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A special Gift....another great story from Ron Saturno

When someone has a 'special gift' they will be envied and envie will 'eventually' turn into hatred. Fitting 'into' a group has survival value. Being a member of a group was the primary way that man has survived many a moonless night. We have all but forgotten about a not too distant time, that men's hearts sank with the sun as it slowly disappeared over the horizon.

Fear of the dark today is 'downplayed' as just a primordial vestige of our past: Fear of the dark is something that only children should worry about. Modern lighting has supposedly conquered the darkness of night. When men found themselves at the mercy of darkness, they have looked up into the sky since our very beginnings and have found comfort in the sister of the sun

. The moon could be found high up in the night sky on certain nights, offering hope and comfort until the slowly returning morning. The moon is a pale sister of her brother the sun: she is mysterious and unfathomable. We can gaze upon her in the night, unlike her brother in the day. She is 'The Mother' of the night and has comforted man since time immemorial. She 'holds back' the night until her brother rises up and over the horizon. It is not strange to me that many of the Filipino blades of old were finished being made during the nights of full moons.

Man still wants a connection with his mysterious side, the side that is little understood. The side that may offer us advantages, special knowledge and powers. There is 'still' something within us that has us calling out to the moon for aid and comfort during times of darkness. Few men can look up into the night sky and 'not' be mesmerized by the mystery and majesty of the moon. Steel is considered male in nature. The moon is considered female in nature. A good blade has to be soft and yielding in its center like a woman and strong and resilient on the outside like a male. If a blade is 'too' male than it will be brittle and may snap. If a blade is 'too' female then it will be 'too' soft and yielding and may bend easily and also won't easily take an edge and won't be able to remain sharp. We need balance in all things, even in our blades.

There were prayers that some of the old master Filipino blade makers would chant that offered homage to the male and the female aspects of their blade while they were being made. Female urine was used in the process of making a blade in the old days to signify the female aspect of the blade. Dried plants that were considered female in nature were cast into the fire as well. The temperatures of the blades when they were being made were decided by the blades 'color' and all of the colors had proper names. Many of the old masters would seldom let 'anyone' actually see 'their' blade making process.

In some cases an Escrima Master would help 'his own' students learn the process of blade making and the student would eventually make his 'own blade'. The blade that the student made for himself was to be handled 'only by him'. Nobody else was ever allowed to touch it. He was expected to become one and the same with 'his blade'.

All of his Escrima practice was done with his own blade. Practicing 'only' with his own blade was believed to put the 'energy' of the man with the 'energy' of the blade: They both would eventually become one. A practice stick should be the same weight as his blade.

My Dad and I were driving to Tahoe City, Nevada when he explained some of the blade making process of his Uncle. It was 'all' that he remembered. My Dad was working in the Nevada Lodge in North Shore Lake Tahoe and I was driving him back to Nevada from Stockton, Ca. My Dad was about nine years old when he watched his Uncle make some of his blades. This was around 1912. Blade making was how his Uncle made 'some' of his living. He also grew, picked and dried herbs for sale, did some massage and grew crops to sell. It was an existence. There were times that my Dad was 'not' allowed to see parts of the blade making process. My Dad was basically 'allowed' to hand things to his Uncle.

The men who purchased his Uncles blades came and remained for a few days, before they left to return home. The men who purchased the blades were 'united' with the blade that was made for them. The arcane rituals that were used to 'unite' the blade and the men would be 'extremely' interesting to know.

I would love to reintroduce the process of students making their 'own blade'. A student would be 'making' a lifetime friend that would always be there in good times and in bad times. I love many of the old ways. A lot of the things that we now have to do and are now expected to believe in is bullshit. We now live carefully scripted lives that are determined by accountants, actuary tables, Madison Ave., promoters and politicians working at the beck and call of the Super Rich. I find comfort in the Old Ways. I just let others buy into the modern myth that we really do live safer and better lives. I pray for the day that 'all' students in FMA will start making their 'own blades'. I believe that this would help us remain in contact with ourselves.

I have no ill feelings about store bought blades. But a well made blade could be passed from father to son and in this way unite families in ways that are now being lost. A blade would have stories and history. This would also help us pass down our knowledge by teaching the art of FMA to following generations.

A small child would be surrounded by important family history when he walked into an area which has bladed family heirlooms. My thoughts anyway.

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Comment by Marc Lawrence on April 2, 2014 at 8:21pm

It is good these things for older times are not forgotten. The process of putting energy in something is important allow it flow your energy that is called Chi. As something is hand made wither it be a stick and knife or bolo builds energy. The Manongs knew this and would say that not all blades are met for all people. They said the blade had a Jen or spirit in it. Many older Filipino will not handle some older blades as they say they have bad Jen or bad energy. I was with friend and asked to look at blade, my friend would not handle it as he said it was murder blade, the blades owner at the swap meet wanted it sold as he said his wife wanted it gone. I found the blade had feeling like meeting up with and old friend that was a protector. The Manongs used call this protection magic. The blade now is at my home as part of my house hold. Not all blades were meant for all people because the energy they were tuned to flow. These are just my thoughts and experiences with this.

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