Who is thekuntawman?

Let’s first introduce you to Master Gatdula, better known as “thekuntawman”. In this article, he introduces himself as a teacher, and defines what he considers the categories of Filipino martial arts styles.

Who is thekuntawman?
My explanation

I have been practicing the martial arts for more than 30 years, and have been teaching for more than 20 years. My four most significant teachers were Chin Yuk Din, who taught me Jow Ga, Eagle Claw, and White Eyebrow; my si hing(older brother), Raymond Wong, who completed my training after Master Chin died; Yun Gatdula, who taught me his Kuntaw style and three Eskrima systems (Abaniko, Pekiti Tirsia, and Singko Tiros); and Boggs Lao, who taught me his own martial arts, plus Lito Lanyada’s Kuntaw ng Pilipinas and Modern Arnis. I associate closest to my Philippine heritage and art—not because of my ethnicity, but because of the influence it had on my life as a man and as a martial artist. The philosophy of the Philippine martial arts is unlike that of most cultures, and once you experience it and its teachings, is life-changing. Even in my Kung Fu classes, I teach with a Filipino philosophy-which enhances and lends uniqueness to my school’s aura, fighting style, and the students we produce. While fighting techniques are very commonly found—even in the Philippines—the philosophy about the theory and practice is not. Where you find voids in martial arts training, you will find innovation and absorption of foreign arts. Many FMA teachers have this void, and turn to other style to fill in the gaps and (dare I say it) deficiencies. Because of this, I can recognize a Philippine-style teacher who has adopted the practices and attitudes of foreign styles. Nothing wrong with that; unless the teachers attempt to pass those things off as “authentic” or “original”.

Unlike many teachers who mimic very closely their teachers and the knowledge they acquire, Filipino teachers tend to find their own expressions of the arts they possess. Sometimes, the teacher has actually improved his teacher’s art; more often than that, they are merely an alternate version of the first teacher’s style. Side note: teachers who do not feel qualified to make the changes will attempt to assign their new art a false history, as if to say “A more qualified master created this and then passed it to me.” Only the most confident masters will claim to be the originator of a new art. This is something rarely seen outside of the Philippines. It is common and acceptable to rename your own blend of techniques and arts, even if you learned only one style. Teachers of the Philippine style usually fit into one of three categories:

1. The Mainstream Style: they follow recent trends in the art and change their styles as they learn what other masters do. These teachers “keep up with the times” by attending seminars or exchanging and sharing with other teachers. Many of those teaching abroad claim their arts had these new techniques all along, while some admit (quite proudly) to combining, blending and adopting newer methods. Most styles found in America and Europe fall into this category, as seminars are very popular there, and seem to be the primary method of instructing the martial arts. Nearly everyone teaching the Filipino arts in the West teaches by seminar, or has learned from a teacher who learned through seminars. The Mainstream styles overemphasize the importance of performing drills, give very little attention to the development of basics (since they have to entertain “audiences” and everyone from basic beginners to teachers are learning the same thing in the seminars), prearranged defense and counters, and have very little strategic instruction for sparring. While there are many good teachers in this category, this category has the highest number of unqualified, yet certified, teachers. Reputations for the Mainstream teacher depends on personality, amiability, and marketing skills.

2. The Legacy/Organizational Style: Teachers who have followed in direct footsteps of their teachers and have strayed little from their styles and teachers. These teachers tend to have had only one or two teachers in their lifetime and will preserve entire systems and curriculum, as they learned it themselves. Many who follow these traditions have clear curriculums and lineages, and most often are well-skilled, enjoying fine reputations. While there are only a few of these organizations and styles in the Philippines, most are well-known and respected, and have well-documented histories—despite that many have fierce rivalries with other schools and masters. Their curriculums are well-developed and are known for having high quality of instruction. Many have adopted foreign practices and arts, such as belt-ranking and grading requirements, but are admired and looked up to by many teachers as these styles have evolved through trial and error into the systems they have now. Most of the founders of these styles began in the third category (see below) and are simply canning a good product. However, a drawback to this type of style can be the lack of development and hungriness in its masters’ hearts, as an inherited reputation can lead to students who feel their worthiness by association. Often the reputation of the school or style rested on the shoulders of the Master who founded the organization and his first generation of students. You will see that a school may be riding on the accomplishments of their founder, whose exploits may have taken place several decades earlier.

