AS SYNDICATED IN FMA DIGEST VOL4 #1 2006
Let’s start with a few introductions. I’m Jon, Sunday School Headmaster and now apparently, FMA Digest columnist. I guess I want to give you a heads-up on what to expect in my column.
It’s all about you, me and all us practitioners and enthusiasts of the Filipino Martial Arts. Maybe a little bit of something on the more personal level. We martial artists are people too, contrary to popular belief. I guess I want it to be like a journey. A journey inside my experiences… Some of them may be similar, different, parallel or opposite, but then again it’s an experience.
Journeys start with a first step. What was yours? I took mine real young… mostly for play and to just pass the time… I was a hyper-active child always inquisitive, always moving around… short-eared, hairless energizer bunny. And now, still hairless, a proponent of the Lightning Scientific Arnis International – Lightning Scientific Espada y Daga Serrada system of fighting.
Lots of serious practitioners have more or less tried different arts before deciding on their path. Or for some… when their path is revealed to them.
Did you choose your martial art, or did it choose you?
As a teacher I’ve met a lot of different types of people who, to some degree, wanted to learn the martial arts. I’m not referring to any martial art in particular, just martial arts in general. It’s hard to remember everyone I’ve met so I’ve kinda classified them into four simple categories with varying degrees of interest.
I love these people. They are so eager, enthusiastic and just plain excited. We all start here. Or some place close to this. Everything is such a wonder. Everything is an experience. Everything is amazing. Our teachers amaze us and we are mystified by all the knowledge that surrounds us.
A fitness obsession, a hobby for people who want to look cool. People who want to learn something cool. I guess this is the end of the line for some people. It may seem a bit abrupt. But this is pretty much it for some people. If not the end of the line, at least some sort of holding pattern for others.
It’s not about having time anymore. They make time. It borders on an addiction. Life gets in the way. Making a living becomes an obstacle to training. Relationships become a test. At some point some people have to make a choice. At some point a choice has already been made for some people. These are dangerous people. They have the knowledge and they know how to use it. Some are realizing that they do have some real potential as a teacher or leader. Some are seriously thinking of becoming instructors. Lines are crossed and decisions are made. Lives change.
Identity. That’s what this boils down to. Make the tough choice. Luckily for some others that the choice is made for them. Others have to fight on… and fight every minute to make it happen, to pursue the knowledge, to keep the legacy alive.
But lets think about it again… Is it a level or a mind set? Either way it’s a win for the FMA. We need every practitioner we can get. The FMA has been severely under estimated and even ridiculed for a long time.
We are getting there I think. To bringing FMA the recognition it deserves. We do have one thing to thank the Americans for, I terms of their contribution to the FMA. Its for the term FMA itself. We have always thought of it in terms of styles and weapons. Now there’s a banner we can band together under. I mean seriously. Styles and affiliations can be so divisive.
But then again, this column isn’t about that. This is about individual journeys we go through as practitioners and students. It’s also about being teachers and mentors. It’s about people who do what we do, what questions we get asked and what issues we face.
FMA is much more than the styles that represent it or the personalities that promote it. Its about heart. Its about the love for it. Its about Passion.
We fight with passion, we train with passion, we write with passion