Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Spanish Friars taught Eskrima?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Spanish Friars taught Eskrima?

    Recently there was a thread on the balisong and how it may have been from France.

    Here's another new discussion concerning the early Spanish Jesuit Friars who some theorize MAY have possessed martial skills, and POSSIBLY taught the Filipinos what we know today as 'Eskrima' in Cebu.

    I used to give this theory the benefit of the doubt, perhaps there were rare cases and relating more to a monk or a few teaching fencing (Spanish) as he knew it to those who wanted to pick up some fencing tips. By the 17th century (the time period used by the theorists)... if one was fighting Jolo Moors with swords when they already had access to firearms- they shouldn't be the people in charge of teaching anyone military tactics. Even some of the 'Moros' had guns by this time.

    There's several books which cover many of the friars in that area. NONE refer to friars teaching the natives anything relating to sword skills. The vast amount of journals the friars kept at this time speak of fear and just praying they would survive their post. This explains why no one really addressed this prior to this specific article (listed below). The evidence weighs heavily on the side of modern FMAs account. After further research, I no longer give this 'Fighting Fray' theory much credence.

    Much of this theory was presented in an article about a Spanish 'Fighting Fray' named Father Ibanez who lived in the latter part of the 1600's and early 1700's. Much credence was given to his fighting prowess and of how he may have INSTRUCTED the Filipino (Cebuanos in this case) of his Spanish sword arts. Speculation has risen to the point that Fray Ibanez may have introduced the art of eskrima (or what it is today) to the natives.

    The primary source has to do with a small comment by author Vic Hurley, whose important work, "Swish of the Kris' describes a specific Fray's last moments in Jolo.


    -----------------------
    From
    http://cebueskrima.s5.com/custom2.html

    Below is the comment on the Fighting Fray from the above article:

    < "Indeed, matters reached such a state that before the end of the year warships were ordered out for another attack on Jolo. Four regiments of infantry and a corps of artillery aided the gunboats. Included was a battalion of Cebuanoes (sic)who sought revenge for the Moro raids. The wives of the Cebuanoes(sic) emulated Lysistrata in reverse. Every wife took an oath before Father Ibanez to deny forever their husbands all of their favors if the Cebuano men turned their backs to the Moros.
    In the battle of Jolo, Father Ibanez lost his life in the assault on a Moro cotta. The good Father tucked his cassock about his waist and plunged into the thickest of the battle. The Cebuanoes(sic) performed prodigies of valor and Jolo fell again. The seat of the Sultanate was removed across the island to Maybun, and the Moros paid regular visits to Jolo to slaughter the Spanish garrison which remained. " >>

    end quote
    ----------------------------


    The information I discovered about Fray Ibanez is found in the pages of THE JESUITS IN THE PHILIPPINES, 1581 - 1768 a 700 page tome of the history of the Jesuit order in the Philippines. It was written by H. de la Costa. It contains dates and places on the Jesuit's missions.

    The book also contains notes on every Jesuit fray who served in the islands. If they were killed in the islands, it was noted by year and place. Fray Juan Ibanez was only listed on two pages. He did serve in Cebu. On May 18, 1684 Fray Ibanez was sentenced to banishment by the Audiencia of Spain. They removed Fray Ibanez along with Fray Francisco de Vargas from Santo Domingo, and transferred them to the Cagayan missions. (page 498) Three other frays in Fray Ibanez's mission were banished from the islands altogether, placed on a Spanish galleon and banished to Mexico.

    The Jesuits were accused as, 'disturbers of the peace'. At this point in time Spain itself had internal problems between several Christian factions in the Philippines. Jesuits were accused (falsely or not) of undermining the Crown's authority, and under-cutting Spain's profits from the islands. Archbishop Pardo had supposedly blamed the Jesuits of Fray Ibanez's mission on the huge loss at sea of the galleon Santa Rosa (1682) to the overabundance of merchandise the frays had smuggled on board to send to a corrupt general, which in turn "deprive the Crown by this method of many millions".

    Counter claims and accusations by the Jesuits were fired back at the archbishop which resulted in the excommunication of a prominent Jesuit, Fray Ortega by the archdiosesan tribunal, and triggered the subsequent domino effect upon the rest of the mission's order, including our 'Fighting Friar' Fray Ibanez. " The mine was charged and fused which forthwith exploded with ruin irreparable and a detonation that struck all Christendom with terror and amazement." (pg 467)

    By 1702, 20 years later an older Fray Juan Ibanez was now rector of Santo Tomas and assisted in diffusing the rivalry between the rival Dominican and Jesuit orders and "dedicated a public theological disputation to Saint Ignatious of Layola" in which the Domincans reciprocated in kind. (page 580)

    No other mention of Father Ibanez in the book, of which such a romantic and gallant account of taking up sword for the Crown and Cross would hardly be ignored by the meticulous records of the Jesuit order. This act would have been favorably received by both Crown and Church. However, there is no mention of Fray Ibanez dying in the jungles of Jolo. There is no mention of Fray Ibanez being in any battles in Jolo PRIOR to, or AFTER he was banished to Santo Tomas.

    On May 19, 1768 the Jesuit order was shocked to be surrounded by Spanish troops and were told that they were now prisoners of the state and were ordered expelled from their dominions.

    "187 years after Sedeno first set foot on Philippine soil, his successors were expelled from it. A King of Spain had opened its door to them and a King of Spain had now shut it in their faces."

    Beyond the Spanish crown's unfavorable mid 1700's view towards Fray Ibanez and the Jesuit order, he was by most accounts looked on favorably by the populace of Cebu, and perhaps his expulsion became the revisions of oral history amongst the christian Cebuanos explaining the sudden disappearance of their friar. Instead of the friar having his life's work on the islands and college invalidated by their own Christian church, his fate had evolved into a legend of the Friar perishing in the fight against their rivals, the Moors of Jolo, with sword in one hand.... the cross in the other!

    It was most likely much easier to explain the Fray's expulsion this way than to place oneself in the precarious position of publicly criticizing the actions of their church's archbishop. Perhaps, it was the replacement church leaders who promoted this myth to pacify the Cebuanos. Disunity in the religious order could have been seen as a weakness to the Spaniard's god. It was not unheard of for natives to change their tribal religious beliefs purely based on the positive outcome of a hunt that month, because they prayed to the Christian's god. Something the Jesuits exploited to full effect. As time passes by, the story about the fighting fray becomes fact.


    The burden does not lie solely on SWISH OF THE KRIS author Vic Hurley. Hurley's research may have been limited in this case. He did not have access to the Jesuit records of this time and probably went with what had been passed down about this fighting fray. Most possibly from those belonging in the now Catholic church where once the Jesuit fray resided.

    By their very own records, the Jesuits dispute any accounts of the fighting prowess of Fray Ibanez in their order. I've always stated that even if the Spanish often had one sided records, certain clues can be obtained that could debunk offshoot myths.


    Like the one about the Fighting Fray who MIGHT have taught the Cebuanos 'ESKRIMA'.


    --Rafael--
    Sayoc Kali

  • #2
    Sun_Helmet,
    Have you done any research on the eskrima background of father Gregorio Aglipay? Do you know if he had written anything regarding FMA?

    I'll check out the articke you posted and post my thoughts later.
    BTW are you still planning on putting out a book based on your research?

    Comment


    • #3
      I had different readings which I have already posted at the fma forums where ideas & views were also exchanged.

      I read this from www.decampousa.com and was a bit bothered about it. Has anybody done historical research about Arnis?

      Nevertheless, I love Arnis. It is a filipino art and it never ceases to amaze me.

      Read on:

      By: Ned Nepangue M.D.

      We can only make a guess as to the origin of eskrima/arnis/estocada since there are no conclusive written records available in the archives to assist us in our research (that is, if we are really serious about this). Earlier writings did mentioned in passing, something regarding pre-Hispanic martial arts in the islands. But we should remember this, that the earliest Europeans who visited the islands did not know the native languages, were not familiar about the native culture at the time, were ethno-centrists, and were in the Orient primarily to look for spices and not to do research on martial arts. Nobody can really say what kind of martial art these early travelers saw (if that was truly a martial art) when they first came that summer. We cannot even say that it was kali they saw, since they were not familiar about martial arts (like Draeger, Smith or Wiley). Let us also take note that during those times there was no unified form of government and people were not hooked in the Internet. People in the archipelago then (and this is still true until today) speak many languages, thus what was true in the island of Panay then, was not necessarily true in the nearby islands of Cebu or Samar. Forcing ourselves to believe that eskrima/arnis/estocada is something pre-Hispanic even without enough proof to support the theory is not advisable.
      We only have the following objective facts to help us prove or disprove the current theory of the origin of the eskrima or arnis.

