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

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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