Spanish Influence on FMAs

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by Martial novice, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Martial novice

    Martial novice Valued Member

    Does anybody either have any useful information on, or know any good books that cover, the influence of Spanish swordfighting on FMAs?
    I've searched MAP and googled a bit, but Spanish crops up as a language quite a lot, so I've found nothing useful.

    Lots of people refer to FMAs being influenced by Spanish swordfighting / fencing techniques.

    However, AFAIK, Spain colonised mostly on the strength of the gun, against poorly armed natives in South America and the PI.
    So where did the crossover take place? Is that initial idea wrong? Were there Spanish training schools and Philippinos snuck in? Were locals taught in order to defend the 'Spanish' islands? Or was there constant close quarter fighting? - The latter is often claimed for other arts - oh, this Chinese style was incorporated because they fought when..., but if you lose against a sword, you're not going to teach anyone the technique that stabbed you. So how did it work??

    Grateful if anyone has anything on this, otherwise, not to worry, just a wondering I suppose

  2. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    I rcommend reading the book Cebuano Eskrima behind the myth.
  3. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    Sorry that's beyond the myth. Dam phone decides what it wants to say.
  4. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member


    This is the assumption here:

    "In the case of divergent evolution, similarity is due to the common origin, such as divergence from a common ancestral structure or function has not yet completely obscured the underlying similarity."


    Actually both firearms and the sword (steel), remember the era of the conquistadores was the 1500s onwards. Their horses and their abilities in horsemanship is of equal note.

    The origins of Doce Pares is attributed to a Frenchman. That and "Filipino" ingenuity mixed.

    The process. This is the crux of your questions. It's fairly easy to say cultures mix, but how cultures mix is a totally different animal to tackle.

    "Tienen Duende, this indescribable feeling which permeates Spain is a sensation that envelopes the stirs the soul. That captivating feeling that moves you, the intensity of colors, flavors and movement is fuelled by the passion for living – feeding the sour and forever staying with you. Let your senses capture the passion of Tienen Duende for They’ve got real soul."

    "A duende is a fairy- or goblin-like mythological creature from Iberian, Latin American and Filipino folklore."
    Take the RIGHT hand of an older person with your right hand, say "Mano Po" and gently bring that person's right hand towards your own forehead. You may have to bow a bit so that the older person won't have to stretch his arm out too much.

    That tradition is largely thought of as distinctly Filipino, if not Filipino then Asian, or even yet from the Spaniards BUT its true origin is in the Arab world.

    So keep in mind that there is no black and white when it comes to cultural exchanges.
  5. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    Whether this came by way of the Spaniards in the 1500s or by way of Muslim traders in the 1300s, via the opposite way (Yemen, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and up Sulu, to Mindanao the Visayas and Luzon), like in the case of circumcision:

    - Antonio de Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas
    (Events in the Philippine Isles), 1609
  6. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    Here's probably the best critique of that book, Pat:
  7. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    The Influence of Spanish Renaissance Swordsmanship on Filipino Martial Arts?

    That's another good read, if you've just started out:
  8. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I'm very curious about this. Could you give more detail?
  9. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

  10. Martial novice

    Martial novice Valued Member

    Thanks guys. Interesting stuff. And I'llhave to check out those book recommendations. Unsurprisingly it sounds like national or regional pride may influence perception.

    I suppose I hadn't considered how PI was ruled by Spaniards - i.e. with more interaction than I had thought. If soldiers/monks etc. were training natives then I can see the inclusion and development.
    However from what little I had read, often referring to Filipinos bravely fighting against their oppressors, I hadn't envisaged that relationship.

    Compared for example with Britain after the Norman conquest. New French barons (who 200 years before were Vikings) bring their nobility to Britain. Despite some grumbling and scuffles, the presence of big stone castles shut most people up and passing on skills was seen as useful - those conquered folk supply your new shiny army. I guess I need to see the Spanish colony a little less as a continuous pitched battle.

    Happy to hear any other views on it though, or other suggestions.

  11. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    that article is garbage, but it just won't go away. it's full of as many inaccuracies and fallacies as clements rails against. to say that soldiers and sailors would have used carranza and pacheco's style, because it is not a rapier style for the upper classes, is ridiculously absurd. the entire premise of that article revolves around the distinction between a 'cut and thrust' sword and a 'rapier,' which is a distinction the spanish didn't make.

  12. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    The premise to me was entirely different.

    As for sabre vs rapier, are you saying that the Spaniards did not make a distinction between two different sword types OR are you speaking of the ways in which these two different swords are employed? Because they are two different weapons, so I'm a bit perplexed as to your comment.
  13. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    the 'cut and thrust' sword clements means is also called a 'side sword,' which was a general transition between medieval swords with simple cruciform hilts (also called arming swords) to those with longer, narrower blades with elaborate hilts commonly called rapiers. side swords often had finger rings, knuckle bows, and sometimes side rings or posts. the spanish referred to all of these swords (arming, side, rapier) as simply 'espada.'

    the saber is a completely different animal.

  14. onpoint

    onpoint Valued Member

    I see thanks for the clarification, tim. I assumed he was referring to a sabre and hence the difference. But the side sword vs rapier difference seems very nuanced. One must've come from the other, no?

    Espada literally means sword, no?

    What did the Spaniards call the sabre?
  15. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    indeed. that's one of the many reasons the article gets me upset, along with the misuse of class structure and time periods to 'support' his point.

    yeah, espada means sword. 'sable' is what the spanish call the saber. it has a completely different evolution.

  16. kalislash

    kalislash Valued Member is straight and the other is straight.:hat: Maradjao Karadjao!
  17. kalislash

    kalislash Valued Member is curved and the other is straight sword.:bang:
  18. invisi

    invisi Valued Member

    IMO from research.

    some terminologies used in the arts are spanish derived. e.g. abedecario (alphabet - fundamentals), cincotero, etc.

    Then there is the sword and dagger 'espada y dada'. This was popular with europeans at the time of colonisation.

    The circular movements to me seem more asian than european e.g. figure of 8.

    The triangular footwork seems more asian as opposed to fencing and fighting in the box.

    Some of the straight strikes seem european in flavour.

    I read somewhere in spanish colonial times the locals would stage plays (zarzuelas) and their would be fighting involved. Mock fighting; so the masters would pass this off as theatrical acting. Same story as capoeira; why it became a dance.

    You have to give the USA credit too. According to D. Inosanto, filipinos boxing techniques were introduced and extended the american boxing style, before 'ala' John L. Sullivan style; more vertical chain punch style. I saw a modified blade used by US army circa 1915-18 that is bolo shaped and labelled a bolo. Special or standard issue. The US occupation adapted and adopted the bolo. The Philippine Scouts, WWII, Bataan.

    FMA is a mix and tested martial art; countless uprisings, revolutions, world wars that happened in the archipelago. Mixes and exchanges.

    At the end of the day the truth is what matters; there is commonality in all martial arts and what works.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  19. kalislash

    kalislash Valued Member

    I recommend the "Filipino Culinary Arts"....this will explain everything about our culture.
  20. invisi

    invisi Valued Member

    Good eating...

Share This Page