3. The Traditional Teacher/Fighter: Perhaps most Filipino experts one may find in the Philippines fit into this category. They tend to have studied full time with at least one teacher, but about half of their learning came from sparring with other fighters. These teachers have usually created their own styles based on their fighting experience and personal reflection, rather than the curriculum of other teachers. Most traditional teachers have few students and do not certify others. Reputations vary, as traditional fighter/teachers have informal training, but each teacher builds his own reputation by himself and is only locally known. Their curriculums and progressions are not well-defined, they often do not have a physical school to teach from (let alone websites and published media), and will have very few students “certified” under them… this is one tiger that earns its own stripes. However, most are known to have good fighting skills because of this, and accepting and issuing invitations to matches is very commonplace for these teachers. Again, most do not have schools, but some do and aspire to join those in the Legacy styles.

I am a product of the third category.

My martial philosophy is primarily from #3s point of view, although I have some influence from #2. My purpose for writing this blog is to bring the lessons I learned to those who have not delved deeper into little known levels of the martial arts (hence the name) and/or have a weak philosophical foundation for their martial arts knowledge. I am not popular or well-liked in the Filipino Martial Arts community. No problem; a fighter’s reputation is built by those he opposes, than by those who like him. Most readers will read this blog and beg to differ. That’s okay! Martial arts styles were not created because everyone agreed that a particular strategy or technique was superior. No, styles were created because someone had an idea, and others disagreed, and the result of their attempts to prove and disprove the theories was beautiful.

I will challenge your view on the martial arts and its practice. We will question popular masters and even call them out. I may ridicule YOUR master or style. But this is not in contempt, but only in the effort to do what the old masters did: find a better way.

Well, please, keep an open mind, and check with us frequently! We have lots to discuss!

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Controversy in the Filipino Martial Arts

This is Guro’s response to the following post, by Brian VanCise, a member of MartialTalk at this thread:

Let’s ring in the New Year with a little controversial thread.

Is there one indigienous superior FMA?

Due you have to be a Filipino to be the best at FMA?

If you are a GrandMaster or a Punong Guro are you selling out
by accepting money for teaching people?

Have the Filipino Martial Arts been influenced by their former
Spanish occupiers?

Are the Filipino Martial Arts the premier weapon based systems
in the world?

What about someone cross ranking over to another art after only a
practice or two?

Okay just a few questions and anyone else can add more if they so choose. I hope this thread will be met with good intentions as that is what MartialTalk is all about! We are not here to bash or belittle anyone but instead explore people’s varied opinon’s.
__________________
Brian R. VanCise

Master Gatdula’s Response:

Re: Controversy in FMA?
i will put my comments next to the questions,

Let’s ring in the New Year with a little controversial thread.

Is there one indigienous superior FMA?

of course there is. i can prove it to you. this is one part of filipino culture you have to understand. all the friendly, hands-holding, humble kwi chang kang stuff is not the filipino culture. all of us here on MT loves the filipino martial arts because (we say) its effective. am i right? so what is wrong saying “i have a superior style”? if you have not found a better way to do it, and you dont feel like you can take any man out there, you should not be teaching the art. you see, this is how the FMA became the art we have today, each master tries out his art against the next guy, he changes what he need to change, he developed a better way, then he declares that he had a better more effective way. if a man cannot guarantee that he can teach you to fight anyone, dont study from him. either he is weak, too weak to admit he can fight, afraid to say he is a superior style, or afraid somebody is going to say, prove it to me. well, this “humble” is someone elses culture. our masters do not call themself “master” unless he has proven to himself that he knows his stuff.

Due you have to be a Filipino to be the best at FMA?

of course not. but to truly understand this art, you must understand the culture. i dont care how strong or tough you think you are with your FMA already, you can become stronger if you take the time to learn how the culture and the art are connected. you cant learn this on video, a magazine, a book, dam sure not a seminar, but you have to study under a teacher who can teach it to you. and you know what? you dont have to go the philippines. some people goes there for a two week trip a couple times, and he raised his head over other people. thats not going to do it either. you need full time study.

