Etmology and Correct Spelling of FMA Terms

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by Doblebaston, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. Doblebaston

    Doblebaston New Member

    Greetings to everyone! I just wanted to put up a thread regarding something that's been on my mind as of late, namely, the etymology and spelling of FMA terms.

    I realize that the Filipino martial arts are now being practiced world-wide by people of various cultures and languages; naturally, some distortion in the pronunciation and spelling of names of the techniques was to be expected. As a Filipino, I'm really excited about the increasing exposure of FMA, but I would also like to see that the relevant language is preserved. (After all, if Karate and Kendo practitioners know the proper use of their respective arts' terms, there's no reason we eskrimadors and arnisadors can't do likewise.) And I'm sure that most would agree that knowing the origin of the technique names adds a new dimension to the appreciation of the art.

    I've listed the etymology and correct spelling of some commonly-used FMA terms below. For those who already know what I'm talking about, please bear with me. For those who may know more on this topic, please feel free to add your comments.

    (Note: Filipinos borrowed several words from Spanish, due to the long period of colonization. Some terms were preserved in their original form, while many underwent a Filipino re-spelling.)

    banda y banda - borrowed from the Spanish; literally, "side and side"

    dulo-dulo - literally, "end-end"; very short, single-hand weapon pointed at both ends; used to complement hand strikes; commonly made from wood or animal horn; also referred to as dos puntas ("two points")

    panuntukan - ultimately from the term suntok, which denotes a strike with the fist. Suntukan means "fistfight"; panuntukan refers to techniques for fist-fighting.

    payong - literally, umbrella

    redonda/redondo - from the Spanish, meaning "round"

    sagasa - to trample/run over heavily

    sikaran - from the word sikad, meaning "kick"; sikaran refers to the act of kicking.

    sinawali - from the term sawali, which refers to the interwoven bamboo splits used for walling material; the arm movements during the technique's execution are likened to this.

    sombrada - from the Spanish term sombra, meaning "shade" or "shadow"

    I'm out of time right now, but I hope to add more later on. As I stated above, please feel free to add your own information or comment to this post. Thanks!
  2. dyak_stone

    dyak_stone Valued Member

    hmmmmmm... how about kali? :eek:
  3. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Valued Member

    Good you brought this up. Others people sometimes calls this "Panantukan". I explained earlier that antok means "sleepy". Hehe...
  4. old timer

    old timer Just well worn !

    Do you mean the word Kali? taken from Kamut meaning hand and Lihou meaning motion, Ka Li = hand motion.
  5. Scotty Dog

    Scotty Dog

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2005
  6. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter


    Do you know the correct spelling of (phonetically) "sabai sabai"? My guro used it on Saturday morning to describe two simultaneous hits.


  7. Doblebaston

    Doblebaston New Member

    Argh, such a long first post, and I still managed to misspell the thread title. Oh well.

    Anyway, I forgot to add that I did not include the etymology of the words kali and arnis on purpose, since there is so much dispute over them. That aside, here are a few more terms and their origins:

    abierta - from the Spanish term abierto, meaning "open"; denotes the open fighting stance

    elastiko - literally, a rubber band; taken from the Spanish term elastico, meaning "flexible"; refers to footwork and strikes that rapidly retreat and then snap back to attack; also spelled as elastico or lastiko

    engganyo - corrupted spelling of the Spanish term engaƱo, meaning "deceit" or "trick"; used to refer to feints or fakes

    eskrima - corrupted spelling of the Spanish term esgrima, meaning "fencing"; also spelled as escrima

    retirada - taken from the Spanish, meaning "retreat"

    serrada - from the Spanish term cerrado, meaning "closed"; used to denote the closed fighting stance or position

    To those who may not speak Filipino, but still want to pronounce the terms correctly, the guidelines are simple. Filipino has no long vowel sounds, and the "r" sound is rolled, never soft. The words are pronounced exactly the way they are spelled. If you speak Spanish, then you'll probably have a much easier time adjusting to the pronunciation, since the vowel sounds are practically identical.
  8. Doblebaston

