FMAT: Are the FMAs "devolving" from the lack of real combat testing?

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Sep 11, 2006
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Are the FMAs "devolving" from the lack of real combat testing?
By Datu Tim Hartman - 06-23-2010 02:24 PM
Originally Posted at: FMATalk


I saw this on one of our related sites
On another thread, the point was made that a lot of FMAs being taught today --especially here in the States-- lack the realism that characterized the stuff taught by the older generations of masters. Think of some of the legendary names in the FMAs: Dizon, Cabales, Villabrille, Ilustrisimo, Giron, Bacon, the Tortal family, the Latosa family, to name but a few... these guys used their arts for fighting. Some used them for killing... especially the Filipino freedom fighters resisting the Japanese during WWII. So the FMA systems that were exposed to the US public in the '70s and '80's were still lead by individuals who had seen those arts used and tested.

Now the old generation of masters has almost entirely passed. FMAs are being widely taught by people who have never used them in anything like an actual life-or-death struggle. We see more and more fancy, flowery techniques being taught, and we no-longer test what we learn. Meanwhile, the public turns increasingly to MMA, which, though a sport and not the same as a life-or-death struggle, at least is constantly being pressure-tested in the ring. So where does that leave the FMAs in the modern world. Are we going to end up as another, non-functional, ritualized art form and philosophical discipline like some Japanese Budo? Worse, are we going to become another flashy, phony martial dance-form taught to kids at the corner McDojo? Or is there a way to keep the original fighting spirit and realism of the FMAs alive in the modern, civilized world?


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