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Crossroads are wonderful metaphors for those moments in life when our lives afford us a particular perspective; one which brings the conscious awareness that change is impending. Time and action seem momentarily frozen; allowing an unimpeded view of intersecting choices, each leading to different horizons. Look behind and see from where you have come. Look to your side and see what forces have been traveling with you; noting their influence upon your own choice which is yet to be made. Look ahead toward each potential path, anticipating the direction in which you have already been moving. By crossroads we stand still to take in the past, the present, and the future before moving on.

Crossroads exist not only for individuals. They exist for the phenomena we call social structures, political movements, strategic warfare, economic reforms, and organizations of all conceptual race, creed and color. As such, they also exist for the myriad manifestations of the traditional martial arts; these particular crossroads often being placed at the intersection of survival and extinction. The choice becomes a difficult one to recognize as such, because the survival or extinction can be an outcome which is occurring further down the path. Those of vision stand and look to see the consequences of each path before deciding which path to take. Those of lesser vision do not have that luxury. Not being able to see down the crossing roads, they find themselves either standing still for what can seem like an eternity, or being pushed forcefully by the conditions and concerns of the present onto the path of unforeseeable consequences.

The traditional martial arts of China have had their share of crossroads. The roads chosen and the strategies taken are varied. Some, to this day remain frozen at a crossroad, looking ever backwards toward whence they have come (or believe they have come). Others have chosen roads of adaptation for survival. And there are those who have chosen roads which have led to their extinction. In the history of China there have been innumerable martial arts, innumerable roads, and innumerable destinations. History shows us the results of the choices made at the crossroads. From this hindsight we are afforded a limited-knowledge from which to draw when at our own crossroads.

When processing the information I have gathered concerning the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), crossroads come to mind. The image formed of the many FMA systems is one where many paths have emerged, converged and adhered to one another; forming early on a rather stable and homogenous martial arts group. Most of the major crossroads of the FMA have been collectively crossed and moved further upon a similar path in the same direction. It is but relatively recent that the FMA has come to a crossroad of division. At least two roads have been taken, both of which lead to a very different horizon. To understand the crossroad and the paths, let us take a moment to look behind to see from whence they came, to the side to see the forces which have been traveling with them, and to look ahead to anticipate the direction they are already moving toward.

Kali At The Crossroads

When looking to the distant past, the most formidable figure seen is that of the Spaniards. However, before putting those images into words, I first need to do some explaining about names. The term Filipino Martial Arts is used as a catch-all for all the individual systems of this indigenous martial art. The best I can liken this to is the use of the term Tai Chi in Chinese martial arts. It catches all of what we call Yang style, Chen style, Wu style, Hao style, and so on and so forth into the category of Tai Chi, regardless of the purpose for which it is practiced. This is not an exact match, though. The different systems which fall within the FMA seem to have more in common with each other than the different styles of Tai Chi. This is reflected in the fact that the basic names of FMA, Kali, Eskrima, and Arnis are used interchangeably. Particular schools have names based upon these. The choice of which name to use as a base has more to do with the physical location within the Philippines and the language used, than it has to do with a difference in the arts themselves. Also, you may have noticed that when writing of Tai Chi I used the word “styles” and for FMA, I used the word “systems”. I have only occasionally read “styles” in reference to FMA. The use of the word “system” for differentiation, indicates to me, that the main difference between FMA systems is the manner in which they are taught rather than the manner in which they are executed/performed. If so, this means that the differences are of a different nature than those between Tai Chi styles. During this essay, I will be using the terms FMA, Kali, Eskrima, and Arnis interchangeably; as is customary in the larger world of martial arts at present to represent the group as a whole. “The indigenous martial art that the Spanish encountered in 1610 was not yet called “Eskrima” at that time. During those times, this martial art was known as Paccalicali-t to the Ibanags, Didya (later changed to Kabaroan) to the Ilokanos, Sitbatan or Kalirongan to Pangasinenses, Sinawali (“to weave”) to the Kapampangans, Calis or Pananandata (use of weapons) to the Tagalogs, Pagaradman to the Ilonggos and Kaliradman to the Cebuanos.” – Wikidepia

