It is interesting to meet practitioners from different styles of Filipino Martial Arts and learn their naming and numbering structure. Seems we all have some things in common, yet, certain things may be stressed a little more or a little less depending on the background of the escrima instructor.No matter what you call your martial art, Arnis, Kali, Escrima or perhaps something more specific like Pekiti Tirsia, we are finding out that we have much that is the same.We are all part of the bigger picture.
Back when I first started the Defensor Method in the mid 80’s at the University of Chicago, martial arts groups were less open to collaboration, and as such, we sometimes got caught up mixing western logic and eastern linguistics. I can remember discussing such trivial things as, arnis is this, whereas kali escrima is that.Years ago I asked Guro Nathan Defensor about the similarities and differences between escrima and arnis.
Guro Nathan Defensor said, “Just the words, they’re Latin based words used to describe the Filipino Martial Arts by the Spanish. When I first started in the Filipino Martial Arts, there were people that I would meet that were adamant as to how to describe their martial arts. We are now deeply rooted in a digital age, and it is great to have the input of martial artists all over the world to get their input and perspectives different aspects of martial arts.“
MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are allowing martial arts practitioners to network and are helping to bring our perspectives closer that we have so much in common. YouTube video clips show us that, yep, we do that too. Martial artists are now cross training in multiple styles of martial arts, which, frankly, would have been frowned upon in certain groups twenty years ago.
We are also seeing greater access to international trade, which means that escrima practitioners have greater access to exotic arnis sticks such as kamagong sticks and bahi sticks. Twenty years ago, you may have known someone in your group that had fighting sticks made of Filipino hardwood, but finding a source was somewhat difficult. With technology at our fingertips and the success of online shopping, everyone now has access to buy great escrima sticks.
Since the use of technology now assists martial artists to spread and share their martial styles globally, it may be the fastest current method of spreading martial knowledge in our global society!
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