      Fact #1 No written records available, which describes what this allegedly pre-Hispanic martial art of kali really was and there is no evidence to prove that eskrima/arnis/estocada martial arts are related to the art of kali.
      Earlier writings mentioned how good those early natives were in hand-to-hand combat. These early European adventurers were maybe accurate in their appraisals since they were soldiers/fighters themselves and knew what was good form and what was not. But still the same, these available literatures do not give us details as to what kali really was. So kali can be everything, it can be stone throwing, wild boar hunting, yo-yo playing etc.

      Fact #2 Research found out that the natives in the islands before the Europeans came used shields and spears, weapons that are no longer visible in the majority of the contemporary eskrima/arnis/estocada schools.
      If it is true that kali is the martial art practice by the ancient warriors in the islands then it must have included the use of the tameng or shield and the bangkaw spear. Since the art of eskrima/arnis is derived from kali as some suggested then it must have these weapons included in the curriculum. Tameng is still useful even in the modern times; in fact riot police are still using this contraption to control angry crowds. Spears on the other hand are still found in many other martial arts.
      Fact #3 The claims that historical personalities like Lapulapu, Tupas and others were really into kali or eskrima remained unproven.
      Some so-called authorities of FMA always associate names like that of Lapulapu to eskrima, as if they were around already in 1500s. The funny fact is they could not even provide name(s) of who's who in the latter years (in the 1600s, 1700, 1800s) to strengthen their claims. How one could claim he is the great-great grandson of the great Mr. So-and-so if he does not even know who his biological father is?
      Fact #4 All eskrima/arnis share more common traits than differences.
      The Filipino stick fighting in many ways is really different compared to other stick fighting systems in the region. The eskrima styles as practiced by many Ilocanos in the far north of the archipelago are basically familiar to the styles found in the south, in the Visayas. There maybe differences in some expressions but generally speaking they are the same.
      Fact #5 Practically all eskrima systems/styles are practiced only in the Christianized groups (or those who are under the direct influence of the Spanish conquistadors for 333 years), and that no known eskrima system/style is found among those peoples in the hinterlands of Luzon, among the Lumad and the Muslims in Mindanao.
      The Spanish colonized the islands for 333 years, but they were not able to convert the entire population to the Christian faith. There were many ethnic groups left who were not directly controlled and influenced by them. Many of these groups are slowly assimilated still retain many of their pre-Hispanic practices. But if the theory is true that eskrima and the like is something originally pre-Hispanic, then at least one of these many tribal groups could show us sampling of a functional eskrima-like stick fighting art, but there is none.

      Fact #6 A link between kali and silat styles is yet to be proven, both are really different in form and substance.
      Many creative eskrimadors want to have this "Moro motif" integrated to their styles. In actuality eskrima/arnis has nothing to do with the Muslims groups in the south who have their own very beautiful and lethal martial art of silat. Many people foolishly attempted to establish link between the two, but until now they could not provide us enough evidence. In books and articles on eskrima they always include stories about juramentado just to add dramatic effect, but in reality all of these, has nothing to do with eskrima/arnis. Some insist that some of these Muslim tribes do practice some form of kali art. But if we inquire what tribe is that, they could not readily give answer. Some say it is in Sulu, but if we ask further which part of Sulu? Again there is no clear answer. Since the 70s when this claim first appeared, and until now nobody can really give the correct answer. Why? Well, the truth of the matter is, there is no kali in the Moroland. Just a pure fantasy. Is it possible to invent stories and fool the martial arts community? You bet! If you are familiar with the story of the Neolithic they reportedly found in Mindanao called Tasaday, you will easily understand how/why. In eskrima/arnis, emphasis is on weaponry first then unarmed fighting later, but in silat they have the weapons training only later.
      Fact #7 About 65% of technical terms used in all eskrima/arnis/estocada developed and propagated by many linguistically diverse ethnic groups are of Spanish origin.
      The Spanish language was never totally adapted by the Filipinos unlike those in other former colonies of the North and South America. This was because the colonial authorities in the Philippines did not encourage the natives to learn the language. For three centuries, only the elite and the educated could speak and write the Spanish language. A strange fact is, a great percentage of technical terms used in eskrima/arnis/estocada (and even the supposedly pre-Hispanic kali styles) are in Spanish, the language most Filipinos then (and now) did not speak. This is also the language used by the authorities who outlawed the practice and propagation of this native martial art. If the practitioners at that time were forced to practice in hiding, then why did they not use their own respective languages and dialects instead of using Spanish?
      Fact # 8 The connection between kali and Indonesian martial art of tjakalele is not yet proven.
      Tjakalele is practically just a war dance originated in the Mollucas. It uses spears and shields, the weapons, which are not found in 99% of kali schools. Words like kali and tjakalele may sound familiar and related but this not proves anything that both are actually related.
      Fact #9 The suggestion that kali is the root word of some words found in different Filipino languages and dialects is not based on linguistics, in fact a study on this claim is yet to be made.
      Important pre-Hispanic household words like diwata, Bathala, datu, ulipon are still understood by many and this same is also true with words associated with the warriors, like bangkaw, baraw, tameng. So what is supposed to be the ancient name for the Filipino martial art? Kali? If it is kali then, why don't we find this word in dictionaries of the different Filipino languages and dialects? In fact this particular word was just "re-introduced" years ago. Kali is never a traditional name for the native martial art. If one goes to a secluded place in Cebu for example and ask those eskrima old-timers there if they know what is kali, the will probably say they don't know. And these people are supposed to know better.
      Fact #10 The earliest technical description about eskrima/arnis was available only lately.
      The very first known book available in public was Yambao's book in
      1957.

      Fact #11 Many modalities in eskrima/arnis/estocada like espada y daga are also found in European fencing arts.

      Fact #12 The once Spanish colony of Venezuela in far away South America also have their own form of stick fighting.
      The Garrote Larense stick fighting art of Venezuela reminds one of eskrima. There must be a connection between these two martial arts somewhere and further research is needed.
      Fact #13 It is baseless to say that eskrima or arnis are just phases of the natural evolution of kali, that is kali being the original form, eskrima and arnis the modern and diluted equivalents.
      Kali that we can see today don't differ from eskrima/arnis. Some say that kali is on blades while eskrima/arnis more on sticks implying that kali is more combative, realistic and original form while eskrima/arnis as sanitized intended for sports. But in places where the word kali is not the traditional term used, the eskrima/arnis also included the practice of the bladed weapons. In fact many of those who categorize their styles as kali were actually derived from escrima/arnis styles.
      Fact #14 There is no lack of good blacksmiths and is not the reason why many eskrima/arnis fighters use sticks now instead of real blades.
      Many good eskrimadors are not found in areas known for their machete making skills. Many panday or sword smiths do not know eskrima and it is never mentioned in the Philippine history that Philippines were running out of bolos.
      Fact #15 That the theory proposed is actually not corroborated in the works of the experts of the Philippine history, anthropology and sociology.
      Intertribal war was a reality especially before the islands became a colony of Spain. When there is war, there are warriors, weapons and military arts. If kali was a military art then history books in high school and college must mention it. I do not remember reading a word kali in our history books when I was still in high school and college, instead in our world history I read words like samurai, katana etc. Books of anthropology must also provide details about it. It is not mentioned, not because historians are not interested, it is simply because there is no sufficient information about it.
      So basing on the aforementioned facts, we can only offer logical comments as to the possible origin of the contemporary Filipino Martial Arts (a bigger portion of which is the eskrima/arnis/estocada/kali). It is basically a product of Filipino creativity and no doubt whatsoever, it is very Filipino. The bulk of its repertoire was developed during Spanish colonial times, and plausibly it got its inspiration from European fencing concepts and practices. It was greatly developed and refined (and the evolution still continues) only here in the islands of the Philippines.


      Oh by the way... I wonder where he got basis of his facts...

      Comment


      • #4
        Another long read but interesting...

        By: Tinni Macachor
        Originally published in Rapid Journal

        Regional ethnic pride seems to be the biggest obstacle in acquiring an unbiased historically correct account on the origins and evolution of Eskrima. The Ilonggos in West Visayas insist on the story of the ten Datus of Borneo that is widely believed to have brought with them an ancient form of bladed combat known as Kali. Congruent to the theory on Kali as the progenitor of Eskrima / Arnis are the hoaxes and fabrications on the Code of Maragtas and Kalantiaw. In his article Maragtas and Kalantiaw - History, Legend or Fraud?, Paul Morrow wrote:
        "How do historians know about events which, according to them, occurred before there were Spaniards in the Philippines while there are almost no known authentic written documents from that era? Much of what we know about the pre-Hispanic era came to us through legends. These are stories that were not written but were spoken by each generation to the following generation. Legends change with each telling because often the teller's memory is weak or mistaken- or the teller just wants to make additions to the story to spice it up. Legends are usually nothing more than stories about the creation of the world, the first man and woman and such. It is easy to see that they are not meant to be regarded as fact. However, there are some legends which do contain a kernel of truth."

