Many of us have a style of martial arts that we love to do: Brazilian Jujitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, etc. As a first timer practitioner of any martial arts, Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is the art that intrigues me the most and I wanted to learn more about it. FMA allows me to learn the basic movements with a stick made out of rattan, also called as baston. It helps me understand the fundamentals of movement as I started training. During my progress, this style allows me to use any weapon in my possession (sword, knife, clothing, even empty hands) and possibly do some techniques I couldn’t do when I first began. Plus, it helps me to get into better shape when I was training for a tournament or in a seminar with other instructors. After the first 3 years of training, I was in better shape than I was in high school and college, and my skills continued to develop by learning other styles of FMA, from different other instructors and discipline. Such as Yaw Yan a Filipino version of kickboxing.
I choose FMA instead of the more popular style many are familiar with. It was during my final year at UC Riverside, that I started practicing FMA. I thought that this was just going to be a martial arts training but it allowed me to learn more about my Filipino Culture and its fighting history. After I graduated, I wanted to continue training and learn other styles of FMA, as well as be able to compete in local tournaments that has a very different format of sparring. I also wanted to gain more confidence in myself and be able to pass it on to my future kids and grandkids and let them hear why I decided to practice this martial art. Lastly, I wanted to take everything what I learned from various styles of FMA and other martial arts styles and use it as my own. This may be a long task as I progress, but with the knowledge I will gain from the seminars I am planning to attend, it will definitely benefit me in the long run.
There are many reasons why I love doing FMA, and some are even harder for me to describe it. The one special thing you will immediately notice is that FMA is a community. In any tournament or seminar I go to with my school, Filipino Martial Arts School a subsidiary of Visayan Legacy Association, I get a chance to meet some of the different schools and their fighters who share the same passion as I do. I am very blessed to fight these battles, attain knowledge, and develop friendships with them from all over the world, and I am looking forward for more to come.
Do not be fooled, as welcoming as the FMA community is, it is for fighting, and I love getting a chance to compete. Whenever I train for Global Stick and Blade Alliance through their Regional, National, and World tournaments, I can feel the mandirigma (warrior in Filipino) spirit as then the urge to compete as I wear my armor and headgear, I prepare for battle. I calm my heart and steady my mind, as I walk into the ring amped and ready to fight. My theme song playing as if I was a wrestler fighting in WWE’s WrestleMania.
Above all else, the true reason why I love FMA so much is that I see it as a family. Let us be honest. We may battle against each other to see who is a better fighter, or we may argue at certain things that is not related to FMA. Yet we all support each other in any circumstances, whether it’s from school/work or personal lives. It really doesn’t matter if I’m from San Diego, a teammate of mine is from Riverside, or a fellow competitor is from Germany, we’re there for each other and that type support is pretty much the icing on the cake.