How can we improve the state of FMA in the Philippines? The Grandmasters suggest three ways

 

Seated, from left.  Roberto Labaniego, Jerry dela Cruz, Rodel Dagooc, Sioux Glaraga, Henry Espera  Standing, from left: Rommel Tortal, Rico Acosta, Samuel Bambit Dulay, Jun Eufracio, Roger Vega, Martin Raganas Jr, Crisanto Pasindo, Dominic Guadiz, Mon Kiathson, Roger del Valle, Mio Cusi, Von Altas
The Unity Photo. Seated, from left: Roberto Labaniego, Jerry dela Cruz, Rodel Dagooc, Sioux Glaraga, Henry Espera. Standing, from left: Rommel Tortal, Rico Acosta, Samuel Bambit Dulay, Jun Eufracio, Roger Vega, Martin Raganas Jr, Crisanto Pasindo, Dominic Guadiz, Mon Kiathson, Roger del Valle, Mio Cusi, Von Altas

 

THE BACKGROUND

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.

THE EVENT

Not all who were invited were able to come.

Here’s the list of those who attended, surnames alphabetically arranged.

  1. Maestro Rico Acosta (Kredo Kuntaw Kali)
  2. GM Jeremias dela Cruz (Arnis Cruzada)
  3. GM Rodel Dagooc (Dagooc Arnis System)
  4. GM Samuel Dulay (Modern Arnis Tapi-tapi)
  5. GM Henry Espera (Rapido Realismo Kali)
  6. Maestro Sioux Glaraga (Kalaki Arnis)
  7. GM Mon Kiathson (IACKFP-KMAAP)
  8. GM Bert Labaniego (LSAI/Top Labaniego)
  9. GM Martin Raganas, Jr. (Ilustrisimo)
  10. Tuhon Rommel Tortal (Pekiti-Tirsia Kali)
  11. GM Roger del Valle (del Valle System)
  12. Senior Master Roger Vega (Modern Arnis)
P1050983
From left, Grand Masters Rodel Dagooc, Bert Labaniego, and Jerry dela Cruz
Uncle and nephew: Maestro Sioux Glaraga and Tuhon  Rommel Tortal
Uncle and nephew: Maestro Sioux Glaraga and Tuhon Rommel Tortal

A few members of the Arnis Pasindo group, Mio, Von, Rowena,  Benjie, Jun, Dom, Mai, Iza, and me, were there to help out.

THE DISCUSSION

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:

  1. Respect each other. Each style or group has its own strengths and weaknesses.

  2. Agree on a standard so that not just anyone can give or receive a rank.

  3. 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.

Who?

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.

6 thoughts on “How can we improve the state of FMA in the Philippines? The Grandmasters suggest three ways

  1. Robert Mitchell July 2, 2014 / 6:03 PM

    Fascinating! One question: what is “the Arnis law?”

  2. thedeadlydance July 3, 2014 / 8:34 AM

    Thanks for asking Robert. The Arnis Law, or Republic Act 9850 approved in Dec 2009 makes the indigenous art of Arnis aka Kali aka Eskrima as the Philippines’ national martial art and sport and orders three main agencies to promulgate its rules and regulations: The Department of Education, The Philippine Sports Commission, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
    It’s been five years now and things are still slow.

  3. Nmar October 21, 2014 / 12:18 AM

    I am a foreigner who has trained in FMA for along time now due to my Love for it.
    I have further more visited and trained in Philippines, I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the divide there is between all styles and the grand masters. My suggestion is that the grand masters themselves need to police the respect and courtesy that each style of FMA deserve. There needs to be a unity..

    • thedeadlydance December 20, 2014 / 9:23 PM

      I’m happy that foreigners like you love FMA. The divide among the grandmasters has many factors and I really agree with you, there needs to be unity. I guess meeting together regularly is a small but sure step toward that direction.

  4. voice of doom December 3, 2014 / 2:49 AM

    salutations! i would like to ask if there is any progress since this meeting. have they come up with a solution yet? who among these masters took the helm and spearhead the development arnis deserves?

    • thedeadlydance December 20, 2014 / 9:33 PM

      Hi voice of doom (your name scares me a bit :)) I think there were events after this that the grandmasters were together. For example, in the latest Arnis Pasindo tournament I watched (Nov 30, 2014), several grandmasters were there – GM dela Cruz, Dagooc, Glaraga, Kiathson, Raganas, Sanchez, Vega. I still don’t know the names of the others. They were from different groups but they were together for several hours and even watched each other do FMA demonstrations.
      With the Arnis Law, I think Maestro Glaraga is making the effort.
      I’ll see what I can find out in 2015.
      -Joy-

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