        There is no truth to the story of the ten datus of Borneo. This was proven a fraud in a research made in 1968 by historian William Henry Scott that exposed author Jose Marco's fabrication on the story of Fr. Jose Maria Pavon the supposed discoverer of the Code of Maragtas. Scott further revealed in his book Pre-Hispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History: Jose E. Marco's contributions to Philippine historiography appear to be deliberate fabrications with no historic validity. There is therefore no present evidence that any Filipino ruler by the name of Kalantiaw ever existed or that the Kalantiaw penal code is any older than 1914."

        Unsettling as it may be for some Filipino ethnic group, but with the advent of information revolution, as quickly as it is to spread lies and fabrications it is also as quick to debunk them with serious hard work, patience, methodical research and a passion for historical accuracy. Such is the story of the First Mass in the Island of Limasawa, Leyte that until the overthrow of Marcos and to appease her flamboyant First Lady a native of Leyte, was taken as irrefutable historical fact written in textbooks and taught in all our schools. There is now an overwhelming archaeological/documentary evidence presented by credible historians, anthropologists and archaeologists of Agusan del Norte that proves the First Mass was in fact celebrated in Masau - present day Butuan City.

        Like the Limasawa story, Philippine history is replete with fake stories and fantasies concocted by self-serving politicians especially the ruling elite of the Manila and other vested interest groups. This will go on while there are still scams like the textbook bribery scandal in 1998 involving Mary Ann Maslog.

        Finding physical /archaeological evidence to determine the exact origins of the Filipino Martial Arts is a very remote possibility, nevertheless, we can collate a wealth of information from the academe and other reliable sources to piece together our theory that:

        THEORY 1.

        Contrary to popular belief that it is pre-Hispanic, Eskrima / Arnis / Estokada is a relatively new Martial Art and did not precede the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and developed mainly in the coastal towns of Cebu, Siquijor, Bohol, Negros, Leyte, Panay and coastal towns of Luzon like Pangasinan, and Pampanga that became a favorite predatory ground for marauding Moro pirates. From a retreating and defensive mode, the early Visayans shifted strategies that once relied on Cottas to more aggressive offensive tactics.

        Extracted from Cebu in Legend and History by Evangeline Lavilles de Paula and Angels in Stone by Fr. Pedro G. Galende, OSA are these stories:

        1.1 MOALBOAL - Southwest Cebu Coast

        This story is probably the first historical account on the use of canes and Latin Oracion against Moro Invaders and the significant contribution of Bohol style Eskrima to the Cebuano Martial Arts. Again, I would like to reiterate that the writers belong to the mainstream academe and were in no way involved in the research of Filipino Martial Arts history.

        "Oral tradition relates that Boholano pioneers founded the town of Moalboal. A substantiation of this contention is that its leading families - the Gadors, Cabarons, Bableras, Redobles and many more - came from Bohol. Another fact is that many residents, especially the older ones, still speak with Boholano accent.

        The first Boholano to settle in the town was Laurente Sabanal. He was captured by the Spaniards in Bohol for having killed a guardia civil. But he later escaped on a rowboat to Cebu. He chose Moalboal as his new home, having found the land fertile and the sea abundant with fish. He lived alone for a while, but he later returned to his native town and brought back with him his family and some relatives to emigrate to his new-found home. Expectedly, he became the ruler of the settlement.

        The Muslims also directed their raids at Moalboal, being already a prosperous settlement. But led by Sabanal, the inhabitants successfully repulsed the invaders. They attributed their victory to Sabanal's oracion. When he died, it is said that he was buried by the shore marked by his magic cane. To this day, a part of it could still be seen. In his honor, the people named a street along the shore."


        1.2 SPANISH PERIOD - BANTAYAN ISLANDS

        Kinatarcan Island, which belongs to the Bantayan group of Islands, is the birthplace of GM Floro Villabrille and GM Antonio Ilustrisimo. A colleague Juris Fernandez who comes from Doong Island told us about his Great Grandfather Tata Lucio Pastor who is one of the longest living Eskrimador of the island. Tata Lucio Pastor who lived up to 106 years old used bakhaw a fire hardened wood cut from mangroves as fighting stick. The lineage of Tata Lucio Pastor's Eskrima is untraceable but the fact remains that his Eskrima is indigenous to the island of Doong and that it was probably developed to repulse superior weaponry and martial skills.


        " The Parish of Bantayan was then under the direct control and supervision of the Archdiocese of Manila. Fr. de Ocampos then, built a church made of nipa and bamboo. This church was put on torch by the Moro raiders in 1600, when according to Blair and Robertson , some 800 Bantayanons were taken as captive and sold as slaves to rich Mindanao Muslims. A second church was again erected and was again put on fire by the marauding Moros.
        The stone church as we now see is the third church erected. Construction of this church began on 1839 and completed on year 1863. It was Fr. Doroteo Andrada del Rosario who built this church with a tall belfry and tall walls that surround the plaza.
        Fr. Del Rosario being aware of the Moro attack built several lookout towers. The towers were located at Balwarte (Suba, Bantayan), Do-ong Island, Bantigue, Kabac, Daan Patio (Madridejos), Kaongkod (Madridejos), Tamiao, Ocoy (Sta. Fe), Cota (Sta. Fe) and Sulangan. Of these towers, only Bantigue and Sulangan have no ruins. To serve as signal of the incoming attack each tower is equipped with virso (a canon like cylinder wherein explosives were set to make a very loud noise). If one tower sees the incoming invaders, they would make a signal. The next tower upon hearing the signal would in turn fire their virso and so with the next towers, a chain explosion is achieved until the signal would reach the town proper. The church bells would then ring the bells to warn the populace about the incoming attack and prepare for the said attack while the olds, woman and children are cloistered to the confines of the tall walls surrounding the church.

        1.3 PILAR, CAMOTES ISLAND, CEBU

        The next story from Lavilles de Paula recalls another vivid historical account on the use of strategy and Martial Arts against marauding Moro pirates and probably the importation Leyte Eskrima to Cebu:

        "In search for a better place to live in, a family from Cabalian Leyte crossed the Visayan sea to a nearby island and they became the nucleus of a settlement in Cebu which grew into a town. Solferino Borinaga was attracted by the fertile soil and the rich fishing grounds of a place called Palawan. It was so named as there was a spring (Palawan in the dialect) in the area. He brought his wife Alejandra and son Martin. Since life seemed much better in their new home, Solferino went back to his native town and encouraged his relatives and friends to immigrate to Palawan. A group - about ten families - went with him. Together, they organized into a barrio.

        The inhabitants - prosperous as they were - were objects of forays by Moro pirates. Discovering the new colony, the Muslims would raid and seize properties, food, and even people. But Solferino Borinaga was an exceptional leader, not only good in organizing, but an expert in the art of battle. Together with only a few men, they did not only defend their village successfully , but they also mounted offensive attacks on the veteran sea warriors, fighting them face to face. Surprisingly defeated, the Moros fled and never disturbed the village again.

        News of unprecedented victory over the Moros spread and soon many went to Palawan to settle there permanently. It grew into a town and quite naturally, it was Solferino Borinaga who was its first capitan."

        THEORY 2.

        The Province of Cebu stretching from Bantayan Islands in the North to Santander in the South became the focal point in the development of Eskrima and that its development and tactical use outlived the Moro raiders. The Art of Eskrima was also effective against Spanish and American colonizers and also against the Japanese invaders. More heroic stories of the coastal towns in Cebu from Evangeline Lavilles de Paula's book: Cebu in Legend and History:

        THEORY 4.

        Arnis in Luzon particulary in the province of Pampanga blossomed at the same time as Eskrima in the Visayas during the administration of Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera.

        4.1 The Filipino Martial Arts that we know today was a deadly chemistry of Macabebe, Cebuano, Ilonggo and other Visayan Martial Arts. These diverse ethnic groups became brothers in arms and their meticulous recruitment by the Spaniards was intended to match the skills of the Moro warriors. The only bridge to a cultural and language barrier among this mixture of Visayans and Capampangans was their mutual hatred of Moros and the cross-pollination of combat skills. Chapter 9 of Vic Hurley's Swiss of the Kris recalls accurately the recruitment of Pampango, Cebuano and Ilonggo conscripts during the administration of Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera to fight against the Moros of Sulu. Hurley credited Corcuera as the most successful Governor General during the Spanish colonial period to have successfully contained the Moros of Sulu. Here are some excerpts of Chapter 9 to support our theory:


        "After due preparation, an expeditionary force under the command of Captain Juan de Chaves landed at Zamboanga on April 6, 1635. There de Chaves founded the town of Bagumbayan, which was the first name for Zamboanga, and from this station he soon reduced the towns of Caldera and Balvagan.
        After Captain de Chaves' force of 300 well armed Spaniards and 1000 Visayans had cleared the peninsula temporarily of hostile Moros, the construction of one of the finest forts in the East was put into execution. On June 23, 1635, the foundations of the grand fortress of Nuestra Senora del Pilar was laid by Father Vera, engineer of the Spanish army."
        The year 1635 had witnessed the arrival in Manila of a very efficient Governor-General and a perfect soldier. The coming of Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera marked a period of success for the Spanish arms which was not to be equaled again until the mighty soldier Juan Arolas arrived 250 years later.

