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Hello All,

This may already have been a topic but I think that with the untimely passing of Master Tony Diego, that the topic of preserving FMA needs to be discussed again.

For me as a Filipino-American, FMA is a rare jewel of the my culture that I feel should be promoted and shown not only to non-filipinos, but younger filipinos, especially those who live in and were born in America.

As instructors we wish to teach anyone who has a sincere determination to learn. For those of you who feel you have been successful in targeting filipino youth and youth in general, how did you go about doing it? Does it already happen and am I just paranoid. I just feel that, regardless of style, the younger generation should know that the Philippines has a bunch of formidable martial arts styles that they can choose from.

What do you guys think?


Guro Norman Malonzo

Inayan Martial Arts Association

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Guro Malonzo,

If I wanted to promote and educate the younger generation about Philippine martial arts, I would approach schools, churches, any civic groups and use social media, TV and radio stations. 

However, the first thing I would do is contact Guro Joven and his Bahala Na organization for advice, they seem to have mastered the preservation of FMA with their young students.

I found I had the most success in introducing the younger generation to FMA by first offering a different style martial art. Many of the younger generation students I had were timid, and not very confident in themselves. Empty hand self-defense seemed less intimidating to them. When I gained their trust, I could begin introducing stick work to them. To this day, many of those younger generation go on to LEO careers, and thank me for their arnis training.

Guro Dave

Here in Las Vegas when we started to promote the studio we went directly to the Fil-Am community and we're frustrated that although everyone agreed their children didn't even understand what "po" denoted and yes learning roots and culture is great, we got no new students from the marketing we performed.

Unsure if that is the case, but your post sort of touched upon that inside me.

Thanks for sharing

we here in Albuquerque NM have also used the Fil-AM association, we just tapped into the New Mexico Asian Family Center in promoting the art. 

It would be commendable to contact Guro Joven as the organization he is affiliated with Bahala Na Multi Style is very very good at promoting Filipino Martial Arts specially to the youth.  When I was able to bring my daughter to this school to train in FMA, they did a superb job in educating my American born Filipina daughter in the art of Eskrima.  The youth Eskrima classes of this institution is the biggest in terms of class size and the best in terms of quality of instructions in that they are passing down the art complete in its martial applications and as an art form for future generations.  It is highly suggestible to reach out to someone from this organization specially its seniors for some tips they would probably be open towards anything that helps and promotes the Filipino Martial Arts in general.

I have found that teaching the art to the youth back in the Philippines was a lot easier once they understood the history to it's current status of becoming the National Sport of the Philippines. Not only are the youth interested in learning, but adults also. Here in the States, I have approached many of the parents and asked, what made them enroll the kids in TKD or Karate. Their answer was that they were looking for what was popular with what other kids were taking.. Interesting to note that many of the Filipinos do not know of this art in it's entirety. Some have swung sticks in schools growing up, but that was the extent of their training. Maybe the approach should not be to teach it free to anyone that has interest, but make it the jewel that has value and teach it as such. I'm sure the TKD or Karate classes are not free, and commitment is made by the cost of lessons. FMA needs to be continually promoted thru seminars, exhibitions, local city events and such to allow others to see what we have seen and experienced. 

I don't market my school to any particular group; non Filipino, Filipino, Asian, etc. etc. instead I try and market my program to kids and adults.  I stress that I teach a complete art and that it is not arnis lite, as in an add on to my TKD program.

When we compete in open karate style tournaments, we all wear the same uniforms, put our belts the same way, I have them do the traditional Modern Arnis anyos, if they have weapon form divisions my students compete their as well.  We have a city festival coming up and we will be demoing our classes there again with my TKD students in one uniform doing TKD related things and my Modern Arnis students looking different doing Modern Arnis to try and set it apart from the "normal" TKD program.

In order to promote the FMAs we created a curriculum for our youth program taking out the knife work and making it more age appropriate.   I stress the working together, working with a partner, hand eye coordination, movement drills etc. etc. to the students and to the parents sitting there watching.  We stress that this is something different, it is special and it needs to be treated as such.  We stress the double stick for coordination and translate the movements to empty hand,even to the point of demoing everyday things like using a school back pack to block with etc. etc. The kids enjoy it because it is different and the parents like it because the kids are getting more confident and something useful for self defense.

I use to teach the FMAs only to adults, but you know the kids are the future and they are the more stable market, I realized this with my TKD program.  So I had to change my perspective so to speak, so we changed the curriculum by taking out the knife and espada y daga, because while the kids think it is cool, the parents right away say I don't want my kids learning knife fighting.  It is hard enough getting them past the sticks, but once I explain how we use the sticks as a tool to teach empty hand and self defense, the kids get excited and mom and dad accept it.  However they don't want to hear "In order to defend against the knife you must learn to use a knife."

