History of FMA in U.S.

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts - General' started by lonecoyote, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. lonecoyote

    lonecoyote Brown Belt

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    How did FMA begin to spread in the USA? Was there ever a period where westerners weren't taught FMA, like other asian martial arts? If so, who broke with that tradition? Who started it here in the United States? Who has done the most to spread its influence? Did it (the teaching and spreading of FMA in the USA) begin in Stockton, California? How did Dan Inosanto, Leo Gaje, and Remy Presas fit in? I know that this is a ridiculously large question and appreciate greatly any answers and thanks in advance to any replies.
     
  2. Airyu@hotmail.com

    Airyu@hotmail.com Green Belt

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    Hello LoneCoyote,

    Go to www.Bujinkandojo.net and go to the articles section. I have a pretty good FMA Timeline from 1900 - 2005 there for you to look at.

    Gumagalang
    Guro Steve L.

    www.Bujinkandojo.net
     
  3. Guro Harold

    Guro Harold Senior Master

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  4. Airyu@hotmail.com

    Airyu@hotmail.com Green Belt

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  5. lonecoyote

    lonecoyote Brown Belt

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    Thank you, sir! I appreciate it.
     
  6. bart

    bart Brown Belt

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    Pretty good timeline! One thing to add: 1932 Founding of the Doce Pares club in Cebu City.
     
  7. Airyu@hotmail.com

    Airyu@hotmail.com Green Belt

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    Thanks Bart!

    I'll add that for the next revision.

    Gumagalang
    Guro Steve L.

    www.Bujinkandojo.net
     
  8. DrBarber

    DrBarber Green Belt

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    Guro Steve l., provided a great time line and it ranged from the Philippines through Hawaii to the US Mainland. Since Hawii became a US possession in the early 1900's, I would suggest that the FMA started there in the 1910's to 1920's with the Filipinos who migrated there to cut sugar cane and do other migrant farm labor. They used bolos in the fields and I am quite sure from the stories that I have heard, practiced eskrima on their lunch breaks and after work. Like the Chinese and Japanese, in Hawaii, the FMA were an underground activity and the initial migrants kept to within their own communities. It was the second and third generation Filipinos who studied other martial arts, who first blended thier eskrima with the Jiu-jitsu, Kempo and Lua arts, although they did not generally show any stick or knife work to outsiders.

    Hope that helps your quest.

    Jerome Barber, Ed.D.
     
  9. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Lonecoyote
    I added numbers to your post to address them. And you are right this is a huge question but I will take a stab at some of it and hopefully others can correct me if I'm wrong.

    1) Several places actually, but I think the earliest group were probably immigrant workers who came to the states in the early part of the the 20th century. I think a another way was after WW II filipinos relocated here. And then in the 70-90s I think more filipinos left the Philippines and brought their arts here and abroad.

    I think what helped them spread was seminars, this was probably the biggest influence.

    2) I think so. I read somewhere (can't cite the source) that the attitude often was this was used to protect oneself and wasn't really shared outside of the family persay. Then it was taught more openly in the PI (trying to get it into the school systems, and the formation of clubs) but here in the states it wasn't taught that much until there seemed to be more of an interest in the arts in the early mid 80's. I don't think it was a so much of breaking with tradtion as much of a market (supply demand) question.

    3) The late Angel Cabales and the late Leo Giron both had schools/classes in Stockton Ca. I think someone started the school in response to some nurses being killed wanting to teach a self defense related system to the public. While these men started out together they did part ways for some reason. Tuhon Leo Gaje I think started teaching on the east coast (New York?) and then went to TX. And Guro Inosanto learned from these men and others and started his FMA academy in CA.

    4) Who has had the biggest influence? What a loaded question. Here goes IMHO in the U.S. I believe two men. The late Professor Remy Presas and Guro Dan Inosanto. Again I go back to who started on the seminar circuts earliest and got hooked up with the karate/TKD/martial art schools? They did. Both published videos, books, they were featured in magazine articles and their covers.

