Sunday, June 15, 2008

DOSE: The Concept of Twelve

Before I proceed to detailing the twelve forms of fighting, let me elaborate first the concept of twelve in Philippine culture and tradition, Filipino philosophy and psychology, and in the traditional martial arts of the Philippines.

Most FMA practitioners will tell you that FMA has no system of concepts or philosophy. That is simply not true. For some strange reasons, they want to project that FMA is nothing but slash and hack technique through luck and chance. That is inaccurate. They need to study real FMA in depth. The most savage way of fighting is the one that uses mind, system, and precision.

Even cooking rice, among Filipinos, has concepts, techniques, and beliefs. For example, putting salt on top of the lid of the kettle will result to even-cooked rice. Singing while cooking is not good for single women if they do not wish to marry a widower. Cooking rice with pandan leaves makes it more aromatic and palatable.

FMA too has a system of beliefs, concepts, and traditions. It should be taught as well besides holding sticks and handling blades. Fighting without using one's mind is not a martial art. Even boxers do not just rely on situation and adrenaline. They also think.

Dose or twelve is a concept that repeatedly comes out in my cultural research. Among the Pulahans or Tadtad gangs, who still believe in amulets and magical prayers, and are good when it comes to knives, bolos and machetes, their belief in dose apostoles (twelve apostles) is strong. They write or embroider the names or images of the different saints on their magic handkerchiefs. They even have a fasting ritual for twelve days during lent.

In the millenarian movements, like the Rizalistas who believe that Dr. Jose Rizal, the Filipinos' national hero, is either a saint or the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, June 12 as the official Independence Day of the Philippines is solemnly celebrated with a religious ritual of singing and chanting called "pabasa" or "padasal" invoking the name of Filipino heroes and mythical Gods with nationalistic undertones.

There are also Filipino animist Catholics who mix Christianity and folk beliefs and still do pasyon and pabasa (passion play and meditative reading) during Holy Week who still use the old twelve Via Dolorosa or Stations of the Cross instead of the current Vatican-approved fourteen.

My use of twelve is particularly based on my knowledge of the human anatomy in relation to blood circulation, localized impact, and centered immobility. The twelve points I indicated above on the skeleton are not secret. Every FMA practitioner should know them. They are the blue print of one's opponent. When one fights, he should watch those points instead of focusing on the hands, fists, feet, and weapons of his opponents. In that way, you know what to hit and when to avoid getting hit.

The twelve human body joints are also considered when fighting with a grappler, a kickboxer, a boxer, or a weapon fighter. It is also employed in fighting with a taller or shorter opponent or a bigger or smaller person. If still you have not learned or heard about these twelve joints and how to exploit them, find a new FMA teacher or master.

In the traditional martial arts of the Filipinos, the concepts of twelve are basically the strategic joints and the lethal points of the human body that if attacked, hacked, or beaten will result to immobility or loss of movement and hemorrhage or death. If those are not conceptual fighting, I do not know what to call them.

These twelve joints are just for basic or sporty fighting. I will write about the twelve deadly points next. That would be advance and lethal. I don't care if the diagram of death I know is a secret. I just want to make it known to record what I learned for future reference.