Wikipedia also gives a brief explanation of the current situation of naming within the FMA. “Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima, is the national sport and martial art of the Philippines. The three are roughly interchangeable umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines (“Filipino Martial Arts”, or FMA) that emphasize weapon and various improvised weapons as well as “open-hand” or techniques without weapons. It is also known as Estoque (Spanish for rapier), Estocada (Spanish for thrust of stab) and Garrote (Spanish for club). In Luzon they may go by the name of Arnis de Mano.” This brings us back to the Spaniards from the distant past. Spain was a major player on the stage of Filipino history. The Spanish invaded the Philippines, fought against their peoples, and controlled their use of martial arts for hundreds of years. John Clements tells us, “The Spanish essentially conquered much of the Philippines islands, and to a lesser extent culturally. They did not do it through shady deals and corporate take-overs of “noble savages” who were somehow their martial superiors. The very reason the Filipino martial arts today primarily utilize sticks is essentially because of both their ancestor’s lack of a wide-spread metallurgical technology and because their Spanish overlords, as an occupying force, confiscated their weapons as victorious powers have been known to do (not that there is anything wrong with that).”

Kali At The Crossroads

The FMA which the Spanish came into contact with, was not a new invention from the 1600s. Exactly when and how Kali came about is debated by historians and laymen alike. It is a general belief that the Filipino Martial Arts were originated and developed by tribes, as a means of self-defense. In addition to that, the existing martial arts in different periods of history have most likely been influenced by foreign martial arts systems with which the Filipinos came into contact. What has been documented is that FMA was definitely used against the Spanish Conquistadors on Filipino native soil and that there were some variations of these arts from region to region. It is also known that, during occupation, Kali was intentionally disguised as a dance so that it could be practiced in the open without alarming the Spanish of their martial abilities. Over the many years of ensuing martial conflicts, Kali was fine-tuned by its practitioners; deleting what was ineffective and retaining what worked. Filipinos have fought against the Americans in the late 1800s and with them during WWII; all the while relying heavily upon their own FMA systems. “During World War II, several American special operations groups stationed in the Philippines were introduced to the Filipino Martial Arts, leading to this style reaching America despite the fact that natives were reluctant to allow outsiders in on their fighting secrets.” – Robert Rousseau.

What Rousseau writes is correct, in that the American soldiers brought their experiences back home with them after WWII. What he fails to mention is that migrant workers had brought Eskrima to Hawaii and California as early as the 1920s. However, the practice of the martial art was restricted to the Filipino communities which had form there. Angel Cabales would become known as the “Father of Eskrima” in the United States. In the 1960s, Cabales opened his school in Stockton, California; where he taught both Filipinos and Non-Filipinos alike. The elders of the Filipino communities had been adamant that their traditional martial art not be taught to outsiders. Their reasoning being that it is a private part of their culture; keeping it secret had long been key to the survival. In Australia, it was Terry Lim who would promote the national martial art of the Philippines. Since then, FMA has joined the international community of martial arts, for all to learn and practice. “In recent years, there has been increased interest in Arnis for its usefulness when defending against knives in street encounters. As a result, many systems of Arnis have become modified in varying degrees to make them more marketable to a worldwide audience. Usually this involves increased emphasis on locking, controls, and disarms, focusing mainly on aspects of self-defense. However, most styles follow the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense. Modern training methods tend to de-emphasize careful footwork and low stances, stressing the learning techniques in favor of more direct (and often lethal) tactics designed to instantly end an encounter.” – Wikipedia

Kali At The Crossroads

This brings us back to the crossroads of Kali; with our gaze on the present. From this perspective we may investigate just what these FMA systems are based on, what they consist of and how they are implemented. First and foremost, FMA is a weapon-based martial art. This does not mean that they only train with weapons. It means that weapon-movements and weapon-fighting are the base of their art. FMA has a unique approach to martial arts and this effects how their art is learned and practiced. “Unlike most styles, nearly all Filipino arts put weapons training first. While different FMAs specialize in different weapons, many of them include training with blunt and sharp weapons of various lengths, from palm sticks and knives to sticks and swords. In addition to these modern weapons being readily available today, skill in using them also transfers very well to everyday objects, and the empty hand applications can be very effective.” These are the words of David Erath. He explains why this is so unique in the world of martial arts and what benefits can be gained from this weapon-based martial art. “Fighting with and against weapons is substantially different from unarmed fighting. A person can block a punch or a kick using their arm as a shield or cover. The same cannot be safely done against a machete or knife attack and would be unwise even against a stick. Therefore getting out of the way using footwork is of primary importance. Because the Filipino martial arts focus on armed fighting, the footwork in most kali and eskrima is unique, dynamic, and very effective. Weapons create the opportunity for angles and methods of attack that are uncommon in unarmed fighting. But uncommon does not equal ineffective. The unarmed techniques in many FMAs come directly from armed techniques, leading to unexpected and fundamental applications. Training the unique footwork and weapon techniques of the FMAs will add another dimension to your skills.”