    5) I think it started in several different places Hawaii, Stockton, New York, etc. etc.

    6) Dan and Remy I covered in 4), Tuhon Gaje taught in NY and in TX and got hooked up with Guro Inosanto and did seminars and such as well. And I would thibnk they have also spread some of their teaching to LEO or military in some form or another over the years. I know Remy did in the PI and I think have some articles that reference him teaching here in the late 70's/80's. Tuhon Gaje also taught military in the PI and I think some LEO in some form here as well.

    respectively FWIW
    Mark
     
  10. RedBagani

    RedBagani Guest

    The contribution of Doce Pares in FMA propagation also was significant. The funny thing that happend in the Philippines was the locals began to appreciate their FMA more when they realized that FMA was becoming more and more popular in other countries, specially in the US.Why this was so is something worth pondering.
     
  11. Airyu@hotmail.com

    Airyu@hotmail.com Green Belt

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    Hello Everyone,

    Here is a little more historical information in a timeline based approach.

    1587 - A Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza, sent a shore party to explore what is now Morro Bay, California. This occurred on Sunday, Oct 18th 1587. Luzones Indios(Filipinos) were among the crew who landed. On Oct 20 there was a skirmish with local Indians and 1 Filipino was killed, they departed the coast on Oct 22nd.(This information is from Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast of America in the 16th century,pub.1929)

    1595 - The San Augustin, was shipwrecked near Point Reyes, San Francisco harbor. Filipino seamen were part of the crew. (San Francisco Chronicle, Nov 14th, 1995, referring to Carl Nolte 400th Anniversary of Spanish Shipwreck, Rough first landings in the Bay area)

    1763 - The “Manilla Men” established the village named St. Malo in the bayous outside of New Orleans.(Reported by Lafcadio Hearn, in Harper’s weekly March 31st, 1883.)
    (There are some reports that Jean Lafitte(1782-1829), the pirate and gentleman, met and used them in his crews)

    1789- 1865(The beginning of the Filipino whaling/fishing work in Alaska) – Many Filipino crew members worked on Spanish exploration vessels, as well as Spanish Galeons. These vessels toured the west coast of the United States . In 1865 records from the New Bedford Whaling Museum identify whaling crewmembers in Alaska as “Manilla Men”.

    1898 - American ships arrive at Manila Bay, and defeat the Spanish. On December 12, the Treaty of Paris is signed officially ending the Spanish American war and ceding the Americans the Philippine Islands for $20 million dollars from Spain.

    1899 The outbreak of the Philippine/American war starts and last approximately 10 years. The total casualties: Filipino Est. 400,00 – 600,000 dead, American Est. 10,000 dead.

    1900 – In the early 1900’s, the Alaskeros, work at the Alaska cannery plants. These were Filipino’s who decide to take up permanent residence in Alaska.

    1900 – 1903 –The first true wave of Filipino people are settling in Hawaii. As many as 115,000 Filipino’s were employed as cheap labor for sugar production. It was hard work, as demonstrated by the 1946 sugar plant strikes, over 7,000 Filipino workers took part. In 1949 approximately 600 Filipino workers were brought in to break up the striking workers being lead by the Longshoreman’s Union. During the following years you can follow the immigration eastward to California, Alaska, Chicago etc. Following work in canneries, porters on trains, domestic help etc.

    1904 - St. Louis World’s Fair 1904 - a group of Filipino tribesman were brought and put on display, as well as many other “native people” from Africa, Ceylon, etc. What was interesting was that after the fair these tribesman didn’t get to go back the Philippine Islands for sometime! In fact there was a great debate in the US press that supported returning the tribesman back to their homeland. Below is a short excerpt of a visitor to the World’s Fair in 1904.