        Comment


        • #5
          Part 2


          Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera - was he the father of the Filipino Martial Arts?

          Whatever Corcuera's emotions as he gazed down the valley to the horde of brown kris men waiting to resist him, there can be no question as to his valor. At a flourish of a mailed fist, the Spanish plumes disappeared into the wave of Moros.
          We are indebted to Father Crevas for an account of this campaign. From him we learn that Corcuera, with a squadron of small vessels and a dozen flat boats, entered the river, defying Correlat. "The forces which he had were five companies; his own of 150 men, those of Captain Nicholas Gonzalez and Lorenzo Orella de Ugalde of 100 men each; another company of sailors; another of Pampangos; all the rest were rabble and pioneers. The same day he reached the river, he entered, with seventy men, the court of Correlat, defended by more than two thousand armed Moros."
          As we consider the caliber of the men who opposed Corcuera that day, we wonder how he kept his small company from being overwhelmed. The Spaniards had arquebuses, but they were slow and laborious to reload. A great deal of the combat must have been hand-to-hand. Pitched to religious fervor, a Moro was the equal to any Spaniard in hand-to-hand battle, and yet Corcuera survived to win a brilliant victory.
          de Corcuera remains as one of the conspicuous figures of the Spanish conquest of Mindanao. He was a perfect soldier. His reward for distinguished service in the field against the Moros was paralleled by the treatment Cortez and Balboa received at the hands of the Spanish crown. During his term of office as Governor-General of the Philippines (1635-1644), he incurred the displeasure of the Friars, and upon being succeeded by Diego Fajardo, he was haled into court, fined 25,000 and thrown into prison for five years. He was finally released by a Royal Order and given the tardy award of Governor of the Canary Islands.

          Ned Nepangue in a previous article wrote of the stick fighting arts of Canary Islands and Venezuela that is closely similar in technical form to Eskrima / Arnis. Who could have introduced stick fighting in the Canary Islands? From the historical facts above we can surmise that De Corcuera, during his administration of the Canary Islands could have brought along with him trusted alalays (cronies) that probably cross trained with native Filipinos during his Mindanao campaign.

          4.2 From another source Complete Sinawali by Reynaldo Galang, he wrote:

          "A royal decree in 1636 ordered the "pacification"of the island of Mindanao. Two large companies composed of mainly Pampangans and Visayans were part of the force led by Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera. This force traveled aboard eleven large vessels with 760 Spanish infantrymen who were divided into a total of seven companies. Using Zamboanga as base, the troops underwent rigorous training with the advice and help of Datu Suksukan of Zamboanga and Datu Piatong of the Lutaos"

          Chavacano the native dialect of the Zamboanguenos is a hodgepodge of bastardized Spanish, Cebuano, Yakan and Subanon dialects.

          4.3 Even after the administration of Corcuera the Spanish authorities continued to employ Visayan mercenaries to exact revenge and kill as many Moros as they can with the promise of great rewards. Chapter 13 of Swish of the Kris details this account:

          "A decree dated December 21, 1751, was signed by the Governor-General of Manila. It provided:
          - The extermination of the Moslems of Mindanao and Sulu with fire and sword and no quarter for Moros of any age or either sex.
          -The fitting out of Visayan corsairs with authority to extinguish the foe; to accomplish the burning of all that was combustible.
          -To destroy all crops; desolate all land; make Moro captives and recover Christian slaves.
          - One fifth of the spoil taken from the Moros belong to the King.
          - All Visayans engaged to be exempt from the payment of all tribute while engaged in the extermination of the Moros.
          -Criminals who volunteer to the service to be granted full pardon for past offenses."

          Given this historical background on the animosity of Visayan Christians and Moros, it is easy to grasp how deep rooted the conflict in Mindanao is until today. The bloody war of attrition between the Barracudas (Moro fighters) and the Ilagas (Ilonggos)and the succeeding MNLF war of secession in the1970's displaced more than a quarter of a million Muslims in Mindanao. Casualties from both sides also numbered to several hundred thousands.

          4.4 The recruitment of Cebuanos continued until the 19th century. Chapter 15 Later Wars of Swish of the Kris, recalls graphically what motivated the Cebuanos to volunteer in a war against the Moros in the name of the King of Spain:

          "Indeed, matters reached such a state that before the end of the year warships were ordered out for another attack on Jolo. Four regiments of infantry and a corps of artillery aided the gunboats. Included was a battalion of Cebuanoes (sic)who sought revenge for the Moro raids. The wives of the Cebuanoes(sic) emulated Lysistrata in reverse. Every wife took an oath before Father Ibanez to deny forever their husbands all of their favors if the Cebuano men turned their backs to the Moros.
          In the battle of Jolo, Father Ibanez lost his life in the assault on a Moro cotta. The good Father tucked his cassock about his waist and plunged into the thickest of the battle. The Cebuanoes(sic) performed prodigies of valor and Jolo fell again. The seat of the Sultanate was removed across the island to Maybun, and the Moros paid regular visits to Jolo to slaughter the Spanish garrison which remained. "

          It is therefore not unthinkable that the Cebuano survivors/veterans of this campaign later passed on their martial arts skills to the rest of Cebu and the Visayan Islands. The foregoing text also bolsters our theory on the active participation of Spanish priests in combat and their influence in the development of Eskrima. Lavilles de Paula in her narrative told of the same pattern of pillage and plunder in the towns of Sibonga, Mandaue with its famous Bantayan sa Hari Tower, Carcar, Oslob,Naga and Talisay. Practically all the 52 coastal municipalities of Cebu had a history of recurring Moro forays. Given this statistics and taking into account the brave Sri Vishayan ancestry of the Cebuanos, Ilonggos and Warays, we can deduce that a raw form of Martial Arts started to take shape in defense of their coastal communities. Later the Spanish authorities took advantage of the Martial skills of the native Cebuanos and their animosity against the Moros during the Corcuera administration. And with the subsequent alliance with the Pampangos and a more deadly and highly developed Martial Arts that we now call as Eskrima, Arnis, Estoque or Estokada later flourished.

          4.5 From the Book THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Chapter XV by Blair & Robertson is a narrative of Moro raids in Leyte, Bohol and Panay Islands:

          "That year of 1634 was so quiet and so barren of events worthy of remembrance that I shall not dwell long upon it; for there is nothing of which I have heard to detain me, unless it be the raid of the Mindanao enemy into the island of Leyte, and the depredations that they committed there with the license permitted to them in seeing that there was no attempt made in Manila to check them.
          On Sunday, December 3, 1634, the Mindanaos arrived with eighteen galleys at the village of Ogmuc,(Ormoc City) leaving behind in that of Baybay the rest of the vessels, which they brought in their fleet. Fifty of our Indians went out to resist them, but being unable to fight so many, they gradually retired to a little fort, possessed by the village. They thought that they would be able to resist the pirates there, being encouraged by their minister, Father Juan del Carpio, of the Society of Jesus; and they did so for some time, until the Moros, knowing that the church was higher than the fort, entered it and our men could not reach them with their shots. They planted three pieces in a convenient place at the church, in order to do great damage to those in the fort; and firing without cessation, they did not allow our men to fire a shot through its loopholes and windows. Others of the enemy hastened by another side to gather bundles of thatch by uncovering the roofs of the houses; and by fastening together what wood and bamboo they could gather, and pushing this contrivance toward the fort, they set it afire. The fire burned a quantity of rice and abaca (which is the hemp of this country), and many men were choked by the smoke. The besieged, seeing that the fire had caught the timber-work [of the fort], and that they were being inevitably killed without any chance to defend themselves, displayed a signal for surrender, and in fact did so.
          They were all captured; and a great contest arose among the enemy as to who should have Father Carpio as his captive. In this contention they had recourse to the Mindanao captain, and he ordered that the father be killed. That they did very gladly, and beheaded him and carried his head back to present it as a spoil to their king, Cachil Corralat (Sultan Kudarat). The latter had charged them not to leave alive any religious or Spaniard, for so had he vowed to their false prophet Mahomet in an illness that he had had. They took the others captive, and sacked and burned all the village. From that place they sailed out and committed the same destruction in the villages of Soyor, Binan, Cabalian, Canamucan, and Baybay (Leyte Island). But they were so stoutly resisted in the village of Inibanga (Inabanga) in [the island of] Bohol, and in Dapitan (Mindanao), that they retired but little the gainers; for those Indians (Visayan Christian natives) are very valiant, and very different in valor from the other villages which the Mindanaos sacked.
          The Camucones (the name of the Moro pirates who inhabit the little islands of the Sulu group east of Tawi-tawi, and the islands between these and Borneo) also-a people from islands subject to Borney, cruel and barbarous, and Mahometan by religion, although there are pagans in some islands-made their raids into the island of Panay, chiefly on the villages of Batan, Domayan, and Mahanlur, and in those of Aclan and Bahay, where they captured many of our Indians, and burned the churches of the visita. The visitas are usually deserted, and have no houses to defend them; and those Camucones are very cowardly and very different from the Joloans and Mindanaos, who are valiant, and much more so the latter named. The Camucones entered by the river and bar of Batan, which is salt water, where a very grievous jest happened to two or three of their craft. The river of Batan has another river a short distance above the village road, which ends in a very wide and spacious sea, which they call " tinagongdagat," or "hidden sea," in which the inhabitants enjoy excellent fishing. With the ebb of the tide that spacious sea is left, almost dry, and then many kinds of shellfish are caught, such as oysters and crabs. The Camucones entered that sea, with the intention of lying in wait for some capture, but when they least expected it they found their craft on dry ground. An Indian who was gathering the aforesaid shellfish saw them; and, recognizing them to be piratical enemies by the style of their craft, went to the village and gave warning of them. Many of the inhabitants of Batan assembled, and, well armed, attacked the Camucones very courageously. They made a great slaughter of the pirates, and captured many of them and burned their craft. Some of the Camucones escaped through the mangrove plantations and swampy ground. They were captured next day, with the exception of those who had the luck to rejoin the boats of their companions-who repenting of their carelessness, returned to their lands, and did not return to try their fortune in those regions for many years."

