Could FMA have some Spanish influence?

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by katame-waza, Apr 6, 2006.

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  1. donb

    donb restless spirit

    It wasn't a hesitation of learning FMA, but when I was a kid, it was more that the other arts were introduced as martial arts with some form of restraint. What I was taught was more of survival/killing techniques which, nowadays, would classify as manslaughter.
    But with regards to influences, I practiced several arts and I can see techniques overlapping in so many ways that it's hard to say who influenced who. A grandmaster used to tell, years ago, "martial arts is like a wagon wheel, each spoke of the wheel, contributes to the center, and in return, the center spreads out its strength to all the spokes to balance the cargo". Each art complements/supplements each other.
  2. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    Why? What relevance does that have to this topic?
  3. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    Another lead I have is this: I kinda remember Tatang saying that there is a direct connection between what he teaches and spanish sabre fencing. It is found in the Combate General. Having been hit on the head one too many times, I have no idea if this memory is accurate. Maybe Peter can shed light on the matter.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  4. Mananandata

    Mananandata Valued Member

    Tatang said that? :D
  5. Diego_Vega

    Diego_Vega Frustrated pacifist

    I personally have no doubt that there is a huge Spanish influence in fma. I think the system that most actively seeks to examine and make that connection is probably Kalis Ilustrisimo, in particular Master Mang Romy Macapagal. If you read anything by Macachor and Nepangue, they point to the historical development of fma in coastal areas that suffered from the predation of Moro pirates and where local populations were led by and probably taught by Spanish friars and soldiers.
  6. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    I am sure the Spaniards didn't differentiate between good indio (= indio) and bad indio (= insurecto), in all of Spain's acquisitions it was indio.

    You're both putting a value on the term, and mixing up past and present.

    It's similar to Americans calling Afghans or Iraqis or Filipinos indigs for indigenous. It's just a default term, mostly generic for indigenous and non-Spanish nor European.

    Now the term mestizo packs more punch, and the Spaniards even designed tables to categorize where everyone belonged in all 4 vice-royalties of Spain, to include the Philippines under New Spain.

    The concept of mestizo is at heart of the discussion here--ie. how mixed and mixed with what.

    They ended up in Alta California because that's where the N Pacific current took 'em.

    Then they followed the California current back to Acapulco to off load, then load again for Manila carrying a variety of goods that the Chinese were interested in, but

    Silver in particular from Spain's vice-royalty of Peru.

    There may have been some sharing between Spanish soldiers and Filipino deckhands, but given the class distinction and the nature of onboard naval heirarchy,

    the techniques or strategy sharing would more likely have happened back in the Philippines.

    This thread is probably more informative, shoot: Spanish Influence on FMAs

    Vice-royalties of Spain:


    Ocean currents/Spanish Armada:

  7. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member


    But before accrediting violence only towards the side of Filipinos, keep in mind that these Spanish conquistadors were pretty bad-ass.

    Many times they fought highly outnumbered with nothing but only their swordsmanship and horsemanship to carry the day.

    And the main reason Spanish [language] didn't become as prevalent as say other Central and South American countries, was because in the Philippines

    we mostly attracted only the badest-ass of the Spaniards (as well as other Europeans), ie. mercenaries, soldiers, adventurers, criminals, etc. We were a very different type of Spanish colony--wild and still not completely subjugated.;)
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  8. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    ...if you don't count their guns, crossbows, pikes, and hordes of allied native troops. But hey, that's not as romantic, right?

    ...or because it was so far that very few Spanish settlers who went to New Spain decided not to stay, but instead to cross another ocean just to go to the Philippines. But please, feel free to explain to me how wild and uncivilized the native Filipinos were.

  9. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    Tim, if you read your history books, guns weren't as reliable as they are today, they were very cumbersome--sort of like cell phones in the mid-80s ;).

    As for crossbows, great for long distance, but also took quite awhile to load, not something you want when you got hundreds running towards you ala Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.

