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The Filipino Martial Arts Legacy by Francis T.B. Serrano and Ollie Salvador

This post is dedicated to SGM Cacoy Cañete.  I never had the distinct honor of ever training directly with this legend, but I have met many who have.  If the character of the teacher is measured by the character of his students, then SGM Cacoy Cañete was indeed an honorable man.
As I write this, I am actively doing everything within my power to propagate the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA).  I have hosted seminars and tournaments, and I believe I have done a lot to showcase these beautiful martial arts.  But just like many journeys, it requires a point of origin.  It is easy to forget that the Philippines is still a relatively young country.  Although it’s people have existed there for hundreds (and maybe thousands) of years, the Spanish occupied the Philippines from 1565 to1898, and after that the United States colonized the Philippines from 1898 to 1946 – so  the Philippines has been under foreign rule for over 300 years.  It is only now in recent times that we are coming into our own identity.
The Filipino Martial Arts are experiencing a renaissance, where more practitioners are joining, and great instructors are emerging.  On July 27, 2009, Republic Act 9850, declaring Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines, was brought into existence.  Hollywood has started to recognize the beauty, combat effectiveness, and dynamic nature of FMA, and the rest of the world will soon follow.  Instructors such as Ray Dionaldo, Doug Marcaida, and Percival Pableo are starting to break ground and are increasingly recognized by a growing audience of Filipino martial arts enthusiasts.  I know there are many more instructors out there that haven’t been recognized yet, but I strongly believe that they will soon, for FMA is growing – and this era of social media is helping to push the Filipino martial arts into the front and center of people’s awareness.
It is important to appreciate the future, and to appreciate the future we must covet the journey, which must inevitably start at the beginning.  George Santayana said, “To know your future you must know your past.”  This is surely a journey that will bring us full circle.
No matter how fast the Filipino martial arts seem to be growing, we must never forget where we came from.  Many of the Filipino Grand Masters, the true pioneers of FMA, are dying at a rate faster than anyone can fill in the void that they have left in their passing. How many more times will be left where we can we say that we trained with those people who proved the effectiveness of the Filipino martial arts on the battlefield?  
These Grand Masters are national cultural treasures, and as such, we must seek to preserve both their knowledge and the spirit of their arts.  They are the last vital link to our past – our proud heritage that is soaked with the blood of our warrior ancestors.  We must cling to them with all of our might and study the fundamentals of critical knowledge that they left for us, so that we may take the art to new and higher levels.  Advancing the Fundamentals begins with mastery of them, and the practitioner’s journey begins from there.  The only way for us to take FMA to the next level is to know and respect where we came from…to walk the path of our venerable ancestors – and walk new paths to greatness, so that one day, we may stand beside them…kindred spirits from the past and the future, connected by a timeless art, and a warrior’s destiny.
Master Nito Noval of West Coast Doce Pares
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THIGH PADS NECESSARY OR NOT?

I have heard many times that the GSBA board should outlaw THIGH PADS.  I have heard both sides of the argument and it actually extends further than just thigh pads but hockey gloves.  So let me first what are the arguments. 

For (Outlawing Thigh Pads & Hockey Gloves)
When fighting, the fear of pain or injury sets a mind set of self preservation. As a result a person would be more apt to be more cautious and if they do get hit at a certain spot they will be protective of that one spot. Their whole fight plan changes because of the injury and the need to protect the injured area. I quote Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the face.”  Extra thick padding negates that mentality of self-preservation, they don’t have the fear of injury thus creating a false sense of security thinking that the kamikaze style is the way to fight, but in reality it is not. In a real life situation you would not have extra padding. Thus tournaments should make it illegal to wear hockey or thick gloves and thigh pads. Just the standard body armor and helmet. 
Against:
The argument against the outlawing of Hockey Gloves and hockey thigh pads does not refute the above arguments. In fact I personally agree with it. As a practitioner I do not likes to wear a lot of armors. I think the more armor you wear the slower you become. So you become nothing but an oak tree, a stationary target.  Unfortunately that point of view cannot  be afforded here in the United States. 
Our society is a society that is ready to file a lawsuit on anyone irregardless of its merit. The whole suing McDonalds because the person didn’t know the coffee was hot is just a long list of frivolous lawsuit clogging up our courts. As a former member of the Global Stick and Blade Alliance USA board of directors as well as WEKAF USA we had to think about the good of the entire organization not just the tournament. Hypothetically, if the directors were to create a rule banning thigh pads and hockey gloves to be worn during matches, that opens up the organization for possible lawsuit. Imagine if a fighter got hurt because we banned thigh pads, and that same person is unable to work due to injury, that fighter has the right to sue the organization for income loss and medical expenses as well any other expenses incured. Then the organization might have to fold due to the lawsuit and believe me the organization does NOT have a lot of money. What the organization can do to limit it’s exposure is set a minimum guidelines and discourage competitors from adding on from the minimum. To say they cannot wear a particular protective gear is too dangerous for the organization. 
So at this point I’ll let you decide what you think should be done, talk to your regional director and or national director and tell them as a member of GSBA USA in good standing I believe we should…

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The real opponent

We all have it, our very own pre fight ritual. What ever we all need to be able to get us to the place where the warrior meets the ring. But when you prepare yourself I encourage you to consider what or who are your preparing for.  I know there isn’t anyway for your to know who you would be facing in the ring at least not till they call your name.  

Sometimes your biggest opponent isn’t the guy in front of you. It’s that person inside of you that ones that wants to quit in the middle of the third round and your hurting all over and you just don’t have any more gas in the tank. That same voice that’s get louder and louder as you get tireder and tireder. When you ask yourself is this last mile worth it. Is 99% good enough? 

That’s when you find the warrior in you. It is when you say to that voice, I will not be mediocre, I will not settle for good enough and if I go down, then let me go down swinging. 

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the Gathering – BAHAD ZUBU Seminar

February 21, 2009 – Anaheim CA As I look around this row of office complexes the scene does not fit what was in my head. But there it was a group of Filipino Martial Artist stretching and twirling and preparing themselves for the physical demands of the day ahead of us.

Bahala Na style of Grandmaster Leo Giron starts the day. This would be my first exposure to their style, as they start showing the basics of the five strikes, they definitely have emphasized LARGO style fighting. The movements are interesting as they are focusing this as a bladed style of fighting. I was having difficulties with the timing. For that is key in there system. It’s almost about striking firs. GM GIRON was a soldier in WW2 and I can definitely see the influence on that. What was fun was when we started sparring sessions and I must admit I got clocked right on the hand and that is why it took me this long to type it out since my hand still hurted.

Bahad Zubu – GM Yuli Romo’s style is a huge contrast as it was more corto ranges and although still bladed emphasized about baiting your opponent. Checking as well as of course foot work. John Brown the organizer as well as the teacher of Bahad Zubu was awesome. His technique and passion is apparent. A friend of mine said that there is a strong Ilustrisimo influence and I can see that.

Blaise Loong had a style but not really a name unfortunately I couldn’t stay long enough to see the whole demonstration.

Overall for the price and the exposure I felt that I got my money’s worth as well as making some new friends.