Popularity of Filipino Martial Arts on the rise

JERSEY CITY, NJ – The 5th World Doce Pares Championship, held this year in Jersey City, N.J., was participated by young eskrimadors from around the United States.

Doce Pares is a Filipino Martial Art (FMA) that focuses on stick and knife fighting, as well as hand-to-hand combat.

Eskrimadors believe that FMA traces its roots to Datu Lapu-Lapu, the Filipino ruler of Mactan who defeated the Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan in the Battle of Mactan in 1521.

Supreme Grand Master Dionisio Canete’s grandfather founded the Doce Pares in Cebu Philippines in 1932.

“We are promoting and teaching Filipino Martial Arts or eskrima, kali, arnis,” Canete said. “It’s a very comprehensive, well rounded, complete martial art. It covers all kinds of fighting art.”

Canete says FMA teaches young esrkimadors not just self-defense, but discipline, physical fitness, and sportsmanship.

Fil-Am Denise Bion says FMA is both practical and empowering.

“Filipino Martial Arts makes very realistic situations, such as if someone’s grabbing your purse or someone has a knife out. At that situation you know what to do because of the training you’ve done previously,” she said.

Filipino Martial Arts was brought to the US in the early 80s.

Today, FMA’s popularity has reached Hollywood in films like the “Bourne Series”, including “Bourne Legacy” that was partly shot in the Philippines.

FMA’s principles influenced the development of Matt Damon’s Bourne character, according to one of its directors.

Filipino American kids are not the only ones crazy about this truly Pinoy art of combat.

In “The Karate Kid”, actor Ralph Macchio popularized the iconic “crane stance”.

But 16-year-old Conor Sutherin of Maryland says he uses the FMA killer move called “The Pump” to beat his opponent to win second place in the competition.

“That move is called the Pump,” Sutherin said. “It’s a high move. It allows you to reach around their upward guard and hit them on the top of the head. And a lot of the point giving in eskrima is based on the sound the hit makes.”

Robert Perillo, a gold medalist eskrimador from Union, N.J. said, “It’s just the intensity with the mixed history behind. It appeals to many people and it’s fun. It’s just fun to do.”

Braden Bomgaars, a gold medalist Eskrimador from Colorado said, “It’s been my life, really, I mean besides school and family. This is what I love to do.”

Next year, the 6th World Doce Pares Championship will be held in the Philippines – an homage to the Filipino Martial Art’s birth place.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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