If you are a GrandMaster or a Punong Guro are you selling out by accepting money for teaching people?

if you are calling yourself grandmaster or punong guro, and you do not require your students to pay his dues to become an expert in the art, yes you are selling out. there is no crime for charging money, people gotta eat. but when a man can get “certfied” to teach your art, and you dont have this kind of confidence that you would bet your money on him, you sell out your students. when you back up a student by giving him a rank, you have guaranteed to the world that, this guy knows his stuff.

i want to tell a story about one of my teachers, Boggs Lao. one time another teacher came to visit Boggs while students were training. the other master, who was young walked in the door with some students, and told Boggs i am a new teacher and i want to show our skills. do you have some students we can fight with. Boggs was reading a book or paper, and he told him to “pick someone to fight with”. the other teacher said, who is your black belters (we wear shorts in this class), and Boggs said, doesnt matter pick someone. the guy and his students fought with all of us. some beat us, some got beat, even him. the man thanks Boggs and left. after that he asked one of my kuya (older brothers) “how did they do?” (he never watched us fight). and he told him, they’re okay. maybe 6 months later i asked him, why didnt he watch us fight. boggs said, if i am a good teacher, and you are a good students, i have nothing to worry about. then he gave me a lecture about responsible martial arts teacher. see, you always train your boys so you always have confidence. ernesto presas is this way. my granpa was this way, and now i am this way. some teachers, they dont care. they say, “martial artist is not about fighting”. oh yeah? since when?

Have the Filipino Martial Arts been influenced by their former Spanish occupiers?

yes, FMA is influenced by everybody, even US soldiers. in 1988, we use to practice to fight against bigger stronger opponents. the schools that are near a base do this. many schools do not, they dont even see americans in their tournaments. you will find kung fu, tae kwon do, judo all kinds of arts in the philippines. there is a saying, that your opponents will be your reputation, not your friends. so i wold say, that the spanish and the portugese have to be the biggest influenced. even japanese, you can see this in kuntaw lima lima which used shorin ryu forms, arjuken which used shotokan forms, and kyosho arnis, which used kyukushinkai forms.

Are the Filipino Martial Arts the premier weapon based systems
in the world?

yes. many of these so-called WMA guys was arnis at one time, so they met some irish or french or english stick fighting books, or they saw national georgraphic african style looks neat, so they “switched” over. i dont blame them. we always want to believe our culture is great. but when i see some ex-FMA guy who wants to bash filipino arts (especially that some of them wasnt that good at FMA), it will piss me off. but there, you have the difference in culture, many of these guys will “prove it” with his website and in HIS seminars (MR “X”), i will do it in person. but if somebody wants to say his country style is better, good for him, he is suppose to say it. maybe there is better ways of fighting in other countries. but i will believe it when i see it.

and another difference in how we do things. when some people see a new interesting way of fighting, they will say, i have to learn it. the hard-core FMA philippine style, he’s going to say “that stuff not going to work on me”. and if it does, that means i have to train harder and drawing board. if it keeps happening, then i have to learn it. this is the filipino way. we dont get dominated easy.

What about someone cross ranking over to another art after only a practice or two?

i hope theres nobody older than 10 years old who still thinks that. but i forgot where we are. yes they do it in the martial arts all the time, called the “intensive” seminar, or “crash course”. i have friends who teach this way and i get in there ass about it, that’s selling out. but you know, each person in the martial arts has a place. some people are in the food chain, some people are the food. i dont know, if i was not so serious about my reputation and i have a guy who is not serious about training, i might make a little money selling confidence. the mcdojo do it all the time! anyway, thats crazy, but the FMA is the world perfect “add-water-mcdojo”. its so bad people think theres something wrong if you dont certify, dont teach drills, etc…

Okay just a few questions and anyone else can add more if they so choose. I hope this thread will be met with good intentions as that is what MartialTalk is all about! We are not here to bash or belittle anyone but instead explore people’s varied opinon’s.

that was good, and i dont think we can talk about this enough, because everybody looks at the art different, and i dont think enough filipino teachers want to disagree with what most people think. so, we end up that we allow people to think the wrong thing about our cultural art and fighting arts.

