Martial Arts in the Digital Age


It is interesting to meet practitioners from different styles of escrima and learn their naming and numbering structure.  Seems we all have some things in common, yet, certain things may be stressed a little more or a little less depending on the background of the escrima instructor.It doesn’t matter if you describe your art as specific as the Defensor Method, or something more broad like Filipino Martial Arts, we are finding out that we are very much alike while maintaining our unique individualism.We are all part of the bigger picture.

Now it seems that people are less likely to create a fuss over different spellings or pronunciations of words used in Filipino Martial Arts because we have better access to global information.  I can remember discussing such trivial things as, arnis is this, whereas kali escrima is that.  When I asked my instructor the difference between arnis, escrima etc. Guro Nathan Defensor used to say that whether we call our arts Arnis, Eskrima, or Escrima it is much like saying car, auto, automobile, they are just words that refer to the same thing.When I first started in the Filipino Martial Arts, there were people that I would meet that were adamant as to how to describe their martial arts.

Today we live in an Internet age, and I’ve been very pleased with how the communication and collaboration between martial artists have opened up the minds of FMA practitioners all over the globe.  Online resources such as Ray Terry’s Eskrima Digest and numerous web sites have been, in my opinion, a huge help in getting us all to see that we are very much alike.Online video sources can show that we are not too different at all.Back in the 80’s I can remember my karate sensei telling us that training in another art or another dojo was considered disloyal, I also remember Taekwondo teachers that forbid their martial arts students from attending classes in another style.

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.

While allowing martial artists to meet and compare notes all over the web, the Internet may have done more to spread martial arts all over the world in a short period than any other source!

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