To help market the FMAs to the youth; I believe we need to be careful about what we teach, how we present ourselves to the educators and to the parents.  For instance, I once had a friend who was a FMA enthusiast, who got to do a short demo for a public school and he chose to show them knife techniques (like how to cut) thinking he was showing them say self defense material and the teachers all saw it as he's teaching the kids how to seriously injure each other.  If we go in with our school T-shirts with the cool logos with all of the moro style blades, or the name KNIFE FIGHTERS GUILD or whatever, people aren't going to get past that, and they are going to think we are nuts trying to pass something so violent to youth of tomorrow.

I'm not advocating watering down the FMAs by any means, however if it is to survive beyond the small niche schools then it needs to change. For example look at karate, they leaders of the art changed it to get it into the schools, out into the public, they took it from being a backyard kind of a thing to where it was demoed before the leaders of their society and then imported to other countries.   Granted Karate/TKD has changed even more over the years, and hopefully the FMAs will never become a "Performance Martial Art" where we teach the kids to KIA on every move, run around with plastic toy weapons doing back flips and such. 

Just my thoughts submitted with respect.


In the old days in the Philippines and when the early Filipino immigrants came to California, all the games, dances and other activities the Filipino families were involved in were all directly related to Kali.

It's the buha (flower) that the general public sees and think that is Kali when in fact it's only the flower as the masses judge and condemn it without knowing what they are really looking at during demos or even Filipino celebrations. Kali is hidden in all the movenents in the dances and games the children play.It was hidden and practice right under the noses of the Spaniards! We are never told the sipa and mano mano games we are playing is martial arts or how to kill or stab someone. Our parents knew but never would tell us until we were bullied in school then our parents would send us kids to our ninong's or grandparent''s during summer time and we would be taught discipline and the interpretations of the games we were playing! It was such a big eye opener!

Now a days, the old traditional ways have been forgotten. The spiritual ways are not even taught, discussed or practiced in Kali class anymore. Healing is one of the highest goals of an Eskrimador. All the physical aspects of the art of Kali is only one of 3 levels to enlightenment. The physical is the grossest part of the art where as the mental discpline controlled by the conscious mind eventually wakes up the subconscious mind that is connected to your spirit, God and the Universe. So the muscle memory activates the conscious mind which opens the door to the subconscious mind and when all 3 memory categories merge together. You have natural reflexes that your everyday movements in your every day life are reinterpreted into strategic combative movements, without thinking!

I've always told all the new students that it is the duty of all the boys in the family to know Kali to learn how to protect all our loved ones, friends, clan and island..............PERIOD!  If they are not learning how to defend themselves and their family then they are not fulfilling their duty!

Most often, females are the victims of selfish, self centered desires and I tell all the females I come across that they should know how to protect themselves because their boyfriend, friends or family will not always be around to protect them.

Not too long ago, a distraught young man flipped out and couldn't handle being rejected by his girlfriend that just dropped him so he went to the night club to get his mind off his troubles.He was rejected by the Japanese girls at the club because of his attitude. So he left the club and jumped into his little sports car and decided to run over tourist walking along the side walk where he drove upon and did in fact injure 14 people and one of them died. His car finally came to a stop when he crashed his car into an ABC Store, just below Hard Rock Cafe' in Guam, right across the street from Planet Hollywood and DFS.

As many concerned Japanese tourists surrounded his car with the intent to care for the driver, a Japanese famiy, Grandmother 70, daughter 30 with 2 children, 1 ten month old child held in her arms were very close to the crash. As they attempted to help this guy, he jumped out with 2 knives in his hands with a look of evil intent. He slashed at the mother and baby as the baby sustained a laceration on it's face while the mother turned around at that moment to try to avoid the knife from injuring her baby as she turned away, he stabbed her in the back several times as her mother was watching horrified trying to assist her daughter then her mother (grandmother) also was stabbed several times. They both died from their stab wounds. They were visitng from Japan to attend their brother's (grandson's) wedding! This young Japanese mother was so beautiful! So sad and disheartening! What a waste!

The guy needed to be sent to Syria or Iraq just like a lot of the cops now that are ready to kill innocent people for no reason! We are living in Revelations!

How many guys out there driving around with a chip on their shoulder that have met the end of their rope ready to kill anyone at a moment's notice!

There's a 50% chance of someone become violent toward you that you don't even know!

Colleagues of mine have approached non-profit fil-am organizations to help spread the art to the public and to the youth in particular. The great thing about the non-profits is that government aid is available to help with the acquisition of gear - sometimes totally free. Certain university fil-am clubs are good opportunities to approach as well.

Interesting topic! As a non filipino I'd feel awkward trying to get Filipinos to learn my art (Balintawak) for cultural reasons. I believe I could teach the art just as well as some Filipinos or better but other than the art I can't offer much cultural context. What do you guys think of non Filipinos teaching FMA from a cultural perspective? Just as culturally relevant? Or would something be missing?

We demo whenever possible.............It lets the community know about our art & we feature are kids.

We find new students especially kids wanting to join afterwards!


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