Hope you enjoyed the post! If you’d like to read more comments or join in on other discussions about the Filipino Martial Arts, please visit MartialTalk.

three sayings

slightly edited from an original post in 2008 to Eskrima Digest:

i want to share three sayings with you, what do you think: “when the student is ready, the teacher will begin”

and

“the ignorant says, ‘its hard to find a good teacher.’ experience says, ‘it’s hard to find a good student’.”

and

“a master is lucky to find a good student in his lifetime”

as a teacher, who does this for a living, i spend most of my time looking for the right student. many of my own students know that, i reject students all the time, when i know they are going to waste my time or their time. but i have to balance that with, “hey i gotta make money”. so i struggle with teaching the way i feel best for the fighters, and teaching in a way that students will stay. there are many times, that, a guy comes to our school from a seminar background telling me he wants the real thing, but then he leaves because training is too hard, or he doesn’t like to spar, or learning is too slow, or because i don’t give rank fast enough.

some teachers never think of these things. i consider them teachers who just teach the art, and they don’t care if these guys are not the best fighters around. which means, anyone can get a teaching certificate from him. other teachers are different. you will only become an expert under him if you are one of the best, and this teacher is struggling to make his fighters the best.

students of the ignorant kind, thinks he can judge if a teacher is good or not. how does he do this? by fighting him? of course not, so he looks at other things, like if this teacher is popular–does he write books? do seminars? does he have an association that pumps him up? does he hold certificates? does he show “impressive” demonstrations of skill? it is easy for a teacher who knows “tricks” (fancy and difficult drills, disarmings, and prearranged defense). many students want to know this tricks, so he can show other people. and i call them the ignorant ones, just like the teachers. see, combat, does not depend on those tricks. it depends on things like reflexes, mental and physical toughness, and striking and destructive power. if a students wants a demo, give him a demo of your power, or spar with him. but you see, the ignorant student doesn’t want that; its too painful.

impatient students will never learn in my school. the more you bug me to “see” the rest of the system, the less i will show you. for some students, they been here 6 months, and the teacher never appeared for them. sometimes a student can be in my school for 3 years, and because he has changed his attitude, i disappear. how many teachers really understand that? not many, because by 3 years, your student has already graduated. he probably has his own club too.

here is a test, i gave to a gentleman i met a few weeks ago who is a teacher. he asked me, is his certificates equal with mine. (actually i don’t give certificates). i told him, NO. he was offended because who am i? he studied with the most well known teachers around, he never heard of any of my teachers. so i asked him if he is willing to prove his worth to me by crossing sticks, or playing hands–of course not. then i asked him, is he willing to bring his boys down to my school to prove there worth against mine. he said, depends of the level of my guys.

this proved my point. he has to ask. if he has to ask, why do they have black belts, right? i don’t ask, because i don’t care. does this mean my guys never got beat? no. but i am not afraid to see them lost a fight. shit once, one of my student even broke my hand.

i met teachers who became very old men, and they are still holding parts of their system because they have no one to show it to. its not that there folks out there who don’t want to learn it–the teacher doesn’t have any student he wants to teach it to. in my kung fu style, i teach, i know more than 40 forms, but in 15 years of business i have never taught more than 10 of them. when masters take secrets (yes, there are many secrets in the martial arts. those who say there are none, just don’t know them) to the grave, there is a good reason why.

teachers teach, a master develops. there is a big difference. if a master told me, he has a hundred black belter students, i can show you at least 90 that cant hold a stick. even the best well known masters around will be lucky to have 10 true dedicated students, and maybe 5 of the dedicated ones will excel enough to be good representatives. teaching, is easy. you can teach anyone, but the hard part is developing that students to the point, you will put your money on him against ANYBODY. when you give somebody a certificate saying, he’s a master, you have just put your money, your reputation on the line, saying, he is one of the best. be careful when picking students, and be extra careful when you give them your endorsement. they cant carry your reputation with them into the ring.

go ahead, send your fireworks! > )

There were quite a few responses. Some challenging, some in agreement. Here are a few:

i want to forward a private email that came to me about this subject

competition is still fighting. take a streetfight. are you going to *kill* your opponent? how about if you got into a fight with a neighbor? are you going to try to break his neck? probably not. this is no different than fighting with rules. the whole idea of “tournaments are not the street” is created by men who are afraid of tournaments, or they didn’t do good in them. this “well, its not the street” is there way of making excuse for losing. every fight, even streetfights, have rules and limits. the truth is, competition fighting gives you skills that even a real fight cannot give you

