thought the writer of this article is a kuntaw and escrima teacher?” Just 2 weeks ago, we went to Santa Rosa, Laguna, Region IV, Philippines to join the 2nd Martial Arts Festival. Said event was participated by various martial arts practitioners all over the country. During the snack time, I sat beside in our table an old Kuntaw Grandmaster and the person was a very down-to-earth, approachable, friendly, hospitable, welcoming, open-minded and humble person, though highly skilled and extremely deadly because of the various skills, techniques, drills and styles he demonstrated during the said Martial Arts Festival. Interestingly, I never heard the old grandmaster demean, disgrace, dishonor, debase, shame, discredit or degrade any of the other FMA participants during the said 2nd Martial Arts Festival. What an honorable man!!!!!!! A noble man who teach the art through his examples… A man worth respecting… Totally contrary to the one who wrote the abovecited article…
As regards the statement that “FMA practitioners are such sissies”, this is my reply. In our province in Mindanao where most of the farmers there carry a bolo in their waist, and a razor sharp knife in their back, you better be prepared to defend yourself once you deliver such insulting words to another kali/escrima school by calling them “sissies” because for sure you will end up in duel situation which normally ends up in a fight to the death, if the police authorities are not there present to reprimand the act. In our province in Mindanao, Philippines, we call it “TINIGBASAY” (bolo vs. bolo) or “PINATYANAY” (fight to the death) or “DINUNGGABAY” (knife vs. knife) or “GINULGULAY” or “DINUMUGAY”... In such cases, they even closely tie both their left hands together so that no one will run away during the fight and the situation is normally resolved when one of them is dead. If the person refuses to fight after delivering such insulting words, they will wait for the person on his way home at night and kill the person anyway… In our province, many people will not take these insulting words lightly. We do not tolerate and we cannot sleep if someone insults our kali and honor. That is why many people in our province are more calculating and careful in their use of words because these insulting words would cost them tremendously…
In my opinion, demeaning, maligning and mentioning the specific name of the kali/escrima style/school, as was done in the abovecited article, was totally uncalled-for and a politically incorrect way of delivering a remark. How can we build bridges and unite the art of kali/escrima if we all malign against each other’s kali/escrima style? Who are we anyway to make a categorical judgement that our art of kali/escrima/FMA is superior as compared to the martial arts of others? Who are we anyway but mere finite mortals in this world of existence? We merely borrowed this art from our forefathers!!! We do not own the art!!! In essence, there is only one tree and that is the “TREE OF KALI” from which all of these trunks, branches, stems, twigs and leaves came from. THERE IS UNITY IN DIVERSITY!!! We are diverse because we all came from the different branches/masters in the art of kali, but we are united because the trunks, branches, twigs, stems and leaves belong to one tree, the “TREE OF KALI”. Diverse Yet United!!! Unity in Diversity!!! The mystery of kali!!! To insult and degrade, therefore, the other branches/styles of kali/escrima/arnis is tantamount to insulting ourselves in the process because we belong to one tree and one family!!!
As to the issue on the manner of testing to determine the depth of the skills of the students, I would like to note that one cannot impose upon another ones own testing format. No one has the authority to determine and judge that the testing procedure of one style is superior against another. To say otherwise is sheer arrogance and pride. Moreover, there are various testing formats, modules, processes, modes, styles, forms, outlines, approaches and procedures in determining the skills of FMA students.
On the statement that the “Seminar Format” is the culprit, I would like to note that there is no single seminar format, one-shot-fit-all format, that kali/escrima instructors/masters give to their students. There are 1000 and 1 variations of these types of tests and trainings and are called by many names such as sama-sama, pulong-pulong, tipunan, bayahinan, pahanas, kumpulan, and many others. There are multifarious seminar formats in teaching the art of kali that is why we cannot say that the seminar format is the culprit.
By the same token, FMA as a martial art is the national heritage of the Republic of the Philippines. Our forefathers and ancestors have fought, killed their enemies, defended their loved ones, shed their blood and died defending our nation in order to gain our independence using this Art. If, indeed, we in the FMA community value our Art, isn’t it but proper that we defend its good name, for the honor of our forefathers and ancestors who shed their blood and offered their lives to preserve this Art?
Finally, I would like to say “PEACE TO ALL OF YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!” May we continue to practice, practice hard, practice harder, practice as if our lives depend on it, fine tune, hopefully master and then share the art to those who sincerely desire to learn it knowing that our masters patiently did the same to us when we first came to walk this “road less traveled”…
WE CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE, EVERYTIME, ALL THE TIME!!!
These are just some of my thoughts on the above-cited article.
MABUHAY KAYONG LAHAT!!!
Jessie R. Rocales
Senate of the Republic of the Philippines
This is the best reply to an article/discussion topic that I have read in any discussion forum since I've joined several Martial Art Social Websites! Clear, concise, and to the point with no bloviating.
On one of the sister MA websites I stated in a discussion that because many individuals presume safety in their homes, halfway around the world or several hours away and from behind a computer screen, courage to express arrogant tones or messages towards other persons and or organizations has an opportunity to thrive.
It was unfortunate that I found myself victim of such an attack a few months ago from an envious acquaintance who lived 9 hours away from me by car. I told him that I would be in his area in 2 weeks time and we could sit down and have a beer or we could fight. After a feeble excuse of why he wouldn't fight, I sent another invitation but this time there was no offer to talk and hash things out, only fight. In three weeks time I traveled to his area and stayed for 10 days but he wouldn't respond and ceased all activity on the website. Two months after I left his area he was back on the website again. This sort of behavior seemed to be the norm for certain individuals on the site which in turn prompted me to stop contributing to the site altogether.
I think this is one of the dangers when a martial heritage is shared outside of it's homeland and individuals that seek to learn the art, ignore the history/heritage, respect, honor, and other core values that were infused into the art since it's creation. But I'm happy to know that there are still many fine teachers of the Martial Arts in the world who still hold these values close and try to instill them into their students/future representatives of the arts.
Thank you sir...