In August 2013, seven FMA grandmasters got together for lunch in Manila, Philippines. It was light and informal and there was no agenda except to keep in touch. (To read my article about that, click here.)
Ten months later, they gathered again along with a few more. They met in that same chicken and rice restaurant because it’s in Luneta where most of the grandmasters held their Sunday trainings.
Master Cris Pasindo, the head of our group Arnis Pasindo, was the organizer and he requested his adviser, GM Rodel Dagooc to do the inviting.
Not all who were invited were able to come.
Here’s the list of those who attended, surnames alphabetically arranged.
- Maestro Rico Acosta (Kredo Kuntaw Kali)
- GM Jeremias dela Cruz (Arnis Cruzada)
- GM Rodel Dagooc (Dagooc Arnis System)
- GM Samuel Dulay (Modern Arnis Tapi-tapi)
- GM Henry Espera (Rapido Realismo Kali)
- Maestro Sioux Glaraga (Kalaki Arnis)
- GM Mon Kiathson (IACKFP-KMAAP)
- GM Bert Labaniego (LSAI/Top Labaniego)
- GM Martin Raganas, Jr. (Ilustrisimo)
- Tuhon Rommel Tortal (Pekiti-Tirsia Kali)
- GM Roger del Valle (del Valle System)
- Senior Master Roger Vega (Modern Arnis)
A few members of the Arnis Pasindo group, Mio, Von, Rowena, Benjie, Jun, Dom, Mai, Iza, and me, were there to help out.
The plan was for GM Rodel to lead the discussion but maybe he was tired from training that he assigned Master Cris to do it.
So Master Cris stood up and posed a question,
How can we improve the state of FMA in the Philippines?
I thought that the question was broad and profound and I readied my pen to take down notes.
The grandmasters talked somewhat formally but were generous with their ideas. After a while, I realized that they were all saying essentially the same things:
Respect each other. Each style or group has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Agree on a standard so that not just anyone can give or receive a rank.
Think of a plan how to implement the Arnis law. Waiting for the government or the national sports commission to act may be futile.
They then said that someone would spearhead the formation of technical committees so that things can move along. That person or group should have the will and humility to seek what is best and not try to promote their own interests.
That is the billion-dollar question.
I’m scratching my head for the answer.
THE CONCLUSION…FOR NOW
The grandmasters have given their simple but painfully challenging ideas. I guess it’s up to the younger generation to work on it.
I don’t think I can spearhead anything yet but I’ll support any genuine step. Time to have serious talks…
What are your thoughts on this?
Thank you for taking time to read The Deadly Dance.