* practice overcoming fear
* development of timing
* ability to think
* development of timing and reflex
* different kinds of opponents to learn

any man who builds his reputation by talking about a bunch of streetfights (or fights in prison), i’ll show you a liar, or a man who is not mature enough to be a martial arts teacher, so he must be lying too. want to test his truthfulness? challenge him to a match right on the spot. he will never accept.

really, competition is needed to develop fighting skills to a high level. yes, its not the street, but all those drills and punching bags and sparring with classmates is farther away. there is no way to prepare for a kill or die streetfight using the exact same situation. you need as much sparring, and as much different kinds of sparring, you can get. i have never met a good point fighter who can’t fight. the people who say billy blanks cant fight are the same couch potatos who say floyd mayweather cant fight either give me a break. people even say KIMBO can’t fight!

ask a cop, how many people have he shot, he will probably tell you none. ask a soldier how many people did he shot, he will probably tell you none too. so how does he know that he can fight with a gun?

training prepares them for the real thing. the better trained they are, and the more training they get, the more successful he is going to be at “the show”. but hide him from the training and simulated combat, he will freeze like a kata champion in the octagon.

XXXX XXXX wrote:

Nice write-up Sifu! Something that has always kind of daunted me a bit is my “fighting” ability. I’ve NEVER been in a fight in my life. I’ve been close a few times, but have defused the situation and walked away. Because I have never been in a fight, how will I know I can “fight”? Competition fighting is not the same! You don’t have the fear of a real fight, the same adrenaline rush of “oh my god, I can’t make a mistake or I could seriously pay for it”. Competition can make you better in certain aspects, but it’s not quite the same. I’ve competed in sports, and know that kind of rush of trying your best and pushing yourself. I’ve competed in one-on-one and three-on-three basketball tournaments, against, bigger/taller/faster/better guys than me. It will be the same as competing in a MA tournament

I think for someone like myself, who has never been in a fight, will always be questioned as to their fighting ability, their REAL fighting ability, no pads, no rules, no judges, no referee’s, and will always be criticized as can fight in a tournament with rules and pads, but what about “for reals”?! Guess that’s something I’ll have to overcome at some point in time!

“For Ray Terry:”
1. my point about the type of streetfight is not, would you kill an opponent, but to say that theres different kinds of streetfights. if a 15 year old jumps on you, you will not fight him like you will fight a grown man. if your SON wants to fight you, you will not fight him like you are going to fight a person who is home invasion robbery. if you are fighting your brother in law, this fight is not like fighting the punk who wants your wallet. in every fight you have rules. not every fight is a fight to the death. just like not every fight is a full-contact fight (doesn’t matter if its a streetfight or competition). if you have a knife, you are not even going to fight every opponent the same way. these, like tournaments are rules. either you can fight or you can’t. so, the more experience you get, the better for you.

you know, martial artists like to say “i am only training for streetfighting”. oh yeah? how? by fighting in the street? or by hitting targets? or maybe by doing drills? any kind of fighting you do, no matter if its in the street, in the school, or in a tournament, improves some part of your ability. even a point fight will develop your speed and distancing.

2. many people train with no fear at all. mostly because, they take too much control over his own training with this “make your own path” garbage. so, when a martial arts student has training with avoiding the things he is afraid of, he ends up doing things like, self-promoting, changing organizations like underwear, passing the schools to study by seminar, and making excuses so he doesn’t have to go to competition. shit theres even some people who will not ever spar because “its not realistic enough”! a martial artist must face his fears, conquer them, and become convince that no one can hurt him, if he ever wants to be able to be fearless on the street.

3. there is a BIG truth to this BJJ saying. many of us are unbeaten, because we never fought in a fight. some of us “train for” fighting two or three men, but they will never attempt it in a strong match. guarantee the guy who is afraid to fight ONE guy LIGHT CONTACT, has no chance of becoming successful in a fight vs 3.

