Chungju, the central city of the peninsula of Korea. The Heart of Korea.

The Chungju World Martial Arts Festival is an annual event held by the city of Chungju. This 7 day event was participated in by 31 ountries each presenting their national martial arts with Korea proudly presenting their local martial arts teams as well. All-in-all there was a total of 30 foreign teams and 18 local teams! It was an exhilarating affair with each team putting their best foot, fist or weapon forward during the demonstrations of martial arts prowess, fighting skill, national costumes and unique and indigenous styles of ornament.

It makes us feel very fortunate to be the only team invited to represent our country and indigenous martial art in such a prestigious and popular event in which the best of each art was represented. We represented Lightning Scientific Arnis International, (LSAI), in this world stage during this entire event and were very well received by our audiences and it made us glad to feel the acceptance into this family of martial artists.

This is actually the team’s 3rd year at this event. The first two years of the festival being limited only to local martial arts demonstration teams. This year the team was comprised of 7 members from the member organizations of LSAI Headquarters. They are Nathan Dominguez & Jon Escudero (Sangkil Karasak – UP Diliman), Ericson Mejia (UP Angkan ng Mandirigma – UP Los Banos), Bayani Solana, Paolo Solana, Eugene Agoile and Joel Campoamor (Mandirigmang Kaliradman – Davao). These seven individuals represented the country with world class skill and prowess.

The opening ceremony was very enjoyable as we had the opportunity to make new acquaintances and meet old friends from the past festivals. We marveled at the national costumes worn by other countries as well as the indigenous weapons they brought with them. And as we thought they were strange and different, we also forgot that we too were foreigners.

Demonstrations were everyday so we were kept very busy. We had many opportunities to interact with the delegations from other countries. We had the chance to see the development of martial arts in other cultures. It was very rewarding to meet kindred spirits in the martial arts as we had the opportunity to form bonds of friendship and mutual acceptance. We realized that the martial arts experience is not solely an asian experience but is rather a global phenomenon as we got to witness western styles of combat.

Demonstrations were held a 4 different venues to make them more widely accessible to the public. The main performances were held at the Chungju Gymnasium Square. The Chungju Downtown District parking area, Suanbo Spring and the Martial Arts Experience Center where the public was allowed to interact with the martial artists.

The Festival is a priceless experience. And because only the best shine, it makes us want to strive harder in our chosen art as well as human beings. The Philippines truly is World Class.