          Again, the foregoing narrative demonstrated the cunning and bravery of the early Christian Boholanos and Ilonggos of Panay in repulsing the Moro raiders.

          THEORY 5.

          Eskrima / Arnis undoubtedly is a product of Filipino genius, however, we cannot also downplay the significant contributions of Spanish military /civilian fencers especially the clergy in its development.


          5.1 BOLJOON -

          Boljoon's history presents proof of Spanish Warrior priests training Cebuano natives and engaging Moro raiders in hand to hand combat. We can further surmise that the early techniques of Eskrima such as the "fraille", "florete", "crossada" were coined by these warrior priests. Erlinda Kintanar Alburo recounts in her book Sugat which a collection of essays on the Cebuano insurrection that a Spanish priest Fr. Angel Maestro taught Cebuano revolutionary hero Leon Kilat the fundamentals of Eskrima. Here are more excerpts from Evangeline Lavilles de Paula's book CEBU IN HISTORY AND LEGEND:

          "Boljoon is one of the oldest towns in the South. And it is also the most quaint and picturesque. Its narrow coastal plains are bordered by cliffs and luxuriant hills which has a commanding view of Bohol Strait.
          According to Marin Morales, the town was created in 1598. The parish was established a year later. But this was disputed by Fr. Blanco, asserting that the parish was founded in 1600. The church of Boljoon was started by Fr. Manuel Cordero and completed by Fr. Julian Bermejo, who also built the convent that was finished in 1841. The convent is L-shaped like a monastery surrounded by walls and tile roof.
          Boljoon church is a veritable showcase of old and intricate carvings and bass relief. It still has the Spanish churchyard beside it. According to Tamayo, of all Cebu's churches, the Boljoon church best gives one a sense of the Philippine colonial past. J.T Newman describes the church: It is relatively well preserved, except for its communion rail with ornate silverwork, which has been stolen. It is pseudo-baroque-rococo. Its tower is unusual because it is Islamic in character, it is square, rather than curved, making it look more like a fortress than anything. Its rectangular belfry, built in 1701, has fort windows used to show cannons to defend against Moro pirates. The sound of its silver bells reached Oslob and Alcoy. But in 1802, they were stolen by Muslim hordes led by Datu Orendain. Because of their weight, the Moro vinta sunk. Fray Antonio Maglano, OSA, was the warrior-priest who led the Boljoon militiamen.

          Comment


          • #6
            Part 3

            One of the parish priests who worked hard to repulse the Muslim pirates was Fr. Julian Bermejo. A chain of watchtowers was constructed under his direction. This chain ran along the shoreline from Punta Tanon (Santander) to Manhage. It was later extended up to Carcar, for a total length of 96 kms. He built a large quadrangular house made of masonry and its walls were at least a meter thick; its four corners were reinforced wit loopholes. The townspeople called it dakung balay. The Governor-general, impressed, sent to the necessary artillery equipment for this fortress. Fr, Bermejo also installed a telegraphic system for the purpose of constant communication among towns in cases of impending raids.
            Old Boljoon had four dependents: Mambaje, Ivisan, and Tanon. The first three were situated near the beach, while Tanon was perched high up in the mountains serving as an observation post for the marauding Moros."

            5.2 Also from Chapter 11 of Swish of the Kris, Hurley gave credit to the bravery the Spanish priests:

            "The history of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines is filled with reference to the bravery of the militant priests of the Jesuit order. These ambidextrous missioners, Cross in left hand and Toledo blade in right, were in the first wave of every attack on the Moros. "
            The pattern of Moro raids from the shores of Bantayan Islands, Cebu, Antique, Iloilo, Leyte, Dumaguete to Pampanga matched perfectly with the dominance of these coastal provinces in today's Filipino Martial Arts of Eskrima, Arnis, and Estokada. Like the Big Bang Theory, the Filipino Martial Arts exploded in the years 1635-1644 during the term of Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, the military genius that pitted the best warriors of the Visayas and Luzon against the fearless Moros of Sulu. The dominant FMA organizations worldwide that originated from these once fertile Moro hunting grounds are Doce Pares, Kali Ilustrisimo, Pekiti-Tirsia and Giron Arnis Escrima. There are also several dozens of obscure styles that have taken root from these provinces like, Bergonia Style, Toledo-Collado(Pangasian -once part of Pampanga province), Moro-moro (either Samar or Bohol orgins), Cadena de Mano (probably Panay), Abanico de Vertical (West Cebu), Bohol style, Tapado (Negros) to name a few.

            It is foolhardy to assume that a single ethnic group invented the Filipino Martial Arts, but what is obvious here however, is the dominance of the Cebuanos and Ilonggos in the art of combat due to the vulnerability and proximity of their coastlines to the fast paraos of Moro raiders. The Christian natives in these coastal areas had no choice but to fight tooth and nail to protect their territorities, women, children, culture and their newfound religion. The Moro attacks on the Cebu, Negros and Panay coastlines were more frequent than any other place in the entire archipelago. It is therefore safe to postulate that because of regular fracas, these ethnic groups honed their fighting skills and developed a more technical form of combat vis a vis the other regions. The Visayans dominance in the FMA has nothing to do with boastfulness as what Pedro Reyes wrote in his article The Filipino Martial Tradition. For lack of a weighty hypothesis Pedro Reyes without qualms and understanding of the sensibilities of the proud Visayans insulted us:

            "Arnisadores prefer teachers who shine by their own light, like the sun, rather than the planets that shine by the reflected light of their school or teacher. That is why arnisadores like Jose Caballero,(Cebuano) Remy Presas (Ilonggo) and Edgar Sulite(Waray) claim to have created their own styles, rather than to have inherited them. Incidentally, masters from the North are more apt to be self-deprecating while masters from the South are more prone to boast. This is due to social convention and personal dynamics and has little to do with actual ability. But in the country of hard sell this could be one reason why arnis from the south is spreading throughout the world, while arnis from the North remains in the shadows"

            Reading between the lines, it is another vain effort by people of the North to muddle the history of FMA. Reyes is no different from the pretentious FMA historians out to skew the facts about the Filipino Martial Arts and as a loyal practitioner of Kali Ilustrisimo, in effect he is banging himself in the head or unless he will concoct a story that the Ilustrisimo system originated in Tondo or Ilocos.

            I've always been a proud Cebuano, however I find it difficult to believe that Lapu-lapu defeated Magellan with his superior Kali skills as portrayed by the pseudo historians in the FMA circles. For all I care Magellan could have tripped on the corals off the shores of Mactan and bashed his head on the rocks. The "battle" that took place as historians tell us was actually a lopsided massacre. Magellan only had less than a 50 man reconnaissance patrol (not a full scale invasion by any military standard) against more than one thousand men of Lapu-lapu, and you call that a Martial Art victory? Pure hogwash! As the first Asian to repel a foreign invader, Lapu-lapu's niche in Philippine history is already assured, but please let us stop spicing up the story on the "Battle" of Mactan as an epic display of our hero's Martial Arts prowess.

            I have nothing against organizations calling their Art Kali, that is just fine for branding purposes, but laying claim that it is the mother of Eskrima / Arnis and that it originated in Muslim Mindanao is a contentious issue. Kali is a contradiction in terms, where can you find a practitioner of Kali who calls himself "Kalisador" or "Kalista"- no less than GM Antonio Ilustrisimo prefered to be called an Eskrimador, or even our myopic friend Pedro calls himself an Arnisador. Master Ben Largusa leader of LargusaVillabrille Kali calls his late mentor GM Floro Villabrille an Eskrimador.

