Sunday, November 21, 2010

Milestones

Three leaders in the Filipino Martial Arts recently left us. Grandmaster Ben Largusa from Villabrille-Largusa Kali passed away on October 3rd. Christopher “Topher” Ricketts succumbed to cancer on October 5th and Ernesto Presas, the founder of Kombatan, died in his sleep on November 1st. 


Their passing has again reminded me of the need for more Filipinos to value their own martial culture. The remaining grandmasters, founder of systems and other pillars of the Filipino Martial Arts aren’t getting any younger. Many have passed away in relative obscurity, ignored by Filipinos who prefer to study and support foreign martial arts. How many teachers of little-known systems have died without passing on their knowledge to their heirs? How many more of the FMA leaders will die of old age before Filipinos snap out of their colonial mentality and begin to value the knowledge and skills that our forefathers have used to fight for freedom and their lives, the very same martial heritage that foreigners consider as some of the deadliest in the world?


It’s a free country and anyone has the right to study what martial art they want to learn. But when a Filipino who is studying a foreign system is asked if he has also studied a Filipino martial art, he’d better answer in the affirmative. Anything less than is a disgrace. 

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