Vicente: FMA footwork

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By Jayson Vicente

The Path

Thursday, July 31, 2014


ARNIS is said to be the iconic symbol of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), although there is more to it in FMA than just arnis.

FMA is said to be the most complete martial arts that ever existed and one of the most important aspect of martial arts is footwork. Footwork exemplifies any martial arts and explains what certain martial art is all about.

FMA's blend of weaponry and empty hand makes it all unique and comprehensive. Weaponry is always FMA’s front liner but no matter how an FMA’er wield his weapon if his footwork is weak, the skills in handling his weapon becomes useless unless he finds a way to approach his target without moving his feet or throws his weapon towards his mark then footwork is of no use.

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That is what many believe. Footwork in FMA is not just about moving forward, backward, sideways etc., and footwork is all about balance, the stability of one’s equilibrium, even before the forward, backward and lateral movement without a correct body weight and shifting any skill is almost useless to become effective towards the target or less effective than with a correct footwork.

Footwork is all about balance and movement, but balance defines most of footwork. Balance must be correct and established before movement and balance should be mastered after any movement.

Because FMA is all about attack and counter attack, offense and defense, balance is always the point of reference that makes movements materialize and what makes movement halt in order to restart another.

“Balance is footwork and a great footwork is brought about by a good established balance.” – JLV.

Footwork is one of the most ignored essentials of FMA, new students always seekafter the fancies of handling the weapons like the stick, sword, knife etc. The essence of footwork is both a must for sport and traditional FMA, and we can say in physical essence of the art, footwork is the alpha and omega of FMA.

So for those who seek to be an FMA’er, do not despair if your lessons in the beginning consists of lots of footwork drills and exercises, consider yourself lucky to find an instructor who knows his craft and wants to build in you a solid base, it is an indication that he wants you to be an FMA’er.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 01, 2014.

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