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I've heard this so called title used so loosely over the years. What makes a Grand Master? Is it superior skill over others? A position held in a school? I will put myself on the chopping block, so to speak. I have trained in FMA for 10 yrs. , 27 to include all training. I am now in the process of formulating my own school and style of Arnis. Does this qualify me to call myself a "Grand Master"? Opinions vary fellow Warriors let's hear yours. Respectively, just Guro Nico.

Views: 51

Comment by terry joven on March 14, 2011 at 3:51pm

Its a good question....

there are so many out there.

some have inhierted the position, some have been given the title. some are self-proclaimed.

Some have high skill and some are less skilled.

but when i picture a grandmaster in my mind..... he is usually very old and wise... but still can teach and has many highly skilled escrimadors "masters" and i use that term loosely & guros  who have very high skills... and they  have many skilled students under them.

Comment by terry joven on March 14, 2011 at 3:54pm

Forgot to add

thats my opinion.



Comment by Master Lee Gagnon on March 14, 2011 at 6:21pm

My opinion is the GM should be the head of the system, not necessarily the most skilled but the person who has absolute authority as to what is or is not the techniques of the art. As a result there can only be one GM, it does not make sense to have a multitude proclaiming the title. 


Lee G

Comment by Chris Soriano on March 14, 2011 at 8:04pm

What is a grandmaster is a very good question.  I share manong Terry's image of a GM and that of a old and wise type with a following.  However this is just an image, not necessarily what may qualify for any titles.


In the society that we live in, titles and formalities is a way of life.  Credentials has its purposes.  As far as FMA is concerned, what matters to me most is the skill and knowledge that not only the intructor shares but the skills of the students as this is reflection of the teacher's caliber.


I for one don't much care about titles.  What matters to me most are the skills and knowledge that the guros are able to pass on to their students.  When you come to someone for instructions, especially when you play Arnis with them, the truth will come out if that person is worth his salt.


From the perspective of a student (me), an ideal person to be called a Grandmaster is someone knowledgeable and proficient in the martial arts who cares for their students as they would their own child.  They lovingly, painstakingly, and to the best of their abilities instruct, guide, and help develop the individual's potential.  


A capable martial artist who in turn can develop knowledgeable and formidable exponents, shouldn't that person be worthy of being called "Grandmaster?"

Comment by Joe Virata on March 15, 2011 at 12:57am

I believe a Grand Master is one who has taught others to teach others.  A Grand Master has a vision for the growth and development of a system, and ensures that instructors and students within that system adhere to the standards, principles,  and core values that are a part of that system.  A Grand Master leads a community of instructors and their students toward excellence in their system, and in their daily lives.


Just my thoughts.

Comment by Craig Sira on March 15, 2011 at 6:59am

It has to be the most abused title in the martial arts.  Most who use it are a joke. If they call themself Master or Grandmaster then I highly recommend to avoid them.


There are no standards in its use. 

Comment by Glenn Abrescy Jr. on March 15, 2011 at 8:58pm

I should start by saying there are many in the Martial Arts that carry the Master/Grandmaster titles that "in my opinion" have earned and are deserving. To them we all owe a great deal of thanks and respect.


Now in response to the topic: The general public who are "not in the know" of the arts we teach make cetrain assumptions about people who carry Master, Grandmaster, and other variations of the Master titles. They, like most of you here, like me share a collective ideal of what makes a Master or Grandmaster. However, most fall short of these ideals and as Mr Sira stated, "...most are a joke and should be avoided." I think what "ticks off" most is false title bearers misrepresent and bring down the values (hard work, skill, continued use, and progression) in FMA we hold dear. In a lot of ways they make us all look bad because their title makes them a representative of our arts.


It should be noted that in certain sections of our old culture, there were no titles. You either knew Escrima or you didn't. And if your reputation or you mouth got too big, it wouldn't be long before someone from another barrio would challenge you (live stick/stick and dagger/live bolo) in the search of money, knowledge, or to boost their name. I have experienced first hand that in later elderly years, many skilled fighters and war veterans would deny their knowledge of Escrima or prepare themselves to fight upon hearing you were coming to "visit" or "learn from them." They were still in the mind set of getting challenged.


As for Guro Nico's question about calling himself Master/Grandmaster. It's a complicated question with many correct and incorrect answers. In the end it doesn't matter what anyone thinks about your decision. It should only matter to you. But, I humbly suggest you ask yourself these questions to help you find your way. In your heart, do you meet your own personal criterial that you would place on other Masters? Would your training partners that you learned the arts with agree that you should carry the title? Would all your collective teachers of 27 years agree that you should be awarded the title? If you walked into a room of elderly "untitled" escrimadors, would you still feel good about your title? If challenged... are you ready to fight? If you chose to fight or not, would you be happy with your decision?


Great topic. Let us know what you decide.

Comment by nicolas payan on March 15, 2011 at 10:19pm

Glenn, first and foremost let me thank you and everyone for your wonderful insights and honest  opinions. My words are not intended to in any way dishonor or disrespect anyone who carries this title. It is fortunate that in all my years of training, i have been blessed to see individuals who are worthy of this title . But at the same token, it has been misfortunate that i have also seen people who are not.

       As far as what to call myself is concerned, It will simply stay Guro, and i only use that title by default. In my opinion, the best recoginition, is the recognition you receive by your peers and those you are blessed to lead. To all my fellow Warriors, Maraming Salamat.

Comment by Craig Sira on March 16, 2011 at 8:12am
Exellent comments Glenn.  I'm no where near so elqouent with words.  When i got into the FMA it was very rare for someone to be called a master let along grandmaster.  Now it seems like everyone puts the title before the name.  Titles are really irrelevent except the mis-perceptions from the public which is clueless and looks for titles to determine level of expertise.  I wish there was standards for the titles including black belts and instructors but that is wishfull day-dreaming.
Comment by Al S on March 16, 2011 at 9:16am


Is 10 years (training/instruction every day or  three times a week or twice a week or once a week or seminar a month) in FMA enough to know how to formulate your own system of Arnis?

Who cares what the general public thinks, does your instructor(s) approve of you renaming their system?

Is it okay for you to name the system(s) and instructor(s) you have learned from in your 10 years?


Have you tested yourself to a point that you know your system of Arnis will work?




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