Within both the armed and unarmed teachings of all FMAs, the concepts of: angles, range, strikes, the 4 step matrix, and covered blasts are all common features which are learned and practiced. Julius Melegrito writes that FMAs focus on versatile concepts rather than on learning a different technique for every situation. This is true for all of the concepts mentioned above. Each concept is equally applicable with all weapons and with open-hand fighting. “FMA instructors talk about angles of attack, rather than specific attacks. Once you’re able to discern whether an attack is coming from inside or outside and whether it is from left to right, you have the base you need to deal with it. After that, your training will be about progressions and combinations involving those basics. If your instructor is good, you won’t ever find yourself splitting hairs over whether you need to defend against a punch, a grab or a push delivered from the front because in FMA, they’re treated the same – as a direct straight attack.”

Kali At The Crossroads

The concept of range refers to distance. All distances are taken advantage of in Kali. Students learn which movements are most logically suited for different distances. For instance, kicking is a long-range application. Boxing, elbowing, and kneeing require a middle-range to be effective. When the distance has been shortened; grappling, poking, biting, and grabbing are within the reach needed for their use. All of these measures are carried out in an uncomplicated manner. When in an actual fight, people do not do “complicated” very well. Fights are fast and adrenaline levels are high; both of which reduce the ability to execute even well-rehearsed movements. There is a bit of a dichotomy in stating that Kali is “uncomplicated”, though. On the one hand, Kali avoids training specific movements for specific situations because life is messy and fights are fought using a different level of awareness than what we use during class work. The goal in FMA is to survive without injury. To accomplish this goal, students must develop a natural feel for what they are doing and, at the same time, condition themselves for particular methods of movement. The concepts behind these movements are not always as straight forward as those above explaining distance. This is when the famous Kali foot-work enters the discussion. “Most eskrima systems explain their footwork in terms of triangles: normally when moving in any direction two feet occupy two corners of the triangle and the step is to the third corner such that no leg crosses the other at any time. The shape and size of the triangle must be adapted to the particular situation. The style of footwork and the standing position vary greatly from school to school and from practitioner to practitioner. For a very traditional school, conscious of battlefield necessities, stances are usually very low, often with one knee on the ground, and footwork is complex, involving many careful cross-steps to allow practitioners to cope with multiple opponents……Systems that have been adapted to duels or sporting matches generally employ simpler footwork, focusing on a single opponent. North American schools tend to use much more upright stances, as this puts less stress on the legs, but there are some exceptions.” – Wikipedia

The 4 Step Matrix is not about foot-work. The steps involved in the matrix form a strategy for fighting and survival. David Erath explains, “Every physical attack includes an entry, a follow up, and an exit. The entry consists of the motion of convergence toward your opponent if required, and the initial technique used to attack. It can be the first offensive movement, or if your opponent has attacked first, an interception into your opponent’s attack. The follow up consists of any techniques required to disable your attacker or stop his attack. And the exit consists of your exit from the attack.” This is a strategy for both armed and unarmed fighting and implements the continued use of “cover”: covered entry, covered follow up, covered exit. The cover is defense and it attends to the primary goal of escaping without injury. “Strategies and goals determine tactics and techniques. If you are more focused on shooting your opponent than not getting shot, the odds are far higher that you will get shot. The same goes for knife vs knife, unarmed fighting vs armed, etc… Assuming you’d like to survive an attack, the primary component of any offensive or defensive movement you make should be “cover”.” – David Erath

Kali At The Crossroads

So, when you read the word “cover” in reference to FMA, always think “safety”. Cover can be accomplished in many ways. You can create cover with distance or positioning. Cover can also be provided by something physical which bars the space between yourself and your opponent. Cover can be the act of gaining physical control over your opponent through the use of techniques: grabbing, trapping, striking, blocking, or deflecting. When considering the 4 Step Matrix, it is prudent to understand that this concept is not about using a pattern of 4 set steps. If you can take out your opponent in one step, then do so. As such, your goal has been reached and the entire matrix has been accomplished. Your exit is safe.

