I Have Found “Arnis” by Fate

Arnis, is a Filipino Martial Arts with rich history attached to it that I have found by fate.

I just resigned from my previous job and currently applying for another but in the meantime, I wanted to preoccupy my mind while waiting for another opportunity so I’ve tried engaging into different cardiovascular excercise. However, some were like moot-and-academic to me as I have tried it before or that I didn’t get the service commensurate to what I have paid for. Good thing a friend told me that there are dancing classes in Quezon City Memorial circle conducted by the local government as part of their health and wellness campaign. You only have to pay Php20.00 for the entrance fee, not bad at all. For a person who is in a tight budget I figured “why not!” At first, I was having a blast but when things got redundant and I have already memorized their steps and that I could actually anticipate the next moves . . . I got bored. My mind doesn’t find it challenging and so my body followed. As I couldn’t bear the predictable dancing class, I thought that I needed another kind of way to burn calories.

 Usually, I drink coconut juice right after the said exercise to replenish my body with the natural electrolites the coconut has. Anyway, when I was on my way I saw two persons seemed to be performing martial arts and they were holding ratan sticks (yantok in Tagalog). I knew then it was Arnis but I was a common person who knew so little about it. I said ” Oh wow it’s Arnis!” (simple reaction) without realizing what I was about to unfold. I approached them to introduce myself and got to know their names, since it was first time to meet them just plainly Ate Joy and Cris. I started asking questions this and that I immediately have decided to give it a try for the sake of working out. Yes, my purpose was just to do something different apart from aerobics or running. What catches my attention was when they said that Lapu-Lapu used Arnis to defeat the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan, whoah! awesome! and that it was used by our Sultan or Datu ( royal leaders) from different tribes as a self-defense against bad elements and so as the sense of respect and honor associated with it. Cool ha?! I got even more excited because of the history I just learned so I didn’t hesitate and made a schedule for my first session. Ate Joy was graciously kind enough to lend me her sticks should I be able to make it. I was really thrilled to find out if I could pull it off. A few years ago, I was learning Muay Thai but I think it was expensive and it is difficult to deal with people that do not observe the art of professionalism and so I quit I couldn’t care less if I paid for the whole session (I was that pissed-off) Going back, first session, Bam!! it turned out that the more you get to learn about Arnis (FMA) the more you get drawn by it.The words are addicting and challenging- in a very thrilling way. Much to my surprised I enjoyed the training.  

As the session continues, the man who teaches me is a Grand Master named Crisanto Pasindo, whose philosophy is to teach his Filipino fellowmen the art and history behind said sport. That it could be served as our identity and be globally known. Up until now he does’t cease to promote this Filipino treasure. While ate Joy is a Pediatrician, marathon adictus, a writer and among other things, wow!! There must be something about this Filipino martial arts that I have yet to find out why these people are into it. Master Cris, as we fondly call him later, was so generous that he gave history lessons at the same time. I have learned that Lakandula ( male) and Lakambini (female) are title for a warrior. . . Hmm! I think my history teacher missed out that part, though. I was having a blast because I had the best of both worlds: learning the Filipino Martial arts that were used by our Datu  or Sultan with pride and honor in an open air with fresh oxygen coming from the trees and I get to meet respectable people as well. 

After the physically and mentally challenging training I came home with an aching body. I could barely move but I told our master to buy me my own Ratan sticks for I will definitely come back to learn more. The picture I posted here is blurry for it is an indication that I have tons of things to learn but if you see how I hold the sticks- it is a sign that I am eager to grasp everything there is to know (given the chance) so I can be one of the Filipino people who will value and treasure what our ancestors have meticulously designed and developed as part of our cultural heritage. It could be our identity as a Filipino and hopefully will be known worldwide. 

Join me as I start my quest of learning “Arnis,” ( Filipino Martial arts) and may you also be encouraged to do the same particularly for women and children. This is not just a plain stick-fighting for you can use this as a self-defense in everyday life against those who will take advantage of you. The sticks are just medium in learning the art. You can use different weapon or even just your hands. As much as I would love to discuss more I still know so little. So,I am yet to be an expert because I am still getting the hang of it. As soon as I get to learn this art it will be exciting to impart what I know to the rest of the world. I cannot wait!