Difference between American FMA and Filipino FMA

Here is a quickie:

An unedited post from defend.net. It was actually on a thread entitled “Current State of FMA in the U.S.”, found here  I’m calling it “Difference between American FMA and Filipino FMA”. Notice that he pokes fun at those who teach the FMAs but can’t even spell Filipino. May ruffle some feathers, but there’s a lot of truth in this short, insightful post!

mixing art that you know well is very different to mixing arts that you have little knowledge about. what i think sumbrada is talking about is, men who have little martial arts knowledge, and then they made there own style, when they know only the basics of many systems. so few of them go to the philippines, and when they go they spent only a few days or weeks there, and they come back as a “representative” of some teacher from back home. now, how much do you think he learned in this time?

but about lameco, bahala na and estalilla, the big difference about those styels is that the creators spent many years studying different methods before they made there own. now, on one hand you have a man with 20 years in the PHILIPPINE art (not 20 years in the arts, and 5 in the philippine arts), who makes his own style, and then you got another man who has less than 10 years. the man with 20 studied everyday, and probably had many matches. but the guy with 10 years (or less) did 4-5 seminars a year, and no matches. there is no comparison.

here is a list of differences from philippine fighting arts, and american FMA.

phil arts: teacher has the phil arts as his main art, some studied foreign arts, some did not.
amer art: started out in another style, like kenpo, kung fu or JKD. has been studying the FMA for the last ____ (you fill it in) years.

phil art: teaches attacking and counterattacking strategys for there “secrets”
amer art: never-before seen, ancient and authentic “philllipino” drills. guaranteed you cant fight if you dont know them.

phil art: teacher has no curriculum he uses, you just learn whatever he feels like teaching you. ex: a fat man will learn differently from a skinny guy.
amer art: everybody learns the same things, that you will probably get from his videotape also. you might get it from another teacher of another style to. (oh yeah, in my “xyz” style we have that too)

phil art: teacher will make you spar in tournament or against another school.
amer art: sparring is unrealistic, we are too deadly, we train only for street, do you carry your sticks everywhere you go, etc…

phil art: teacher will tell you that XYZ style sucks and his own is superior. do my technique and you can beat anyone. oh that style? one of my boys beat them before. likes to brag and has a puffy chest. we call it “confidence”
amer art: can we all just get along? my style isnt better, just different. you chose your own path. this is my expression. you cant go around challenging people. calls the phil teacher “rude and arrogant”

phil art: satisfied with his 2-3 weapons and a few techniques.
amer art: offers “complete” style with 12 categories.

phil art: students perform 100s of strikes for a workout.
amer art: what i call “filler”, drills and more drills.

phil art: you have to study with the teacher at his house or school.
amer art: take seminars 4 times a year or more.

phil art: you get permission to teach, if it matters. for most teachers it doesnt
amer art: get a certificate, but then you have to “renew” your teaching certificate. some teachers will get a certificate for every seminar.


Author: thekuntawman

full time martial arts teacher, full time martial arts philosopher, and full time martial arts critic

3 thoughts on “Difference between American FMA and Filipino FMA”

  1. Parts of the article were interesting and informative but there was also the biased part that reflects poorly on the writer.

    It is very difficult to write or speak in absolutes… Each person approaches, studies, teaches and expresses the arts in their own way.

    Geographical location and the color of your skin does not have anything to do with effectiveness. If it works for the individual, no matter where they live, learn, practice, teach and fight —- then who is anyone to say anything about it.

    How can you justisfy the judgement of all Americans who practice FMA based upon your opinion of a limited facts or exposure?

    The reality is that:

    “Blessed by the same sun and bathed by the same rains…. Each tree will grow and flourish, each according to their unique characteristics”.

    It would be better for all if we looked for common ground and a
    bridge to improve both cultures and individuals rather than adopt a “you” verse “me” approach.

    Peace be with you,


    1. hi

      my article is talking about the difference between most american FMA and most filipino FMA. you cannot deny that the arts get treated differently in this country to back home. the attitudes of the people are different, the customs, even the preferred to train differently. reputations are built differently, and we value different parts of the arts, and reputations mean different things to filipino teachers vs american teachers.

      there is no harm in differences. this is what makes styles and competition between teachers and schools. with everyone hiding from difference, we end up not prepared for the situation when you cannot make someone your friend.

      i believe the fact that we are different to each other makes the filipino martial arts more interesting. my article is not saying “this is beter than the other one”, even though i might be obvious which i prefer, but opinions are not something that have to be kept to ourselves.

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