    As for allied native troops, remember these "indios" had to be won over, they didn't just present their behinds for the taking, there has to be some sort of exchange of promise, ie. your people will rule if you help us--how were they won over? Demonstrated military and economic prowess.

    You have to walk the walk.

    Take Magellan, for example. When he wasn't able to dominate militarily, his indigenous native allies, not only abandoned him, but threatened the lives of his remaining men.

    But I will give you pikes--horsemanship, swordsmanship & pikesmanship :rolleyes:.

    Not romantic, realistic. The Spaniards were vastly outnumbered at the beginning of their conquest in S. and C. America, they never hit critical mass in the Philippines.

    Exactly, my point, Tim.

    The Philippines was so far that only those most adventurous or most desperate or both went to the Philippines.

    I never said "uncivilized", Tim. Just wild.

    The Filipinos were never fully subjugated, except for the coast line communities.

    From the days of Magellan to Spanish-American War, rebellions and area specific insurrections were continuous--ask any of your Filipino friends, and they'll tell accounts from Northern Philippines, Bohol, Negros, Mindanao to Sulu.

    Besides fighting foreigners, indigenous peoples also fought themselves continuously. :cool:

    But my actual point was that Spanish never took root, the Philippines never reached the critical mass of necessity to learn and speak Spanish, unlike Spain's other colonies. Remember, one evidence of subjugation is language.;)
  10. Mananandata

    Mananandata Valued Member

    No doubt about that. The question is what sort of influence?
    Not true at all. Most KI practitioners that I know won't even bother.
    He and his students.
    yeah, probably.. Not.
  11. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member


    Don't mind Raul, he usually has nothing of significance to say in this matter ;).

    Have you read this?

    "Indeed, matters reached such a state that before the end of the year warships were ordered out for another attack on Jolo. Four regiments of infantry and a corps of artillery aided the gunboats.

    Included was a battalion of Cebuanoes who sought revenge for the Moro raids. The wives of the Cebuanoes emulated Lysistrata in reverse. Every wife took an oath before Father Ibanez to deny forever their husbands all of their favors:cry: if the Cebuano men turned their backs to the Moros.

    In the battle of Jolo, Father Ibanez lost his life in the assault on a Moro cotta. The good Father tucked his cassock about his waist and plunged into the thickest of the battle.

    The Cebuanoes performed prodigies of valor and Jolo fell again. The seat of the Sultanate was removed across the island to Maybun, and the Moros paid regular visits to Jolo to slaughter the Spanish garrison which remained."

    from Ch. 15 'Later Wars' from "Swish of the Kris"
  12. Mananandata

    Mananandata Valued Member

    If Diego Vega wants to know something about KI which is true, then he has to pay attention to what I say.

    I don't really care about foreign influences on FMA but I am duty-bound to respond when the name of KI is dragged in the discussion.
  13. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    This is what Diego said:

    Personally, I think there are other systems/groups out there more actively examining and making that connection, but the KI observation by Diego isn't w/out evidence:

    1. From Mr. Rey Galang's "Complete Sinawali":

    "A royal decree in 1636 ordered the "pacification" of the island of Mindanao. Two large companies composed of mainly Pampangans and Visayans were part of the force led by Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera. This force traveled aboard eleven large vessels with 760 Spanish infantrymen who were divided into a total of seven companies. Using Zamboanga as base, the troops underwent rigorous training with the advice and help of Datu Suksukan of Zamboanga and Datu Piatong of the Lutaos..."

    2. From Mr. Romy Macapagal's "On the Origins of Kalis Ilustrimo":

    "Ilustrisimo used 'kali' on the insistence of Mr. Leo Gaje who had visited with Tatang and also by an American anthropologist specializing in hoplology (which is a study of handheld, non-missile weapons), who seemed to have picked it up from Dan Inosanto's book. When I joined Tatang, "Kali Ilustrisimo" had been registered for about two or three years. Tony Diego (the present head of the Ilustrisimo system) and I, after the research mentioned, decided that "Kalis" is the more appropriate word because it means "sword" and would then mean the 'Sword of Ilustrisimo'..."

