FMA and the MEDIA

Visayan Legacy Association

Filipino Martial Arts School
January 13, 2009

I am pleased to announce that Filipino Martial Arts School a branch of Visayan Legacy Association is up and running.  Moving to the Philippines I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn so much more about the FMA world especially since it came from here.  And I’ve always wanted to start my own school and have my own students.  But I envisioned that further down the road.  Not necessarily in the Philippines but somewhere down the road.  But circumstances has forced me to move my expected date further up.  For it is scarce to find a decent FMA school here in Manila nor is the typical Pinoy know anything about FMA.  And to makes matters worse more Pinoys are interested in foreign martial arts instead of even learning our own art. 
WHERE?
So I decided to start my own school.  Now starting one was a process in itself.  Now most FMA school here in Manila (at least that I know of) don’t have a formal gym to call their own.  Which is not to surprising to me since FMA has a tradition to be taught at home and only within the family.  And also it’s expensive, and anyone who’s anyone knows you can’t get rich with just teaching FMA.  Most of the FMA groups that I found train out of Luneta Park on Sundays.  So finding one was difficult, especially since Manila is as foreign to me as CHINA.  I don’t know where to start looking nor do I know who can help me look.  Especially since I had to find a place to live to begin with.  I started making inquiries but with a limited budget (none actually) it made things even more difficult.  But thank GOD that my church CENTRAL UMC allows me to use the place for free on Mondays and Tuesdays 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM.  So now I have a place to call my own.  Now we got to start getting students.  
Price
How much do I charge? Normally I would calculate the cost then mark it up, but my cost is minimal.  Then of course if I was going to capitalize on the DOCE PARES name I have to make sure that I don’t charge to low where the “home” school will get mad at me.  But all in all with advices from friends and themselves school owners I set a price that I feel is competitive.  So the place and price is set. 
Marketing
Even though I like to think myself as a natural marketing person, being in the Philippines the mentality is different.  But I was determined to take advantage of it.  I know that once I get the “gist” I should be able to start making headway.  Now I don’t have a high budget, but I found a place that charges me 210 PhP to print 2000 flyers.  I mean designing was never a problem and now the printing isn’t either.  I noticed that people hand out flyers here like crazy so I thought I should join the fray.  If anything it could just be a business card.  But like they say, you get what you pay for.  The one tool that has been generating all my business is the web.  Now I assumed that here in the Philippines that the internet is not as easily accessible.  Man was I wrong.  I knew I should have stuck with my instincts and go online media.  Like 99% internet.  Thanks to my friend Aaron Grodin from DruidsDesign he came up with a wicked starter site.  I always loved his designs especially they are more geared towards marketing and not just flare.  After going back and forth over what to name it, God gave me the perfect name for my school.  I wanted something straight to the point and short.  FMASCHOOL.com, I couldn’t believe it was available and now it is mine.  
Getting my name out
So another great site is FMAFORUM.org, where anyone whose anyone can hook up with FMA’ers from all over the world.  So I started posting and starting some threads, and even got to meet some great people.  Kabayo and Diego_Vega has been great support to my school.  But Diego Vega who is really Roland Isla of Kali De Leon even asked me to do a demo.  Here are some pictures from it…

The demo was fun and I think Roland’s students got a kick out of it.  But it’s good to expose our styles to other styles…
But the ultimate was when SPORTS21 contacted me last friday and asked if we wouldn’t mind appearing on National TV and have a one hour special on my school.  After I got Master Sonny’s blessing as well as my students we had filmed yesterday.  I felt that the experience was great but what was more gratifying how much my students really enjoyed our class.  And how they have adopted my philosophies when it comes to Eskrima and life.  
OVERALL
It has been a great experience so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.