            Let us assume for the purposes of discussion that indeed Kali was practiced by the Ten Datus of Panay as what Mark Wiley suggested in his book the Filipino Martial Arts:

            "Legends claim that ten Datus (chieftains) left Borneo and settled in Panay where they established the Bothoan in the twelfth century. The Bothoan was a school where the Datus taught Kali along with academic subjects and agriculture. It was a kind of preparatory school for tribal leaders. "

            But then again, as he said it is just a legend -told and retold and embellished for several generations that any scholar in his right mind would not take with a grain of salt. While we did have lectures about the Code of Maragtas and Kalantiaw,(which is already proven as a fake) I can't recall any of the history my teachers back in college mentioning a sophisticated system of combat like Kali during the pre-Hispanic period. Such a wonderful subject as an ancient Martial Art would have been a good piece of classroom discussion. So, how could our teachers miss that during those years when Bruce Lee's Eskrima exhibition in the movie Enter the Dragon was still very fresh in our memory. Again, granting that Bothoan really existed and Kali was one of the lessons in their curriculum . . . well, what was true in 1500s or prior to that, was not necesarilly true to other adjacent islands . . . no internet cafe then, no text messaging and no TransAsia plying the route.

            I would like to argue that assumption of Mark Wiley by again quoting Paul Morrow:

            "So, how do we tell what is true and what is false in Philippine history? Here is a rule of thumb: Any account that assigns an exact date to an event in the Philippines before the arrival of the Spanish in 1521 is probably not true. At present there is only one exception to that rule. That is the date recorded on the Laguna Copperplate Inscription of 900 A.D. which was proved by skilled investigation.

            As time goes on, more and more exceptions to the rule of thumb will arise due to the efforts of the increasing number of new historians who desire to correct the lies that were taught to Filipinos in the past."

            If indeed Kali is a very old term and has something to do with warriorship then everyone must be familiar with it like the words baraw, tameng, sondang, bangkaw . . .and it would have imprinted an indelible mark in the collective consciousness of the Visayan people for hundreds of generations like the Moro bogeyman that our yayas (babysitters) used to scare us with to pacify our childhood tantrums: "Hala kon di ka mohilom dagiton ka sa Moros ug e-lawog sa Tirong" (Hey, if you won't shut up the Moro is going to snatch you and feed you to the Tirongs)

            To muddle the issue further there are other amateur linguists in the FMA that theorize on certain Visayan words as the root of Kali. They say that Kali is related to many words, that means that this same word has connections with the following Visayan words:

            Kalipay (Happiness), Kalibutan (Earth/World), Kalibog (Confusion), Kaliwat (Relatives/Ancestors/Heredity), Kalisud (Difficulty), Kalibanga (Diarrhea/LBM), Kalimotaw (Eye Pupil), Kaligo (Bath), Kalit (Sudden), Kalihim (Secretary) . . . okay let us disarrange the letters . . . Kilat (Thunder), Kilas (Agility) . . . and where and when did kris become kalis? What language is that? Esperanto?

            For twenty-two years I have traveled the entire breadth of Mindanao as a Salesman while on the side searching in vain for the vaunted Kali man I've read so much in FMA books. Without luck, everywhere I went dodging bullets and 105-mm howitzers whistling past my ears, from Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur to boundaries of Bukidnon, Davao and Cotabato I always end up in a quagmire. I tried Ned's suggestion to search for him in a place noted for making bolos. Aside from their own version of native nipa wine called Pa-uroy, the town of Cantilan Surigao del Sur is also famous for their finely forged pinuti , but there is no one here who can handle the weapon with at least rudimentary skill. From Dumingag, I was referred to a Muslim bladesmith in Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur, but the poor artisan I encountered does not even know the word Kali. I was expecting to finally get the chance to meet an authentic Kali man in the person of GM Billy Baaclo of Ozamiz City. To my disappoint, he traced the lineage of his Abaniko de Sungkiti to Prancing Ybanez of Sibonga, Cebu. I did find an assortment of Barongs and authentic Krises in Lanao, but they were mostly ornamental. I tried to cajole the peddlers themselves to bring me to the Muslim swordsman, and what did I get? "Igso, banig na lang, walay Kali." (Brother, just buy my mat, no Kali). So where's the elusive Kali man?

            No one will question the Moro people's fortitude in battle, but whatever form of sword fighting they practice, I have no doubt in my mind that it is not Kali. Silat and Kuntao are indigenous to the Island of Basilan but none of its techniques are analogous to what we see in "Kali", Eskrima, or Arnis. Or maybe they really don't have any organized sword fighting system after all and relied purely on suicidal frenzy and the sharpness of their Kris at the height of mayhem. Knowing the typical Mindanao Muslim's penchant for announcing in huge streamers petty accomplishments such as passing the Teacher's Board Exams, their "sticker-happy" cars, gun-totting warlords and flamboyant display of jewelry, I find it incredible how such a Martial Art known as Kali that they supposedly invented can be kept secret until today.

            So where does our theory on the origin of the first Filipino Martial Art fit in? Simple logic, given our hyphothesis:

            -Years 1635-1644 The Explosion of FMA during the administration of Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera
            -Recruitment of Pampango, Cebuano, Ilonggo and Warays and cross pollination of raw martial skills with aid of Spanish fencers.
            -Warrior priest actively engaged in combat alongside Christian Indios and Spanish Regulars

            Coined by no less than the Spanish colonial masters of the era, the single most definitive word that best described their engagement with the indomitable Moros of Sulu was - ESCRIMA !

            Comment


            • #7
              Posts

              The blue color of the text makes it difficult to read but each one of these sections can take up to twenty pages of replies (the KALI debate... we've gone over that one to death) . I've already done so in the matters of Magellan / Mactan (I believe there is a sticky on this subject on the forum).

              There's no proof the Spanish EVER engaged the Filipinos at any time with just blades in hand. Almost EVERY account by the Spanish have them fighting with their lances/pikes and their firearms.

              As per the ten datus. William Henry Scott wrote a very good book debunking the ten datu story.

              On other friars who fought. There were certainly those who helped organize and rally warriors to fight for their side, however my main focus was whether or not they taught the natives western fencing of that time period and there's no definitive proof of that. None of their meticulous journals ever stated they shared such a thing.

              Also, the articles refers to Moros not having their own way of fighting but even the Spanish recognized that they did have a way of fighting.

              And yes, I plan on writing a book on Filipino History that focuses on these subjects that interest FMA students.

              --Rafael--

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting readings.

                Now I’m pretty sure I’d start getting back to my Philippine history books after reading this thread.

                It was just very interesting that the author of the article (or was it a book?) quite extensively tried to disprove the use of the word Kali in pre-Hispanic era in order to finally conclude that the only acceptable name would be Eskrima.

                I’m no scholar but the fact that author stated that the form of sword fighting was in fact COINED by the Spaniards as Eskrima simply validates that at this point in time we really wouldn’t know the actual ancient name of the FMA. Being that the Spanish colonial masters were the ones who organized the “armies” against the invading Moros, it is only logical for Spanish terms to be used on the fighting drills or techniques of the Filipinos during the era. I mentioned this before in one of the threads that Filipinos (w/c btw is not the real term for the inhabitants of the archipelago pre-Hispanic) do not record their history like those of Westerners. The reason for using Spanish terms to describe FMA drills is because they have colonized much of the archipelago & not solely because they crossed pollinated their techniques w/ the Filipinos. It was the Spaniards who recorded history and therefore it would be documented in Spanish. If the Filipinos were given the instruments and the RIGHT to document history in their own language, I’ve no doubt the terms would be very different. They’d probably use terms like, “Saksakan” or “Kutsilyuhan”, etc. So I disagree that the single most definitive word that best describes the form of sword fighting as Eskrima. Where I was born, it was known as Arnis. Simply put, the way our history was written, it is hard to believe what really happened during pre-Hispanic era & early Hispanic colonization. If the ancient Filipino dialect actually survived the colonization, the terms would be very, very different.

                History is a one-sided account of events that happened in a given time. History is written by the ruling party – w/c does not necessarily reflect the actual events of the time. This is no different from Filipino history – it is no different from any other nation’s history. For the longest time a lot of people believe that the ancient Samurai were very honorable until records came out that a lot of Samurai actually just waited for the battle to end after w/c they’d walk through the corpses & cut a head off one fallen enemy & claim it to be their victor. Pretty honorable… So while the historical accounts in the articles were based on written records of the events during the Spanish era, as the Spanish Friars saw them, it doesn’t necessarily reflect 100% of what truly happened.