The use of strikes in Eskrima focuses on the angles of attack and not on particular strikes. All systems use this concept as the base from which they work; both with and without weapons. In general, there are 12 standard angles of attack and they are currently referred to by their assigned numbers; the traditional names being cumbersome for students to learn. There are, though, variations to the generality, and the range of angles falls between 5 to 72 being adhered to within the FMA communities. To reiterate the importance of working from the concept of angles, I offer words to consider. “The theory behind this is that virtually all types of hand-to-hand attacks (barehanded or with a weapon) hit or reach a combatant via these angles of attack and the reasoning is that it is more efficient to learn to defend against different angles of attack rather than to defend against particular styles, particular techniques or particular weapons.” – Wikipedia

By now it should be clear that FMA makes no distinction between armed and unarmed fighting or between weapons used. This brings me to the next dichotomy; the knife. When it comes to the knife, a difference is definitely noticed. And, even from the homogenous quarters of the FMA community, the knife is a point of discussion. All use the knife, but, not all have the same vision concerning its use and the defense against knife attacks. Robert Rousseau shares the discourse of the dissent. “Many Filipino martial arts focus heavily on the knife and its use as a self defense weapon. However, this is questionable at best. There’s no doubt that a knife can do severe damage, but there are major problems with using one for self defense… physical, legal, and ethical.” Rousseau points out that knifes are a serious threat which not all situations warrant. In one’s own self defense, one needs to consider if there is any possible escape or end to the threat which can be accomplished at a lower level of force. Rousseau goes on to discuss points of knife interest which many users may not as yet have considered. “Most people who are slashed or stabbed with a knife do not feel it. It is common for the victim of a knife attack to think he or she was struck with an empty hand, not even noticing a knife was involved until after the attack is over. If you are dealing with anything from a larger and stronger attacker to an attacker with a gun, is the ideal weapon one which the attacker is unlikely to even feel? One which takes significant time to kill? In all but the rarest of situations, a knife will not kill a person instantly. It will take time for them to bleed out. The use of a knife also limits your ability to grab or control your opponent. In a knife vs knife scenario, both participants are likely to be slashing and stabbing. Both are likely to be severely injured or killed. Imagine a boxing match where the boxers each have knives, and then you’ll have an accurate picture of a real knife wielding attacker using unarmed techniques, as you’ll at least have the chance to control the knife bearing limb with both hands. Against a gun, the problem is similar.”

Kali At The Crossroads

Controlling your opponent’s knife hand falls under the concept of “cover”; and as such, is a good strategy for obtaining your eventual safe exit. Kali offers two basic ways to do this. It is called “knife tapping”. It is a simple exercise to practice. The key elements are: always attack on entry, transition quickly, use 2 on 1 control (meaning: use both of your hands to control the knife hand of the opponent). An effective variation is to first strike the opponent’s face before transitioning to the 2 on 1 control. This is a more difficult technique that the first. Once you have control of the hand, slam it against something hard and your opponent will drop the knife. Knife tapping is effective when the knife is in the lead hand. At this point, I am once again confronted with an internal inconsistency in the theory of FMA. We have already been told numerous times that FMA does not teach techniques for specific situations, yet knife tapping is certainly intended for a very select occurrence; one in which the knife is in the lead hand of the opponent. There is another select occurrence, that of the jab and stab, which also requires a specific response for a safe exit. “Defending against a knife attack without a weapon of your own is a horrible prospect no matter what. It’s extremely difficult when the attacker holds the knife in his lead hand, but even more so when the the hand is used to shove you back while the rear hand repeatedly stabs. We call this the “jab and stab” attack. The repeated rear hand stabbing action is also called the “sewing machine” by some. This attack is so difficult to deal with because the shoving hand makes it difficult to gain control of the knife. Additionally, if the attacker’s head is covered by his shoving hand/arm it is almost impossible to hit him in the face without being stabbed.”