    3. I don't have quotes from Mr. Tony Diego, Mr. 'Topher Ricketts, Mr. Edgar Sulite and Mr. Yuli Romo, but the latter 3 have numerous students in the US and they are as interested about the history of FMA as Mr. Galang and Mr. Macapagal are. So, it's not true that they "won't even bother":rolleyes:.

    We know where and when you started using the word Kali, it was here on this very forum 3 yrs ago after getting nowhere with your "arguments", Raul, now that's not even bothering.

    Actually, you care (you were absent for 3 years after "vomiting", remember?) you just don't have any significant counter points for your position.

    KI wasn't being dragged in the discussion, they've been leading the discussion on this. That .pdf link I shared above is from Bakbakan, and most KI, Bakbakan, Bahad & LAMECO students I've come across online and off are big fans of Mr. Macachor and Mr. Nepangue's book.

    After all Tatang Ilustrisimo is from Cebu;).
  14. Diego_Vega

    Diego_Vega Frustrated pacifist

    I'm okay we Raul. We're usually on good terms.

    "Personally, I think there are other systems/groups out there more actively examining and making that connection,..."

    I'd be curious to know which ones.
  15. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    So, you believe that a handful of vastly outnumbered Spanish swordsmen on horses, who refused guns as too cumbersome and crossbows as too slow, defeated hundreds of wild natives running at them like the movie Apocalypto, and that this is realistic, not romantic.

    And you tell me to read history books.

    I'm sorry, this is my stop. I seem to have gotten on the wrong bus; this one is traveling from Conclusions to Evidence, and I was looking for one that travels in the other direction.
  16. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    Read again, Tim, nowhere did I say "refuse".

    My point, was that these conquering Spaniards didn't have it easy, hence respect their swordsmanship and horsemanship (and pikesmanship ;) ).

    Had Magellan's men fully utilized their guns & crossbows, the battle of Mactan would've had a different outcome. But those new and fairly new weapons would only had been useful when you have advantage in numbers (as well as distance ;))
  17. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    but bearing in mind that the battle with LapuLapu and his men raged for hours with a handful of spaniards around 20 to 30 against supposedly 2000 natives. I would say if their guns etc where not that good then obviously their pike and sword must have been outstanding against the native fighters to have lasted so long before being pushed back with minimal casualties.
  18. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Guys, enough with the passive aggression and sarcasm. You're making good points. Trust in that. Civil or silent, if you please.
  19. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    Exactly, Pat!

    Give credit where credit is due.

    Cortes against the Aztecs had around 600 men and Pizarro against the Incas initially had about 160. These small forces were able to defeat much larger ones:

    at the Battle of Teocajas, Sebastian de Benalcazar had 200 Spanish and some 3,000 Cañari allies: together they fought Inca General Rumiñahui and a force of some 50,000 warriors to a draw.

    How were the Spanish conquistadors able to do it? Spanish swordsmanship and horsemanship had much to do with their success,

    but more importantly, diplomacy both over and under the table by demonstrating both military and economic prowess.
  20. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member


    Although the groups I had in mind were generally & not surprisingly from Cebu, with some from Manila but whose art originates from Cebu, upon further thought I wouldn't say this, "most actively seeks to examine and make that connection".

    So I agree with your initial observation, that KI is probably it, since Macachor/Nepangue's work came way after KI's more visible attempts to counter the "Kali is the Mother Art" narrative in the 90s.

    Without the KI personalities' passion as a group for delving deeper into FMA history, we'd all still be stuck in the "Kali is the Mother Art" narrative, which did nothing for FMA.

    Although I'm still curious as to the origins of KALI, I'm now convinced that the Villabrille/Largusa group is the only group to generate this term independently with its current definition as "pure FMA", ie. GT Gaje assumed this term after hearing it in the states.
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