Want to study FMA in the Philippines but live in the USA

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts - General' started by Samaelfff, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Samaelfff

    Samaelfff White Belt

    Jul 2, 2018
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    Hi folks,

    I am new to the board and I am glad I found it. Tons of info here.

    I have been studying FMA for a couple of years now with a local instructor and a few other students, here in Washington State. It is a "garage" style learning environment where we can really focus on interacting with the teacher and getting tips on application and the like. However, we can only get together about once a week and finding training partners locally is difficult. So I try to feed my need watching YouTube videos, scrolling message boards, and swinging my sticks.

    Over time I have progressed a bunch but I could really use an intense influx of knowledge and training. I would really like to take some pto from work and go to the Philippines for a month and just train. Day in and day out. Akin to heading to a Shaolin monastery to learn from the monks. . Has anyone here done this before? It's not like I can hire a travel agent to book rooms and instructors for me so I'm tossing this out there to see if I can get some suggestions on how to map this all out. Who to contact locally? Where to stay? Where the greatest density of folks who do Kali AND take no issue with training a white guy from the states live? Should I go to Manila area or head south toward Cebu? Etc.

    Any help would be appreciated as this is one hell of a task. I am hoping to do this within the next two years.

    Thank you
  2. Anarax

    Anarax 2nd Black Belt

    Aug 16, 2017
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    New Mexico
    Sounds like a good place to train. Have you discussed training more with your instructor?

    It's always good to build on your knowledge and skill.

    Each style has it's own training culture and some are closer than other's when it comes to the quality of the style's country of origin. Essentially, Kali and FMA in general has done a good job at maintaining standards of quality, another significant factor is it isn't as popular as other styles.

    The point is you could get a lot out of travelling to seminars and other FMA schools in the US opposed travelling to the Philippines. Not trying to trample on your plans, but I think you could accomplish essentially the same thing without leaving the country.

    Personally? No. However, my instructor went to the Philippines with other instructors from our organization which lived there and spoke the language. The instructors that reside in the Philippines acted as the guide, translator(when needed) and planners. Even then, it was still kind of hectic for him.

    I have a lot of Filipino friends, both first gen immigrants and Americanized. The Philippines is a beautiful country with very friendly people. However, there is political unrest that is going on right now and can be dangerous for those that aren't familiar with the country.
  3. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

    Apr 21, 2003
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    Roanoke TX USA
    Welcome to MT, and to the FMA forum.

    Anarax brought out a good point here, have you talked with your instructor about this, maybe about doing a little extra training on the side, or if you could get with others in your group for some extra training? I would talk with your instructor first and foremost and clear things with them first, then see if it's OK to reach out to others to train on the side.

    Depending upon who the instructor is and their beliefs this may be cool or not, and you don't want to be disrespectful to your teacher. Not all styles play well together. and not all FMA styles are taught the same nor have the same training methodology, terms, etc. etc. so you want to discuss this first with your primary instructor and make sure they are OK with it (I'm referring to training with others from other styles and systems etc. etc.).

    Personally I haven't been to the PI either, but I'd like to and hopefully will. However I have traveled quite a bit here in the states and trained with some of the top FMA instructors around on the seminar circuit in a variety of styles over the past 35+ years of being involved in the FMAs. Thankfully I teach FMAs so I have also brought in some of the top level instructors to teach at my school.

    Now please don't get me wrong here, I mean no disrespect. But training in the FMAs for 2 years 1 X a week isn't a long time as in hours on the mat. For instance I teach FMA classes 3X a week for my students at 1-1.5 hours a class (meaning they have training time of 4 hours a week). Where as I visited a couple of schools (different classes and different styles of FMA) and they do/did a FMA class 1X a week for 1 -1.5 hours. Now I would occasionally bring my students who train with me (on a regular basis) and they could keep up with other students who had been training for several years longer than my students. Notice I'm not mentioning styles nor ranks, because really that doesn't play as big of a factor here, it's about time put into practice and study.