When I read these descriptions, I am overcome by the serious nature of FMA. All traditional martial arts were born out of the need for protection; using both defense and offense in the course of action, to achieve safety as swiftly as possible. Most of these traditional martial arts have been passed down from periods of extreme violence to modern-day cultures where violence has become institutionalized by the ruling societies. Violence certainly still occurs outside of the designated sanctioned institutions and their regulated approved uses of force. However, most people in most countries, no longer find themselves under any realistic danger of constant exposure to violence and the use of weapons. As a result, the modern nature of martial arts has been shifting. In the Philippines, the FMA is still considered to be a “living martial art”, due to the fact that people have a realistic expectation of exposure to violence. Yet, the shifting has begun and Arnis/Kali/Eskrima/FMA are all together at a crossroad, looking collectively and individually at their prospects. There are different directions of orientation which are already being investigated and developed. The once so homogenous FMA is now being fractured by differing views and goals. Traditionally, Arnis was an informal teaching system; with no belts or grading methods. “It was said that to proclaim a student a “master” was considered ridiculous and a virtual death warrant as the individual would become challenged left and right to potentially lethal duels by other Arnisadores looking to make names for themselves. Belt ranking was [a] recent addition adopted from Japanese arts such as Karate and Judo; which had become more popular with Filipinos. They were added to give structure to the systems and to be able to compete for the attention of students.” – Wikipedia

Kali At The Crossroads

The modernization of Arnis began with the shift of Filipino society in the 1960s; with the first attempt of the government to bring Arnis into public education. Remy Presas was the instrumental figure in this movement. Through the efforts of the Department of Education Task Force on School Sports, experimental classes with private teachers were taught at selected public schools. Presas taught his own personal style, which he called “Modern Arnis”, to students of the National College of Physical Education. “The style “Modern Arnis” is not synonymous with the concept of modern or contemporary Arnis, where it has become a full blown sport embraced by the Department of Education, although there are some similarities. There was no formal program for Arnis from [the] 1970s to [the] 1980s. Although some schools taught Arnis, these were not official, nor prescribed.” – Wikipedia. The evolution of Arnis would begin its journey toward its crossroads slowly and gain momentum in the 1990s and into the first decade of the new century.

In 1995, the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports combined forces with the Office of Senator Orlando Mercado; creating the “Arnis Development Program Phase 1”. Mercado’s office had the authority to select Arnis instructors for this program. By 1997, Phase 2 was implemented and these instructors were nicknamed “Mercados boys”. These men were all direct students of Remy Presas; educated in his “Modern Arnis Style”. It was in this period when the first instructional Arnis video was developed by the Bureau of Physical Education and School Sports, under the title “Dynamic Arnis”. Program Phase 2 died out and the next stage of evolution would bring Arnis back again into the educational system in 2004. In 2006, another Task Force was brought to life and was tasked with creating a new program called the “National Training of Trainers in Arnis and Dance Sports”. This was a successful surge which brought Arnis into the Palarong Pambansa (National Games) as a demo sport, 2 months later. By 2007, Arnis had become a regular event; with 5 weight divisions in Full-Contact events, and 4 categories of Anyo (forms) event. Aside from Sports Officiating and Accreditation seminars, Coaching and skill training seminars continued… The “evangelization” of Arnis through teaching of [this] “generic” form of Arnis led to the focus on rules of sport competitions. In 2009, girls schools were included in Arnis competitions. The following year Arnis/Kali/Eskrima were officially proclaimed as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines. With the issuing of this title, two main bodies of FMA competitions came to the foreground: 1.)World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF), created in 1989, is the most common organization used for international competitions, 2.)Arnis Philippines (ARPI) system, created in 1986, is the organization most prominently used during the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. The diametrically opposed views of these two organizations is the great divider of FMA and is the conflict at the crossroads which heralds impending change.

Kali At The Crossroads

To explain the division which is splitting the FMA in the Philippines, let me introduce some information concerning duels. “One of the most important practices in classical Arnis was dueling, without any form of protection. The matches were preceded by cock-fighting and could be held in any open spaces, sometimes in a specially constructed enclosure. Arnisadores believe this tradition pre-dates the colonial period, pointing to similar practices of kickboxing matches in mainland Indochina as evidence. Spanish records tell of such dueling areas where cock-fights took place. The founders of the most popular Arnis systems were famous duelists and legends circulate about how many opponents they killed. In rural areas throughout the Philippines today, modern Arnis matches are still held in dueling arenas. In bigger cities, recreations of duels are sometimes held at parks by local Arnis training-halls. These demonstrations are not choreographed beforehand but neither are they full-contact competitions. In modern times, public dueling with blades has been deemed illegal in the Philippines due to potential injury or death. Dueling with live sticks and minimum protection still occurs during barrio fiestas in some towns.” – Wikipedia

