Martial Arts In The Digital Age

It is fascinating to speak with practitioners of various escrima schools and to get an understanding of the name and numerical structure of their respective systems. It would seem that we all share certain characteristics; nevertheless, some characteristics may be emphasized a bit more or a little less depending on the history of the individual teaching the escrima class.

It doesn’t matter whether you call your art something particular like the Defensor Method or something more general like Filipino Martial Arts; what we are finding out is that we are very similar to one another while yet retaining our own distinct individuality.

Each and every one of us has a role in the overall picture.

Because we now have easier access to information from across the world, it would seem that people are less inclined to make a fuss over the many ways in which the terminology used in Filipino Martial Arts might be spelled or spoken. I recall having conversations about such inconsequential topics as “arnis is this, but kali escrima is that.”

When I questioned my teacher about the differences between arnis, escrima, and other techniques, he explained them as follows: Guro Nathan Defensor used to remark that whether we name our arts Arnis, Eskrima, or Escrima, it is similar to saying vehicle, auto, or automobile; they are simply terms that relate to the same thing. Eskrima and Escrima are both forms of the Filipino martial art Eskrima. When I initially began training in the Filipino Martial Arts, I encountered a lot of individuals who were certain about the best way to explain their particular style of martial arts.

The fact that we now live in an internet era has made it much easier for martial artists to communicate with one another and work together, which has opened the eyes of FMA practitioners all over the world. I am very delighted with this development. My belief is that having access to online resources like Ray Terry’s Eskrima Digest and other websites has been of tremendous assistance in bringing to light the fact that we are all very similar in many respects.

Video sources available online may demonstrate that there aren’t really too many differences between us.

In the 1980s, I can recall that my karate sensei told us that studying in another art or another dojo was thought to be disloyal. I can also remember that Taekwondo instructors forbade their pupils to attend sessions in another kind of martial arts.

We are also seeing greater access to international trade, which means that escrima practitioners have greater access to exotic escrima sticks such as kamagong sticks and bahi sticks. Without access to popular FMA web sites and Google, you really couldn’t find a place to buy cool hardwood kali sticks back in the 80’s. Today, one need only search Google for great deals on kali sticks.

Internet forums, which make it possible for practitioners of different styles of martial arts to communicate with one another and share information, may have been the single most important factor in the rapid expansion of martial arts around the globe in recent decades.

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