    So what does that have to do with wanting to go the the PI and train? I think that would be a great idea, but I also believe you can get plenty of good quality training here in the states, through seminars etc. etc. (Which technically going to the PI would be like training at a loooooooong seminar, or several smaller looong seminars.) Training here in the states can also lead you to make contacts here to train with, make friends, share ideas, etc. etc. in your local area. Granted I know there might not be a "local school" in your town. But in your generalized area you should be able to hook up with others. Going to a seminar, or meeting up with some other people might give you some new insight into what your primary style is, some fresh ideas so to speak. You just have to make sure your primary instructor is OK with this method of additional training.

    If you have the PTO available I'm sure you could find several places to attend a seminar and then maybe even schedule private training with the head instructor, or the CI of the host school for some additional input. etc. etc. Without having to fly to different country/culture etc. etc. to learn the martial art. I'm sure the instruction here would be about the same level (meaning with your current skill level you would get the same out of the training), and you'd get perhaps greater insight due to speaking the same language.

    I can't speak to the who to see etc. etc. cause I haven't been there. However the part I put in bold text is what I want to address. I don't think you will have an issue with the instructors not wanting to train white guys from the states. Sure this may be an issue in the southern jungles, maybe, but by and large all of the instructors that I've met from the PI, or those instructors that have told me about their training in the PI, I don't believe being white is an issue. Your money is still green right? The good instructors don't care then, as long as your money's good they won't treat you bad. However more so than this, I believe from what I've seen, maybe more respect is shown to you (not because of color of skin) but because you took the time to become a private student. You took the time to travel there and to learn from them, they appreciate this and I believe they respect you more for it.

    As one instructor who did exactly what it sounds like you want to do told me; when he went to the PI to train for 1-6 months (?) the GM (who he was training under) said "now I will show you the true (real) art". He became great friends with the family etc. etc. that has lasted till this day. From what I understand there was the seminar art that the GM showed to us to get us "interested in his system" and then the deeper level he showed his own students along with those that went to the PI to train under him. Trust me the "deeper level" teachings (that the down line instructor showed me) helped me understand what the GM showed me at his seminars. But in truth had I really thought about it and "thought outside of the box" so to speak I would have come up with similar applications, instead I was just going off of what the GM taught and what GM showed on video which backed up what was taught at the seminars.

    I agree totally with Anarax's post, I wanted to call attention though to his point here. If a country is going through political unrest, social upheaval, etc. etc. it might be risky even for those that are familiar with the country much less those that aren't.

    I would suggest making connections with people here in the states first and perhaps through them get connected to people in the PI who can then watch out for you and guide you. One of my instructors went to the PI to train at a camp in the early 90's; now for years I heard about training at the camp etc. etc. However recently I read a post where he had posted pictures of their transportation around on the islands and explained how at one point deep in jungle it was brought up in casual conversation how the only people who knew where they were at and where they were going were on the little bus, jeep or whatever was right there having the talk. They could have very easily disappeared in the jungle and never been heard from again. Of course they were in a small group and with an instructor who was conducting the camp and nothing happened. But..... had they been on their own without help or a guide.

    Anyway there is the FMA training camp held every two years that has people there help out who speak English and people from all over go there plus there are many different instructors teaching from various styles. There you might be able to arrange some more one on one training or being able to stay for an extended period of time training with one or two instructors at their main school. etc. etc. Dieter Knuttel is very involved with the FMA training camp in the PI. Tim Hartman has gone to the PI around the same time as the FMA event and set up outside training with specific instructors who he knew and took a group with him touring around the islands. But neither one was really training with one instructor for an extended amount of time. Both Dieter and Tim can be contacted via MT they could be a good source.
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  4. KPM

    KPM Senior Master

    Jul 6, 2014
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    Heck, you could probably arrange a month long trip to LA to train daily at the Inosanto Academy. They have so much stuff going on there and so many instructors that you could probably arrange daily training in FMA for the whole time you were there.123
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