“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

Controversy in the Filipino Martial Arts

This is Guro’s response to the following post, by Brian VanCise, a member of MartialTalk at this thread:

Let’s ring in the New Year with a little controversial thread.

Is there one indigienous superior FMA?

Due you have to be a Filipino to be the best at FMA?

If you are a GrandMaster or a Punong Guro are you selling out
by accepting money for teaching people?

Have the Filipino Martial Arts been influenced by their former
Spanish occupiers?

Are the Filipino Martial Arts the premier weapon based systems
in the world?

What about someone cross ranking over to another art after only a
practice or two?

Okay just a few questions and anyone else can add more if they so choose. I hope this thread will be met with good intentions as that is what MartialTalk is all about! We are not here to bash or belittle anyone but instead explore people’s varied opinon’s.
__________________
Brian R. VanCise

Master Gatdula’s Response:

Re: Controversy in FMA?
i will put my comments next to the questions,

Let’s ring in the New Year with a little controversial thread.

Is there one indigienous superior FMA?

of course there is. i can prove it to you. this is one part of filipino culture you have to understand. all the friendly, hands-holding, humble kwi chang kang stuff is not the filipino culture. all of us here on MT loves the filipino martial arts because (we say) its effective. am i right? so what is wrong saying “i have a superior style”? if you have not found a better way to do it, and you dont feel like you can take any man out there, you should not be teaching the art. you see, this is how the FMA became the art we have today, each master tries out his art against the next guy, he changes what he need to change, he developed a better way, then he declares that he had a better more effective way. if a man cannot guarantee that he can teach you to fight anyone, dont study from him. either he is weak, too weak to admit he can fight, afraid to say he is a superior style, or afraid somebody is going to say, prove it to me. well, this “humble” is someone elses culture. our masters do not call themself “master” unless he has proven to himself that he knows his stuff.

Due you have to be a Filipino to be the best at FMA?

of course not. but to truly understand this art, you must understand the culture. i dont care how strong or tough you think you are with your FMA already, you can become stronger if you take the time to learn how the culture and the art are connected. you cant learn this on video, a magazine, a book, dam sure not a seminar, but you have to study under a teacher who can teach it to you. and you know what? you dont have to go the philippines. some people goes there for a two week trip a couple times, and he raised his head over other people. thats not going to do it either. you need full time study.

If you are a GrandMaster or a Punong Guro are you selling out by accepting money for teaching people?

if you are calling yourself grandmaster or punong guro, and you do not require your students to pay his dues to become an expert in the art, yes you are selling out. there is no crime for charging money, people gotta eat. but when a man can get “certfied” to teach your art, and you dont have this kind of confidence that you would bet your money on him, you sell out your students. when you back up a student by giving him a rank, you have guaranteed to the world that, this guy knows his stuff.

i want to tell a story about one of my teachers, Boggs Lao. one time another teacher came to visit Boggs while students were training. the other master, who was young walked in the door with some students, and told Boggs i am a new teacher and i want to show our skills. do you have some students we can fight with. Boggs was reading a book or paper, and he told him to “pick someone to fight with”. the other teacher said, who is your black belters (we wear shorts in this class), and Boggs said, doesnt matter pick someone. the guy and his students fought with all of us. some beat us, some got beat, even him. the man thanks Boggs and left. after that he asked one of my kuya (older brothers) “how did they do?” (he never watched us fight). and he told him, they’re okay. maybe 6 months later i asked him, why didnt he watch us fight. boggs said, if i am a good teacher, and you are a good students, i have nothing to worry about. then he gave me a lecture about responsible martial arts teacher. see, you always train your boys so you always have confidence. ernesto presas is this way. my granpa was this way, and now i am this way. some teachers, they dont care. they say, “martial artist is not about fighting”. oh yeah? since when?

Have the Filipino Martial Arts been influenced by their former Spanish occupiers?

yes, FMA is influenced by everybody, even US soldiers. in 1988, we use to practice to fight against bigger stronger opponents. the schools that are near a base do this. many schools do not, they dont even see americans in their tournaments. you will find kung fu, tae kwon do, judo all kinds of arts in the philippines. there is a saying, that your opponents will be your reputation, not your friends. so i wold say, that the spanish and the portugese have to be the biggest influenced. even japanese, you can see this in kuntaw lima lima which used shorin ryu forms, arjuken which used shotokan forms, and kyosho arnis, which used kyukushinkai forms.

Are the Filipino Martial Arts the premier weapon based systems
in the world?

yes. many of these so-called WMA guys was arnis at one time, so they met some irish or french or english stick fighting books, or they saw national georgraphic african style looks neat, so they “switched” over. i dont blame them. we always want to believe our culture is great. but when i see some ex-FMA guy who wants to bash filipino arts (especially that some of them wasnt that good at FMA), it will piss me off. but there, you have the difference in culture, many of these guys will “prove it” with his website and in HIS seminars (MR “X”), i will do it in person. but if somebody wants to say his country style is better, good for him, he is suppose to say it. maybe there is better ways of fighting in other countries. but i will believe it when i see it.

and another difference in how we do things. when some people see a new interesting way of fighting, they will say, i have to learn it. the hard-core FMA philippine style, he’s going to say “that stuff not going to work on me”. and if it does, that means i have to train harder and drawing board. if it keeps happening, then i have to learn it. this is the filipino way. we dont get dominated easy.

What about someone cross ranking over to another art after only a practice or two?

i hope theres nobody older than 10 years old who still thinks that. but i forgot where we are. yes they do it in the martial arts all the time, called the “intensive” seminar, or “crash course”. i have friends who teach this way and i get in there ass about it, that’s selling out. but you know, each person in the martial arts has a place. some people are in the food chain, some people are the food. i dont know, if i was not so serious about my reputation and i have a guy who is not serious about training, i might make a little money selling confidence. the mcdojo do it all the time! anyway, thats crazy, but the FMA is the world perfect “add-water-mcdojo”. its so bad people think theres something wrong if you dont certify, dont teach drills, etc…

Okay just a few questions and anyone else can add more if they so choose. I hope this thread will be met with good intentions as that is what MartialTalk is all about! We are not here to bash or belittle anyone but instead explore people’s varied opinon’s.

that was good, and i dont think we can talk about this enough, because everybody looks at the art different, and i dont think enough filipino teachers want to disagree with what most people think. so, we end up that we allow people to think the wrong thing about our cultural art and fighting arts.

Hope you enjoyed the post! If you’d like to read more comments or join in on other discussions about the Filipino Martial Arts, please visit MartialTalk.

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