                I do, however, see merit in the points (hypothesis) presented. The explosion of the FMA may have been due to the commissioning of the Governor Gen. in 1635 & this could have helped in its popularity as it’s use has now been commissioned. Techniques may have been shared w/ each other among Spanish & Filipino warriors who fought side by side. And yes, there may have been friars who fought alongside Filipinos as I’m pretty sure not all friars during the Spanish era were in the archipelago to abuse their powers – that some of them were really faithful servants of God. However, I still don’t see how it would equate to Eskrima being the ONLY definitive word for Arnis or Kali. There is still much research to be done in order to categorically conclude anything.

                I’m going to get a copy of that book when it comes out, Tuhon Rafael.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ferdie
                  It was just very interesting that the author of the article (or was it a book?) quite extensively tried to disprove the use of the word Kali in pre-Hispanic era in order to finally conclude that the only acceptable name would be Eskrima.
                  Good point Ferdie. The Filipinos were already using swords or sticks, and the Spanish just saw it and called it ... Eskrima!

                  When you hear old manongs say Lapu Lapu used Eskrima to defeat Magellan they just mean they used weapons... which they did. The article makes it sound like Filipinos didn't know how to weild one and was just running with their heads cut off hoping they hit something with the sword. In a culture where your blade meant survival, with rituals of mockfighting, using it to hunt and cut through brush, build shelter, test cut and fight one another. Pretty soon you learn what works or what doesn't. Those old natives weren't wearing brass leg guards because it was mere eye candy. They knew that was one of the first places you could get cut at or use it to assist bracing your footing with...

                  The Spanish first described the weapons they saw using the words they were used to speaking. Only later when they got better at understanding Filipino dialects did they pick up on what some of the weapons were called by the natives.

                  And yes, there was no such thing as Filipinos til the latter part of the 1800's ... not the way we understand it today. It was during the revolution that the tribes, and provinces began to see a solidarity. Even the Moros or Southern Moors never thought themselves as Filipinos... according to Hurley who is quoted in the article, the Moros thought as much about the Spanish as they did the Visayans or the Tagals or the Dutch. The Moros would not even follow up a victory or a defeat in many cases. They just fought when they felt like fighting and fought whomever they wanted. They would fight the Spanish one day and someone else the next.

                  In fact, in that region you could have Chinese pouring molten sugar on a ship of Dutch and turning them into 'human candy', or English versus Spanish, Japanese versus Chinese... etc.

                  Most Spanish would not see it that way of course, because they are coming from their own POV.

                  --Rafael--

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi guys,

                    I hope that all is well. I find this a very interesting topic and one that can be very controversal. But controversy seems to flourish on forums these days.

                    The only thing that we know for sure is that before the battle of Mactan in 1521 there was no recorded history of Pilipino warrior arts in the Philippines. However there had to be some sort of fighting method, and one that was quite competent otherwise Datu Lapu-lapu and the Indigenous Pilipino Warriors would have fallen to the Spanish armada and soldiers sooner than they did.

                    You have to take into consideration that in this time frame 1521 the Spanish crown had more control of the world than anyone else and they were the dominant military power and maintained such for hundreds of years. So the fact that they continued to have problems defeating the Pilippines says a great deal about the fighting capability of the Indigenous people that occupied these Pilipino Islands.

                    As well the Spanish could not do this on their own. They had to eventually turn tribes against one another with religion and other influences just to be able to conquer some of the tribes in Visayas and Luzon. And The warrior factions in Mindanao never succumbed to the Spanish. So to say that the Pilipino Warriors were not capable combatively would be an unjustice. No where in the world that the Spanish occupied with military force in this time did they only take a portion of the land leaving any control to the Indigenous population. They did not in Central America and Mexico, nor did they in South America. They occupied all of the Land and concuered all of the Indigenous peoples there. So it is odd that they could not do the same in the Philippines. Unless they just were not able to maintain their military might over these tribes because of their (Pilipinos) ability to defend themselves which logic would dictate.

                    Another thing is that if you look at European (Western) fighting style in this period it does not resemble alot of FMA as we know it. There is quite a difference between the two. The Malay warrior Arts which the Pilipinos are related to are consistant with one another and the Spanish did not occupy these lands. Indonesia was occupied primarily by the Dutch, Malaysia was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, England, Arabs, and Pirates from various back grounds whom ruled the straights of Melaka. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia by the French. All of these too were European powers but their fighting arts did not reflect anything from the regions that they occupied either.

                    There has always been a distinct difference between European sword play and that found in the Malay hinterlands i.e. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, and the Philippines. As associated by the Srivisayan and Majapahit empires of past.

                    To say that there are no similarities between the two now would be misleading. After all after close to 400 years of Spanish contact i`m sure that something was taken by both the Spanish as well as Pilipino. After all the spanish language was adopted by most of Luzon but in Visayas and Mindanao most never had to learn the language because it was not forced upon them by might.

                    So in 400 years influences in fighting form could have easily went both ways. As for stick fighting being found in Venezuela you have to remember that the Spanish were not in this region until after Cortez had defeated the Mayas and Aztecs and taken most of Central America and Mexico. The Pizarros were the brothers which went into Peru, Ecuador, colombia to conquer the Inca and later into Bolivia and Chile fighting decendants of the Ayamaran Indian populations there.

                    The dates here are revelent because Hernan Cortez did not go into Mexico before 1532 and The Pizarro brothers did not set sail for Peru until 1531. By this time the Spanish had already occupied parts of the Philippines for 10 years and they were known to force young Pilipinos to sail their Armada and perform dutys in their military as well as cook, clean the ships, mend clothing and possibly set up their base camps during their raids on the Maya, Aztec and Inca campains. So it is quite possible that the stick fighting in Venezuela was influenced from Pilipinos more than Spaniards. not to mention that Caracas, today Venezuela's capital was founded in 1567 by Diego de Losada after subduing the brave and fearless tribes of the Hinterlands. This is some 46 years after the Spanish occupied the Philippines. By than even the Spanish could have been heavily influenced by Pilpino Warrior Arts and could have weaved it into how they were fighting at the time.

                    The point is that there is not enough written history to stipulate one way or the other what was being used in the Philippines before 1521 but the reality is that there was something in place effective to deter the most powerful military might in the world at that time so you have to give credit where credit is due. No one knows the specifics so everything that is written on the matter is subjective, but like alot of unwritten history you have to learn to read in between the line in order to get a deeper understanding of things.

                    According to science in order to prove that something exists you have to first prove that it does not. And if you can not prove without a doubt that it exists than it has to exist. And concerning Pilipino Warrior Arts there is more proof that it was there before the Spanish occupation than there is proof that it was not. To what degree is subjective but there none the less. Go well guys, ciao.

                    Guro Dave Gould.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very, interesting post, Guro Dave. I haven't looked at it from that angle: where while Spain "conquered" a lot of nations during the height of their power, the Philippine fighting style was (& is) still very similar to the fighting styles of other Southeast asian countries (w/c were "conquered" by other European countries).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [ No where in the world that the Spanish occupied with military force in this time did they only take a portion of the land leaving any control to the Indigenous population. They did not in Central America and Mexico, nor did they in South America. They occupied all of the Land and concuered all of the Indigenous peoples there.

                        Very intsersting what many wrote here, but ist a fact that In South America there were anot able also to ocuie all the Land in the south and conquer
                        The "Araucanos and Mapuches" Living in the middle of what is Chile now to the south....they were never able to brake them as it was in the PH.
                        Just whant to ad some more info about what the Spanisch did and how...
                        By the way there were also very very far from home....
                        regrads to everybody

                        Karl

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Karl,

                          Hello there, I hope that all is well with you. Thanks for replying. Actually the Americas was the best thing that happened to the Spanish as far as expanding their empire goes.

                          The Portuguese were the first to settle the continent shortly after I think the 2nd trip to the region by Columbus (he made 6 in all). In the year 1500 - Portuguese Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral was the first European to reach Brazil, initiating Portuguese colonization. when the Spanish arrived shortly after and made the scene "The new World" had not been fully explored. So the Portuguese thought that what became Brazil was the Lions Share of the Americas and made a pact to keep it allowing Spain to have the rest of the continent if Spain would agree not to contest Portugals rule to Brazil.

                          Spain had already explored as far as Florida when Juan Ponce De Leon a companion of Colombus on his second voyage to the Americas went in search of the Fountain of Youth in 1513. At that time Spain had a better understanding of how much Territory there actually was when the deal was made with Portugal which all information was with held from the portuguese at that time. Now under current circumstances I am sure that the Portuguese had wished that they had never made that deal.

                          As well I would like to clarify that Hernan Cortez fought the Spanish Conquest from 1519 - 1521 instead of what I wrote 1532. This is when the Pizarros were fighting the Inca in South America. As for Mexico: On April 21, 1519--the year Ce Acatl (One Reed) by Aztec reckoning-- marked the opening of a short but decisive chapter in Mexico's history. On that day history has it that a fleet of 11 Spanish galleons sailing along the eastern gulf coast dropped anchor just off the wind-swept beach on the island of San Juan de Ulúa. Under the command of the wily, daring Hernán Cortés, the vessels bore 550 Spanish soldiers and sailors, as well as 16 horses, the first of the species to tread the American continent.

