Arguing in the Filipino Martial Arts
There is a saying, that all arguments in the martial arts can be resolved in 60 seconds. People seem to forget that.
There is another one that is relevant here: “Truth in combat can never be argued, only proven.” Wow. Each of my students learns this early on.
I have long said that martial artists who lack skill engage in lip flapping and name-dropping, because the things that really matter–skill–is nonexistent. We seem to be the only people who spend a lot of time touting our resumes while simultaneously downplaying any form of testing of skill. In the Filipino arts, we have an especially unique relationship with skill-testing because most FMA people do not record history beyond one or two generations, we do not (traditionally) use rank and degrees and titles, and there is an “each man for himself” approach to reputations. We generally do not have systems that have been around 100 years or more, intact. A system today will rarely resemble what it looked like 50 years ago, if it even had the same name. Three men under the same Master will have very different systems ten years after leaving that Master, and all are equally recognize under that Master. That is, unless that Master is big on money, ego and money.
And in that case, I can almost guarantee you that those three men can’t fight.
No FMA man is more loathed than me, I can assure you. No one has offended more FMA people than me, no one is more critical of me, and I am that guy who will piss you off with my opinions, and–excuse the profanity–I don’t give a fuck who your Master/Grandmaster is. The more you will argue with me about it, the more I am convinced that you can’t fight. Because people who can fight, fight–and those who cannot, argue. It’s simple mathematics. If you disagree with this statement, I might even argue with you about it. Do an internet search on me, and you will find people who get mad at me, insult me, question my credibility, even challenge me. Hell I even have a bunch of sissies in the Philippines posting my pictures, quoting my website, and giving anecdotes about encounters with me to try and detract from what I say. You may even hear from people who know me personally who will talk about my abrasiveness or perceived arrogance, but the one thing you will never hear those people say is that they fought and kicked my ass. Doesn’t mean I’ve never been beaten; I’ve lost a few fights, to be honest. But none of the people who choose this method of one upmanship will ever match me man-to-man. I train too hard, and have fought too many people to ever allow someone who argues the martial arts to ever out-touch me. I have students in my school who will punish most Guros in the FMA, and I will prove this any time, any day. My guys work hard, they study fighting, and put up with a lot of BS from me to lose to some dude who chases certificates for sport.
Does this mean I will never argue about the martial arts? No. I do, and I have argued martial arts. In fact, I just argued with a friend this morning about who is going to win the Pacquiao fight (versus Bradley, who will get his ass kicked). It’s just that if I don’t see you as an equal, I won’t argue with you–and that’s the cold-blooded truth. If you are equal, I will argue my point and then eventually ask for an opportunity to prove my case. Anyone less than that, and I’m teaching you. But since you probably aren’t paying me for my knowledge, I’m even going to go halfway on that.
The bottom line is that in the martial arts, people need to focus on developing their understanding and ability to a higher and higher degree and save the bickering to those who really don’t do this art. Have you noticed that the biggest commentators on boxing are people who only step in the ring to conduct interviews? That’s because those who really know what’s going on could care less about 90% of the shit commentators talk about: so n so hurt himself in training, how much money will be made off the fight, who learned from who, whose titties are bigger… it’s total B.S. In the FMA there is too much of that. Whose using the correct terminology. Which master defeated who back in the day. Is this art the original/authentic Malaking Butok Kali. Did the old Masters use chicken blood when initiating their new Tuhons (lol)…
When two martial artists disagree or challenge each other, we now have a beautiful thing. Because everything your Master taught to your Guro, everything your Guro taught to you, everything you retained, everything you ever did during training goes into the two most beautiful words ever formed for the Eskrima fighter: I accept. It is the most powerful tiny little, two-worded sentence ever spoken in Eskrima. It has the power to create enemies, or newly enlightened martial arts kumpadres. It can validate a fighting philosophy, or be the catalyst that sparks the process to evolve it. It sends a man back home proud of his accomplishments, or it fuels his burning desire to train harder. Three short minutes from the utterance of the two other beautiful words–show me–the martial artist has the experience he will never forget which solidifies his position as one of “us”… the true warrior, who has now received the chance to use his Eskrima rather than demo it on a willing, cooperative “partner”. He will be forced to make his disarm work, or move his hands faster, or shift his weight further… to resolve this debate. The debate of who’s method is better. While other FMA people out there only have a theory or opinion of the validity of their technique, you will soon know the truth. Truths in the FMA can never be argued; only proven and uncovered. Never miss an opportunity to find out. You will be one of the elite who know firsthand what the answer is.
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