By Bong Abenir
Filipino Martial Arts is more than just the acquisition of skills. There are many who may be far more superior with their physical abilities and are lauded as having some form of greatness and are therefore measured by these standards. Their focus is geared to things such as having the best equipment, all the modern facilities and a fascination for the best scientific approach to learning and practicing. Everything about acquiring more strength, speed and power, is their goal. It is all about themselves.
Sadly, that is also the reason why they tend to drop (ignore) what seems to be unimportant to them, like giving proper respect to their teachers (many of which they now scoff at as merely old school and superstitious folks). Many more arrogant attitudes towards FMA traditions and culture as well as values which they see as antiquated.
Yes, we sometimes envy those who have the best in almost everything as far as modernity is concerned but one thing is for sure. We know very well that the true study of Filipino martial arts goes beyond all these. It goes deeper than what most could understand or grasp within a few years of training. Things that are deeply rooted in our culture, traditions and values which gives it more meaning. It is a living art which affects the wholeness of one’s person-hood. It is not just about the external trappings that goes along with it such as mere prowess in physical skills, attributes, fame, awards, citations, trophies, a successful business by making a career out of it or more students which equates to having more monetary rewards and others.
These things, though sometimes important to us are not considered as the true measurement of ones greatness which we want to achieve as a true Kalista, Eskrimador or Arnisador. There are indeed far noble things to aspire for. We also aim to strike a balance in the ability to discipline one’s thoughts, emotions, judgments and religiosity which allows us to have room for kindness, compassion, respect and other desirable traits. We treat our knowledge as a way to help others and use the physical aspects as the very last option in dealing with violence. For us, pakikipag kapwa tao (“the way we relate or treat our fellow men”), is far more important.
We value the opinion of others and take into considerations most especially our old folks who practice the old traditions of healing and even mysticism without offending them just for the sake of forcing them to believe in our modern way of thinking. We believe in maintaining a good camaraderie among our fellow ekrimadors even though we may be highly opinionated about our own styles and systems which may be seen as sort of having a dysfunctional relationship.
But in truth, we are highly respectful towards one another and are ready to give a helping hand when needed (we still have in us that “Bayanihan” spirit). We believe in doing good unto others even though the deed is not reciprocated by the other. Ipinapagpasa Dios nalang ang lahat so that He may be the one to reward our efforts.
Our personhood rests upon our understanding of each other’s personality. And this is what’s more important to us. These are the deeper things about the Filipino Martial Arts.
Check out Maestro Abenir’s book!
Maestro Bong Abenir reveals dozens of practical self-defense techniques in six major categories — Hand vs. Hand, Hand vs. Knife, Hand vs. Bolo, Knife vs. Knife, Bolo vs. Bolo, and Improvised Weapons. Starting with easy ways to stay aware of your surroundings in areas where attacks commonly occur, these proven fighting techniques are backed up with guiding principles necessary for success, as well as detailed explanations of the body’s most vulnerable striking points, and specific rules for common-sense self-defense.
Save 20% OFF today!
Enter Code: Save20 at checkout