    WORLD'S FAIR, ST. LOUIS, 1904

    “A very interesting exhibit was the Igorot village which occupied six acres of the most picturesque part of the Philippine Reservation. These 114 natives, from three tribes, -- the Bontogs, the Suyocs and the Tinguianese, -- lived in nipa huts built by their own hands. They are among the most conspicuous races of northern Luzon; their hair is straight and black, their chests strong, muscles well developed. The women are generally well formed, erect and graceful; their clothing consists of a woven breech clout of gaudy color for the men, and not much more for the women. There is much tatooing, especially on their breasts, which tells of their head-hunting raids, and some wore strung around their necks the red beak of a bird, signifying that the wearer has taken at least twenty heads. Headhunting among the Bontog Igorots is not only a means of self-defence, but a pastime. After a member of the pueblo has taken home a human head, a month is given to celebration. All Igorot men eat dogs. It is a tribal dish, and twenty dogs were furnished these men each week by the United States government. We watched them preparing and cooking the dogs, as well as eating them. The women are not allowed to eat dogs flesh because the Igorots say they do not care for their women to fight. These natives wear many bracelets and armlets of beads, and are fond of riding horses. We saw them in all their different activities, including the feast dance and many other dances; and at their games, including a curious game with a ball, which they threw about.”
    “California and the West, 1881, and later. By L. Vernon Briggs”

    From the early 1900’s to ~1930 over 100,000 Filipino’s work on infrastructure building in the US.

    1946 – The Philippines are given their political Independence by the United States.

    1946 – 1965 ~36,000 Filipino’s entered the US as immigrants. Most families located themselves in Hawaii, California, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, and as far east as New York city.

    What most of us are familiar with in regards to the historical aspects of FMA, stem in two parts of the country, East and West coast. It is very true that much of the early training in FMA's was behind closed doors and in backyards, but each day more and more of the history and interactions of all these great masters is being released.

    Gumagalang
    Guro Steve Lefebvre

    www.Bujinkandojo.net
     
  12. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    RedBagan
    I have heard a couple of reasons for this
    1) The manner in which it was taught. I have heard and read where it was pretty brutal for kids to have their fathers/uncles teach them because of the unstrcutred way it was taught.
    Hit them till they blocked and then hit them again till they blocked and such. One instructor told me his first stick fight was with his father and so on. You would learn till you new enough to protect yourself and then go on and do something different. Also martial arts instruction wasn't a way to make a living.

    2) If you were well known as an instructor/teacher than people might want to challange you. And then you could get killed or maimed and not be able to feed your family so you kept a low profile (if you didn't want this kind of lifestyle).

    3) If you grow up with something a father in the house that knew eskrima (FMAs) and yet the black belt instructor comes in and sets up a local dojo with karate (an empty hand self defense system) who are you going to go with. The karate guy because he is the expert, not your old man or uncle who might have actually used their art to defend thier life, because he's your dad.

    4) The teachers might not be the best communicators or instructors, they might be a hell of a fighter and know some great stuff but by trade or profession they might not be able to really put the system into a teachable format. Nor even want to for that matter since their goal was to earn enogh money to put food on their table.

    5) Something from a foriegn land is exotic, karate has been around for 1000,s of years as the self defense system of Japan. The Philippines had been occupied by Spain and Japan so why not learn the older proven method of self defense.

    Well a few more than a couple thoughts on the matter. :)
    Mark
     
  13. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Please understand that in my previous post I was trying to list why some filipino people might not have valued the instruction that was available to them in the FMA and sought out instruction in other martial art systems that were not native to the Philippines.

    I know that karate has not been around for 1000's of years, I was thinking of the way karate/kug fu was packaged or sold to the public 30 years ago.

    No disrepst to any martial art styles systems intended
    Mark
     
  14. Dan Anderson

    Dan Anderson Master of Arts

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    Great thread! Great info! Thanks to all.

    Yours,
    Dan Anderson
     
  15. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Mark,

    Your intent was correct here.

    In the PI the Japanese Arts mostly were what people studied in large schools in the cities. This was Karate or Judo or JuJitsu. There were some Chinese tachings going on as well from what I have heard.