4. tournament fighters know the difference between real fighting and competition. but excuse my rudeness for saying, that, they have a better idea how to fight, than the seminar junkie who spends his time hitting focus mitts and slapping hands. tournaments is nothing more than a simulated fight. no way around it, you have to have it.sparring with classmates is good, but sparring with strangers is better. people think that competition fighters will try the blitz backfist on the street. but the thing is, he will have a faster right cross than what most of us on this list have ever saw. i tell my students, beat the point fighter at his game before you put him down, cause remember just like you can hit the groin and punch full power, so can he. but the difference is, you been hitting bags and mitts, he been chasing opponents and landing on them.

tournament fighters have an advantage over non-competitors, because they have the skill of motion and timing. there is only one way to get it, and you wont get it in a seminar, i don’t care if bruce lee taught it himself. we know the weakness of tournament fighting. now, to my eskrima brothers, what are you doing that is BETTER than fighting matches, that prepares you for fighting?

From: rterry@idiom.com (Ray)
Reply-To: eskrima@martialartsresource.net

1. Yes, that could unfortunately occur. (about killing an opponent)

2. Am I in fear for my life? Or the life of a loved one? (question about how much damage are you willing to do)

3. Reminds me a bit of the standard GJJ/BJJ claim; “if you can’t beat one person then how can you ever expect to beat two or three”. There is limited, yet a wee bit of truth in these statements.

4. Tournaments have their place. There are things to learn. But one may also very easily develop a false sense of superiority thinking that just because they ‘kill’ people in tournaments will mean they will do likewise in a street encounter.

Ray Terry
rterry@idiom.com

I found the following exchange pretty funny. A poster on the board responded with somewhat an offensive tone, and appeared to think he was anonymous. Master Gatdula guessed who the poster was, knowing both the poster and the poster’s master. The tone of the exchange (which went on far beyond this one) turned into a friendly and apologetic one on the gentleman’s part.

For Robert:

is this robert klampfer? my comments are below.

From: “Balintawak Arnis”
To:
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 15:31:37 -0400
Subject: [Eskrima] FW: three sayings response
Reply-To: eskrima@martialartsresource.net

I’m usually content to lurk and just observe the discussions so, I’ll
apologize in advance for any ranting but, the hubris of some people never ceases to amaze me. And I really have difficulty with people who
continuously speak in absolutes.

Fine, let their “secrets”, their art, and their legacy die with them. The world got along just fine before they came along with their “secrets” and I’m sure the world will continue to get along just fine after they and their “secrets” are dead and gone. Good riddance.

ME: robert, you have to understand, not everyone is willing to share martial arts knowledge with just anyone, just because you paid for the seminar. dont be so angry.

That’s a pompous generalization. Are you implying that someone must be world-class in order to be considered dedicated or a good representative? Or that someone who trains a lot of people is by default producing substandard quality? Or are you confusing being a good representative with being a prodigy? Many excellent trainers have trained dozens of good, professional fighters over their careers without producing a world champion. And some trainers who have produced world champions haven’t been world champions themselves. Since you made a reference to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., I’ll reference Teddy Atlas, Freddie Roach, and Emanuel Steward as contemporary trainers of champions who weren’t themselves champions. And there are great fighters/sportsmen/competitors who are lousy teachers. Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters in baseball but, he made for a lousy batting coach.

ME: your idea then, of what makes someone an expert is much lower than mine. so, in your classes, go ahead and “certify” average fighters. thats your business. BTW, floyd mayweather’s uncle and father were VERY good fighters. yes, atlas, roach and steward are not known as boxers, but you are arguing another excuse people use to explain there own weaknesses. they don’t need to be champions, but they were good fighters, who understands how to fight. freddie roach boxing record was 39 wins, 13 losses and that is still not too bad. teddy atlas record was 85 wins, 9 losses. emanual steward was 94 wins, 3 losses. so what’s your point? do you believe that a man who doesn’t know how to fight can teach others to fight? you been looking at the internet too long. some people think because they heard some great trainers couldn’t fight, they can do it too. maybe its true, but its not a good idea.

but i do agree with you that many good fighters made bad teachers. but all teachers have to know how to fight, and be good at it. would you give a college degree to a man with F’s all his days in school? me, i don’t like to reward average students. either they earn it or they don’t. and i believe a student with the right attitude will learn how to fight. i never seen it any other way. why does my philosophy get you so pist off?

btw, in my opinion, a good representative is only the best students i can develop. average is not good enough.

Like Ray said – it depends on what’s being fought for: fun, money, or blood?

ME: it doesn’t matter when we are talking about training. you have to be able to do all of them. my questions is, you fight each fight differently, depends to the situation and your opponent. these are like the different kinds of competition fights.

