“Pugay, Maestro,” we said to a man with fair skin, long wavy hair, bushy silver beard, wearing an oversize jacket, piles of necklaces and bracelets, and carrying several canes bound together.
I’ve seen some photos of him on Facebook but the first time I saw him in person was a few Sundays ago when our Arnis Master Cris Pasindo brought our group to Rizal Park. Part of the outing’s goal was to meet different grandmasters. (See that post here.)
The Maestro’s get-up was something I don’t usually see among Filipino Martial Artists or anyone for that matter. The first words that entered my mind: Weird. Odd.
So I was a bit taken aback when he spoke. One could immediately tell that he was highly-educated. I was impressed right away. Within minutes our group was chuckling at his wit and caught up with what he was saying.
When I asked permission if I could write about him in this blog he said yes, with one condition:
“Spell my name right: S-I-O-U-X.”
Okay I will, Maestro Sioux.
The above photo is actually posed. In reality, about ten of us were gathered around him, much like an informal classroom.
Oh, if I only knew how to take down notes like a news reporter! I’m sure I would have gotten more information. Anyway, here are a few of the points I got. The way I write makes it look serious but Master Sioux was warm, conversational, and witty. Not preachy at all.
About him: (He wasn’t in the mood to talk about himself so this is all I got)
Inocencio Y. Glaraga a.k.a. Maestro Alibatar EMS a.k.a. Maestro Sioux
- Academic degrees: B.Crim, A.B., B.S. Ed (Major in PE), M.S. Crim
- Was a certified NBI, Police, and Military Instructor
- Native of Negros Occidental, Western Visayas, Philippines
- prefers to be called Maestro because he says that’s what he is, a teacher
- he plans to go back to teaching FMA soon but only instructors’ level
- Who are we to claim that this art is ours? What we know, we also got from others
- Be very careful and always acknowledge those who taught you
- You cannot mix virtues with vices
- If you are not disciplined yourself, you have no business teaching discipline to your students
- Guard your tongue. Do not let a temporary irritation bring permanent damage
- If you are a master, live as a master. It is the duty of the student to care for his master
- Build character early on. A skilled practitioner without values is very dangerous
- You cannot be a teacher unless you remain a student
- Teaching is learning
- Practice diligently until the moves come naturally to you, like a reflex. Muscle memory is important because in battle, you don’t have the luxury of time to think
- Cross studies broaden a student’s horizon. But this is how you should go about it: Learn the fundamentals from your own master first. Then when your master says you are ready, you can go and get cross studies
Sure, there were times when Master Sioux made “weird” statements like a certain mysterious Maestro Sto. Nino teaching him and that one time when he healed an injured Arnis player with a dab of his saliva.
I REALLY don’t subscribe to those things and that’s one part of FMA I don’t want to participate in so I was very conscious and careful. But thankfully, those statements were few and far apart .
And here’s the reason why I think he’s one of FMAs gems: He has a profound knowledge of the Filipino Martial Arts. Ask him anything and he knows the answer: history, personalities, styles, etc. He’s like a walking encyclopedia.
Of all the things he said, this is my favorite:
For twelve years I along with several others tried to unify Filipino Martial Artists but we failed. Now, I think the younger Grandmasters have learned from the mistakes of their elders. So, there’s hope.
In the end, I ask these questions:
“Do you know this Maestro? Have you talked to him lately?” Maybe you can join me in getting to know him…again. I’m sure we can all benefit from FMA’s walking encyclopedia. And if you’re one of those who appreciate him, maybe you can let him know now. I think even maestros need a pat on the back sometimes.
“Is he weird?” Maybe the better term is eccentric. And mostly only in attire. What he really is, is an enthusiastic teacher who wishes Filipino Martial Artists to be united for their own good.
Maestro S-i-o-u-x, you’re my kind of Maestro. I look forward to seeing you again.
Thank you for taing time to read The Deadly Dance.
Interesting reads from around the web:
- The singing sticks of Ciok by Emmanuel ES Querubin / FMA Informative Digest 2010, pages 15-17. Look at his David and Goliath Karate photo. He lost that fight but you could see his heart.
- The people who influenced us / The Influence of Armas briefly discusses his FMA background.
- The School of Arnis Professionals / FMA Informative Digest Special Issue 2010. He taught basic Abecedario. Look at his photos on page 8.
- Abecedario or Abakada of Filipino Martial Arts Education / FMA Digest Special issue 2010, pages 11-14
1. Maestro Sioux doing a demo with Grandmaster Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo
If you have trouble viewing the video, click here.
2. In this video, you can hear Maestro Sioux’s voice explaining the salient points of the Ilustrisimo style while Tatang Illustrisimo demonstrates his moves before his young apprentice now GM Tony Diego, who many call the legitimate heir of Kali Ilustrisimo. Click here.
3. Again, Maestro Sioux’s voice in this video explaining the movements of Lightning Scientific Arnis as demonstrated by two late Grandmasters–Ben Lema (the founder) and Elmer Ybanez (the worthy apprentice). Click here.
Thank you to Mr. Mio Cusi for telling me about these videos.