Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Fighting Is Only The Beggining

Posted: January 27, 2017 in Ramblings

Fighting is only the Beginning

The Martial Arts, or the Art of Mars, the Roman God of War are collectively what we call sets of fighting techniques organized into a system or method regardless of race or culture that can be effectively passed on from person to person or to a group of individuals.

Ever since man has assigned value to something, anything be it food, shelter, mates or offspring man has had to fight to either protect it or take it. Through success and failure man has slowly compiled this knowledge into methods, techniques and system of effectively controlling, subduing and killing threats.

So Fighting is only the beggining.

Man’s growth in knowledge and evolution through trial and error predispose him to constantly try different methods to improve his craft and make efficient his goal hence the adoption of weapons as tools to improve efficiency and so ushering the birth of systems of individual and multiple combat.

So this is what we do as teachers regardless of creed, caste or religion. We pass on knowledge. We develop skill. We create opportunities for our students to develop and train their skills. We train people in the Arts of Mars, for whatever our purpose.

That brings me to this point. Why do we study it?

It is ridiculous and arrogant to think that the Martial Arts, one of man’s greatest developments is useful for only one thing, the destruction of fellow man. It’s a simplistic thought without factoring in the rest of human knowledge, experience, understanding and pschology.

Everyone has some reason from the practical, physical, academic, cultural, artistic or spiritual. We have found value in it that goes beyond killing. A value that goes beyond self defense or simply fighting. Every practitioner has his own reason.

So Fight on whatever your reason!

Teachers can only show you paths.

It’s up to you find yours and walk it.

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It’s about skill, not gimmicks.

It is about the development of lasting skill. A transferable skill to different combinations of weapon sets. It is about connecting skills that work well together.  It is about skill that improves with age. It is about understanding things to its completeness. It is about total understanding and not flashy gimmicks or trendy fads or fancy uniforms and gear we see in movies. It is about the flexible understanding of principles. Not about memorized sets or cookie-cutter solutions.

It is about skill that gets better with experience. It is about understanding that deepens with testing yourself.

Unlock your inner potential.

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I am a bit of a traditionalist, but being a Filipino living a broad, my perspective has somehow shifted a bit. To me, the practice of FMA now goes beyond teaching techniques, it is now equally about passing on part of the culture in which it was developed along with part of the languange and cultural nuances that go with it. In this day and age, people can pick up techniques anywhere, the internet is wide and vast and Youtube is a click away. But I find this stale in comparison to training in the spirit the technique was intended.  Strong roots to me are important.  It provides a strong backbone on which to anchor your progress.  It is the foundation of your understanding.

Filipino martial arts can be learned by anyone. It follows no specific creed or ideology. Except perhaps the purpose of survival. FMA systems are the products of the experience, bias, traditions, synthesis, favor and idiosyncrasies of its founders. If anything, it is a continuously evolving beast growing from the experiences of its practitioners. Some old traditions die, some get preserved, some mutate or evolve to address some new threat or danger, or adapt to some new weapon system or technology.

the blind men and the elephant

the blind men and the elephant

FMA is the freest, most liberating martial art I’ve seen. It is not easy to see the big picture though. It is like blind men describing an elephant. They can only describe what is within their grasp. “Eskrima, Kali, Arnis” – these are the names they now commonly go under. These names bring flavor and context to the style or methodology espoused, but are potentially divisive so I prefer to call it FMA.

Different names, different styles, different contexts and methodologies.  Which is better? In the end it becomes nitpicking and hair-splitting. We would be further serviced by these discussions and comparisons when they are framed in discussions of principles and contexts instead of Issues and intrigue like “which is better, stick, bolo or knife?” or ” is it Kali, Eskrima or Arnis?” or “is it traditional, classical, military or self defense?”

There are many paths in FMA. Some of those who have had the fortune to have been instructed traditionally by the “old names” sometimes feel the need to preserve their teachers legacy, tradition and culture. Others find a new path to take their tradition. Some would find its applications in Military, Security, civilian Self Defense. Some would be able to integrate it into the repertoire of already formidable fighting systems. Some find satisfaction in the realm of Sport and find enjoyment in the practice of friendly competition. In the end it’s about finding something that resonates with you, your mindset, your philosophy.

And it is up to us instructors of these new generations to carry the torch for those who were ahead of us. We have a two-fold mission, to preserve the roots of our traditions if not the traditions themselves, to remember this to the next generation,  and to keep things relevant in our generation and the future and that it is not just about memorizing the techniques of styles or systems.  It is about “doing right” by the legacies we become a part of and looking at what kind of instructors we have become as well as the future instructors we are creating.  It is no longer just about passing on techniques but is about the planting the seeds, and stoking the passion for this aspect of our culture, fighting art and legacy.

So FMA is like this “elephant”.  Its much more than “ears, trunk, legs, tusks”, etc.  The sum of its parts make it a formidable, dangerous, fearsome and beautiful creature.

LSAIsrael is the bastion of Lightning Scientific Arnis and the Legacy of Grandmaster Benjamin Luna Lema in the Holy Land.  Now into its 7th year and still growing strong, I am very grateful to my students and the opportunity to pass on to them this cultural inheritance.

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Watching you guys learn in class is a joy to me.  Seeing you guys grow into the knowledge and passion of the Filipino Martial Arts., seeing you participate in our different activities and seminars, your interaction with and understanding of the different styles, facets and aspects of FMA, make me happy to see you guys open your eyes and minds to its different forms and possibilities.
group
I look forward to seeing you guys grow deeper into the art and see what fruits you will bear as its future.
Keep working hard as there is still so much for everyone to discover. See you in class!

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