    Doblebaston New Member

    Ap Oweyn, the spelling of that word is sabay-sabay, meaning "together" or "simultaneously". If you've got any questions about the language, just post them here or send me a message and my fellow Pinoys and I will be happy to answer them for you.
  9. dyak_stone

    dyak_stone Valued Member

    with regards to elastiko, sometimes people spell the word as lastiko, and from what I know it can mean a backward and forward movement, or also a forward and backward movement as in a lunge and retreat.

    does anyone else out there know of contra prayle, pigar, and abecedario ? what I know is that these are the three concepts of defense against an oncoming force: going against the force, redirecting the force, and going with the force, respectively.

    anyone know of the etymologies of these? do you have other terms for those concepts? do you use those words differently? (why is the grass green? why is the blue sky? :confused: ) I have heard that abecedario means something like "basics" in other styles? I am not sure.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2005
  10. mike-a

    mike-a Eskrima Geek

    In one of his books, Diony Canete mentions that abecedario is a corruption of "A,B,C's" and diary. In other words daily A,B,C's or basics you do daily...
  11. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    sabay sabay
  12. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Valued Member

    A propos your comment, following is a quote from a previous post that I made on MAP a while ago:

    Note: I thought that there was a thread up a little while ago about "Sabayan" kali that I can't find any more (?). Would "Sabayan" and "sabay sabay" have the same root?


    Steve Lamade
  13. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    yup. "sabay" = at the same time or taken together.
  14. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Aha! I had a feeling that it was "sabay sabay." It's just that he pronounced it as "sab-eye" rather than "sab-bay" (as you'd pronounce "baywatch").

    Thanks Doblebaston and Shooto. Appreciate it.

  15. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

  16. Scotty Dog

    Scotty Dog

    The was me thinking you might have read some of Vin Desiel's more recent work :p
  17. Doblebaston

    Doblebaston New Member

    Actually, your instructor's pronunciation is correct. After a vowel, "y" is pronounced as an "i" sound. So it's really (phonetically) "sabai-sabai", as you first wrote it. The real spelling (sabay-sabay) really has a hyphen.
  18. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Aha! My current teacher is Filipino. He uses mostly Tagalog in our classes. So I'm hearing a lot of terms I wasn't familiar with before (though my original teachers did require that we learn a fair number of Tagalog terms).

    This also explains his pronunciation of "sayaw." (Sai-yao)

    Cheers mate. This is proving to be really useful.

  19. VoltAmpere

    VoltAmpere New Member

    maybe we should also post the phonetics of the words, not just their correct spelling... I would have wanted to point out the roots in Baybayin (Alibata, to all the infidels heheh), unfortunately, the Latin alphabet works better for the languages in the Philippines than the original Baybayun glyphs did...
    As for the terms...
    what about:
    Pilantik [pih-laan-tik]? = from root word "Pitik"? ano nga ba inggles ng pitik? i forgot...
    Abanico [Ah-baan-E-koh]? = Fan?
    Tochada [Toh-Cha-Daa]?
    Rompida [Rohm-Pih-Daa]?
    Sungkite [Soong-kih-teh]?
    Floret(t)e [Floh-re-teh]?
    Estrella [Es-trel-yaa]?
    Trangkada [traang-kaa-daa]?
    Ikit [E-kit]?

    i'm sorry if i misspelled any term, it's definately much easier said and done than typed...

    And i want to add something to "Kali..." I'm on the side of those that believe it stems from "kalis" or sword, from the visayas regions, because here in Pampanga the term used for harvesting sugar cane is "kalisan" (or "kalisin" i think, root word "kalis" [kuh-liss]) though i misplaced somewhere in my mind the term used to call the scythe-like harvesting tool (it doesn't sound anything like kali or kalis, though)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  20. Brunstick

    Brunstick (^_^) I need a girlfriend

    pitik = flick?

    i want to add that a lot of times, pinoys interchange letters. p with f, v with b, c with k, etc.


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