                          As for South America The Spanish weren`t always after Silver and Gold. Gold in great quantity was only found primarily in the Lands belonging to the inca, ayamara, and Tiawanku natives from Lake Titicaca (Bolivia, Chile, Peru) and North to Quito Ecuador. So when the Spanish eventually went into other areas of South America it was for other things such as Cocoa and not silver or gold in Venezuela. And the further South that you go in South America down Chile and Argrntina the deeper it runs into antartica which the Spanish found little value in. Eventually it was all settled and claimed by the Spanish crown but only after all of the silver and gold was excavated and sent sail to spain to finance its wars while expanding its empire.

                          Its the same for the rest of the Americas where the United States is now. Cabeza de Vaca, Hernando de Soto and Francisco Coronado explored deep into North America during the 1530's in search of Gold as was found in south and Central America by the Pizarros and Cortes but found nothing of great value. So instead of continuing their search they returned to Mexico and eventualy expanded from the Mexican baja peninsula and upwards as far north as San Francisco with the Jesuit and Franciscan Monks in converting indians to the Christian faith. And eventually by dividing up the land between the Spanish Dons to be used for raising cattle and creating personal wealth within these families loyal to the crown of Spain. There you have it Karl. Go well guys, ciao.

                          Guro Dave Gould.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks 4 makin sense of it all...

                            Originally posted by Guro Dave Gould
                            Karl,

                            Hello there, I hope that all is well with you. Thanks for replying. Actually the Americas was the best thing that happened to the Spanish as far as expanding their empire goes.

                            The Portuguese were the first to settle the continent shortly after I think the 2nd trip to the region by Columbus (he made 6 in all). In the year 1500 - Portuguese Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral was the first European to reach Brazil, initiating Portuguese colonization. when the Spanish arrived shortly after and made the scene "The new World" had not been fully explored. So the Portuguese thought that what became Brazil was the Lions Share of the Americas and made a pact to keep it allowing Spain to have the rest of the continent if Spain would agree not to contest Portugals rule to Brazil.

                            Spain had already explored as far as Florida when Juan Ponce De Leon a companion of Colombus on his second voyage to the Americas went in search of the Fountain of Youth in 1513. At that time Spain had a better understanding of how much Territory there actually was when the deal was made with Portugal which all information was with held from the portuguese at that time. Now under current circumstances I am sure that the Portuguese had wished that they had never made that deal.

                            As well I would like to clarify that Hernan Cortez fought the Spanish Conquest from 1519 - 1521 instead of what I wrote 1532. This is when the Pizarros were fighting the Inca in South America. As for Mexico: On April 21, 1519--the year Ce Acatl (One Reed) by Aztec reckoning-- marked the opening of a short but decisive chapter in Mexico's history. On that day history has it that a fleet of 11 Spanish galleons sailing along the eastern gulf coast dropped anchor just off the wind-swept beach on the island of San Juan de Ulúa. Under the command of the wily, daring Hernán Cortés, the vessels bore 550 Spanish soldiers and sailors, as well as 16 horses, the first of the species to tread the American continent.

                            As for South America The Spanish weren`t always after Silver and Gold. Gold in great quantity was only found primarily in the Lands belonging to the inca, ayamara, and Tiawanku natives from Lake Titicaca (Bolivia, Chile, Peru) and North to Quito Ecuador. So when the Spanish eventually went into other areas of South America it was for other things such as Cocoa and not silver or gold in Venezuela. And the further South that you go in South America down Chile and Argrntina the deeper it runs into antartica which the Spanish found little value in. Eventually it was all settled and claimed by the Spanish crown but only after all of the silver and gold was excavated and sent sail to spain to finance its wars while expanding its empire.

                            Its the same for the rest of the Americas where the United States is now. Cabeza de Vaca, Hernando de Soto and Francisco Coronado explored deep into North America during the 1530's in search of Gold as was found in south and Central America by the Pizarros and Cortes but found nothing of great value. So instead of continuing their search they returned to Mexico and eventualy expanded from the Mexican baja peninsula and upwards as far north as San Francisco with the Jesuit and Franciscan Monks in converting indians to the Christian faith. And eventually by dividing up the land between the Spanish Dons to be used for raising cattle and creating personal wealth within these families loyal to the crown of Spain. There you have it Karl. Go well guys, ciao.

                            Guro Dave Gould.
                            You seemed to make alot of sense with logic and reasoning...wish i could say that 4 the others...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Worth reading

                              Originally posted by Guro Dave Gould
                              Hi guys,

                              I hope that all is well. I find this a very interesting topic and one that can be very controversal. But controversy seems to flourish on forums these days.

                              The only thing that we know for sure is that before the battle of Mactan in 1521 there was no recorded history of Pilipino warrior arts in the Philippines. However there had to be some sort of fighting method, and one that was quite competent otherwise Datu Lapu-lapu and the Indigenous Pilipino Warriors would have fallen to the Spanish armada and soldiers sooner than they did.

                              You have to take into consideration that in this time frame 1521 the Spanish crown had more control of the world than anyone else and they were the dominant military power and maintained such for hundreds of years. So the fact that they continued to have problems defeating the Pilippines says a great deal about the fighting capability of the Indigenous people that occupied these Pilipino Islands.

                              As well the Spanish could not do this on their own. They had to eventually turn tribes against one another with religion and other influences just to be able to conquer some of the tribes in Visayas and Luzon. And The warrior factions in Mindanao never succumbed to the Spanish. So to say that the Pilipino Warriors were not capable combatively would be an unjustice. No where in the world that the Spanish occupied with military force in this time did they only take a portion of the land leaving any control to the Indigenous population. They did not in Central America and Mexico, nor did they in South America. They occupied all of the Land and concuered all of the Indigenous peoples there. So it is odd that they could not do the same in the Philippines. Unless they just were not able to maintain their military might over these tribes because of their (Pilipinos) ability to defend themselves which logic would dictate.

                              Another thing is that if you look at European (Western) fighting style in this period it does not resemble alot of FMA as we know it. There is quite a difference between the two. The Malay warrior Arts which the Pilipinos are related to are consistant with one another and the Spanish did not occupy these lands. Indonesia was occupied primarily by the Dutch, Malaysia was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, England, Arabs, and Pirates from various back grounds whom ruled the straights of Melaka. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia by the French. All of these too were European powers but their fighting arts did not reflect anything from the regions that they occupied either.

                              There has always been a distinct difference between European sword play and that found in the Malay hinterlands i.e. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, and the Philippines. As associated by the Srivisayan and Majapahit empires of past.

                              To say that there are no similarities between the two now would be misleading. After all after close to 400 years of Spanish contact i`m sure that something was taken by both the Spanish as well as Pilipino. After all the spanish language was adopted by most of Luzon but in Visayas and Mindanao most never had to learn the language because it was not forced upon them by might.

                              So in 400 years influences in fighting form could have easily went both ways. As for stick fighting being found in Venezuela you have to remember that the Spanish were not in this region until after Cortez had defeated the Mayas and Aztecs and taken most of Central America and Mexico. The Pizarros were the brothers which went into Peru, Ecuador, colombia to conquer the Inca and later into Bolivia and Chile fighting decendants of the Ayamaran Indian populations there.

                              The dates here are revelent because Hernan Cortez did not go into Mexico before 1532 and The Pizarro brothers did not set sail for Peru until 1531. By this time the Spanish had already occupied parts of the Philippines for 10 years and they were known to force young Pilipinos to sail their Armada and perform dutys in their military as well as cook, clean the ships, mend clothing and possibly set up their base camps during their raids on the Maya, Aztec and Inca campains. So it is quite possible that the stick fighting in Venezuela was influenced from Pilipinos more than Spaniards. not to mention that Caracas, today Venezuela's capital was founded in 1567 by Diego de Losada after subduing the brave and fearless tribes of the Hinterlands. This is some 46 years after the Spanish occupied the Philippines. By than even the Spanish could have been heavily influenced by Pilpino Warrior Arts and could have weaved it into how they were fighting at the time.

                              The point is that there is not enough written history to stipulate one way or the other what was being used in the Philippines before 1521 but the reality is that there was something in place effective to deter the most powerful military might in the world at that time so you have to give credit where credit is due. No one knows the specifics so everything that is written on the matter is subjective, but like alot of unwritten history you have to learn to read in between the line in order to get a deeper understanding of things.

                              According to science in order to prove that something exists you have to first prove that it does not. And if you can not prove without a doubt that it exists than it has to exist. And concerning Pilipino Warrior Arts there is more proof that it was there before the Spanish occupation than there is proof that it was not. To what degree is subjective but there none the less. Go well guys, ciao.

                              Guro Dave Gould.
                              Thank GOD someone makes sense...you're comments are logical with reasoning...thank you.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X