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)
From: XXXX XXXXXX
Subject: Re: [Eskrima] Filipinos using Kali
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.
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.