> every fight, even streetfights, have rules and limits. <

Maybe where you come from, they do. Some of us travel in places where practically everyone is armed, any fight can be a deadly affray, and the only dirty fight is the one you lose. The only “rule” in those places is that the first one to die, loses.

ME: come on, your not talking to a girl in a bar. we know this, so lets talk like experts please!

Another gross generalization mixed with uninformed speculation. Over my career, I’ve known many police, soldiers/sailors/Marines, and private citizens who’ve been in life or death fights. Most survived, most weren’t involved in competitions prior to being involved in a fight, and most credit their training and luck with getting them through it. What soldiers have you been talking to? The cooks and bottlle washers? You know any Marine infantrymen who were in Fallujah, Iraq in November 2004? How about anyone from Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in March 2002?

ME: i know plenty, i use to be a soldier. whats your point? you know many people who been in life or death fights? sailors? come on! please look at my last comment….how did you get to meet so many people who fought to the death?

and, yes, i do know people who been to iraq AND afghanistan. my point is, they did not have to shoot people in training, just like you don’t STREETFIGHT in training. simulated combat is part of training–for all those “not realistic enough” people out there.

You advise people to proffer challenges so, whom have you challenged? Anyone recognizable or noteworthy? The fact that you would make such statements says to me that you must be very good and have never lost. I know a few people in certain circles who’ve earned reputations as street fighters. Some of them read the ED. I’m very curious to know if any of them are counted on your list of lying, immature, cowards.

Robert

ME: first, answer this question. are you robert klampfer? in north carolina? im asking because i will be in raleigh this summer to teach.

thank you for the compliment. if you know anything about challenges and filipino culture, it is something you do one to one, not on the internet, and you talk about it face to face. maybe we will get to meet this summer when i come to NC, i’ll tell you about my “challenges”.

sometimes, people been living behind teachers, reputations and computers too long. this is bad for the martial artists, because it makes the martial artist closet cowards, mouthy only in public, never face to face. so you have FMA people bad mouth each other in forums, magazine articles, and with their friends. you forget there is real people out there. sometimes you talk trash so much, you forget there’s people out there who will back his trash up. this is one of the problems with “selling” martial arts. people learn to swing sticks, but not much more than that. and, too many people have rank that do not deserve it. if you don’t agree with that, FMA is in bad shape.

Classic thekuntawman, circa 2002

Here’s some history about “thekuntawman”.

Guro’s younger brother began posting on the martial arts forums around 1999, posing as Master Gatdula. He initially called this character “Kaliman”, and later began using “thekuntawman”. Now imagine a 14-year old boy, invisible, who thinks his older brother can defeat the world. You can imagine how those posts read. Guro first got involved when a poster on Bladeforums began to doubt that thekuntawman was actually a martial arts teacher.

Never mind that Guro really felt the way his younger brother expressed himself. When Master Gatdula began posting, you could see the respect he commanded from some of the other forum members, and the dislike he received from many others. Guro says that his membership to his school actually swelled because of the posts. Turns out, that many people liked what he had to say, regardless of how unpopular and uncommon his ideas were.

A man of many opinions, Guro has left many precious pearls in the archives of these forums, and I believe the following is testimony of that. First, he wanted to challenge the idea that a relatively inexperienced teacher should create his own style. Secondly, he wanted it known that 10 years of study in an art is not considered “experienced”. Lastly, he was attempting to teach (or share with) the others what he believes is required before branching out on ones own in the world of martial arts.

The thread is located on MartialTalk, and you can read the original post here:

creating your own technique

how long do you think it should be before somebody can make up his own technique, and then teach students? i am curious what people think. i have to go now, but i will post my opinion on that later….

most of the people today who make there own styles are talking just as ignorant as a beginner who is saying the same thing. when a guy does not have a lot of experience fighting freestyle, he does not know what he is talking about, he is guessing. any beginner can see a lot of techniques, then come up with other ways to do it. but this alone does not make you qualified to teach others to fight. also a little sparring success is not good enough because just being able to make something work is not the same as wisdom created by years of fighting and watching fights.