It is the field of tension, between the desire for safety and the desire for preservation of traditional Eskrima, which has led to the two radically different competition institutions of the Philippines. WEKAF and ARPI have each turned to different directions for solutions which they “hope” will ease the tensions in the field of desires; creating an acceptable balance for the future of their art. WEKAF works with a “10-point must system” during duels. This is a system based upon the rules of Western boxing. In the duels live sticks are used. The duelers protective gear, similar to gear of Kendo, consists of: long padded vest, shirt, sleeves, and helmet. There is no hitting below the thigh. The criticism of this system is that it is considered to be too hard and too dangerous, while at the same time lacking in the intricate foot-work and the arm/weapon movements lack precision. The competitions are experienced as not being traditional. “This format has sometimes been criticized because it emphasizes a heavy offensive at the expense of defensive techniques sometimes with players raining blows on each other without defending, giving rise to the impression that combatants are merely hitting each other in a disorganized way.” – Wikipedia. This is an important complaint for FMA. As mentioned, there are specific concepts upon which FMA is built. The 4 step matrix says that the goal is a swift attack and a safe exit within the confines of the matrix. As such, a continuous attack does not fall within the defining aspects of FMA. To address this problem. The WEKAF instituted the “four second rule”. This aims at preventing constant and unrealistic attacks; using a penalty system to punish and deter undesirable actions.

Kali At The Crossroads

ARPI has taken an entirely different approach to their dueling competitions than WEKAF. They work with foam-padded sticks with a rattan core instead of live sticks. These surrogate sticks are designed to break before injury. Their protective gear is composed of: headgear (same as WEKAF), large groin guard for men, vests are optional for men but required for women, optional for all are armguards, shinguards and leg-wraps. ARPI has chosen a scoring system similar to that of Western fencing; in that fighters are separated after a solid, clean hit. They make use of multiple judges placed in strategic positions, enabling clear views from different perspectives. They listen to the sound of a hit; judging its loudness to determine the degree of impact. There are also alternative scoring opportunities; by way disarming the opponent or forcing him out of the ring. Strikes may be made from the head to the toe, but not to the back of the head and stabs to the face are also not allowed. Thrusts to the body are permissible; but because they make little sound, they are difficult to judge. There is no permitting of: punches, kicks, throws, or prolong clenching. All disarms must be quick and clean. ARPI is extremely safety conscious. This organization is working toward the approval of Arnis as an Olympic sport and the Olympic Committee insists upon safety. ARPI has received its own peer criticism for its choice of using an altered weapon. “One major problem with the ARPI system is that because the padded sticks with light rattan cores are used, they tend to flex and “lag”, thus making the experience significantly different from using a live stick.” – Wikipedia

These two main organizations of Eskrima have arrived rather late at their crossroads of debate. Most traditional martial arts systems around the world have long passed this initial rite of passage into modernity. China has had many crossroads of this nature during the past 200 years. At each crossroad multiple paths were either voluntarily chosen or forced upon them. With each new path the composition and concepts defining each traditional Chinese martial art has changed; evolving as the people and circumstances of history create new perspectives and goals for attainment. Often, these changes have been contested, resulting in a power struggle to determine the direction of the impending change to be taken at the crossroads. Where once all martial arts were “living arts”, many have become “performing arts”. In the case of Tai Chi, the crossroads have caused fissures of both concept and character; with the ever continuing tend of splintering into factions; raising the question of what exactly defines Tai Chi.

It is hard not to imagine such a future for the traditional martial art of the Philippines. It seems to have reached the point in time and circumstance when the myriad of names (of which Kali-Arnis-Eskrima-FMA are only the tip of the iceberg) are at their crossroads. Until modernity, they have proudly stood side by side embracing each other as having only minor differences; differences which have not challenged the concept of the whole. Will FMA go the way of Western medieval and renaissance martial arts systems; becoming almost extinct as they devolved into the modern sports of fencing and boxing? Or will the peoples of the Philippines be able to retain the nature of their national martial art as they reach out to the world around them for recognition and participation upon the world stage?

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