    Those with disposable money (* Required for paying someone to teach you martial arts *) liked the Uniforms and the structure, and the culture also was looking outward and not inward at the time. Not hard to believe if you see the pattern of invaders over time.

    The locals were many times the town or village enforcers and defenders. They were also thugs, and body guards for the local mayors or politicians or ..., . Basically they faught for a living.

    A simple story I have told before. I was at a local coffee shop getting a hot apple cider drink ;). Nice lady in fromt of me about my age, and we tlaked and chatted in line. She had a ring on, so I thought nothing of it. I meet my friends and the lady was sitting near by with her husband who was older. They were with another couple that was his age. The Lady my age asked me about a knife I was inspecting for a friend. It was a balisong. She was a metalurgist, and worked in sales. I explained it was a Filipino knife and that I and another present trained and taught in the FMA's. The wife of the second couple was a Filipina (* If I had to guess in late 50's *). She was upset when she said asked if I meant Karate? I said no Arnis and Escrima. She looked upset, for here she is from the country and does not know. She got quiet, and both men looked unhappy. I turned the Husband of the Filipina, and made the following comments. Sir, I assume your wife came from a family with money. (* He rolled his eyes and smiled as he said Yes *). Well given the time frame those who studied most traditional FMA were from the streets or the lower or lower middle class. Her family probably had no interactions with these types of men. He smiled and relaxed as his wife relaxed for I had given her a way out that she felt comfortable with.

    Now this does not mean that everyone in the PI is dirt poor (* My term for my family before my father as they were Farmers and got along just fine :) *), nor does it mean that those who trained were from the lower incomes either. It was just more likely.

    We or at least I understand your intent Mark and I see no harm or foul in your words. Just rying to share your prospective.


    Thanks
     
  16. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Rich

    Thanks for the story and the insight.

    Mark
     
  17. Airyu@hotmail.com

    Airyu@hotmail.com Green Belt

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    Hello Everyone,

    During the 1970's, there was also an explosion in Filipino Cultural Gatherings. These were on both the west and east coast regions and brought together many who were interested in the heritage of the Filipino people. Arts were demonstrated and brought out a interest in the FMA's that had not been shown to many in the public prior to this time(primarily in the USA).

    The FMA's have been taught and passed down in what today seems like a harsh manner. Father's and Uncles striking at a son or nephew to help them develop proper defensive and offensive skills. But the results were impressive as you witness today what years of training has done for these masters. This is no different for many other arts from old Japan, China or even Western Europe. Harsh or severe training has it's place in the development of many a Master.

    Gumagalang
    Guro Steve L.

    www.Bujinkandojo.net
     
  18. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Good point about the cultural festivals. It could be that the civil unrest of the 60's and the civil rights movement brought about an an awaking interest in all races/peoples heritage. Which in turn would lead to more exposure to the food, dances, martial heritage, struggles, contributions, and such that different races and people from across the globe brought to the U.S.

    I agree with the harsh training statement, it did produce some excellent masters. However if you want the art to spread and get wide acceptance than that is not the way to do it. Keeping it as a family system and things doesn't lend itself to world wide acceptance. Making it more accessible and more platable to the general public would help spread it though.

    Mark
     
  19. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Rich

    You know I heard the same thing about karate in Japan. At one time it was looked down upon because the thugs and enforcers (so to speak) used it. I guess it didn't take long to learn to punch and kick to hurt someone. There was something I read about looking at a person's knuckles (in refernce to makawara training) and acceptence into different martial art schools or something in Japan. And the looking down upon karate being a thug art.

    I'll never find the qoute now, so please everyone don't ask. I just thought it was interesting that the FMAs were looked down upon by the filipinos, and karate was (at least by some Japanese) looked down upon as well.

    Must say something about the effectiveness of the art :)

    Mark
     
  20. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    My understanding is that karate retains a little of that image, and Judo remains the "gentleman's sport" in Japan.
     

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