Don’t Teach the Saudis

We haven’t spoken about this post, but I can tell that he was pretty upset when he wrote it. Good reason, too. Something for all of us to think about… before we speak, before we act, but it is relevant to all of us.

“I am concerned for several reasons. Yes, they are allies. However as everybody knows, 19 of the 9/11 highjackers were from Saudi. Several of them trained at a martial arts school in Florida. I work in a field where it is possible for me or a coworker to encounter such a person. The knife techniques of Filipino martial arts in the wrong hands is a scary thought. I believe the utmost oversight is called for.”
(Author unknown)

i want to say something racist about this, statement, that watch out if you teach the saudis.

the attacker of the oklahoma bombing is a white christian guy, who was a member of the US Army. using the “dont teach the saudis” idea, dont teach a white man, dont teach a christian, dont teach a military man, oh, he was a man right, dont teach men. that is an ignorant way of selection.

how about padilla, he is a mexican, so we shouldnt teach a mexican either right? no wait, he is a US citizen, so again, dont teach an american.

the DC sniper, he was military too right? no, he is american, and he is black, so lets dont teach a black american who was military.

and they are muslim so dont teach a muslim. forget that some of this art, came to you from a muslim.

the unabomber, he is american, he was a white man, and he hated america. skin heads out here in california, they hate the US government, which oppressed the white man. so who is the real enemy?

the enemy of the FMA is commericalism. teach as many people as you can, with no commitment from them, for a short amount of time, teach them through your videos, your seminars when your in a country for three days and boom…your out to the next state or kenpo school. who cares the background of these guys, or even if they can fight good enough to represent your style, or if they can fight good enough to save his family members or his own behind. some of us (not me) have students who are certified as teachers and cant even fight his way in a paper bag, and i would say that you know it, but the truth is, you really dont know, because the method of teaching the FMA is very unpersonal, and the real grandmaster around here, is the man named “dollar bill”.

dont worry about if the guy you teach is going to kill a bouncer in the club, or hijack a plane or stab a group of teenagers after you have beat them up. yes, we all regret it if our student hurts another person with the skills we teach him. BUT the real problem is, you gave up the most dangerous of your style and you dont know this guy. there is no commitment from the student because there is no commitment from the teacher. he is making bucks and building websites to sell certifications. students spend less than 200 hours a year with you, you cannot get to know them well enough as a martial student to train them and get to know them well. so what will you do? run “proverify”? check finger prints? call his old teachers? the teacher-student relationship have become a business-customer relationship. this is the reason why your art gets to the wrong hands. but a student can always turn bad, but the way is being taught, anyone can get this art.

if you look at a mans religion or his country, that sir, are a racist. tell you want, dont go to the middle east, go to europe. they have lots of young, christian, white bald headed young men, who will make very strong students for your FMA.

Absorbing All of an Art

somebody said you cannot learn in a short time what part of an art to leave out, and what part to keep in. i agree with this. its not needed to learn a whole art, if you can use what you have, but it will take some time and dedication to learn the art good enough to use it before you start saying “this is trash, this is useless, etc.”

