Friday, June 13, 2008

Who Am I?

After years of training Asian martial arts, including Filipino fighting arts, I have decided to document what I know. I believe that one learns so he can share to others what he knows. That is the only reason why I started this blog.

I am not selling or marketing anything. I am blogging without minding benefits and accolades that will come my way. I just want my knowledge about Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) be known to anyone interested. A martial art is not only for the body but also for the mind.

Since I am not physically teaching anyone or allying myself to a martial art school or a particular system of fighting, objectively writing for the whole world to read, I think, is better than confining myself in a gym, a dojo, or a ring. My days of beating and getting beaten are over. It is time to remember and share what I learned and experienced in the past.

Although I am very opinionated, I will try not to editorialize much in my blog. I want it to be both deep and insightful. I will be both poignant and informative with my facts. I will present historical, cultural, geographical, and linguistic explanations to debunk the unfounded claims and disprove the baseless lies rampant in FMA.

I know it is hard to change people's views when they are under the spell of blind faith and the curse of unquestioning loyalty. Misconceptions and distortions become conventions and widely-held beliefs because they are not checked and looked into with an objective mind and a reasonable eye.

I know how it is to be mum and nonchalant in front of a master who spreads his tall tales and propagates his made up stories just to make himself and his fighting system look legitimate and sound good. I am tired of joining the choir and singing the same Hallelujah.

It is time for me to speak the unspeakable. I will no longer waste my time in false patronage and dumbing indifference. I may be a voice in a wilderness, but still it is a voice-- a loud one. I will not censor myself or allow anyone to do it to me. My silence is over.

I will present evidence in the forms of archaeological artifacts, cultural materials, oral and written histories, etymologies and word analyses, early literary texts, bibliographical sources, scholarly materials, and anything I can use to prove my point. I will also assume and presume but it will be within the limits of logic and boundaries of reason.

In the absence of a historical record, I will resort to forensic history--recreating the most possible scenario. If History Channel can do it, I, too, can. I will, for instance, use scientific facts to explain things that seem bizarre, strange, and out of this world. I will cover almost anything I deem worth knowing and sharing.

Yes, I am a skeptic. I always dissect and cross-check claims, views, and ideas before I consider them as facts. I believe that everything happens and exists for a reason, and that reason is solid enough that it can stand under any form of scrutiny. I will always try to be objective.

I consider myself a cultural preservationist. I am purist sometimes, but I also believe in change-- reasonable change. I belong to a lumad (indigenous group) in Mindanao, the Southern part of the Philippines, where I learned most of my traditional fighting skills.

I have seen enough of acculturation and social changes happening in our community. The future of my culture scares me. I don't know what will become of the mountains, the rivers, the trees, the birds, and the smiling people that filled my childhood with memories.

It is because of my fear of losing my identity, my history, and my story that I wanted to blog. This blog will be like that beautiful blade of the Mandaya, the name of the lumad group where I belong. It will cut and pierce. It will be both sharp and colorful.

Before I am a blogger, I am a martial artist, anthropologist, and cultural worker first. I am not writing to impose my ideas, to put people down, or to be obnoxious. I simply want to share what I know and express what I feel.

I will, however, call a spade a spade when I see it. There is nothing sycophant in me.