Belting System in the Filipino Martial Arts
Pedro Reyes one of my teachers in Arnis, told me that the only thing a belt does is to hold your pants up (what color that maybe.) Well…..that’s probably true when we’re talking about what we usually practice here in our country, where we don’t normally issue belts to our students but rather we just let our students keep on practicing until he or she becomes proficient in the art and finds himself an apprentice to pass on the art. Or if a student suddenly realizes that he has been hanging around with him for too long then that’s his time to go his on way.
But of course there are others such as Modern Arnis who adopted the beltings system which could also be very helpful when it comes to student evaluation whether he or she has been learning the art properly and in accordance to the principles, guidelines and techniques found within the system or style.
Probably the craziest thing adopted by some systems is by using the terms used by tribal ethnic groups such as datu or village chieftain to signify their ranks on their system. I won’t be surprised if one day the term alkalde, konsehal and senador would be used as well….susmaryosep!
As for me it’s not what color of your belt that counts, but what you can give when it comes to sparring or fighting. You may have a black belt wrapped around your person but if you can’t fight, then that’s just what it is, a thing to hold your pants up.
Stick fighting and knife fight are two different things
I have heard a lot of old-timers in Filipino Martial Art Circle says that learning how to use the stick will automatically give you the ability to translate it’s techniques into knife work or whatever impact or edged weapon you are using. I do believe that there are similarities with the movements being used for each weapon but then again it also has its differences. And by knowing this simple fact would give you an understanding of up to what point a certain weapon is effective and where its limitations lie. (It could even save your life!)
Knowing how to wield a stick does not mean that you know how to wield a knife effectively. First of all a stick is an impact weapon, and the way you generate force in order to use it effectively as a weapon is very much different from a knife which is designed to cut, thrust or hack that requires a different kind of timing and handling compared to the stick or any kind of impact and edged weapon for that matter. No amount of stick fighting would prepare a student for knife work not unless he trains in the use of such weapons. So the assumption that learning how to use a stick could be easily translated into knife work or vise versa is not true. Although they might argue that the angles are the same and movement are the same is true but the law of physics when it comes to the use of different kinds weapons says it isn’t. Try wielding a stick and a bolo or a jungle knife and you’ll know what I mean.