you can learn a few words of a language, well, you can learn a LOT of a language, and still dont speak it. either you speak it, or you dont. if you only know some words all you will be good at doing is to impress people. you can say the same about martial arts. there’s lots of people who learn basic–how to slip a punch, or bob and weave–but all they can do is demonstrate it, not USE it. why is this, because people never really learn to box. they dont even go into a boxing gym. most people learn “boxing” from a guy who never been in a ring, or they learn from a guy, who leared from a guy, who learned from a guy, who watches a lot of boxing. but i can tell you, you cannot learn to box, unless you box.
so my point is, the question is not how much of an art you learn, but can do you do this art, and how well do you know it. every week in my school i meet guys who comes from tae kwon do, and to impress me as a new students (sometimes they just dont know better) by saying, i tried tae kwon do, but it does not work. my answer is always, how much training did you have, and how did you train. see, there are people out there with TKD black belts who will destroy you. but most people think about tkd people as, they are just kiddie karate mcdojos. but there is good tkd, and a very small number of people will know how to do this. you have people who know a little about an art, but then you know people who know an art very good. when you know some art good enough to fight using only that art, then it is useful to you. if you only know a few techniques, then you are like the old man who goes around telling everybody hello and thank you and good-bye in anothe language, good for nothing but showing off and impress people.
but if the question is, can you teach somebody to defend himself in a few classes, even ONE class, in a style? well, i hope the answer for all of us is, yes. if you can show a man how to ball his fist and punch a nose and jaw and throat _with power_, then you can teach him to defend himself. but if you are talking, teach a man who wants to defeat most of his opponents on the street, or to become a teacher of the martial arts, or to “add” to his style, its going to take a lot much more to bring him up and give him good use of your style.
one of the reasons people “dabble, dabble, teach” is because the teachers do not have much knowledge to pass down. many times the teachers do not have the skill to test the guys he is teaching so there is no “test” (read, fight) to see if this guy really learns what you showed him. so the desire, is not to learn the art enough to use it, but to learn it enough to demonstrate it and “teach” other people how to demonstrate it.
i “teach” tae kwon do, and i can fight tkd style. i “teach” jow ga, eagle claw and white eyebrow kung fu, and i can fight with it. i “teach” boxing, and i can box. i “teach” kuntaw and eskrima, and i can fight with it. in my opinon, you dont need the whole style to add to your fighting skill, but if you want to teach it, you better know how to fight with it.

Filipinos Using the Name “Kali”


Just came across something too hot not to share! If you are familiar with the controversy around the use of the name “Kali” for Filipino Martial Arts, this post will need no introduction. The first person I heard say that Kali was not the Mother Art, nor was it even an art found in the Philippines was thekuntawman–before I even knew who he was. Those of you who have been around for a few years (in the FMA online community) know what I’m talking about. But I never saw anyone say what Guro says here… I love it.

Without further stalling:

part of the problem with “Kali” is that we now (actually we BEEN) have filipinos at home using the word, as a way to say “my art is older and better than those other guys”. they are getting lots of foreigners to study with them, because the story they tell sounds pretty good, even that the instructors himself, is good too. but lets call a spade a spade, and name them, huh?

* leo gaje
* nene tortal
* yuli romo
* tony diego
* all the other guys who jump on the wagon of kali, muslim clothing, and mysterious art. (how about wrestling with buffalo?)

i am a muslim, born and raised. i even read those stories, and argued with my own family, that our art should be called “kali” instead of eskrima, and “silat” instead of kuntaw. after all, were muslim, so it must be true! so lets start with me, i used the name myself about 10 years ago.

part of the reason, some of us do not criticise other filipinos, is that we do not want to be in public against our countrymen. but like i said, spade is a spade…

kuya abon, i am curious to see what gaje will say to you about his use of kali. his argument is pretty good, and he uses lots of big words.

A response to this post:

Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 12:30:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: [Eskrima] Filipinos using Kali

Guro Maurice:

I agree with the point you are making. That is the ugly side of
kali. I condemn the practice, but I personally would hesitate
criticizing anybody in particular, having been far removed from
the Philippine scene for a long time now.

Take Yuli Romo, for instance. I do not know if he belongs to that
group. Although one of the pillars of Kali or Kalis Ilustrisimo, he
now flies under his own banner of Sugbu Baraw. I am not sure
if that banner is still cut from the same cloth as kali, or Kali
Ilustrisimo, or muslim or indigenous tribal Filipino. And he
seems to have been forever wearing those Muslim-looking
clothes (could be indigenous tribal).

In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to know and like
Yuli Romo–a very down-to-earth, engaging individual. I do
not personally know the others in your list.

The other point I like to make is, I make a distinction between
the kali believers in the Phil. and the U.S. I feel that most of
the American kali believers in the U.S. are those that have
always known their FMA as kali. I consider them as honest
and true believers of kali, but a few of them have gotten
suckered into defending the kali claim in the Phil. and as
a result, gotten tarnished with the same brush.

