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

The Strongest FMA Style

If you’re looking for the strongest FMA style, I have it.

If you are looking to be the toughest Eskrimador–to be the most dominant fighter on the streets–look no further than my gym.

If you want a Guro who will guarantee that you will be the best fighter walking the yard, I’m it.

Why do FMA people claim to be doing traditional Filipino Martial Arts, yet are afraid to make these claims?

Have you ever spent any time with a Filipino FMA Master? Have you ever gotten anything less than what I stated above? In my entire life, I have only met one FMA master who did not tell me he and his style were the best, and that person is Grandmaster Carlito Lañada. But don’t believe for a second that Master Lito was a humble man; he is the guy who doesn’t “recognize” any style of Kuntaw that is not of his lineage and he questions the validity of any Kuntaw he encounters if they do not display any kind of strength.

And please don’t think I am criticizing Mr. Lañada. He is doing what I expect any self-respecting Filipino Master to do:  Say that he is the best. He also has the skills to back it up.

Something you have to understand about Filipino martial culture–we brag. We are confident to the point of arrogance. Only tekkie Filipinos who mousse their hair, or marry White girls, or don’t want to be seen as too Filipino, or drive only Japanese cars, or have smooth arms with Japanese character tattoos, or participate in Poging Pinoy contests, or spend more money on their cars than they send home–think that FMA people are not supposed to act tough. They’ve been watching too much David Carridine’s “Kung Fu” and think that we have to act like neutered monks to be real martial artists.

These are the same Filipinos who read American martial arts magazines and then try to emulate what they see the porners do. They are the guys who think the Arnis from the province is not exotic enough, so they put on dresses and dance around campfires and talk about how we all should share and no one is better than the other let’s just hold hands in some seminar somewhere and exchange hickies and take lots of pictures for Facebook.

Pusses.

The Chinese martial arts is perhaps the only community I’ve seen where people talk like that, and even in the CMA community, they have contests to see who is the best.

Oh, wait. But we have contests in the Filipino Martial Arts too!

So what’s the problem, Mustafa?

Nothing. See, in the Filipino FMAs, the masters brag. Like I said, in the Phillipino community (lol), you will never meet an Eskrima master who will tell you he’s just “okay”. If you meet an Eskrimador who tells you that he’s not all that good, believe him–because trust me on this, he isn’t. That’s why he thinks there is something wrong with saying that you’re the best. Men like Ben Lema, Cacoy Cañete, Boggs Lao, Nap Fernandez have done this way too long and fought way too many people and beaten way too many people to diminish all that effort and hard work by saying that they’re just “okay”.

“Screw that, if you want to learn how to fight, join my school–I guarantee no one will fuck with you.”  These are the words Master Boggs Lao told me when I met him in 1988. That, plus a day of fighting against his Black Belters the day after, was all that was needed to convince me that I’d walked into the right gym. (Actually it was a gazebo in Timog Park)  And that is the kind of teacher who will make you a dominant fighter… A guy who is so confident that he will tell you, “I will make you a better fighter than that bozo down the street.” See, in the Philippines, teachers will walk to your place and ask if you’d like to have a match. So if you talk tough, you’d better be able to fight tough…

And here we arrive at my point. Filipino Masters talk crap because they can back it up, they have backed it up, and they are willing to back it up again. They talk crap because they have paid their dues and have earned the right to talk all the trash they want. They talk trash because they have taken ownership of this style and are fully aware that some people won’t like it, but won’t do a damn thing about it. I talk trash in my town because I can and will back it up; I have earned the right to say that I have the strongest FMA in town.

So, a small lesson to the young man (I know he must be a kid) who left me the nasty voice mail this morning:  Not only am I willing to back up what I say, neither you nor your Guro will show up at my door and prove that I don’t have the strongest FMA. Come on down, I even promise not to injure anyone. But something about challenges apparently your Guro has not taught you. When you challenge someone, you don’t do it anonymously. You don’t *67 when calling them. You don’t invite them down. When you want to challenge someone, you show up at their door (or call them) and request a match. Not on the internet. Not in front of a whole bunch of people. Use your real name, and you don’t say stuff like “post a video on youtube so we can see what you’re made of” (last guy before him) or “come to my teacher’s tournament”. You show up with sticks in hand, or gloves in hand, and you ask for a match.

And you don’t ever challenge a grown man when you’re just a boy. Just might get your teacher’s ass whipped undeservedly. Reminds me of a saying, that when a group of Masters discuss fighting, they are generally in agreement, and when they don’t–the dispute is settled in 60 seconds. When a group of the Masters’ students discuss fighting, they won’t agree on anything and the dispute will drag on all day long. FMA teachers who brag are doing something very cultural for our arts. It is not just a Martial Arts thing; it’s just in the Filipino’s nature to be cocky. But be careful who you call out. Plus, I think I have a student in your age group who would be glad to show you what he’s made of. But you’d have to be man enough to reveal who you are first…

I am going to see this gentleman in Stockton on Saturday. His name is Rex Navarette, and tickets are only $20! If you check out the clip, you will see a lot of your FMA Master in his stand-up act. Enjoy! And thanks for visiting my blog.

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3 Responses to “The Strongest FMA Style”

  1. That Rex plug came out of nowhere…

    I agree with the whole shut up or put up approach. But you don’t discuss what it means to be a graceful loser, which I think is important. How else can you analyze the fight objectively and see where one’s own techniques need work (note I said need work, as opposed to don’t work)?


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