- Filipino Martial Arts Network is the premier social network for everyone interested or involved with the Filipino Martial Arts. features include photos, videos, events, forums, blogs, chat, and more.

News Feed

Lesley Parker is now a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network
19 hours ago
terry joven posted a photo
19 hours ago
Raul Marquez posted a video

Mastering the Flow of the Sword | Sola Blanca | Kalis Ilustrisimo Eskrima

Kalis Ilustrisimo Eskrima Rizal Park Manila PHL 2011 August
20 hours ago
Mario A. Lorenzana posted a status
"everybody comes to this world to learn something new everyday..."
Mar 13
Profile IconMario A. Lorenzana and David Scott Young joined - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Mar 9
Guro Lawrence Motta posted a blog post

On Follow ups

In a martial arts system that is primarily based on the block and counter theory, understanding and…See More
Mar 9
Sam We updated their profile
Mar 2
Robert O. Hickey is now a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Mar 1
Damien Crompton is now a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Feb 27
Guro Lawrence Motta posted a blog post

On Abaniko

Abaniko is a great style to learn for scenarios where your back is against an obstruction or…See More
Feb 27
Claus Overgaard is now a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Feb 26
Aliana Eunice Mariano Cotejo is now a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network
Feb 12

I wanted to have a brief chat about style. One thing I have learned over the years is that each player has their own style; distinct, individual, unique. Yet, how does that square with the need for conformity and consistency in curriculum? I have to teach the same technique to a wide range of individuals. Does that mean that I have to change the technique for each student or is it the student who needs to change? My Dad was a strict Biology professor. His opinion was that it was the obligation of the student to go to the teacher, not for the teacher to "dumb down" his lesson. I can agree with that but I often remind him that his students' most loved lesson was his "Champagne Lecture" in which he set a table with some of the products of biology we consume; cheese, salami, bread, and Champagne. Once the table was set, he would invite a pretty young student to join him for lunch and dismiss the class. (Okay, it was a different time). The class loved it. It was pure theater, hardly a droning lecture on mitosis. So, strict dispensing of canonized curriculum isn't really the only way to impart knowledge. There has to be a certain amount of art, creativity, expression of the individual.

Moreover, how does this relate to preserving an art as individuals with their own interpretations take the art out into the world and spread it? I have always been of the opinion that the art is indeed living and students should be encouraged to bring creativity and their individual style into the art after they have mastered the basics and fully understand the concepts that underlie the art. Demanding a dogmatic adherence to a "standard", I have always felt, is a path to stagnation and more an expression of fear than dedication. An art should adhere to standard principals and concepts but should be allowed to flourish and grow and manifest in the individuals who practice it as the unique expression of their personalities and body types.

I watched a video of a master of Escrima playing his version of Larga Mano yesterday. Much as I would like to level some severe criticism on his style, I have to step back and celebrate his unique take on the art. It's not what I was taught. It has some concepts I would take issue with but it is his and it shows some of the most important concepts of the art. His unique play is an indication of the diversity in which one art can manifest. It stands in stark contrast to the style of play of other graduates. It is unique, his own artful expression; neither more nor less valid than any other. And, if we fail to recognize and celebrate the diversity one art can inspire, we will certainly kill it. In an effort to codify, "dogmatize" or otherwise hold fast an art, we risk choking it to death by quelling criticism, individual expression and curiosity. There is risk too in letting an art go and flourish and adapt. But, that risk can be mitigated by adhering to sound principals and basic concepts while embracing individual artistic interpretation. It would be a grand departure for that master to institutionalize his style as the standard or for students to believe that his rank eliminates all options for interpretation or expression. I think it is best to see the personal expression each player brings to the art as their unique style and a positive celebration of diversity, not a negative threat to authority.

Play on with a living art and always feel free to ask questions.


Views: 52

Comment by Zach Jenkins on June 28, 2017 at 10:57am

A very good blog post Guro Lawrence and topic I bring up periodically to my group.  In my opinion a student that knows nothing about a martial art system should ensure that the follow their teacher to the letter.  It is critical that a student learn what makes the art valid.  Effectiveness depends on each individuals effort to learn and practice the art under realistic terms.  Once a student understands the art and can use with proficiency, a student then makes the art their own by using it in the most effective means that they are comfortable with. This is the most advanced method in my opinion, sort of like a university student completing grad school by producing their own thesis. It is a way of showing that the individual has attained a sort of mastery in the workings of what they spent so much time studying.  

Just my two cents


You need to be a member of - Filipino Martial Arts Network to add comments!

Join - Filipino Martial Arts Network

© 2018   Created by John R. Malmo.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service