Guro’s Response:

some people might call it prejudice, or national pride, but i dont like to be seen arguing with a fellow filipino, just like i wont do it with a muslim, or even a family member or member of my school. but that does not mean i wont tell him face to face, that he is wrong. i believe in the importance of showing strength by keeping in-fighting behind close doors. many of my friends know this, that even though someone is friends with me, i will argue him about thinks like seminar, 3 year black belts, even non-martial arts things like disrepecting his wife or something. i agree with the pro-war people, that protestors weaken the country. but there is always times that we need to weaken to get rid of something that hurts us.

i believe that some of these filipinos using KALI might be nice guys. but i have to question the honesty of one who is twisting facts and history, even words to support something they know is not true. example, kali ilustrisimo. i remember i read somewhere, maybe in the philippines, that antonio ilustrisimo said his students been asking him to call it “kali”, this was about 1990. well, he said his art is arnis-eskrima in this interview. guess what, he died and everyone is saying “kali ilustrisimo”. the bullshit bout “KALIS ilustrisimo”, this came years later, and we all know the story about that. wonder why the name change?

money. pride. arrogance.

i agree with what you said about american students who defend kali, especially when they start telling things about language that i guess because i am not educated i cant possible know about my own culture and language. but you know, i dont want to blame the students. a good student will defend his teacher no matter what, unless the teacher is doing illegal things nothing wrong with that. especially when somebody criticise his own teacher your not going to get anyone to listen. the teacher, of course, convinced the student that “i am the best, and the most knowledgeable, dont listen to those guys”. this might sound like garbage to somebody who does not understand martial philosophy, but nothing wrong with that either. i think the students of KALI _should_ defend it, because it is what there teacher told them, and what they believe. and this is what the martial arts is about–somebody else trying to disprove what you been taught, and you defending it. apply that to fighting technique, philosophy, history, reputation, even stupid things like what to call the art. 😉

but the Kali argument is not really about what to call the art, is it? no for me its about truth in history. i will accept the argument of a guy like mark denny, who was TAUGHT kali, then i will from, like the sayocs or gaje, who came up with it.

When a Master Dies

Most of the time we do not know when we will die. Yet sometimes we are lucky enough to make it to old age, or to have warning due to sickness, a dream message from your Creator….

In this article (which was sent to Ray Terry’s Eskrima Digest), Guro comments on the legacy of late Grandmaster Angel Cabales and the successor(s) of his Serrada Eskrima system. I must say that it is eye-opening and gives something to think about!

very interesting, which one of us have not seen a master have to choose between his children and beloved students in his old age. the answer is dont ignore the traditions of your art, when teaching it. when the students are not brought up on your traditions and your rules, they have nothing to go by. here in america, when the owner of the business dies, his partners will end up fighting his family for this share of the business, unless the owner already made his will saying, in his writing, what he wants doen with his part of the business. and some of you know, the government has rights on the business also. i think this was the probelm that happened in modern arnis, that gm remy was use to being “the man”, he did not tell the difference of who will be successor if he dies–which of the students inherit, or his kids, or maybe he didnt want anyone to “inherit” his art. death can sneak up on any of us, sometimes we are not as blessed as gm angel, who was given the opportunity from God to plan for his death. we are not always this lucky.
sometimes a teacher can die early with no plan, but there are a few things that a teacher must do very early to give students instructions:
– tell your students that your son will be the leader
– have a system where everyone knows who is the highest rank student, if you have rank
– if you have a favorite student, you have make sure all the students knows who he is. too many teachers are afraid to do this, but it is a part of the art to have a favorite student (just make sure your favorite is the best fighter, or he’s goina have problems)
– leave a will
– name a “next master” while you are still young (like a ‘vice president’)
– tell your students there will be no style when you die
in the philippine art, your generation inherits the style, and it changes with every generation. this is true for most of us who are not part of big orgranizations. in the big organization, you worry and concern with things like rank and title. in the small organation (or no ogranization at all), you stand on your own two feet ( i like this method the best). after all, who can argue with skill?
for my own opinion, jc cabiero, davis, sultan, tacosa, gm vincente, khalid, they each have a strength of their own, we can respect that. for the number of years they put to the art, they deserve to be recognize for giving a whole life to eskrima, in a world when men get certified in a few seminars. if each one wants to be a grandmaster, let him, but if you are called to the doorway, just make sure you have enough money in the bank cause somebody might want to “cash a check”…some might be able to, some might not. but you should respect them all, unless you have the courage to test one of them.