what to look out for is people who say “competition is not the street”. this is true, but you will have to do something closer than a competition. pre arrange techniques and drills is not more realistic than a free spar even if the sparring is light sparring. see putting down sparring and competition is how people who dont fight make excuse for no fighting. in my town i have a guy who owned a school who says his style is for the street not competition, and they dont even class spar, because its not realistic enough. my question to these kind of people: WHAT is realistic enough? do you fight in the street? oh, you do “simulate street senarios”. ==theory.

for someone to be a teacher, he has to have his own experiences. and his experience should be in testing his technique. not experience showing others in seminars and magazine articles. not experience practicig, but experience in some kind of sparring. now i am not saying become a flashy competition guy with fancy uniforms, i am saying you have to do years and years of fighting. in order to be a good teacher, one that is wise and experience, you have to have a whole career of fighting behind you. if you care about filipino traditon, this is how you become a manong. people saw you, some have had matches with you, so now they know what you can do and your not just talking, so now you earn the respect of people around you.

here in the US respect comes when you make videos, articles and seminars and advertisings. the same thing for a new style. how many people kiss ass of this krav maga, but they saw it. they only heard other people talk about it, and maybe they didnt even see it themself. in the philippines, the saying is “i make up my mind after i try him out”. earn your respect as a teacher. so what if the rest of the world didnt heard of you.

to make up your own style, you have to use the systems you are adding, and know that you can make it work against all kind of people. you have to know who it will work against, and who is not going to work against. i will say its safe to say you have to have about 150 matches or more to be a black belter (expert, not teaching) and then another 150 to be a teacher (sparring against other experts or advance players), and then promote at least 2 generations of experts to make your own style.

why did i say this? who took your new ideas and then tested them. i am sure you made changes, now those people should have a full learning career of this new idea. now then, you will have more faith in what you are teaching, not just talking. would you put your life in the hands of a guy who has not tested his life savings skills? woul d you train for a championship fight under a guy who never been in a ring, and never had a fighter as a pro?

martial artist today have lost respect for the martial arts. today you can put anything together, then hide behind “this is my truth” and “full contact fighting is not the street” and “i teach for life saving skills not sport”. well i got news for you. some of these sports athalete we put down, like mike tyson, gracies, maurice smith, these guys can destroy you like a girl because they have higher level of skill, conditionings, experience, pain tolerance, senisitivity, reflex, things you cannot “simulate” you have to develop. and these are people who are qualified to be followed.

oh yeah, i been training for 22 years in the philippine martial arts, as a black belter i have 9 years non stop of point fighting, 5 years of full contact and boxing, 3 years nonstop of stickfighting, and 9 years of teaching. today, i have two sparring partners for stickfighting with the hands, and they are both teachers. we dont wear gear, but we do use skinny sticks, and we do stick to stick, and empty hand to stick. and still i am to young to make my own style because i am still investigating. i compete once in a while to see how i am doing, plus its fun. if i stop just to create my own technique and dont evolved any more, i would cheat my people.

cacoy canete, in his seminars, he still spars, and he got more than 50 years in the art. at the end of his path, HE is qualified to make new styles because he has seen enough. but for some guy with less than 10 years, your kidding yourself.

making your own technique for yourself is fine, and if you want to show people your way thats fine to. but to teach people who might not make you technique work for himself, and call yourself teacher, that is wrong.

as a teacher you have to take anybody and make them into a decent fighter. you need to make a separate style for a fat guy who is slow, and one for a fat guy who is fast. then there is a passive person, then a hot head, then a lazy person who wants to learn, impatient people, arrogant people, atheltic ones, weak people, fast learners, slow learners. this is a skill you can learn from a tape book or seminar, and you cant just figure it on on your own in a few years. you have to know how different people fight, not just other arnisadors, or you guess what might happen. you learn other fighting styles so you can show some one how to do it, when they are different from you. you need to know how to bring out the strength in a guy, and courage in a cowards. there is more to being a arnis teacher than just knowing how to swing a stick and take one away. this is what i call “wisdom”.

While quite “lecturey” and at times scolding, the thread was pretty tame, compared to many others, which pretty much became flame wars. I call this “Classic” thekuntawman, because he gave some really good information, qualified it, even dropped some quite popular and respected names that he disagreed with! Unapologetic and unashamed to go against the grain, this gentleman is definitely in a class of his own.

Keep checking with us, and there is an abundance more!