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

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.
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