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Time and again I come across stuff posted on the web about the Filipino Martial Arts... being born and bred in the Philippines, I find some of what is written to be laughable and betraying an ignorance of the country of origin of the Filipino Martial Arts.
Misconception #1: The Filipino Martial Arts are a homogenous collection of systems with a common philosophy and technical approach.
Fact: There are probably as many styles and systems of FMA as there are regional languages and dialects (170 according to wikipedia). Just as there are many differing systems of Kung Fu, there are also different systems of Filipino Martial Arts. This is also evidenced by the various names there are for the art: Kali, Arnis, Eskrima, Singkatan, Kuntaw, Kabaroan, etc. Each has varying philosophies and technical approaches. This then leads to:
Misconception #2: To be a true FMA it must have <insert technique / training method / philosophy here>.
I remember reading an article in Inside Kung-Fu which purported to instruct the reader on how to discern what was a true FMA. It had to have, among other things, "hubud lubud" training, triangular footwork, no blocks - just hand smashes, etc etc. This was ludicrous and was pointed out by several FMA practitioners in the letters column some issues later... Given the variety of approaches existing in the FMA as a whole, it was unreasonable to expect that all FMAs used the same technques / methods used by the FMA of the article author. It would be like expecting all systems of Kung Fu to have chi sau (sticky hands training in Wing Chun) and wooden dummy and proclaiming that any Kung Fu system that didn't have this to be fake.
Misconception #3: The abbreviation for the Philippines is "P.I.".
This is a pre world war 2 abbreviation for the Philippines when it was still known as the "Philippine Islands". Most of the early Filipino migrants to the US would refer to the country as such. However, in 1946, the official name of the country became "Republic of the Philippines" and is thus abbreviated as "R.P." In the Internet age, the TLD of .PH has also become popular. P.I however has degraded into an abbreviation for "P***** Ina" which is a vile swear phrase in Filipino. Thus, I cringe whenenver some "dayuhan" refers to the Philippines as "P.I."
Misconception #4: Addressing your teacher as "Guro" and "ranks like "Tuhan", "Datu" and "Sultan" are normal and correct usage.
I spent the first 2 decades of my academic life in the Philippines and never once addressed my teacher as "Guro" (and I never addressed my female teachers as "Gura"). Also, Only the Muslim peoples in the south use titles such as Datu, Sultan and Rajah. I dread to think what they would do to someone who was not a member of their clan who they found to be using those titles..