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Why did you choose FMA to train and what helped you choose the style that you currently train in?

Just wondering what was it that brought people on the path to the styles of FMA that they currently train in.

For me, I love weapons and always wanted to learn how to use them. 

I never really did much martial arts (except a few judo classes in school) and met a group of people that mentioned they were learning how to use swords, spears, axes etc. And needles to say, i jumped at the chance!

Was there I met my current teacher, Jon and he was also training in escrima and silat and i joined his club when he set it up. And now i train in Giron Arnis Bahala Na, Lacoste kali and Balinatawak.

Interested to hear how others got to where they are in their FMA training if they care to share?

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I currently am studying Modern Arnis.  My initial intent was studying Sayoc Kali, as that was my first exposure to FMA.  However, I live in a very, very small state, and could not find Kali anywhere close to me.  It was by happenstance, when I moved to my current residence, that the local dojo offered Modern Arnis. 

Immediately, I was hooked, and in the end, I think I am happy I did not end up with Sayoc.  Though I would like to try Pekiti Tirsia!

For me it is the adaptability of FMA that makes me love these arts so much.  I love how a good arnisador can adapt to alomost any fighting situation....from long range striking to clinching and grappling, with a good understanding of arnis a good fighter can adapt to anything thrown at him or her.  When I found FMA I had a pretty solid background in Muay Thai already.  I still train and teach Muay Thai....but I love arnis as well.  It is actually getting hard for me to seperate both of them...they are blending together.  This just shows another way FMA is so adaptable.  Arnis seams to be able to blend with most fighting systems and enhances whatever other martial arts you may be trained in.  However if you are like me FMA may take over and become your main focus. 

Well said Joel. 

Where I study Modern Arnis, the primary art taught there is Kempo Jujitsu, and my instructor is not only an extremely skilled Arnisador, but a black belt in Judo and Kempo.  You can tell he is able to add the fine points of both of those arts to the curriculum. 

I truly enjoy the FMA for it's duality; it's simple, yet so complex at the same time.  The way it is taught as opposed to other Martial Arts is fascinating, as my instructor put it, it's not a progression of techniques, rather a "web of techniques".  We go over the basic, intermediate, and advanced techniques as one class.  I believe that with this methodology, one can truly "find the art within their art", as the late Prof. Presas stated. 

Mine was a rather circuitous route. I had trained in other things - mostly Okinawan Goju-Ryu - for ~17 years when I was introduced to FMA. At first it didn't interest me beyond some curiosity because it was a 2.5 hour commute each way to train with the instructor I had met. Then the instructor brought out some Silat and I was blown away. For me, the Silat was worth the 5 hours of driving. I did that for a year then moved.

My instructor, Guru Ken Pannell had laid out his curriculum so he taught FMA (mostly Inosanto blend material) before he really focused on the Silat. I trained in the FMA basically to get to the Silat.

Over time my love for the FMA increased but the Silat was still where my passion was.

Then in '98 I attended a seminar with GM Cacoy Cañete. I loved training with him and loved what he taught. By ~'01 I was *very* interested in his system and traveled quite a bit to train with him when he was teaching here in the States. In fact, I overheard him telling someone about me the last time I visited him in Cebu. He said, "When I went to the States, I taught in Pennsylvania. And there was Mike. When I taught in Indiana, there was Mike. In Ohio, there was Mike. He was even in California sometimes."

In '10, I spent 6 weeks in Cebu, training at the CDP HQ. It was a phenomenal experience because all my prior training in CDP had been at seminars with GM Cacoy. Seeing how it was taught on a daily basis in the group classes answered a lot of questions for me and helped me understand the system a lot better than I previously had. At that point I switched pretty much exclusively to CDP.

All the stick work in my curriculum is CDP. The blade material I teach is still primarily from Sikal but all my stick work is CDP. I can still do a lot of the material from Sikal but I rarely train it anymore.

I've always favored close quarter fighting/training. That's what originally attracted me to the Silat. It was all extreme close quarters. It was like finding my way home after ~17 years of searching (basically my whole life at that point, I was 23). When I was introduced to CDP it was like finding an FMA equivalent. CDP meshes with my Silat incredibly well - especially the Eskrido aspects of CDP.

I train privately with GM Latosa because he is a no frills type of teacher, we never go over traditional wording, forms,etc........we cover balance and reality never delving into the over complicated ruttines so many teachers use to stretch out the lessons for the sake of income. I personally come from a street fighter back ground and have no use for the commercialism of most martial instructors. ^_^

Started judo as a kid, stopped due to a back injury, got into traditional tae kwon and Okinawan karate during college and grad school.  You get exposed to all sorts of martial arts once you get your feet wet.  Initially, I was attracted to FMA because of the simplicity and practicality of a stick as a weapon, but as I got into kuntaw kali kruzada under Datu Rich Acosta, I found an extremely practical form of both armed and unarmed self-defense.

My Wing Chun Sifu had died and I was now a Sifu teaching and I had met some FMA people and noticed the compatibility of Wing Chun and Kali [they are both based on Southern Shaolin]. Then I met James Keating and the rest is history.

Also I have used Kali professionally in my work for the government and it saved my life so...

I got introduced to FMA when my Silat Master  Guru Jak had to leave to go back home, and so since there werent many silat teachers about I started doing JKD - Kali for a couple of years and from that fell into the FMA fully started off with Rapid Arnis and then Warriors Eskrima. My silat training took over again for a long time in the mid 90's and a few years back, met my current teacher Guru Felix Valencia, who brought back my love for the FMA and now currently learning, studying and teaching Valencia Lameco in Ireland.

I am currently studying Kombatan Arnis. I have trained martial arts since I was 10 (some 15 years ago), and have been studying many different styles. I came across the Philippino styles in probably the most cliché way of all; saw it in a film. The double sticks were something I hadn't seen before, and a bit of research told me of the breadth of the styles; the sticks, the knives, the swords, the empty-hand techniques. I found a school near my home (impressive, as there are only a handful of schools in my country), and got to train under a phenomenal master (GM Toby Hartelius), and his training is what has kept me in the game.

I originally began studying FMA with a visiting instructor as an offshoot to my Chinese Boxing in Jacksonville, FL.  I had a knack for it, and loved its simplicity - how you could preform basically the same moves with baston, knife, and hand.  It was practical and effective for modern defense purposes.  As a result, I began leaving town to study with Buji Mateen and attending workshops.  That was many years ago.  I currently do not study anywhere because of financial and transportation difficulty.  My son and I, both, would love to begin training together. We are just waiting for the right circumstances to present themselves.

As with many people here, I started with TaeKwon Do and Karate. I made black sash in Wing Chun. I moved to northwest Arkansas looking for another kung fu instructor, preferably Wing Chun. No luck so I contacted John Malmo and noticed how the principles and the flow are very similar. A lot of similarities also in what we called trapping and chi sao. I fell in love with the empty hand aspects of the Filipino martial arts and though I have not been able to practice lately or work out with John, I learned a great appreciation for the weapons aspect. Weapons are barely touched on in my previous arts and this is I believe a needed aspect in some of this training.  My sifu barely touched on the buttefly swords or the long pole. Now I feel I have a more rounded training curriculum.

"Why did I choose FMA to train?"  If I said because it was the best, people would think, oh yeah, he's an FMA practitioner so naturally that's what he would say.  But the truth is, FMA is the one of the only arts that maintained it's effectiveness.  The real question is why... Why have the Filipino martial arts maintained their effectiveness where the others have not?


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