Vicente: Tribal martial arts system-A A +A
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
OFTEN asked question when in martial arts is the “What system are you?” question. While it is easy to identify whether you are into karate, taekwondo, judo, aikido, etc., it is a whole different case in Filipino Martial Arts or FMA. The most popular system, style or name is arnis, which always misleadingly connotes only to the use of stick, FMA offers more of a complete and complex method of martial arts brought about by the unique influence of the culture and tradition that nourished it.
In the world of FMA, styles like the Doce Pares Escrima, Balintawak, Modern Arnis, Cinco Teros, among others, boast of their uniqueness in style and the adaptability to given situations. This healthy competitions of claims does good for the FMA because as time changes one style never stops to revolutionize their techniques and always adapts to arising scenarios and improvements on the previously developed system, thus continues evolution takes place and when there is evolution there is improvement.
The origin of FMA just to have a brief understanding, is brought about by the influence of early settlers of the islands of the Philippines. Most history books point to the Malay race as our ancestors and are also believed to have brought a martial arts system that evolved into what is known today as FMA. The tribe system community that existed in the olden times is one great factor in the spread and evolution of FMA, as it was more of a lifestyle rather than just a fighting art for our ancestors. Their everyday routine, their way of hunting for food and the many traditional practices have influenced the birth of their own style of martial arts. The very evidence of this assertion are the weapons being used in today’s FMA wherein if traced of their origins are tools mostly used by our ancestors to survive, mostly for hunting food and tending crops.
Aside from FMA’s weapon side is the bare hand and the foot or leg techniques that are of greater importance in one’s practice of FMA, although FMA makes use of almost anything as a weapon, barehanded techniques is the most reliable skill to learn, as claimed by historians most of the unarmed techniques of FMA evolved from child’s play that takes place while farmers rest, kicks are played like tag play where they exchange kicks without being blocked, there were also wrestling like matches that existed as a form of competition or entertainment where men showcase their strength and outwit each other for a takedown, the “bultong” is one remaining example of such, played in Ifugao province in one of their fiestas.
Every region in the Philippine has its history of FMA that defines the identity of their system, aside from the, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao styles are existence of subdivisions, if studied closely could lead to a better understanding of unique styles that deserves to be preserved, every tribe has their own culture and traditions and this cultures and traditions are the influences of the coveted FMA, but one thing common in the system of FMA developed from this tribes are the fearlessness and simplicity, the very definition of the Tribal Clan Martial Arts System, fierce and practical.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on November 01, 2012.