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In the Martial "Arts", you hear about titles, rank, and where uniforms and rituals accent the training. Respect is sometimes given automatically, through inexperience rather than seeing, feeling and believing. After all one doesnt know what he doesn't know ! So assumtion is first hand.

 What I just wrote is how an inexperienced person AND unfortunately some experienced people, approach Instructors, Trainers, and the Martial "Arts" as a whole. 

Many  so called instructors go by many "Titles and rank, Grand Masters, Masters, MOTT's, Datus, Day 3"s, Day befores, Day afters, whatever you want to call them. 

I say, "train for the sake of training, and being the best you can be" Promote what you Teach n Do, rather than yourself !!!!!

I say "skill is rank", and if your gonna talk the talk, you better be prepared to walk the walk.  

How do you know you can fight if you never fight ?

"you cant go swimmimg and not get wet".  tm  and "If you touch me..... I will touch you back !!"

Theres only one way.............."if you see it taught , you see n feel it fought! "

Havin been there, both on the street and in the ring, I can tell you that the way you train, is the way you react!!!!! unless you've been there you havent a clue !!!!!!!!!

all respects, 

Mabuhay Ang Arnis/Boxing/Kickboxing

Views: 940

Comment by terry joven on November 28, 2012 at 9:17am


great post...i totally agree!

Comment by Guro Lawrence Motta on November 28, 2012 at 10:31am

Guro Andrew,

True, the way you train is the way you fight.  And, it is always amusing to see how technique gets thrown out the window when the bell rings.  Like Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get hit.  Putting your training into the crucible of full contact sparring is essential to finding the functional application of your training.  That's what I have always liked about boxing and fencing training.  After a technique lesson, we were always placed in the ring or on the strip to try to apply the newly learned technique in a live, full speed environment.  Thanks for the post.

Comment by terry joven on November 28, 2012 at 11:21am

"skill is rank", and if your gonna talk the talk, you better be prepared to walk the walk.


Comment by Jerome Barber, Ed.D. on November 28, 2012 at 1:00pm

Hello Andrew,

The credibility problem is found in every martial art, not just FMA.  It is a sorry, but all too real situation that needs to be addressed but the real question is how and by whom?  All i can do is remark on the people who I know and listen when others who I know and respect make statements.

All too often people do not speak up when they know of some sleazy behavior or some overly exaggerated claims being made by some people that they know!  And that should be the key element in speaking out... you know the person that you are outing very well.  Another part of the credibility problem is that even when we speak out loudly and clearly there are others who immediately assume that you are "sour-graping" and jealous of the other person's 'success'. Therefore the listener/reader will not trust your judgement.  The result is that most of us simply  shrug our shoulders, go about our own business and take care of our own schools.

I would like to promote a different paradigm.  Why don't we make positive references about those people whom we respect as accomplished martial artists and people of good moral character?  For instance, I always try to acknowledge the 'author' of the phrase "Skill is Rank".  That person is GM Tom Bolden, founder of the American Modern Arnis Associates, in Poughkeepsie, NY.  GM Tom begain using that phrase in 2003 and had it inscribed on his organizational tee-shirts that year.  He showcased the shirts and motto at the Modern Arnis Symposium in Buffalo, NY.

The shirt and motto were a bit hit at the Symposium.  A number of people associated with another organization tried to trash the motto and questioned it's validity for nearly a year afterwards.  Amazingly, a number of those very same detractors begain using the phrase themselves in their posts on a FMA forum, but they were careful not to mention where the  phrase came from or who authored it!

So I am hitch-hiking on your blog post to set the record straight and give my good friend the credit that he deserves.  I'm know that GM Tom doesn't mind people using the phrase "Skill is Rank" in their posts and discussions, but I believe that credit should be given where it is due as a matter of respect for others.

The use of inflated and/or unearned titles is nothing new in the martial arts.  It is also not the problem, it is merely a syntom of the very real and significant problem - lack of positive personal character qualities.  If these people will inflate their titles and ranks to gain some traction and attention, what else will they fabricate in order to gain visibility and attract students along with seminar dates or their pictures on magazine covers?

I fully agree with Terry Joven:

" "skill is rank", and if your gonna talk the talk, you better be prepared to walk the walk."

All too often the folks with the inflated titles and egos are very reluctant to show anything in terms of their knowledge and skills outside of any enviroment that they have control over.  So I doubt that we will ever see most of these self-proclaimed high ranking and titled folks actually being pushed to walk the walk.


Jerome Barber, Ed. D.




Comment by terry joven on November 28, 2012 at 1:24pm

Guro Lawrence and Mr Barber great replys!!

Comment by GURO ANDREW "TATTOO" FILARDO on November 28, 2012 at 1:37pm

Hello Mr. Barber, thanks for your insight, you write well. As far as the phrase "Skill is Rank", I never claimed to author it. I use it as it applies to the way I feel towards the Martial Arts and people of such. I know of GM Tom Bolden, but have never met him. Im sure if he did author that phrase or uses it, then I'd say hes my kind of Practitioner. 

Mabuhay Ang Arnis

Guro Andy

Comment by Jerome Barber, Ed.D. on November 29, 2012 at 12:22pm

Hello Andrew,

Please accept my apology for not making myself clear - I know that you did not claim to have authored the phrase "Skill is Rank" and I should have made that clear in my post.  And yes, GM Bolden did author that phrase and uses it as part of his system logo and philosophy in terms of teaching.  You should met him, here's not too far from you, if you are still near NYC.  GM Bolden is living and teaching in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Check out his YouTube video pages under "American Modern Arnis".  Look at his students.  The man is a highly skilled teacher and his tiles are truely earned and deservered.  I first learned about you through Elliot Shea and his FMA Magazine, plus your name come up in a postive manner in conversations that I had with GM Bram Frank and the late Professor Remy Presas. Thanks for your post here, it raises some very good points that need to be aired out if the FMA are going to grow stronger over time, rather than get diluted by wimmpy-assed title seekers who are essentually skilless, but they were great gis, beautifully colored belts, and claim for themselves superlative titles that are usually only given by others as a sign of respect and admiration.


Jerome Barber, Ed. D. 

Comment by GURO ANDREW "TATTOO" FILARDO on November 29, 2012 at 1:20pm

Hello Mr. Barber,

Apology accepted, but not needed. And thanks for commenting on my Blog. Looking fowards to meeting one day and Master Bolden as well.

Mabuhay Ang Arnis

Comment by Guro David Battaglia on November 29, 2012 at 4:07pm
Seems to me rank and titles should describe what a person is and does, or was and did. (Bill Smith, Sgt. US Army (ret.) or Muhammad Ali, former heavyweight professional boxing champ.) BTW, didn't Rocky Marciano say, "Everyone has a plan, until they get hit."
Sometimes, physical performance will diminish over time, even if the martial artist stays active. This can be due to arthritis, old injuries, or lack of practice. If the martial artist was legit, no problem. However, the martial artist should be humble enough to concede the passing of time.
IMO, excellent martial arts teachers can remain excellent for a very long time (barring disease or serious injury), and can legitimately claim the title for a long time.
Comment by terry joven on November 29, 2012 at 4:56pm

Mataw Guro David...

i think u corrected me once on that saying also!!

anyway i like your point of view "Seems to me rank and titles should describe what a person is and does"

it does not mean you are higly means that is your title and job discription.... when i was in the army i knew a lot of NCO's and Officers that i would not follow into battle!

anyway great comment i have to remember that one!


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